By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
This is why Hector's will last, slowly building a loyal cadre of neighbors who tire or roll eyes at the constant scene-making burbling nearby at Tei Tei, Cuba Libre, Sense/Candle Room and the upcoming Hibiscus. Sometimes good food is all the fantasy a diner needs.
And there's lots of fodder here, dreamed up by chef Todd Erickson. What's more humble than a Cobb salad? The Cobb creature here is called East Dallas stacked Cobb. Ribs of romaine are stacked across the plate. Pickled pink onions slumber like sodden pasta on one end, spiking with a slightly sweet sharpness. Crumbles of applewood-smoked bacon add intensity at the other end, while the middle of the ribs hold blue cheese and dribbles of creamy herbed vinaigrette frothing with garlic. This is a Cobb of distinct parts that seamlessly merge instead of muddle. The only thing missing is the hard-boiled egg--a savvy deletion when you think about it. To kids, painted hard-boiled eggs might spell touching spring memories of plastic grass, jelly beans and chocolate hares. To adults, hard-boiled eggs mostly spark images of the dieting gulag. Pass the cream soups.
Cream of celery root soup is smooth and delicious. It's rich without being cumbersome and clingy or coating the inside of your mouth with mucous film.
Citrus-roasted quail stuffed with apricot-cranberry corn bread stuffing and stained in a Maker's Mark vinaigrette as tawny as grasshopper spit is chewy, rich and moist with none of those chicken-livery flavors that belong with onions but not corn bread.
Seared diver scallops were simultaneously one of the best menu entrants and the most disappointing. Scallops are arranged in a bowl over a corn-edamame succotash; the kernels and soybeans soaked in opaque green sauce of pureed basil and peas. Shards of applewood-smoked bacon make an appearance. The flavors are round, broad and well-meshed. But the scallops, cloaked in a crisped, slightly gritty skin from a potent sear, were bland: no conspicuous natural sweetness, seasoning or detectable searing medium, just the soft give of the scallop flesh with a ghost of sweetness.
Spicy plum cake hit like an after-dinner nip: modestly sweet, satisfying, relaxing. It's tall and cylindrical; fluffy with restrained density. It's crowned with sticky Dr Pepper sludge and raisin studs. With a crown like this, you just ain't gonna pull in the glitterati. Let 'em eat succotash.
2929 N. Henderson Ave., 214-821-0432. Open for lunch 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; open for dinner 6-11 p.m. Tuesday & Wednesday, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. $$-$$$