When it comes to things that spin, we tend to think of Wonder Woman, salad-drying devices and our bedroom after a few too many margaritas. So when news came that the revolving restaurant in Reunion Tower was being updated, we were apprehensive because our experiences with sit-and-spin dining have always been rather disastrous.
There was the “vertigo incident” at the Space Needled in Seattle. The “busboy incident of 2006” at the Tower of the Americas in San Antonio. And we’re still banned from the Hyatt in San Francisco after several jewels from our bedazzled dinner jackets fell onto the floor, causing the rotation gears to jam and bring the room to a screeching halt. All which led up to the (very tiny) fire, thick black smoke and subsequent “sprinkler incident.”
Bad luck notwithstanding, the food at revolving restaurants has historically been bad, as if the spectacular views are supposed to somehow make up for $30 rubbery Chicken Kiev and carafes of Ernest & Julio Gallo red.
But when we heard that Wolfgang Puck (of the international fine-dining-frozen-food-canned-soup-and-cookware empire) was to headline the new digs, we were suddenly interested in taking the long elevator ride.
And boy is it good to be open-minded.
Five Sixty (named for how high the restaurant towers above the earth’s surface) is a triple-threat as far as eateries in Dallas go. First, the view truly is spectacular. Second, the redesigned space is stunning. And finally, the food is every bit as impressive as the downtown skyline coming to life at night.
Executive Chef Sara Johannes rules the kitchen, and does she ever do Mr. Puck proud. The heavily Asian-influenced menu relies on classic dishes with inspired twists that breathe a whole new life into what has become fusion passé in less skilled skillets around town.
When you make your reservation, early is better (then you get to see the skyline during the day, at sunset, and after dark). And ask for a table with Heather. She’s an amazingly knowledgeable server who’s already a Level One certified sommelier (working on Level Two) so she can pair each course with the perfect wine, too.
Skip the pricey bottled water and opt for good ol’ Eau de Dallas, then with the savings enjoy several signature cocktails instead. Our pick is the Ginger Mojito, which is a mischievous new take on the ubiquitous Mojito variations being poured everywhere. With fresh ginger, spiced rum and fresh mint, it’s refreshing, but also has a really nice bite.
Sushi is a no-brainer for a first course, but order wisely. The portions are Texas-sized. Items from the Japanese Charcoal Robata Grill, particularly the American Kobe NY Sirloin skewers are outstanding. Ditto the densely flavored morsels of Suckling Pig. But our new favorite indulgence is their Stir Fried Shishito Peppers. Smokey and milder than a jalapeno, we wanted to just end the meal with these and keep ordering more (they’re full of Vitamins A and C, after all!)
Yet we soldiered forward with our entrée selections, which yielded one obvious selection and one sneaky dark horse (or pig as the case may be) winning our hearts and taste buds. The “Shanghai Style’ Maine Lobster (two pounds’ worth) is pulled out of its shell and served atop rice and covered in a marvelously devilish curry alongside crisp-fried spinach.
The surprise dish came in the Licorice Honey Glazed Pork Chop. Yes, a pork chop. And it darn near stole the show from those poor dead lobsters.
We weren’t wowed by the desserts, sad as that sounds. But take our advice. Experiment with more selections from the other courses and enjoy a nightcap instead. Then take your sugardaddy’s hand in yours, soak in the view one final time and rejoice that high above Dallas, there’s finally a menu to rival its geographical proximity to Heaven.
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck
(Inside the giant ball of Reunion Tower)
300 Reunion Boulevard, Dallas