Although I love so many things about Dallas, I immediately was amazed by the vast array of restaurants and new food offerings. In some ways, Dallas reminds me of a miniature version of one of my favorite cities - New York.
Although Dallas is much smaller than New York and you can't walk or grab cabs as easily, there are a lot of great chefs here.
Many, many years ago I was invited to attend a Sunday brunch at the famed Mansion On Turtle Creek. A young Senior Sous Chef was doing some great things under the watchful eye of Dean Ferring. That young chef? Kent Rathburn.
I had the great honor to meet him one day as he strolled through the Mansion's dining room greeting all the Sunday regulars and little ole me sitting quietly at a back table with my husband Michael T. He was gracious and had a twinkle in his eye as he discussed some of the brunch specials with their unique ingredients.
From The Mansion on Turtle Creek Chef Kent moved to the Melrose Hotel with its prestigeous Landmark Restaurant. My husband and I, great fans of his amazing menus, followed him. After a short period Kent left the Melrose and ventured off into a wide range of projects. He reappeared in 1999 opening the world class Abacus. Again, my husband and I became fans, even though the restaurant was a long trek from our home. It was worth the trip.
A few years after opening Abacus, Kent branched out and opened Jasper's which was a more casual venue but still a fabulous success with an amazing menu.
While busy opening restaurants, Kent managed to become a national celebrity winning the Food Network's Iron Chef America with his Atlanta-based chef-brother Kevin. The Rathburn boys beat Iron Chef Bobby Flay with a score of 50 to 46. The secret ingredient for their win against Chef Flay? Elk.
Their amazing dishes included elk carpaccio, elk meatballs, elk fajitas, and elk sausage. Kent hosted a six-course watching party at Abacus on Sunday, featuring all of the above dishes plus an apple tart dessert.
Now, Chef Kent is opening yet another new concept - Rathburn's Blue Plate Kitchen - inspired by traditional family recipes and his desire to establish a new conduit in food preparation and execution.
A wide array of dishes which will be on the menu at Blue Plate Kitchen. Dishes such as the Dr. Pepper Mopped Rotisserie Chicken and MawMaw's Buttermilk Pie put a Rathbun spin on southern comfort food, while the Whole Wheat Texas Pecan Waffle with Latte Da Goat Cheese and Round Rock Honey is the perfect example of the concept's reliance on regional purveyors and the freshest Texas-grown products and ingredients.
Featuring the best wines and produce, the menu at Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen is a celebration of the entire cooking process, from the local harvest to exciting culinary creations that end up on your plate.
Yummmmmm. Guess who will be popping in to check out the great new Chef Rathburn concept? Uh yes, that would be moi.
If you ever visit Dallas, be sure to check out one of Kent's amazing concepts. For fine dining be sure to put Abacus on your list. For a more laid back setting that combines great food with a more casual setting, check out Jaspers. As far as the Blue Plate? I'll get back to you on that one.
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