Short Orders: Canary Cafe

Canary Cafe
5100 Belt Line, Addison

I seem to remember a time, shortly after engineer-turned-chef Mansour Gorji bought the Canary Cafe space, when he served sushi at lunch.

The previous occupant had been a Japanese restaurant and so many of that venue's regulars dropped by hoping for a raw fish fix, Gorji couldn't afford to drop it from his menu.

But that was then. Nowadays, the chef-owner can rely on his own set of regulars in a restaurant that has grown in sophistication over the years. Instead of a casual Mediterranean cafe-sushi bar hybrid, Canary Cafe shows off white tablecloths and a group of well-trained, extraordinarily gracious servers. The menu includes several of his award-winning steaks and the bar stocks Estrella Damm Inedit, the $19 beer brewed with input from the staff at El Bulli.

On the other hand, it's one of the few places to list calf fries...

Seeing as how I have a rule against eating testicles, my most recent visit involved fried polenta and beef anar. The former presents a ribbon of silken corn meal as both a centerpiece and an afterthought to a complex pomodoro, at once sharp, sweet, husky and minty--with a kick.

Beef anar features prime tenderloin tips and red onion in pomegranate cream sauce spike with pepper. Because the sauce is so pronounced in flavor, the beef tends to disappear--showing only as a texture under all that cream.

Ah, the the texture is beautiful, a pillow-soft cushion of red meat. Gorji knows how to handle beef.

You can't help but like this place--and the chef-owner who strolls from table to table checking on guests, offering a polite bow when they issue a compliment. And that a man born in Iran, trained in Scotland as an engineer, has several Texas steak cookoff titles to his name...well, that's just cool.


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