Far better were the steamed clams, served in a lovely broth with splinters of sausage. The dish had the rich snap of flavor that was missing from the thick-crusted duck pizza I sampled and appetizers like the pasty spinach-artichoke dip, a misguided nostalgia trip.

The kitchen entirely lost track of flavors in its salads, sending out a since-eliminated tomato, cucumber and onion mix that tasted of nothing but onions and a watermelon salad featuring green tomatoes so muted I mistook them for cucumbers.

I much preferred the vegetables served as à la carte sides, including a serving of punchy shelled peas interspersed with carrot shavings and nicely bitter braised greens. A handmade spaetzel, appropriately squishy, would have been even better without so many sautéed sweet onions. At least I could eat around the sweetness: Mashed sweet potatoes with a coverlet of mini-marshmallows made my teeth hurt.

Location Info

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Horne & Dekker

2323 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Details

Horne & Dekker Spinach artichoke dip $8 Clams, sausage and blondes $12 Green tomato salad $9 Barbecue pork $16 Spaetzel $7 Braised greens $7 Buckeyes $6 Duck, Duck Goat pizza $12 Whipped sweet-potato mallo gratin $6 Fish tacos $12

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Horne & Dekker even managed to gratuitously sweeten its desserts, sprinkling brown sugar on a serving of vanilla ice cream and plopping a scoop of the same ice cream in the center of a plate of buckeyes.

Both of my servers were strong advocates for the restaurant's "Grape & Grub" program, which includes four chef-chosen courses for $38, or $58 with wine pairings. The price is reasonable, and if two diners at the same table order it, they each get different dishes. But the kitchen plucks its selections from the standard menu, so most diners would probably be better off choosing their own meals. Someday, my server told me, the kitchen will venture off-menu when Grape-ing and Grubbing.

Much of the restaurant's early press centered on its tabletop cans, which sport fake, old-timey Horne & Dekker tomato labels. The servers use them to balance pizzas. But food writers get to use those disguised chickpeas as a simile. Like those cans, the restaurant's now more about appearances than the food within. For Horne & Dekker to work, it needs a priority shift.

Horne & Dekker 2323 N. Henderson Ave., Suite 102, 214-821-9333, www.horneanddekker.com. Open 5-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 5 p.m.-midnight Friday-Saturday and 5-10 p.m. Sunday. $$-$$$
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