Chef Kyle McClelland moved from New York City to Dallas last October to take over the kitchen at The Cedars Social. The French Culinary Institute grad has an impressive pedigree and previously we spoke about his "clean" approach to cooking. Needless to say, I have been anxious to try it out, and finally made it over this week for lunch.
I ordered the fish special of the day, tilapia, with seasonal veggies ($12). Even though I wanted to order the burger just because that sounded much more interesting then a filet with a pile of squash next to it; but, I put my trust in the kitchen.
And I'm glad I did. The lightly pan-seared tilapia came with a lemon beurre blanc sauce over creamy risotto, and under the fish (see photo below) is a little nest of happy vegetables, including Brussel sprout leaves, mushrooms and petite carrots. Then, at the very bottom was a swirl of sweet potato puree. It was fantastic. Lick-my-plate-clean sort of good.
When I was ready to leave, John, the bartender brought me my check in an old book -- it goes with the theme of the place. They have hundreds of books. So, I looked at the spine to read the title. You'd do that too, right? See what book you'd been handed? Only a natural response...
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Then John whispered in a deep voice over my shoulder, "You reminded me of that book. I chose it just for you."
My head snapped around and he winked at me. Say what? I barked and spat a little risotto, "Dreams of the Wolf Girl"!? I was wondering, 'How the hell do I look like a wolf girl?' I didn't actually lick my plate, I just considered it (there was a little beurre blanc sauce left).
Then he laughed and told me he says that to everyone who reads the spine of the book when he hands them the check.
The books are sort of cool though because people write notes inside them. It's a random assortment of messages from tipsy diners on dates. Makes for some good reading.