They say when you’re close to death you see a bright light. Many that have entered the luminous white claim to have seen Heaven and were fortunate enough to come back to tell the tale.
Recently, we had such an out-of-body experience. We, too, saw the white light and standing there in the middle like a beautiful angel was Lynae Fearing holding a platter of sushi, fried rice and cocktails. She beckoned us into the bright glowing aura and for a few hours we were in some place better than Heaven.
We had found Foodie Nirvana, and its name is Shinsei.
Lynae and co-owner Tracy Rathbun are the wives of Dallas power chefs Dean Fearing and Kent Rathbun. But forget their husbands’ five-star restaurant pedigree. These broads know a thing or two about putting out a stellar plate of cuisine at a great price in a chic setting: the Holy Trinity for food worshippers. Few restaurants in Dallas maintain buzz and momentum for more than a few months, but Shinsei hasn’t cooled since its white-hot opening almost three years ago.
Our only caution, make sure to request the main dining room (or private dining room if you have a large party) lest you get stuck at a table in the crowded bar with some sweaty sporting event on TV.
Fortunately, we got a great table, but something tells us the mood would’ve been dampened by everyone cheering Troy Aikman on to the home run in the third period.
All the buzz for Shinsei has typically centered on its sushi menu (and believe us, we enjoyed a tower of fantastic fishiness), but it’s the non-seafood fare that had us rubbing our legs and doing the yummy dance.
For starters, the Coconut Chicken Jalapeño Poppers with a Yellow Curry Dipping Sauce were shockingly spicy, but completely addictive. Ditto the textbook Garlic Pork Potstickers. But it’s the Lettuce Wraps that’ll make you forget you ever stooped to eat at a certain chain restaurant, no matter how customized they make your Chang Sauce.
Honey Hoisin Baby Back Ribs and a Chili-Rubbed Pork Tenderloin (a daily special) kept the carnivores busy for main courses while the fish-eaters, faces smeared with wasabi, smacked on their leaning tower of Toro.
Yet the dish that we’d trample a gaggle of nuns, orphans and blind kittens to get our hands on was the most surprising of all: Crispy Brussels Sprouts. Yes, a vegetable. Pan-seared with crunchy brown edges, the little spheres coated in soy sauce and brown sugar should get more than just a casual mention in the list of side items. These babies need a centerfold in Foodgasm Monthly.
Finally, to cap off an evening of unexpected surprises from the Asian-inspired menu, we ordered a gluttonous array of appropriate Eastern twists on traditional desserts. But it was the straightforward Lynae’s Famous Oatmeal Cookies that had us wanting to pull a Tracey Gold to make room for more.
Instead, we opted for a dozen to go.
From start to finish, top to bottom, soup spoon to dessert fork, Shinsei will not disappoint. Just tell ’em the gays sent you and bring your elastic pants.
Dinner Service: Monday – Saturday, 5:00 – 10:30 p.m.
Lunch Service: Friday only, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.
7713 Inwood Road, Dallas