For those in Dallas who think Galleria Dallas may as well be Oklahoma, The Second Floor should be reason enough to venture north of 635. In fact, Iâ€™d argue the food at The Second Floor compares favorably to the best of the restaurants inside the bubble.
I was lucky enough to enjoy a sampling of Executive Chef Andrea Maricichâ€™s seasonal menu. And, let me tell you; Andrea knows how to assemble a menu, and The Second Floor knows how to host a dinner.The menu delivers on its goal of lighter flavors perfectly suited to the season. Every dish on this menu (four appetizers, a soup and salad, two entrees and two desserts) was excellent.
Picking a favorite among the appetizers would be a challenge. Crispy Asian Quail was prepared with a just-right sweet glaze. The Deviled Eggs were among my favorite â€“ ever. The addition of New England lobster and a lemon parmesan crisp took them over the top. And Chef Andreaâ€™s tribute to the Pork and Seeds of her childhood had me searching for recipes to try and recreate the remarkable bites. (Thereâ€™s no hope mine will fare well next to the memory of hers.)
Both entrees were equally fantastic. The Prosciutto Wrapped Pork Tenderloin was served with a rhubarb demi-glace and topped with rhubarb leather. It alone is worth a visit. Then, there were the Shrimp & Grits, made with saffron cauliflower grits. Trust me, you wouldnâ€™t go wrong ordering this dish either.
Dessert samples included a Carrot Cake â€œJellyrollâ€. The only complaint here was that I could have eaten five times the amount. And the Bananas Foster Pudding was sweet, caramel-y goodness for those with a real sweet tooth.
Each course was paired with a wonderful wine. If anything, it demonstrated the depth of both selection and wine knowledge present here.
Finally, Iâ€™d be remiss not to mention the cocktails. One was an elevated gin and tonic made truly special by a house aromatic tonic. Iâ€™d greedily buy this stuff by the bottle if I could. A tequila cocktail made with El Jimador and a kaffir lime leaf and coriander soda was exceedingly smooth with just enough coriander flavor. Again, the cocktails are worth a visit in themselves.
Here’s a list of all their new cocktails this season:
house tonic & gin:Â hand-crafted aromatic tonic,Â tanqueray rangpur gin, rocks
cucumber sip:Â crop organic cucumber vodka,Â elderflower, strawberry, soda, rocks
quick pittance:Â four roses bourbon, giffard apricot,Â liqueur, lemon, mint, ginger ale, rocks
muzzle of bees:Â rittenhouse rye, lemon infused honey,Â lemon bitters, fresh black pepper, large cube
meet me in rome:Â deep eddy grapefruit vodka, cappelletti,Â cocchi americano, bubbles
el burro:Â cabeza tequila, jalapeÃ±o, lime,Â ginger beer, crushed ice
dallas parkway cocktail:Â deep eddy grapefruit vodka, lemon,Â pomegranate liqueur, up
grilled margarita:Â char-grilled orange, el jimador
So, pack an overnight bag if you must (after all, the Westin occupies the floors above), and head to The Second Floor for a particularly special meal â€“ and a from particularly charming executive chef.
(Disclaimer: I was invited to a menu sampling, and all thoughts are my own.)