Last week was restaurant week in Dallas. Its the week when many restaurants limit their normal reservations in favor of serving the template restaurant week fare: a 3-course fixed price dinner. Usually the choices are limited during restaurant week but what they do offer is off their standard menu. Its always one of my favorite weeks since its a good way to try new-to-me places at a reasonable price.
This time I tried Watel's and Hector's On Henderson.
Watels, our French Bistro-like eatery in the way over-done Uptown area, was OK but nothing special. Some of the food was good, some seemed like it had been prepared the night before. I doubt I will be going back to try the regular menu.
Hector's On Henderson
2929 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206
Hector's, on the other hand, was slightly beyond phenomenal, loved it. 3 restaurants have buzz right now in Dallas: Hectors, Hibiscus and Stephan Pyles. Hector's deserves the buzz. Most of what they offer is standard Southern or Texas comfort food but with very innovative twists and immaculate presentation.
Atmosphere is upscale but casual. I felt completely at home with my jeans and nice shirt, however I think the flip-flops needed to be left at home.
Service is stellar; friendly and well-versed on all of the ingredients as well as the techniques for creation and presentation. And yes, you will have questions, since their techniques are creative, if not ground-breaking. Also, adding a homey touch, Hector himself makes rounds about once a hour to introduce himself and answer any questions.
Fried Green Tomatoes: Living a big chunk of my life in south I am very familiar with these. I am also painfully familiar with how very difficult these are to prepare and still taste good. Green tomatoes can be bitter or sour, sampling the lot is essential. Overcooking them leaves them mushy. Undercooking them leaves them too hard. The batter can be too thick, leaving one with the impression of eating fried dough with a cold hard center. The sauce can be overspiced eclipsing what sould be a delicate tomato flavor. Hector has perfected this dish in all aspects.
Hazelnut Redfish: I love redfish; its a sturdy fish with a rather unobtrusive flavor. Hard to go wrong with the redfish when you coat it in the hazelnut. Really hard to wrong with it when you serve it with a light garlic beurre blanc and a spicy crab-avocado salsa.
Candy Apple Creme Brulee: Get the cart, I'm going into a sugar coma. Wow. Take an apple, blanch it, coat it in a spicy red candy shell, core it, then stuff it with creme brulee. Put the top back on it then serve it to your guests who will wonder in amazement just how you made it. I had to ask Hector about this one. I am not a dessert person but I loved this, so many textures and contrasting flavors.
Hector's is a pricey place but not nearly as pricey as some of the lesser quality restaurants in town. Here, you will get what you pay for, and you will love every bite.