The fancy spinning show 560 feet above Dallas just got a little fancier. Along with the new observation deck, GeO-Deck, the restaurant Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck also got a little facelift, including the opening of Cloud Nine, a casual daytime dining spot. The space, which is one level above the GeO-Deck, features a digital canopy that displays a stylized Texas sky, plus a close-up of the real sky, if you're inclined to look out the windows.
Even though a lot about the space has changed, the modern Asian spot is still helmed by executive chef Patton Robertson, who we talked to back in May of 2011. At the time, when asked what the Dallas restaurant scene needed more of, Robertson divulged the following: more focus on food and less on atmosphere; knowledgeable wait staff; and more fun and interesting drinks.
He also told us he'd like to see less copycats in the area and that Stephan Pyles, Charlie Palmer and Nobu were some of the best restaurants in the city.
Well, Five Sixty has made a lot of revolutions since May of 2011. The Dallas dining scene has spun a lot too in that time. We recently asked Robertson some of the same questions again.
How has the Dallas dining scene changed in the past several years? It's been really exciting to see the growth of all cultures being represented in the culinary scene in Dallas over the past few years. I'm also noticing that chefs are using a lot more locally grown product and connecting with farmers in the area, which is great to see.
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A few years ago you told us, "Our [he and then-fiancee] most recent five [dining spots] were: Buca di Beppo, Uncle Julio's, 3-6-9 Chinese BBQ, Iron Cactus and Wyland's Ocean Blue." Where are you eating now? This year I'm eating at Nobu, 3-6-9 Chinese BBQ, Stampede 66, Tei An, FT 33 and Fearing's Restaurant.
At the time you also expressed a need/desire for a more interesting cocktail scene. Has Dallas arrived at that yet? Yes, it definitely has. Craft cocktail establishments are popping up all over Dallas now, like The Dram and Standard Pour. Mixologists are so close to kitchens now that they are starting to use a lot of the same ingredients. I'm noticing a lot more minerals like smoked peppers and salts being used this fall.
Alas, is there anything unique about chefing in a place that spins? Not really, because our kitchen doesn't spin but since the majority of the space does, there is not a lot of kitchen space, which can sometimes be logistically difficult.
On another note, you recently hosted a dinner with Teich from Tei An. What was it like working with him? We were all very busy preparing for the dinner, so we didn't have time to compare notes, but I did learn that he is a very cool guy and that I love his theories and work ethic.