Category Archives: Restaurant Review

Asador’s New Menu Items

Ok, y’all … it’s no mystery that I have a pretty serious obsession with Asador.  (Evident here, here, … and here.)  I was lucky enough to be invited in to try some of their new menu items from their Executive Chef, Brad Phillips.  They update their menu so often (like … sometimes daily) that they’ve decided to print their menus in-house so they don’t have to wait for a printer.

Some things are always amazing and can’t be missed, like their cocktails which are mixed using infused liquors inspired by the ever-awesome Tyler. (P.S. she’s a lady and she’s awesome.)  One of my contributors, Laura, joined me for the meal and swore that she’d be back as soon as should could be … it was that good.

To start … cocktails … oh, the cocktails.  I started with the Mellow Honey (Honeydew and cucumber-infused gin, fresh lemon juice, and prosecco), and it is, no doubt, the perfect light cocktail for spring.  The infused gin was so delicate without letting the other flavors mask it–truly amazing.

We enjoyed the Farm Salad to start that will be different every time you order it.  They go for fresh, so they only put the best stuff in there.  The “croutons” on this were absolutely craveable. The Pork Belly served with sunny side-up quail eggs were perfectly crisp and incredibly flavorful and the kimchi BBQ sauce made it just to die for.  This is a bacon and egg combo that I can seriously get behind.  These seriously can’t be missed.  The PEI Mussels with ginger, cilantro, lemongrass in sambal broth were so good that I nearly asked for a straw for the broth.  We actually did ask for more bread to soak it up–and that’s no crime.  They paired the mussels with a crisp glass of white wine that really hit the spot.

Stop in and try some of the new options that they’re slinging from the bar and the kitchen … I promise you’ll be impressed.

ASADOR
asadorrestaurant.com | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
2222 N Stemmons Fwy (in the Renaissance Hotel), Dallas
(214)631-2222

Asador at the Renaissance Hotel

Never heard of it?  Understandable, but now you know better.  Asador is the high-end-but-casual restaurant inside the Renaissance Hotel over on I-35 — you know, the brown one that’s a gigantic oval?  There ya go.

I was very excited to try Asador and was even more excited when I sat down at the bar and began looking through the delicious victuals that they offer.  Grab a tissue, because your mouth is about to water — smoked duck sliders, candied bacon lollipops, grilled Texas quail … and those are only a few of the bar snacks!  They offer a full chef-driven menu of delightfully-prepared foods made with fresh ingredients, all from within 100 miles of Dallas (except for the fish … but that’s because we’re pretty landlocked).  Fresh isn’t an understatement here, so much so that they print new menus almost everyday.  Steaks that are cooked to perfection and fish that cuts like butta’ using nothing but a fork.

I think one of the best parts of the experience was dessert (duh).  Asador makes their ice cream in-house.  OMG – I never wanted the sweet potato ice cream to end but while attempting to make it last, a bit melted.  BLAST.  Their pumpkin crème brulee was also one of the highlights of the pumpkin season this year (right up there with the pumpkin souffles I made for Thanksgiving!).

Their cocktails are made with the same fresh ingredients as the food and are mixed thoughtfully with a flare for the unique.  They have the usuals but add a twist to each.  To give their cocktails depth, they infuse liquors with some unexpected items.  For your consideration: bacon bourbon, grilled jalapeño tequila, maple-Belgium waffle vodka (believe it), pomegranate gin, and more.  Changed often, creative, and tempting, they’ll serve you a shot of one of their seasonal infusions for only $5.

My absolute favorite item of the evening was the harvest margarita – a margarita made with pumpkin puree and apple cider and finished off with a brown sugar spice rim.  It.was.amazing.  Being one who doesn’t like margaritas, I have never in my life had a margarita that I didn’t want to end … except for this one.

My other favorite cocktails from the evening were the Blossom Margatini, the Orange Twist, and the Posh Cosmo (pictured above in the same order).  The Blossom Margatini is tequila, rose nectar, St. Germain, citrus juices, and an edible flower (I wish I’d known that sooner b/c I would have eaten it).  It reminded me of some of my favorite drinks from Paris; light and sweet but quite potent.  The Orange Twist was pomegranate juice, port, orange juice, and rum — talk about a refreshing drink, I could have downed three.  Lastly, the Posh Cosmo was what you’d expect from any Cosmopolitan with some interesting additions, they added Gran Marnier jam (yes, like jelly) and Pimms —- heavvvven.

In addition to their specialty cocktails, they have 100+ tequilas arranged on a wall (complete with ladder, pictured above) that you can try individually or in a flight.  The bartenders really know their stuff and are very friendly and helpful so you can just ask and they’ll serve you up something you’ll love.  Ask for Tyler (girl) or James – they’re both fantastic.

The bottom line: Specialty cocktails are $7-10, bar snacks are $4-9, entrees are $4-38.  They have a full bar, exotic beers, a great wine list, steaks, seafood, and some more slightly casual bites.  If you’re bored, you can watch your game on one of the flat screens or play pool in the back room — but with food this good, why would you be bored?

