Concert Reviews

Beats and Eats' Latest Installment Showcases Big Band Jazz and New Orleans Food

The Granada Theater recently held its third installment of Beats and Eats, a series that delivers a four-course meal and cocktails joined with a musical act to compliment the tone of cuisine. Head chef of the Sundown at the Granada Jason West oversaw the night’s fare, a lighter take on classic Cajun food paired with the big band stylings of Texas sextet Roxy Roca.

“It creates a really cool vibe,” West said. “It’s not like going to a fine dining restaurant where it’s quiet. We have communal seating and you may be sitting next to somebody you don’t know. And you’re not forced to listen, but it creates a different experience rather than listening to music from a PA system.”

West, a Louisiana native, likens his cooking approach to music. “Say you have a steak,” West said. “Pretty good by itself, it’s like a drum. Nice, but when you pair it with a sauce or a vegetable, it makes a complete dish. It's the same way a guitar, bass and drums make a complete band.”

Last Thursday night kicked off around 8 p.m. with an amuse bouche (a pre-appetizer appetizer) of dirty rice arancini with smoked whole grain mustard aioli coupled with a “cucumber tini” under red velvety lighting. Roxy Roca walked onstage around 9 p.m. with a brief introduction from Granada vice president of business development Keith Thornburg, sliding into a lightly messy blend of New Orleans jazz and foot shuffling.  Trombonist P. Michael Hayes won over audiences — listening while gorging on pork and beans with char siu sauce — with his jabbing horn breaks and devoted air humps. Well-to-do folk not sweating $85 per ticket rose from their seats to dance by the stage. “For the price, we got a great dinner, great drinks, wonderful music all combined in a non-pretentious atmosphere,” said customer Joseph Maul.

The Granada Theater has yet to announce an official date for Beats and Eats’ next installment, although Deborah Nicholas, who won tickets for her and a friend from a social media competition, is eager to attend another.

“Everything Dallas has been missing,” Nicholas said. “Food and entertainment together. There’s very few venues like that.”