See that ornate bowl of soup pictured above? It's an ajo blanco (almond gazpacho), and you should be very excited about it. Chef Vijay Sadhu created the bowl, which features halved red grapes, neat cubes of cucumber and flower blossoms that might leave you with at a subtle peppery flavor, but only if you're really looking for it.
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For some time, experiencing Sadhu's cooking required a trip far outside the loop. He comes most recently from a short stint at Samudraa, a coastal Indian restaurant in the space that used to house Chennai. Samudraa closed not long after opening, but his posts before that, Pepper Smash and Sutra, were both good restaurants.
After Samudraa shuttered, Sadhu accepted a position at Cook Hall, the restaurant at the W. That's a considerably shorter drive for urban Dallasites, and there is good reason to appreciate the added convenience. Cook Hall has had a number of chefs come in and out of its kitchen since the restaurant replaced Craft back in 2012, but none of those chefs have earned very much attention for their cooking. If this ajo blanco, a soup with Spanish influences, is any indicator of what Sadhu plans to release on his new menu this summer, that all could be changing soon.
For now there is no official news of what is planned for the new Cook Hall menu, but an upcoming beer dinner provides a few clues. In addition to the soup pictured above a Singapore stir-fry chicken served on a plantain leaf is featured on the special menu. Hopefully, Sadhu can let his personal influences shine through in his new kitchen. A restaurant with ethnic flavors from a chef of this caliber would be a welcomed addition to the downtown dining scene.