By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Our server knew something was wrong at five paces.
"A little too much whipped cream?" he asked with an ambiguous smirk that either indicated he thought we were fools for chancing another course after a disappointing meal or he'd grown accustomed to the kitchen's clumsiness. In any case, he was right about the whipped cream, from which we'd tried to liberate a sundae that was supposed to showcase caramel sauce and shards of fudge brownies.
As we discovered too late, the hurricane glass was crowned with more runny whipped cream than the coffee saucer we'd designated as a dump point for the sugary stuff could possibly contain. Three solid inches of whipped cream became an unappetizing puddle on the table, pooling around the plate's edges.
One2One 1339 Legacy Drive, Frisco; 214-618-2221; one2onerestaurant.com. Open 11a.m.-10 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 11 a.m.-midnight Thursday-Friday and 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Saturday. Closed Sunday. $$$
Wild game sausages $10 Pork sliders $10 Caesar salad $7 Arugula salad $9 Smoked chicken and corn soup $5 Four-cheese pizza $10 Prime rib $25 Beef tenderloin $30 Ribs $26 Halibut $30 Brownie sundae $7
Beneath the mess of whipped cream, One2One had assembled a fairly decent sundae. But, like all of the Frisco restaurant's most accomplished cooking, it was completely obscured by what the kitchen presumes people want. The whipped cream, the Chilewich-style woven place mats and the lily-livered menu all bespeak an eatery that could have been public-opinion polled into existence.
If the restaurant's generic pall is a cynical calculation, that's disheartening, but if the thoroughly predictable restaurant really signifies the realization of one man's dream, that's heartbreaking.
The man behind the enterprise is Jeff Moschetti.
The standard Hollywood narrative holds that when an artist is finally freed from having to take a boss' orders, he'll strike back with something wildly creative. Remember the scene in Dirty Dancing when the resort owner's son tells Patrick Swayze's character he'd like to do something different with the end-of-season show? Swayze's character is thrilled: He shows the college kid a few provocative steps. His imagination's moving faster than his tongue. But it turns out all the higher-ups had in mind was the pachanga.
So Moschetti's chosen to dance the pachanga. I might wish he'd done something more daring, but that's my personal preference, and one that the office parties and extended families who patronize One2One obviously don't share. They're seeking a restaurant where everyone can find something to eat and it's an easy walk from the front door to a comfy brown leather booth. Maybe providing such a place is the stuff of some chefs' dreams. Who am I to judge?
What I can judge is the quality of the food, which is mostly non-objectionable, with only a few lamentable exceptions. Although I didn't sample anything I couldn't find somewhere else, I had a few dishes I'd willingly order again, including a hearty set of wild-game sausages.
The word "house made" appears just twice on the menu at One2One (which, by the way, swiped its name from the nearby state highway, not a Bell Biv Devoe undercard, as one of my guests theorized). The kitchen claims total responsibility for the avocado ranch dressing on the Cobb salad and the mustard served with the sausage, tacitly suggesting everything else originates elsewhere.
When I asked after the sausage, my server spoke glowingly of the mustard, confirming it was mixed in-house, but he didn't have a clue as to who had made the sausage; after a lengthy consultation with the manager, he returned with the news that the sausage was house-made too. While the condiment—a coarse and pungent paste of vinegar and mustard seeds—was OK, the venison and jalapeño sausages were especially satisfying. Trisected and prettily arranged on the plate, the sausages were meaty and well-seasoned. Although they're offered as an appetizer, the sausages are more assertive and engaging than anything I found on the entrée menu: A meal could easily be made of the sausages, a green salad and glass of red wine.
Then again, a salad might be the unsolvable variable in that particular equation. A Caesar salad, finished with white anchovies, arrived standing upright in a sort of flower pot, but its flavors weren't nearly as pronounced as the presentation promised. The paddles of romaine were wilted and the croutons were bland. An arugula salad featured a sloppy collision of sweetness, its pomegranate vinaigrette jostling up against discs of grilled pears. The fruit did little to offset the heaviness of the cheese that was smeared all over the dish; while the menu lists the featured cheese as a ricotta salata, a dried sheep's milk cheese that's similar to pecorino, it appeared the kitchen had pounded our arugula with soft chevre.
One2One serves two soups: One changes according to the chef's fancy, but the smoked chicken and corn is a fixture. Good thing. The tomato broth is sheer and bright, hazy with just the right amount of smoke. Garnished with diced avocado and a nest of crisp tortilla strips the width of spaghettini, the soup's a lovely starter.
It's very, very hard to resist ordering a pizza. That's because Moschetti has made a fiery brick pizza oven the centerpiece of his open kitchen. Guests assigned to the kitchen bar must involuntarily order two or three pies as soon as they're seated. Human brains have been trained since Paleolithic times to associate flames with deliciousness.