Execuchef Grant Morgan and sommelier Jennifer Jaco have settled in to their relatively new jobs at Bailey’s Prime Plus. Earlier this week, Bailey’s held a media dinner at their Park Lane location to showcase their new winter menu and tell us about enhancements to the wine program.
The wine program enhancements are exciting. The number of selections on offer has doubled from 300 to over 600 and Jaco is now building a series of ‘verticals’ (i.e. several vintages of the same wine) to offer depth as well as breadth. These numbers are in the ballpark for receiving a ‘Best of Award of Excellence’ certification from Wine Spectator magazine. There are only 907 restaurants in the world with this designation or better (and only 5 in Dallas) so it confers considerable prestige. The other side of the wine program is the acquisition of some interesting bottles from ‘off the wall’ places. She served us some with the meal (more on that below). The bottom line is that Bailey’s is serious about the quality of their wine program.
Jump for the bounties of winter. (But first a juicy tidbit: Jennifer Jaco is the girlfriend of Michael Ehlert, the chef Ed Bailey lured from DBGB Kitchen & Bar in New York. I spotted Ehlert in the kitchen at Bailey’s where he’s busy testing his menu for the soon-to-open The Chesterfield.) Okay, let’s eat.On the food side, Bailey’s is first and foremost a steakhouse and will not waver from that commitment. However, non steak eaters are by no means second class citizens. Grant Morgan showed how to present non-standard proteins in a fashion to create broad appeal. The positive reaction of our group to the duck breast, for example, is likely typical of how Bailey’s diners will see it.
On to the menu, which we present in 5,000 words (i.e. 5 pictures).
Raw Bar: Shrimp, Oysters, Crab Claws, Clams, Lobster Claws + Three Dressings
The remoulade sauce was especially good. This dish was served with sake, not wine. Masumi Arabashiri, Jumai Ginjo.
Mushroom Ravioli, sage Brown Butter, Chestnut, Aged Sherry Vinegar
Served with 2010 Chapoutier Belleruche Blanc, Côtes du Rhone. Look for southern Rhone whites on wine lists for crisp, earthy whites that go with non-red sauce pasta dishes, poultry and seafood. They are often lower priced than mainstream varieties like Chardonnay.
Scallops: Roasted Apple Purée, Butternut Squash, Black truffle Demi
Served with 2010 K Vintners Viognier, Columbia Valley, WA. Founded by former rock band manager Charles Smith, K Vintners wines have become a cult phenomenon.
Broiled Venison Chop: Caramelized Turnips, Carrot Purée, Black Pepper Demi
There was a choice of main course. I had the venison and thought it wonderful. The extensive use of root vegetables at this time of year is very good thing to see. It was served with 2009 Prima, Toro, Spain. A 90% Tempranillo/10% Garnacha in a highly extracted style. Can be drunk now or given a few years to soften.
SideDish is a food-related discussion among editors at D Magazine about the Dallas-Fort Worth dining scene -- everything from good meals to bad service, kitchen gossip to restaurant news, chefs' secrets to culinary trends. Bon appetit.