By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
The first, a deep-dish mac-and-cheese side, is made with Port Salut, cheddar, Parmigiano Reggiano, dried Monterey Jack and fontina. It's gorgeous in presentation. The crispy Parmigiano Reggiano surface was promising. Hibiscus' version of the classic American comfort food is, however, a disaster. A gut bomb soaked in a vermilion pool of oil desperately in need of seasoning.
The other side is the tempura onion rings. The colossal yellow onion rings were hula-hoops that didn't slide out of the crunchy batter when bitten into. The waiter offered ketchup, further highlighting the balance of refinement and relaxation characteristic of Hibiscus. No aioli. No vinaigrette. Just ketchup and five surprisingly light onion rings, which didn't need ketchup.
I appreciate the presence of sauces on many of the plates. What is fine dining without the play of mother sauces? The blending and juxtaposition of classical and rustic elements is often smoothed with a refined sauce, and sauces applied adeptly mask errors. Nevertheless, the pervasiveness of sauces at New American restaurants perhaps has much to do with condiment-obsessed Americans. What are onion rings without ketchup? But much of the fare was flavorful enough without complements.
2927 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
Region: East Dallas & Lakewood
The dining room was sparsely seated on our initial visit. During a subsequent visit, the restaurant's main room had all of its tables occupied. My companion and I hadn't noticed that until dessert, when we finished shifting our attention between the exquisite meal and our discussion. Hibiscus is much like a hall of warriors, yes, with one exception. The full house didn't result in a din.
A slow pace is the only way to make it to dessert. The gingersnap crust cheesecakes with raspberries and white chocolate as well as the sour-cream apple pie with walnut crumble and lavender vanilla bean ice cream are rich but easy enough on the senses to prevent post-meal lethargy.
Clearly, executive chef Garreth Dickey (formerly of myriad Dallas restaurants, among them Jeroboam, Tucker, The Porch) replacing original chef Badovinus (now at Neighborhood Services Tavern) hasn't hurt Hibiscus.
Some balk at the food's price points. Worry not. You get what you pay for. And what you pay for is worth the price.Hibiscus 2827 N. Henderson Ave., 214-827-2927. hibiscusdallas.com. Open Monday-Saturday 5-11 p.m. $$$$