When super-chef Dean Fearing left the Mansion on Turtle Creek to open his own restaurant at Dallas’ Ritz-Carlton back in 2007, the hype was insane, and deservedly so.
We attempted to get a table on opening night without a reservation (we’re crazy like that sometimes), but we never even made it through the bar to the hostess stand. Not because we weren’t dressed appropriately, but because the sheer number of counterfeit boobs left us frightened (and oddly craving a dipped cone from Dairy Queen).
Now, nearly three years and hundreds of hours of intensive breast-implant therapy later, we have returned. And boy, are we glad we did.
Dean Fearing is a Dallas legend, not just because of his god-like culinary skills, but because he’s an all-around nice guy with just enough rock-star eccentricities to keep a puckish gleam in his eye at all times.
When we met him for dinner a couple weeks ago, we told him to surprise us with whatever he wanted to prepare. We were mere passengers on the bus to Yummytown and he was more than happy to drive.
We started with Dean’s Signature Margarita and a bowl of his Tortilla Soup, which is famous galaxy-wide. Thick and hearty with generous chunks of smoky chicken, avocado and savory tortilla crisps, it’s hard to imagine that anything on the menu could top this Southwestern sensation. But he was just getting started.
The Seared Hudson Valley Foie Gras was the size of a golf ball and nestled atop a fresh Arugula and Maitake Mushroom Salad, but the Rhubarb Compote is what added the element of surprise. A bite with each of the individual components was like a circuit party on our tongues (minus the half-naked dancers, glow sticks and poppers).
The real showstopper, however, turned out to be the Maple-Black Peppercorn Soaked Buffalo Tenderloin. The succulent, velvety texture of the perfectly medium-rare prime cut was in harmony with the woodsy crunch of the outer sear. Paired with Anson Mills Jalapeño Grits and a Crispy Butternut Squash Taquito, we were deeply saddened when this course came to an end.
But like a little Pastry Prozac, our mood was elevated to a euphoric high when dessert crossed our table. The Warm Chocolate Caramel Cake with Mike’s “PayDay” Ice Cream was decadent enough on its own, but the tiny Chocolate Fried Pies served alongside have finally replaced Kellan Lutz in our dirty dreams (and you’d be surprised how limber those little chocolate pies can be!).
The staff at Fearing’s is superb, especially Wine Director Paul Botamer. This man never ceased to amaze us with unusual pairings of spectacular wines with every course. Trust in him to deliver the delightfully unexpected.
And even though he’s straight, that didn’t stop us from daydreaming between courses about Chef de Cuisine Eric Dreyer. We’d like to wrap him up in a foil swan and take him to go, please.
If Top Chef is looking to fill the heartthrob slot on their next season, the producers should look no further. Best of all, he’s as good in the kitchen as we imagine he is everywhere else.
Ultimately, Fearing’s is everything you’d expect it to be: flawless and flavorful. What we didn’t expect was the casual, unpretentious atmosphere in which Dean Fearing welcomes his guests.
Just goes to show, never judge a book by its fake tits.
2121 McKinney Avenue, Dallas
Inside the Ritz-Carlton