Grayson Social, the Southern-inspired restaurant located in downtown Dallas' LTV Tower, stands in stark contrast to the surrounding landscape. Outside, the streets and buildings and even the sky, somehow, swirl together into a mass of gray. Stepping inside Grayson Social, the work-worn city scene falls away and is replaced by a hybrid interior that blends grandmother’s living room with an Atlanta country club. Dripping in warm light and pastels, this well-manicured and cozy space exudes "brunch spot."
Which is all fine and well but the question, of course, becomes whether Grayson Social delivers food that is as beguiling as its surroundings. Grayson’s menu comprises the kind of food that gave rise to the expression “good for the soul” in an effort to disguise how not-so-good it is for the rest of you.
The menu, saturated with fried dishes and heavy sauces, does offer avocado toast in some sort of appeasement to the Dietary Gods. But honestly, who wants avocado toast when there’s country-fried steak to be had, or pulled chicken poutine or duck wings served with blue cheese remoulade? Or better yet, why not cash in whatever plans you had for your day and go straight for the cast iron dutch baby served with booze-soaked peaches? If the notion of choice at Grayson sounds like an illusion, you’re right: You will eat, and likely overeat, calorie-dense food that contains either gravy, pimento cheese, jelly or some combination thereof.
Speaking of gravy, try an order of the chicken-fried quail and waffles. Here, two wings and two legs are dredged and fried up crispy, turning these tiny poultry appendages into amber-hued crunch factories that deliver a little kick of heat on the back end. As great as they are for nibbling, the quail pieces make for a clumsy waffle counterpart. That is to say that you'll need to perform a ballet-of-consumption, dancing back and forth from hand-held protein source to knife-and-fork waffles. But who cares about awkward eating when there’s quail and waffles and gravy and a great, melting mound of Chantilly cream to be had? (Pro tip: the cream should be applied liberally to everything in sight, including but not limited to your beverage, purse/wallet and dining companions.)
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The crawfish omelet announced its presence before it ever arrived to the table. This dish reminded us that crawfish season, sadly, is over. The little crescents of meat contained therein were missing that sweet, mild flavor that recalls memories of summer boils, and instead tasted distinctly fishy. The addition of wild mushrooms provided some nice textural variation, but the thick and spongy omelette that encased them had the opposite effect.
Grayson Social’s brunch turned out less ideal than its Pinterest-perfect interior, but with enough gravy and Chantilly cream, (almost) all can be forgiven.
Grayson Social, 1600 Pacific Ave.