Flaccid Flirt

Tryst arouses, but is it just a tease?

It goes without saying that Tryst would have a hip vibe. Lavender and violet offset the plush burgundy chairs next to a raised seating area that lifts a large table maybe six inches above the handsome hardwood floors. Views from this perch glare into Oak Cliff and the backend of Dallas' urban ganglia.

The bar area is a gallery of plastic and chrome and other crisp materials. Silver beaded curtains hang like chain mail between leathery seating spaces lit by PVC tubing chandeliers enclosing a single red bulb. When lit they look like 3-D crucifixes crafted for a plumbers' local fund-raiser. They distract from the compelling urban views.

A couple of dishes distract as well. Drunken chicken is more like passed-out chicken. Though teased with capers and flat parsley leaves and marinated in wine, the flattened chicken pieces are as dry as frayed burlap, though not as exciting.

Oysters are a great way to start a tryst at Tryst.
Tom Jenkins
Oysters are a great way to start a tryst at Tryst.

Details

Chicken-fried oysters Rockefeller $3

Garlic soup (cup) $3

Seared scallops $7

Meat and taters $21

Sea bass $20

Lamb chop lollipops $19

Drunken chicken $13.50

Banana split $6.50

Closed Location

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Meat and taters was enthusiastically endorsed by our server. "Good stuff," said Gin Man. It's a cleaved petite fillet served with horseradish baked Yukons in pink peppercorn gravy. The purple fillets swell like punched lips. The meat is lush, livery and spongy; the potatoes like mush.

Four breaded scallops are arranged in an orderly row over fanned arugula with a honeydew-cantaloupe medley (or melody, as our server explained) dispersed with specks of fried prosciutto and grains of Hawaiian rock salt. It's all splashed in lemon-mint dressing. The scallops are rubbery and chewy.

Yet there is a highlight: pan-roasted sea bass in a pool of fish stock dressed in shiitake, sambal (Thai pepper sauce) and thin slices of potato, is buttery, flaky and delicious. We finish with a banana split: a severed banana in a crème brûlée-ish sugar crust near melting blobs of chocolate and vanilla ice cream on a long narrow plate strewn with pistachio debris. It seemed thrown together, a disparate collection of masses and speckles and crust splinters oblivious to one another. The split was served with thin coffee that reeked of the instant stuff spat from vending machines.

Tryst is safe sex--the kind where the threats aren't even flirted with. 1135 S. Lamar St., 214-428-1500. Open 5 p.m.-2 a.m. Tuesday-Saturday. $$

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