Sharon Hage's petite East Dallas restaurant is always discussed with exuberance and awe. Since its debut in May of 2001, York Street's 12 tables have become some of the most precious culinary real estate in the city. Hage herself is lauded as a trendsetter, one of the first area chefs to make local ingredients a high priority.
Despite popular misconception, however, it ain't all that hard to snag one of the 42 seat's in Hage's house. Really--she told us so.
You may also be surprised to hear that this straightforward chef doesn't give much of a flip about food fashions. Oh, and you won't see her resting on laurels anytime soon, either...
On why going 'local' is a natural: "It was the way I was taught to cook. I was never mindful of setting or following any trends." Are you bothered by all the bandwagon-jumpers? "Frankly, that never crossed my mind. Anything that gets people interested in supporting a local, quality food effort is positive."
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On unlikely crowd-pleasers: "If I had to pick a single dish, from mid-summer through fall, pan fried okra would be [most popular]. Throughout the year people [also] seem to appreciate that we always serve some type of organ meat on the daily menu. Sweetbreads, calf's liver and tongue are always popular."
On the word around the campfire: We are always battling the 'you can't get in that place' rumor. Reservations are recommended, because we do only have 12 tables, but weeknights most people call the same day. Weekends, usually a week ahead for 7-8:30 times. If you are flexible with your time and are able to eat earlier or later in the evening, generally a day's notice is sufficient."
On pressure and expectations: "It is a very nice perk to have the work we do be so well received, but the standards we strive for every day at 'the office' are driven internally...There is a feeling that we may have to work a little harder to impress given the unconventional location and setting of the restaurant."
On whether she cooks on her day off: "I like to have the opportunity to eat other people's cooking." (Translation: Hell no.)