From leading Uchi to a brief stint as executive chef at FT33, chef Nilton “Junior” Borges has earned his place among the upper echelon of the Dallas dining scene. In May, Borges joined the Joule team as executive chef for the luxury hotel and its various restaurant concepts, including CBD Provisions and Americano.
Mirador, Borges’ first foray in his new post, quietly opened recently atop Forty Five Ten, the upscale boutique from Tim Headington. It’s located just across Main Street from the Joule, also a Headington project. With Josh Sutcliff — fellow FT33 alumnus who was also past executive chef of Filament — heading the kitchen as executive chef, Mirador is the Joule’s latest addition to the already impressive multi-level boutique.
Mirador is “a modern American restaurant with a casual, yet refined focus,” says Borges, who realizes that his name, that of the Joule and the association with Forty Five Ten come attached with some expectations.
“In a setting like Mirador, which is in the heart of downtown and perched above the immensely popular Forty Five Ten, the bar was high,” he says. “We wanted to create a place that is known for its social atmosphere and excellence in food and service.”
If you’ve never been in Forty Five Ten before, forego the elevator and take the stairs to get the full picture. You’ll either discover some stylish additions to your home and wardrobe or just feel exceedingly poor, but either way, it’s worth the walk. Each floor of the highly designed retailer has a focus ranging from jewelry to scents to women’s wear. What they all have in common is their ability to tip-toe the line between gaudy excess and “oh my god, I need that.”
If you can make it to the top floor without becoming too distracted on the floors below, Mirador awaits. Inside, the restaurant is chic and contemporary. The overhead fixtures emit light in pink and light blue and add an electricity to the air, while natural light from the full-length, floor-to-ceiling windows stops it shy of feeling clubby. Pinks, pastel and silver hues surround diners. The tables are light stone that's surrounded by chairs that are stitched with highly refined cacophonies of designs and colors. The scent of herbal aromatics fills the space, and pop music plays just loud enough to let you know it’s there.
Diners who ask to be seated on the patio — highly recommended — will be led through the dining area populated by small groups of business-chic patrons and out onto what is easily one of the best dining patios downtown. The name is Mirador, after-all, which means “balcony” or “viewpoint.” Most of the patio seating consists of two-tops in little recessed areas, creating a private, quiet environment to enjoy the food and the view while the hustle and bustle of city life continue below.
The menu has a modern American feel with a goal “to create approachable offerings, things that are all at once familiar, yet showcase a modern and elevated interpretation,” Borges says.
The appetizers start things off on a high note. The whipped ricotta toast ($14), which features raw and sautéed marinated fruit, roasted pistachios and kale powder, is impressive. The ricotta is creamy and richly sweet, roasted pistachios bringing a snap of saltiness and an earthy complexity provided by the kale powder.
The salad menu is fairy traditional and choices range from a Caesar ($16) to a farro bowl ($16) to an Iceberg Louie ($18) with jumbo crab. The kale beet salad ($14) is as visually appealing as it is flavorful. There’s a collection of sandwiches and, of course, a burger. The Mirador burger ($16) is a stand-out burger in a city filled with them. A dense grainy bun surrounds meat that’s maybe a little pinker than medium rare, but in a world that seems to constantly err on the side of too done, this is just fine. The cheddar is sharp but balanced, the onion razor-thin and the gribiche sauce was the star of the show. It’s creamy, herbal and tarragon-forward without overwhelming, but it still has the zing of a good mustard.
Entrees include options like chicken paillard ($24) and grilled steak ($42), but there are also less protein-centric options like the fresh orecchietti ($17). The pasta is cooked a perfect al dente and features a mild acidity and lots of sweet, clean tomato character courtesy of the San Marzano tomatoes.
Despite its haute surroundings, the food at Mirador is at once familiar and new, and this balance of accessibility and creativity is intentional. “I love simple, properly executed food, things that you crave and that keep you coming back. For the most part, it’s exactly what we are trying to do at Mirador,” Borges says. “I believe there is nothing better and more nourishing than when you have an amazing meal in a beautiful environment, created by people who truly love and care about your experience. It’s the essence of how we think about hospitality.”
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At Mirador, the hospitality shines as brightly as the food. At the table, the server is well educated about the menu and the concept, silverware is changed out between courses like clockwork and food comes out at just the right pace.
Lunch service is currently running Tuesday through Sunday, but dinner — which will be served until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and will be reservation-only — should start in early February. “We are really excited about the response to lunch so far and are confident that our upcoming dinner service will be the right evolution of food and energy,” Borges says.
Balconies aside, even lunch at Mirador is a sight worth beholding. The restaurant is off to a strong start with all the design intentionality one would expect from a Joule concept, and the all-star cast to back it up.
Mirador is located on the top floor of Forty Five Ten, 1615 Main St.