Hibiscus Executive Chef Takes Over at Whiskey Cake

Gastropubs everywhere! Just eight days after The Dallas Morning News published Leslie Brenner's guide to gastropubs, Whiskey Cake announces the gastro-blah blah based in Plano has a new chef. Brent Hammer, formerly of Hibiscus on Henderson, will take over as chef de cuisine.

See also: - With a Name Like Whiskey Cake, It's No Surprise We Like It - Paying Homage to England with a Handful of Chips and Buttered Bread

At first you'd think Leslie just might have another item to add to her list. But then things get a little weird.

The news release claims that Whiskey Cake has been such a success in Plano that a second location is warranted. John Franke and Front Burner Restaurants, the same guys we talked to about Velvet Taco, will be opening the next location in Oklahoma City this spring. Gastropubs from Dallas will soon take over at suburban shopping centers everywhere!

I don't know about this whole gastropub trend in Dallas. I've visited many of establishments that claim the moniker and the food disappoints me at most. Pepper Smash, The Standard Pour, The Chesterfield, Cook Hall, The Meddlesome Moth and The Cedars Social have all served me some pretty mediocre plates. Ten Bells Tavern and Nova in Oak Cliff are the only restaurants that consistently produced top-notch bar food during my infrequent visits. I suddenly find myself craving some fish and chips over at Tried and True, too.

I asked Hammer what he planned on doing with the menu at Whiskey Cake, but it doesn't sound like much is going to change. He talked about continuously improving their high-volume, very-high-quality offering and mentioned his excitement to tweak the grow-room the restaurant uses to grow herbs. (Basil and tarragon, guys. Sorry.)

This doesn't really sound like the spirit of a gastropub to me, but who knows. Hanna Raskin liked the place enough when she reviewed it in February 2011. She describes beef jerky as supple as fruit leather and addictive deviled eggs. Anyone want a glass of Basil Hayden?

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