Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Night Out in the Big City

Friday night, my husband and I drove into Dallas for a dinner date -- our first in the big city! It's Restaurant Week around here, so we figured that was a good excuse for us to finally venture out of the suburbs for a nice dinner. The prospect of becoming familiar with the Dallas dining scene is an intimidating one, as the metroplex is so much larger than Boston, but we figured that you gotta start somewhere! And we started with Hibiscus.
After battling traffic and a torrential downpour, we arrived at the restaurant, located in a cute little strip of local restaurants and bars in North Dallas. Parking was pretty scarce, so thank goodness for complimentary valet parking! Our first order of business upon being seated was to order a drink.  The Agave and Aperol cocktail was refreshing with a little splash of both bitter and sweet. My husband enjoyed the Brown and Stirred for you rye whiskey lovers out there. As we sipped our drinks, we perused the menu and surveyed the lovely dining area and our fellow patrons who were dressed to the nines -- I swear, in no city do they dress up to go out like they do in Dallas. I think I had the only ponytail in the whole restaurant!
We started the meal with polar opposite appetizers: the dainty goat ricotta bruschetta with prosciutto and peaches and the very generous platter of hearty lamb ribs. While the bruschetta were just fine, the ribs were ridiculously good. Tender meat literally fell off the bone with a sticky, slightly sweet crust. Paired with the kick of horseradish-y whole-grain Dijon mustard, we could have made a meal out of these.

But my favorite dish of the night was their Heirloom Pappa Al Pomodoro, a chunky heirloom tomato soup with plenty of garlic, Tuscan kale, croutons, and wide strips of parmesan cheese. I am barely exaggerating when I say that this soup is the stuff that dreams are made of.
For my entrée, the brook trout was very good, especially when swiped through the accompanying lemon confit, though it was a bit weird that it was served on top of ice cold (and slightly bland) potato salad -- I would have much preferred warm. My husband's beef tenderloin was fabulous and cooked perfectly though served only with a slice of tomato and a thick slice of grilled onion (I think he would have given his right arm for some mashed potatoes instead). Finally, their much raved about side dish of macaroni and cheese was pretty disappointing. The sauce, while I'm sure it's made from scratch, tasted exactly like powdered cheese sauce. And while I love Kraft Mac and Cheese, it's not the flavor I expect at a nice restaurant.

But ok, let's end this on a positive note! Even though Hibiscus fell a tad short of our expectations, we had an absolutely lovely evening. It was so refreshing after spending all of our evenings around the house with the puppy. I wore a cute dress! I had a hot date! We didn't have to keep reminding the dog to stop jumping or chewing on things while we ate. And that tomato soup! Thank goodness for tomato season and for that bowl of soup! Hibiscus isn't even a scratch in the surface of the DFW dining scene, so here's to planning many more date night adventures!

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