The Chesterfield opened this week at 1404 Main St. in downtown Dallas. Deep burgundy couches and velvet armchairs along with brass chandeliers and a dark-wood bar gives this mixology den a distinguished, swank feel. With an "official" capacity of less than 50, the narrow restaurant and bar is cozy and intimate by mandate.
A creation of Eddie "Lucky" Campbell and Ed Bailey, the concept of this spot is centered around "The Golden Age of Cocktails." The drink menu runs 11 pages with a liver-boggling assortment of concoctions. The page titled "Hard Knox" (see photo below) lists eight drinks, including one called Oswald's Corridor that has Maker's Mark, Punt e Mes, Cherry Herring, sugar and absinthe. The Promiscuous Lady has Famous Grouse Scotch, honey, orange, cinnamon tincture and Angostura. When you sit down, order a rum and Coke to sip on while you peruse the options. They love that.
The food menu is more focused, but less intense under chef Michael Elhert, formerly of DBGB in NYC, a bistro creation of Chef Daniel Boulud. Working from the tiny kitchen in the back of the restaurant, Elhert has created a menu that is new-American, anchored in classical technique. Dinner plates include baby artichokes barigoule with fried capers and lemon, green falafel with harissa and tahini, chorizo empanadas with roasted peppers, whole fish, and a handmade tagliatelle "carbonara." For lunch, the menu features sandwiches like The L.E.S., which is house-made pastrami and sauerkraut with Gruyere cheese and Russian dressing on toasted rye.
Parking is tricky. There are metered spaces during the week, but on the weekend, the best bet is carpooling and finding a spot in a garage, paying for one of the many valets along the street or DART.
"We're trying to get some parking," Campbell says. "There are parking garages around and also some valets up and down Main Street. The key is you're only parking once. You can park and hit four or five different places. Make an entire night out of it. The city is also putting in new trolley lines to make it easier to get to downtown."
In terms of the scene, The Chesterfield will pull in a lot of the downtown crowd.
"These lofts around here are 98 percent full," Campbell says. "The downtown community are such loyalists, it's such a pleasure to have them come in here. It's like downtown has risen from the ashes. I feel like we're in the midst of a downtown rebirth. The downtown community has been so supportive that it brings me to tears."