At Deep Ellum's Local, the Food Outshines the Trend

A buzzword loses its luster (and everybody wins).

That's how Miller has created a place where you can comfortably sip on a fine French white burgundy and pick at a panko-crusted sea bass with your fork while your fellow diner downs an ice-cold Budweiser and tears into one of Dallas' finest burgers.

It should be fine, by the way, considering the price tag: At $20 it's one of the city's most expensive burgers. But a deep black char encases a juicy ground beef patty that's full of flavor, making the splurge more than worth it. Don't dare order it a hair past medium-rare; the kitchen can be a little heavy handed when cooking the beef.

I wish I could praise the supporting panko-crusted potato croquettes, but they let me down, smelling of spent oil. I'm never one to leave fried spuds to fallow, but these mock tots died on my plate.

Sara Kerens

Location Info



2936 Elm St.
Dallas, TX 75226-1596

Category: Restaurant > Eclectic

Region: Downtown & Deep Ellum


Fried green beans $12
Burger $20
Sea bass $29
Beef tenderloin $35
Sea scallops $27
Pumpkin semifreddo $8

Other dishes missed, too. November is far too late for any Thomas Keller disciple to be plating heirloom tomatoes, especially on the heels of what has been a dismal season for the fruit. And a lobster cake was almost too delicate. While pushing my fork through the soft, breaded and fried puck of seafood, I was overwhelmed with filler. I could smell lobster. I could taste it, too. But the shellfish couldn't be appreciated in any tactile sense. The bright Meyer lemon cream sauce laced with fresh dill served with the dish, however, was as sexy a tartar sauce as I have ever tasted.

Miller's foie gras plate, on the night I visited, stumbled as well. Pairing sweetness with earthy duck liver is a classic flavor play, but Miller's sugary vanilla bean reduction inundated the toast points where the seared liver sat. The dish was cloying; the liver was better on its own.

These flubs, however, are few and far between, and the execution is in full form for dessert: a stellar semifreddo on one visit, rich with pumpkin but light on size — a perfect portion, like a tiny gift, sweet but not saccharine in three tiny bites shaped by a melon scoop. Aliza Shier, who's been at the restaurant for five years, starting as a hostess before moving to the back of the house, is responsible for those sweets. Miller has done well to give her the task.

All meals should end like this, whether the ingredients that comprise them were sourced nearby or not. While locavorism is an important, welcome trend, it's not a panacea for our food issues or the sole front of a food revolution. What's more important are restaurants that serve well-crafted and thoughtful cuisine. That's what Tracy Miller set out to do when she opened eight years ago, and it's exactly what she's doing today.

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