Can One Art Save The Commisary's Tarnished Service Reputation?

One Art is coming! The Commissary folks sent out a press release last week and invited the media to a preview dinner this evening; look for lots of pretty food photos tomorrow in the Dallas blogosphere. Dinner service opens to the public Tuesday, offering two seatings -- at 6:30 and 8:30 -- by reservation only. The restaurant-within-a-restaurant concept gives chef John Tesar a chance to woo diners who have previously been disappointed in his service.

The release has all the buzzwords you'd expect to see, including "using as many local and seasonal products as possible," "farm-to-table" and "interesting and inspiring cuisine." What's more interesting is hearing Tesar talk about the concept himself. On the phone, the chef speaks passionately about the new concept, but also says he's ready to embrace some simplicity, eschewing stuffy foie gras and truffles in an attempt to make his food more approachable, while also hanging on to a certain level of refinement.

Tesar has gotten a lot of attention of late, with a cover story in D branding him as a hated chef and mixed reviews of his restaurant. Most complaints surrounding the Commissary center on service, and the chef admits having a hard time dealing with the intense surge the theater crowd brings. Those I've talked to who have eaten during slower hours, however, describe a decent experience, and one of Dallas' better burgers. I've avoided the restaurant so far, waiting for the One Art concept to kick off. It's now officially on my radar.

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