Review: The Club Dining & Drinks

Shake, baby, shake

Indelicato cooks some of his pastas in a wok with their companion sauces, searing the flavors into the wheat fiber. Spaghetti alle vongole with clean sweet clams is in a simple white sauce and a preponderance of red-peppered oil, transforming it into a pit of slithering noodle serpents.

While the food can be unnervingly underseasoned, the dining room is a clutter collage of photographs and paintings of stars and cultural totems from the 1950s and '60s. There's a headshot of Harry Belafonte, a black and white snapshot of an old Citroen, an impressionistic painting of a woman wrapped in a shawl, her bare breasts exposed. There's a picture of a woman in a short black cocktail dress crossing her legs while seated on a portable dishwasher, pulling plates from its racks. Audrey Hepburn? Suzanne Pleshette? No one there seems to know who she is.

Wine at The Club is served in stemless glassware, those tuber-like implements that balloon wide for reds and narrow for whites, just like real wine glasses do. The Club's by-the-glass selection is paltry and pricy. Opus One can be had for $50, a Heitz Cabernet for $33 and a Robert Sinskey Pinot Noir for $30. There's Dom Pérignon and dessert for four for $250. Whites are limited to two Chardonnays and a Sauvignon Blanc. But there is an Il Baciale, Braida for $16, from Piedmont, a red bleeding ripe plum and spice into an alluring rustic finish.

Dom Pérignon and dessert for $250? Uh, can we get a cheeseburger with that?
Tom Jenkins
Dom Pérignon and dessert for $250? Uh, can we get a cheeseburger with that?

Location Info

Map

The Club Dining & Drinks

3102 Oak Lawn Ave.
Dallas, TX 75219

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn

Details

Calamari fritti $9
Caesar salad $10
Steak tartare $16
Southside fillet $46
Colorado lamb chops $35
Alaskan halibut $31
Seafood ravioli $24
Spaghetti alle vongole $21
Berry zabaglione $8

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The Club has a spa menu, a roster of dishes composed with minimal fats and other caloric fisticuffs. Flat seafood ravioli is one such example, a sheet of pasta trounced in a heap of halibut, lobster and shrimp threaded with long slivers of carrot and zucchini in a white wine sauce. The shrimp and lobster are sweet and rich. The halibut tasted like mud.

That flavor was thankfully redacted from the wild Alaskan halibut on a twisted bed of spinach and topped with chopped tomatoes and basil slid next to sheets of grilled squash. Yet with all of these frills the fish was bland.

Caesar salad, a spread of chopped organic romaine with blue polenta croutons and a couple of loosely unraveled anchovies, is minimally covered in a dressing void of assertiveness save for a barely perceptible streak of lemon. The palate yawns. In contrast, a dessert of organic berry zabaglione in a martini glass is so drowned in creamy custard, it's difficult to find the berries, let alone taste them.

There's a lot to be said for treading lightly on ingredients, letting their intrinsic qualities rise to the surface and speak for themselves. But even clear voices benefit from amplification. Skilled seasoning is what separates a memorable dish from a forgettable one. The trick to brilliant cookery is seasoning right up to the edge of disaster. Sometimes just a few grains of salt can make all the difference. So shake it, Vincenzo.

3102 Oak Lawn Ave., No. 110, 214-526-3100. Open from 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Thursday-Saturday. $$$-$$$$
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