If you count Smoke and Bolsa among your favorite restaurants, or you’re a Wes Anderson fan (or both), you’ve been eagerly awaiting the opening of The Theodore. As of November 16, the wait is over. The newest addition to NorthPark Center showcases re-imagined American classics in a quirky yet elegant space, defying typical expectations of “mall food.”
Chef-owner Tim Byres and the Turn the Tables crew have cherry-picked a formidable team to execute this concept. Serious local talent includes executive chef Scott Romano (formerly of Charlie Palmer), sous chef Guillermo "Gmo” Tristan (Remedy), pastry chef Marlene Duke (Ritz-Carlton) and cocktail wizard Kyle Hilla (Bolsa). Add to that impressive list David Norman (of Austin’s Easy Tiger), who consulted on the restaurant’s bakery.
The restaurant — located on the mall’s first level, in the former Luna de Noche space — takes its name from President Teddy Roosevelt. The menu largely comprises hearty dishes that the president himself might have enjoyed. Starters include an assortment of sourdough toasts (such as dry-cured ham and horseradish egg salad) made with fresh-baked bread. “Full plates” include beef Wellington and broiled lobster with coconut butter. Sandwiches and pizzas provide lighter options, as well as salads dressed up with interesting ingredients like lavender, green apple and peanut brittle. Of course, a menu inspired by a “man’s man” like Roosevelt must include a yeast-roll burger with — what else? — American cheese.
Although the president was not known as a tippler, the cocktail menu does not suffer as a result. Hilla has designed a selection of creative, herbaceous drinks — each named after a national park in honor of Teddy’s nature conservation efforts. The bourbon-based Badlands captures the dangerous beauty of its namesake with a floating skull-shaped red wine ice cube. Ginger pop rocks add an inventive touch to the frozen Everglades cocktail. A sampling of local brews, such as Four Courners’ El Super Bee, are offered on tap. In addition, you’ll find a thoughtful assortment of reds, whites, bubbles and dessert wines. You’ll want to take advantage of happy hour specials Monday–Friday from 3–7 p.m. and 9–11 p.m.
The dessert menu reflects the theme of updated American classics. For example, the grapefruit and honey baked Alaska takes its inspiration from the '50s version, but with a fresh, citrusy twist. Crab apple toffee cake, a dark chocolate tart, cookies and daily ice cream/sorbet selections make choosing difficult.
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While The Theodore’s menu is a nod to TR, the vibe is largely Wes Anderson-inspired. The Anderson film aesthetic is apparent in decorative flourishes throughout the restaurant. For instance, the key-lined hostess stand could have been lifted from the Hotel Budapest set. The main dining room, like an eccentric millionaire’s study, is bordered with jewel-toned bookshelves that give way to a secret dining room. Reserve the 10-seat secret room for your own Royal Tenenbaums-style dysfunctional family and you will receive a server dedicated only to your party. In the bar area, a semi-private enclave called “The Plantarium,” decorated with constellations and a shimmering disco ball, can be reserved for $500. Here, as Roosevelt said, you can “keep your eyes on the stars and your feet on the ground.”
The Theodore, 8687 N. Central Expressway, 469-232-9771, www.thetheodore.com
Hours: 11 a.m.–10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.