No need for your usual Starbucks run since local restaurateur, Russell Hayward, opened up a uniquely sophisticated coffee shop in the Arts District last December. Offering craft coffee, wine, and food, Ascension Coffee is ready to be your newest obsession.
As soon as I walked into this hip restaurant, I felt the European café vibe and immediately was curious as to why everyone says it’s different here. I noticed that an inviting patio, funky art, lofted industrial ceilings, rich woods, and brick interior keep people happily seated in those signature red chairs. I mean, who wouldn’t want a meat and cheese plate with a glass of the Vieux Chateau Landon, or simply a cup of tea here?
I admit, I am not a coffee snob or expert, but I do know what I like when it comes down to an Iced Almond Milk Latte. Ascension prides itself on high quality, farmer – focused, fair – trade, fair certified, pour – over, single origin coffee and espresso. Every person from the accommodating staff, to the ever so cool purists handcrafting your Soy Cappuccino, really know what they’re doing and brewing. On that note, you can always approach them with any question regarding the art and science of their “slow bar” techniques. I wanted to try something new since they are versatile in many brewing methods such as Kyoto Drip, V60, French Press, Chemex, and Siphon. Honorable mention includes the first Synesso Hydra Hybrid in Dallas, which ensures the water is perfect when hitting the coffee.
I first tried the Kyoto Blend, which is brewed for 12 hours over ice water, and served in a shot glass. As I sipped this low acidic “whiskey” of coffees, I enjoyed and savored how well it complimented my meal! Every technique used here brings out the brighter flavors, high and low notes, and essence of coffee. Honestly, I tasted them. The coffee here is not hyped up or a fad. It’s rich, creamy, dark, smooth, and handsome. When visiting the bar, don’t be alarmed at how the menu doesn’t specify sizes. A large latte is 12 Oz and all of the coffees go up to 20 Oz. Feel free to have clarification when ordering, since words like Venti or Grande don’t work here. My second drink was an Almond Milk Cortado, an espresso cut with milk, which is steamed for a shorter period of time. It is only served in a 4-oz serving with a 1:1 ratio in order to sweeten the milk and better taste the coffee. The food and wine featured here are so decadent, yet simple, so that each flavor stands out while sipping one’s crafted drinks.
I had a wonderful experience with the wait staff, and was given the history on the brewing processes as well as a detailed synopsis of the frequently changing menu. I ordered the delectable Chicken Manchego Panini with a side of the homemade fig jam and honey Dijon mustard dressing as sweet counter-parts to the apples and cheese. It was layered well with moist chicken, soft cheese, crunchy vege, and hard crust bread that melted into each bite. True story, I almost ordered a second one! Prior to ordering, I asked if there was anything else included on the sandwich, but quickly learned that what you see on the menu is what you get! No surprises here, folks.
Undoubtedly, Ascension Coffee is addictive and a hotspot for early eats, brunch, around noontime, select wines, Emporium Pies, and dinner. From fresh smoothies to Cast Iron Salmon to Orange Cardamom Crème Brulee, going hungry will never be an issue. Hop on over for happy hour, Monday – Friday, from 5-6:30 pm, for $5 wine and cheese plates. Be aware of the strict no laptop policy that begins at 6:30 p.m. in order to clear the table for dinner.
Due to the fact that they are very social in person and online, any interaction, feedback, or question is encouraged! You are guaranteed to get “likes” if you tag @ascensioncoffee, and upload latte art alongside a piece of House-Baked Banana Bread on Instagram or Twitter. Refer to these platforms as well as Facebook for daily specials and updates.
Ascension Coffee is behind Meddlesome Moth at 1621 Oak Lawn Ave., near the corner of Oak Lawn Avenue and Interstate 35.
(Disclaimer: The craft food and drinks consumed in this review were not on the house, but that didn’t stop me from ordering or coming back for more! You could say this is my new caffeination station.)