When attending an anticipated restaurant preview and playing food editor, one must bring friends (preferably male homosexual) that can laugh and recite lines from My Best Friend's Wedding with you as you sample and review the food items. (i. e. I'm writing it up as...inventive..) I was very pleased that Markus and I's most cherished double date partners, Cassian and Jeff, were available to make such dreams reality. Cassian owns Star Fit and has more health certifications than a Type A Girl Scout so I knew he would appreciate the hearty but health conscious menu.
It was a chilly and wet night in Dallas so a delicious warm meal with good friends was exactly what we all needed. The cozy atmosphere of the restaurant helped set the tone for a intimate evening. Its re-purposed wood walls and chic lantern-style lighting made us all feel like we had jetted off to Aspen for the weekend and tucked into the lodge for the night.
Our first appetizer was the loaded sweet potato fries. Everyone agreed that this was the best bacon any of us had ever tasted. Jeff usually won't touch bacon because it is too salty and I caught him sneaking a pile onto his plate. Even I, the loyal pescatarian, forgot to take the big chunk of uncured meat off of my fries when some made their way onto my pile. I love sweet potatoes but many major restaurant suppliers bread their fries, so if they aren't made in house they are usually glutenized. These were really flavorful and light.
Next was the stuffed portabella mushroom, where we could taste the freshness of the feta (it had a really good flavor). The moist and tender mushroom sat neatly on a bed of crisp baby spinach and a perfectly blended tangy balsamic vinaigrette. I kind of though Cassian was going to cry as he took the last bite because he knew his moment with this dish was almost over.
Jeff ordered (and we all had a bite of some part of) the chicken and waffles, which were legitimately spicy. Seriously, I don't know if we got the end of the batter, but there were huge chunks of jalapenos in these waffles and my eye were watering a little by the end of my sample. These would be even better with a cream sauce on the chicken, in our table's humble opinion. Even with its extra kick, the waffle was one of the best I've ever had before or after converting to gluten-free, and hands down one of the best gluten-free products I've ever tried.
The standout dish of the night was the Smoked Salmon, crowned Miss Company Cafe on the Trail by our table. This fresh piece of fish was deep smoked with a house made rub and had an intensely smokey flavor like a Goodies from Goodman turkey. As a non-meat eater, this is one of the flavors I really miss the most and I felt like this salmon captured it better than some poultry dishes even do. The mashed cauliflower side is better than many mashed potatoes I've had and I once froze my grandmother's mashed potatoes and put them on a plane with me. I've never tried mashed cauliflower before since I thought it could never compare to my love of mashed potatoes. Turns out when Company Cafe makes them, they are even more flavorful than the original. Both the fish dishes at our table were served with broccolini, which I thought was an adventure and also fun to say. It was nice to try but a little tough so i think I can continue through life as a plain-old broccoli girl.
Overall it was such an exceptional dinner experience and evening. My only wish for the space is that they one day expand or install some black foam on the ceiling, because when it was hopping last night it was happening and quite loud. Not one dish was processed or over salted but everything was unique, memorable and flavorful. I really look forward to frequenting this new location and having some delicious and gluten-free brunches and dinner after aerobics with Little Child on the trail.
Cassian and I getting cozy at dinner. Do we look like a page out of "Who Wore It Best?"
Hope you are all enjoying a cozy weekend and that all my Dallasites are staying out of this rain!