Local ingredients are certainly all the rage these days, but the best chefs don't just use local ingredients, they use them intelligently. If you think the whole farm-to-table trend is played out, you're right.
That said, visiting Asador might just remind you why the trend began in the first place. Asador has long been a well-kept secret, and it's high time it got out.
The Renaissance Hotel is having a renaissance of its own. It's doubling down on becoming a conference center and event destination, having added a humungous new building featuring 16,000 square feet of ballroom space with 24-foot vaulted ceilings, a 10,000 square foot "City View Terrace" featuring a gorgeous bar, event dining and outdoor space with sweeping views of the downtown skyline, and an industrial kitchen so large it would give any commercial chef an industrial-sized stainless steel boner.
Manning that massive operation with a heck of a lot of verve is the extremely decorated Chef Dean James Max, who, in addition to ascending to the City View Terrace to oversee the Renaissance's entire event and catering program from the helm at Asador, has brought several farm-to-table-style restaurant concepts to life in cities all over the world. Chef Max's promotion has set the stage for his protégé, Chef Brad Philips, to take over at Asador with the same kind of passion for local ingredients done the right way.
I had a few questions Chef Phillips about the restaurant, and he delivered.
How does Asador define farm to fire, and how do local ingredients factor in? Farm to fire to us is simply sourcing the best local ingredients we can and using them without disturbing the incredible natural flavors that come with growing all-natural products such as our specialty vegetables or even our proteins like beef, chicken, pork or seafood.
Tell me about your harvest dinners and other unique events. Our harvest dinner series are special dinner events that we do for about 25-30 people every couple months featuring products that are available that time of the year. We serve the dinner family style letting all the guests share each unique item and giving them the opportunity to interact with each other while eating an amazing meal. Other cool events that we've recently participated in is the Zoo to Do event this past week, The Brewer's Ball which was hosted at the Renaissance Dallas Hotel, and being part of the International Foodservice Editorial Council this past week as well.
Whew! And that's just November. What inspires Asador's menu? Asador is a product- and chef-driven restaurant. We are inspired by the food and what the possibilities are for each ingredient, creating original and yet simple menu items.
What's your favorite thing on the menu right now? My current favorite is the squash and apple stuffed quail from Broken Arrow Ranch with crispy wild boar, frisee and apple vinaigrette with a quail egg on top.
How has the recent renovation of the hotel changed Asador? The restaurant is definitely busier since the new addition has opened. I wouldn't say it's changed Asador much except that we've gotten an influx of business from the traffic surrounding the hotel.
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What do you wish Dallas locals knew about Asador? That we're a product driven restaurant with an ever-changing menu that respects every ingredient that comes through our doors. We create dishes that are customer-friendly with a modern twist that everyone can enjoy.
It's time to uncover the hidden gem that is Asador. And now that The Renaissance has fully-renaissanced itself, it's not going to be hidden much longer.