One of the Saturday Night Live characters Bill Hader was notorious for playing was Stefon, the eccentric clubs editor who had a penchant for peculiar places. In Stefon's world, these places often took the name of a single verb: Crease, Slice, Taste, Slash, Gush, Push, etc. Fans of Stefon may delight when they hear the name of Deep Ellum's newest bar and restaurant, Stirr.
Stirr occupies the massive hunk of Main Street real estate once occupied by Art Bar. Owners Imran and Asim Sheikh (of Uptown's Citizen restaurant) turned the first floor — all 4,000 square feet of it — into a beautiful, modern space with lots of light and an eye toward luxury. But it is up, up, up the stairs you must go, for even the most jaded of Dallas' dwellers may feel affection for the city when they see the skyline views afforded by the rooftop bar. If, that is, you can get a seat.
On the second day of brunch service, we found people traipsing up and down the staircase. Traipsing because they, like virtually everyone else there, hoped that a party would soon get their fill of drinking sangria against a skyscraper backdrop.
The hostess explained that there was no list upon which to put one's name, so it was either hover awkwardly on the rooftop or retreat to the first floor and take up residence. From a service perspective, this was an off-kilter way to begin our time at Stirr, but promises of a giant cinnamon roll were enough to dispel such misgivings.
But giant doesn't really capture the enormity of Stirr's $13 cinnamon roll. It is an iced glacier, for while its form seems large at first, it's not until a party of three attempts to make a dent in it that its true volume is revealed. To give you an idea, this roll would make a nice appetizer for eight to ten people, or a generous meal for four to five. But this bun's appeal isn't only its size: it's got a lovely rise, with great ribbons of cinnamon streaking across its layers. A crisp bottom and top rendered gooey with frosting make for a sticky, sweet feast.
Other sweet treats from the menu include Go-Nuts ($6), the fresh, cinnamon-sugar mini doughnuts, French toast made from cranberry walnut bread ($8) and waffle sliders topped with fried chicken and a maple bourbon glaze ($12). Savory offerings from the modern American menu include flat breads ($8-$14), a couple of burgers ($10-$12) and some fresh seafood options including vanilla chili poke ($16), mussels in jalapeño Champagne butter ($10) and prawns served with blue cheese grits ($15.)
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Or there's the lobster claw omelette ($14). A perfect French omelette this was not, for it's top sported light brown freckles in lieu of the unblemished, butter yellow jacket of stodgy old cookery books. But who cares about the spectrum of omelette browning when there's lobster meat to be had? Stuffed inside the omelette were tender morsels of lobster claw, lacy chervil and the ooze of melted brie. Yes, Stirr goes against the grain of Italian culinary doctrine by combining seafood and cheese. And they do so with great results: the mellow, nutty brie and the tender, sweet lobster made for velvety, indulgent bites.
Needless to say, our foray into Stirr's brunch menu was enough to make us forget about the view upstairs — the view from our plates was pretty damn good, anyway.
Stirr, 2803 Main St. Brunch served