By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
If Morgan weren't so sober, it would be easy to see his cuisine careening out of control, with all of the scattered and exotic influences he's collected clashing with the challenging edges of the décor from which he draws inspiration. But his food is remarkably restrained. Instead of inventing new formulas, Morgan innovates new forms, tucking subtle flavor variations in the shadows to maintain integrity even as it creates new sensations.
The Caesar salad is just this: a simple array of four or five romaine ribs neatly resting in symmetry, a single garlic roasted crouton and Parmesan shavings on top. Silvery rolled anchovies, Spanish ones, marinated, are placed in a corner of the plate. A short burst of cumin issues from the Hawaiian red snapper ceviche, a mound of precisely diced fish interlaced with mango chunks and jalapeño slices. It's exquisitely controlled because Morgan has teased out a workable juice formula—roughly 60 percent lime with 40 percent orange—and flash cooks for just 20 minutes. This moderates the lime intensity as it annuls the orange sweetness while preserving natural fish flavors and textures.
Loup de mer—or wolf fish, a gnarly, ugly thing armed with sharp teeth and powerful molars for feeding on shellfish, lobsters mostly—is crusted with kalamata olive, sun-dried tomato, artichoke and fava beans. All this is in a light saffron broth. The fish explodes in gusts of sweet just before the savory elements unleash their foiling prowess.
1501 Main St.
Dallas, TX 75201
Region: Downtown & Deep Ellum
Morgan dredges huge soft-shell crabs in flour and cornstarch and pan sears them into a delicate crisp before resting them in a lemony Asian rice to counterpoint its plump sweet brackishness. He plows a mouth-melting skate through tapioca starch, sautés it, settles it in a caper beurre blanc and then butts it against an Italian white bean ragout to ring out even more buttery complexity.
But it doesn't stop with fish. There a rich grass-fed rib eye, every bit as robust as its corn-fattened sibling, plus an astounding free-range chicken. Morgan creates a herbed gnocchi with Parmesan that's creamed silk in the mouth. He crafts a deft porcini-dusted lobster mac and cheese that's unsparing in its lithely layered complexity.
Finish with the Market's most notable deconstruction, a take-apart of crème brûlée that kicks new life into this monotonous culinary form. A perfect pyramid of pumpkin custard (panna cotta, actually) crowned with a smear of crème fraîche duels with a dab of Captain Morgan crème Anglaise with mace dusted around the plate to yank at the savory flavors in the pumpkin. Dallas Fish Market is proof that some things are best when wrecked.
1501 Main St., 214-744-3474. Open 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday, 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday $$$-$$$$