You are in for a treat with Julia Pearl Southern Cuisine coming to Plano this past week. I recently attended their private media dinner to a room full of hungry foodies. Thanks to Chefs Tre Wilcox and Germaine Brown, formerly of Abacus, we were all in for a treat.
One of the reasons I appreciate attending these media events is you not only get to meet the founders and chefs, but you also have a chance to learn about the inspiration of new restaurant concepts. Julia Pearl was a dream of Darcy Dudley’s for the last eight years. The restaurant is a tribute to and inspired by the lives of Darcy Dudley and his wife, Vivian’s family matriarchs, Julia and Pearl.
The evening started off with cocktails as guests arrived and they had a sample of wines, a variety of moonshine-based cocktails and a tasty Jacob’s Ghost Old Fashion served over an ice ball. A little too sweet for my liking, but if it will get others to consider whiskey then power to it.
Our media dinner menu included a sample of many items on their menu as seen in the picture to the left. First out was a sampling of three different wings. The Lemon Pepper stood out but I felt the “Hot” were not hot enough and didn’t really stand out to me.
The second dish featured a sample of a few items from their appetizer menu: Jumbo Lump Crab Cake served on top of Lemon Mustard Sauce and Parsley Oil.
Then we had a house made Black-eye Pea Hummus on toast. I have to say, I never expected to like the Black-eyed Pea Hummus but was impressed. Lastly, it was finished with a Deviled Egg topped with crispy chicken skin, chives and smoked paprika. Man I like saying that word: Paprika.
My favorite dish, hands down, of the evening was the Julia Gumbo. As a man who likes spicy this left me wanting for a heaping bowl full. I’m used to having to spice up with quite a bit of Tabasco, but not this. The andouille sausage and shrimp were perfectly cooked.
My second favorite item of the evening was the Marinated Texas Jumbo Shrimp with Spicy Cheese Grits. Not sure what they marinated those shrimp in, but they were bursting with flavor and grilled to perfection. Oddly the only time I ever eat grits it seems to be served with seafood. The Smoked Red Pepper Sauce completed the dish nicely.
The Cornmeal Catfish was light and flaky, and the Fried Chicken was worth the wait; it was very flavorful, and served with skin-on mashed potatoes with chunks of potato. The evening concluded with a rich red velvet cake and vanilla ice cream.
Overall, I was impressed with the passion of the staff, the menu and atmosphere of the restaurant. I’d encourage you to check it out before word gets out. Given the strong Cajun appetite in Dallas, this place is sure to be popular!
Julia Pearl is located at 2301 N Central Expy #195, Plano, TX 75070.
(Disclaimer: My menu sampling was complimentary, and all opinions are my own.)