This is really good news for the Dallas food scene. Chef Bruno Davaillon announced that he's staying in Dallas after his six-year tenure at The Rosewood Mansion. Even better, he's opening his own restaurant, located downtown at 400 Record St. in a building that's still under construction.
Davaillon accomplished a lot while working at The Mansion, but the chef was obviously bound by the hotel restaurant tradition. It's going to be interesting to see how the chef interprets what is essentially a blank canvas — a newly constructed restaurant in the heart of downtown. The news release is sparse, but it does hint that Davaillon may loosen his chef's jacket a touch. "The restaurant will be a casual contemporary eatery featuring refined, yet seemingly simply prepared foods using only the finest ingredients," it reads. That's all Davaillon is giving us so far.
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Here's my hope for the yet-to-be-named restaurant. The downtown area has seen a few newcomers step into the spotlight, but it's still drastically short of destination restaurants. It would be wonderful to see Davaillon create something that filled that need while also maintaining an accessibility that appeals to a larger audience.
What about a fine dining restaurant with a relaxed and approachable bar that serves amazing bar food? Hands-down, the most disappointing food I've been served at The Mansion was offered at the restaurant bar. Over the past four years I've encountered over-cooked burgers, a terrible Reuben sandwich, fries doused in smelly truffle oil and other embarrassing dishes. The dishes were such a contrast to the food that inspired glowing, multi-star reviews penned from the main dining room. If Davaillon could open a restaurant worthy of a special occasion, while also offering a casual bar food experience for the rest of us, I think he'd have a home run.
Don't get too excited though. Not only is this new restaurant just a sketch on a cocktail napkin at this point, it's also a long way off. Don't expect to experience whatever Davaillon is cooking up until the end of 2016.