Food, drink, film and other random thoughts from The Lone Star State.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Stephan Pyles

Stephan Pyles is one of Dallas' celebrity chefs, he has started and sold off some of the most well-known restaurants in town. I doubt he will be selling off his latest venture, since it is his self-named restaurant and I believe his best effort to date. Neighbors Mark, Blair, Charla and I decided to give it a go in a group birthday effort.

Neighbors Mark, Blair and Charla departing for SP

Stephan Pyles
1807 Ross Ave., Ste. 500 @ St. Paul
Dallas, TX 75201

If you decide to try this place I would suggest spending a little time looking at the online menus; there are actually two menus - a standard dinner menu and a tapas menu, you can mix from both but the standard menu is delivered to main dining patrons while the tapas menu is delivered to the bar patrons. If you want the other you will have to ask for it.

Stephan is well-known for creating funky sophistication and he has definitely achieved that again with this restaurant. Its subtle but some of the choices in decor were amazing. I loved the copper squares that were attached by copper link to form a see-through division between dining areas. The paritally open kitchen was a nice touch, making me feel somewhat connected to the nerve center. Faucets in the bathroom were Space 1999 unsettling but that was nothing compared to the big uncovered window facing a busy St. Paul Street. "Hello everyone, I'm peeing!"

Unlike many new restaurants in Dallas, Stephan Pyles has not been inundated by the "Dallas people". Patrons here are well-dressed, well-mannered and noone seems to be too interested in impressing anyone else. They come for a culinary experience, and that is the focus.

Be warned, however, peak hours and days can be very, very loud.

Birthday dessert sampling

The Plate
Besides Coyote Cafe's genius chef, Miller, Pyles is the most innovative and bold when it comes to Southwestern fare. Lets just jump right in with the recommendations, shall we?


If you have a larger group definitely go for the 3, 6 or 8-pack ceviche tasting. I loved the Hamachi with Agave and Guanabana, squeaky fresh and the Key Lime marinade was a nice touch. Also flawless and addicitive was the Lobster with Mango and Basil, its worth the extra $4. Not so wild about the Halibut with Avocado and Tomatillos but that was more of a texture thing than a taste thing; the fish was crunchy, I don't do crunchy fish.

Tamale Tart with Roast Garlic Custard and Jumbo Lump Crabmeat and
Pulled Pork Empanada with Peach Pecan Sauce

The tart is made from masa and ground ancho, then comes the garlic custard, then the heavy handfull of lump crabmeat and sauteed red peppers; almost a meal and definitely one of the stars of our evening.

The empanada, while only an appetizer, could easily be a meal if combined with a salad. The barbecue sauce was smoky, sweet and powerful, it blended perfectly with the toothy, moist pork.

You must try the Cowboy Caesar, this is a carryover from when he owned Star Canyon. I'm glad he kept it around, its a super creative spin on the norm. The Caesar dressing itself has the welcomed twist of ancho chili peppers. The croutons are fried jalapeƱo polenta squares. And the whole lot is served in a deliciously crunchy parmesan latticework cone. A classic is born.

Excellent. Our server was also waiting on a table of 10, which all happened to be ladies from Cosmopolitan. Cosmopolitan, South America that is. He managed to see to their every need, and there were many, while taking very good care of us too.

Ouch. Try $75-$125 per person. Definitely not an everyday place but nonetheless a place you might consider making an effort to try, if you live in the area.

Also, if you've never met Stephan in person, this is a good place to do so, since he revolves around the space taking the time to talk to each table.

Jim @ Stephan Pyles


Blogger Jason said...

O.K., you had me at Birthday Dessert Sampling...

Stephan Pyles sounds great. Good to see a pic of you too, cute ;)

8:53 AM

Blogger purpletwinkie said...

sounds great!

11:37 AM

Blogger Jim said...

Cute, no. Sleep-deprived and tipsy, yes but thanks anyway :)

10:34 PM

Blogger Jim said...

You need to make their desserts Scott ! :)

10:40 PM

Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...

I agree with Jason...cute pic. I know you're going to be shocked, I have one of Stephan Pyle's books! I looks great next to the others. I've had it for years, but never used it :) He even autographed was a birthday present years back.

11:20 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Thanks Steve!

Funny, I didnt know Stephan had cookbooks, I should know that :)

8:05 AM

Blogger steve'swhirlyworld said...

I'm telling you...if you were in the area, the cookbook would be yours! LOL One of the recipes has cactus as an ingredient...I do have plenty in stock in the city!

4:07 PM

Blogger Jim said...

Oh and its been years since I had a good cactus burger, Steve :)

7:10 PM


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