Asador
asadorrestaurant.com | @asador_dallas
2222 N Stemmons Fwy (in the Renaissance Hotel)
(214)631-2222

Specials:
Happy Hour | Monday-Friday 4-7 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
$1 appetizers and 1/2 price all snacks

Reverse Happy Hour | Monday 9-11 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
1/2 price all snacks

Hospitality Night | Wednesday 5pm-10 p.m.
$4 draft beer / $6 house wine and specialty cocktails
1/2 price all snacks and garden items

… Like an Alcoholic Loves Whiskey Cake

As some of my more loyal readers know, I have a certain radius that I remain inside.  However, my friend Liz (some of you may know her as @ohheydallas) requested my company out to PLANO, (yes, Plano), to try out Whiskey Cake.  Bribed with a chauffeur and a $50 gift card, I obliged.

When we walked into the large, rustic building, the hostess semi-greeted us and took a phone number at which to text us from her iPad when our table was ready (how sci-fi) … which was meant to be a mere 45 minutes later (ON A WEDNESDAY, YOU MUST BE KIDDING!?).  We pushed our way through the middle-aged Plano-ites and families and found a spot at the crowded bar beside a guy who was very obviously there to find date.  (Yikes.)

The bartender handed us a comically large menu and we perused the alcoholic concoctions available to us.  Their choices are all very clever–some are classic cocktails and they also have a few newbies.  My first drink was a Texas Bluebonnet (a delightful mix of açaí blueberry vodka, prosecco, and egg white).  It danced on my tongue and made me wonder why I don’t eat blueberries more often, but it wasn’t very strong.  Liz got the French 75 which was quite good, but it’s tough to mess up a French 75.  (I got some shit for writing that … and as classic cocktails go, it’s one of the less difficult ones if you have half of idea of what you’re doing.)

What seemed like less than 30 minutes later, we got our text message and made our way to the hostess box (yes, box), were seated, and greeted by a bubbly young lady.  She was one of the best waitresses I can ever remember having–friendly, quick, and very amenable to any request.

Dinner begged another round of drinks and I had the Guava Gimlet and Liz partook in the basil version.  Both were good and very refreshing, but seemed out of place with the cooler weather.  (Perhaps they should move to a fall menu?)  Overall, I think the drinks are well made, but nothing groundbreaking … and the only have three kinds of ice.  (Totally sarcastic – I love a good variety of ice.) … I ordered a scotch to go with the Whiskey Cake just so our waitress would make an ice ball at our table.

The food was delicious.  The only thing I could have hoped for in the food department was that my stomach was larger so that I could have eaten more.  To get the full run-down of our experience, check out OhHeyDallas’s review of the food we ate here: Whiskey Cake – OhHeyDallas.com.

The Whiskey Cake
www.whiskey-cake.com | @thewhiskeycake
3601 Dallas Parkway, Plano, TX | (972)993-CAKE

Wild Salsa

I’m always stoked to try new places and the new taco joint (if you can call it a joint) on Main was a pleasure.  Upon walking up to the front door, I was worried that the entire place would take the lead of the awkward sign in front, but it certainly didn’t.

The decor was complete with backlit Patron bottle columns (top right), authentic Día de los Muertos art from Mexico City, and a curtain separating the walkway from the bar seating area with rose designs on them.  It was quite a festive atmosphere and I look forward to heading back to explore the concrete bar further – it spanned half the restaurant!

The patio was lit by large string lights and was complete with tables and one in particular with a fire pit smack dab in the middle.  I look forward to heading back to enjoy the patio when it dips below triple-digit temperatures to watch the beautiful people frequenting the adjacent Mercantile pool.

Once at our table, our waitress recommended the Wild Rita … the Wild Rita was no slouch.   It was spicy, fragrant, rimmed with chili-lime salt, and it was BIG.  I’d give the drink a AAA rating – and I don’t even like tequila!  They also have Negra Modelo, Dos Equis, and Bud light on tap, a drink list with five interesting margaritas and six cocktails to choose from.

The only thing better than the margarita was the food.  The chips were just about average, but the avocado salsa was to die for; it’s no wonder that this place is called Wild Salsa (I went through two bowls myself before our food came).  They offer other salsas for a cost and sadly my dinner guest didn’t feel the need to try them … bummer.  I partook in the three-taco platter with rice and beans and tried three different ones … including a “lengua”, or beef tongue, and it was delicious!  They use local ingredients and they are listed on a chalkboard at the front of the shop.

Bottom line: I like a swanky place that can still keep its focus on the food and drink, and Wild Salsa does just that.  Definitely put a night aside to jump in here and enjoy the unique fare and strong drinks.

Extra info: they have a great wait staff, everyone is very friendly.  Food is served late on Fridays and Saturdays (but I don’t know how late).  ALSO, they may be opening for some serious late-night drunk taco action because they have what looks like a to-go window on Main.

Drink strength: 4.5
Overall: 4

Wild Salsa 
www.wildsalsarestaurant.com
1800 Main St (Downtown) | 214-741-WILD

Specials:
Monay-Friday | 4-7 p.m. | $3.50 beers, $4 house margaritas, $4 wells