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A former Le Cirque Chef Sets Up Shop In Keller

That’s right, Keller. While it may be known as a nice bedroom community to Dallas and Fort Worth commuters, and the home of a million chain restaurants and some average BBQ, Keller has not, hitherto, been a fine dining destination.  That could all change. The Milk & Honey Co. is an offbeat lunch spot, tea room, fine dining restaurant and supper club based in an old clapboard house in the original 40 acre deed for the town. At lunch, it serves straightforward soups and sandwiches. In the afternoon it becomes a refined tea room. In the evening, the owner’s son Joshua Harmon takes over the kitchen and that is when the sparks begin to fly.

Joshua, it should be said, has a varied set of experiences. He started at Chef Pointe Café in Watuaga, possibly the best gourmet Conoco experience in the country. Then it was on to Tastings in Grapevine. He moved to New

Milk & Honey fried green tomatoes - house baked, with feta cream, hand-pulled ham and fresh dill

York City for a lightning round of rapid stages and trails starting at April Bloomfield’s Spotted Pig for one night where he turned down a permanent job to continue experimenting. He became part of the opening crew for The Dutch under Andrew Carmellini (who was Daniel Boulud’s execuchef at Café Boulud for six years) for three months. He served in several roles including garde manger and cooked for such luminaries as Daniel Boulud, Thomas Keller (twice) and Mario Batali (mit Crocs) who was kind enough to show the staff what serious drinking was all

Granny Steal's southern fried chicken and a rosemary hot sauce honey for drizzling

about. Then it was a stage at David Burke’s Townhouse for one night that led to a job offer from execuchef Carmine Digiovanni, but he wanted to try additional things before settling down so it was off to Le Cirque where he was offered a job and stayed for two weeks. That time included Restaurant Week, during which the execuchef was away all the time. He wanted to learn Asian cooking technique, which led him to stage at Buddakan for a whole day. Sous chef Dale Talde is one of the chefs he most admires.

Grilled Salmon on Tomato Grits with Chicken Fried Poached Egg

Finally, it was back to Texas where he was offered a gig at Stephan Pyles under execuchef Kyle Barham. During his time there he remembers being allowed to do a different vegetarian dish every night (“I could do anything I wanted. They had stuff like chanterelles in the kitchen…” ) and working last New Year’s Eve when the restaurant was slammed and did over 240 covers. After three months, his family persuaded him to start his own gig as the fine dining face of their new Milk & Honey Co. and that is where he began in February of this year.

Watch This Space...

It is still early days at Milk & Honey Co. The standard menu is solid Southern Home Cooking. It is aimed squarely at the regulars. A large blackboard in the center of the room is going to gradually fill over the next few weeks with more esoteric items learned on Harmon’s travels. He is already sourcing locally and making as much as possible in house (including desserts). He does all his own smoking, but does not have a smoker, so he uses a kitchen pan with a wire mesh on top. Coming, down the line, is smoked fish.

Charbroiled pork chop - with smoked apple butter, grilled onions and celery leaves

We were invited guests on a recent Saturday night where we sampled some of his skills. For example, Fried Chicken has a crisp, totally dry, batter but is oozing with succulent meat inside. An example of careful brining. On the side, is a hot sauce made from honey infused with rosemary. Grilled wild salmon was served atop grits (that’s polenta to y’all from Italy, TX) mixed with finely diced tomato and lightly seasoned with truffle oil. On one side was a chicken-fried poached egg. My personal favorite was the Broiled Pork Chop. He makes the apple butter from hickory-smoked apples, a process that lends a marked smoke character to the apple butter.

Among the house made desserts, the most popular is Pot Au Crème served in a jam jar.

On Saturday night, dinner is accompanied by a live jazz singer, Judy Chamberlain, with a keyboard player. I was impressed when I asked for “Daydream Believer” (this being the week that The Monkees lead singer Davy Jones passed away. He was able to put together the instrumentals based on just a vague memory of how the song went, back when he heard it in the 1960s.

The Milk & Honey Co. is thankfully BYOB, so bring along wine or beer to accompany your meal.

I hope that Joshua’s tendency to flit around is finished for the moment and he continues with the menu growth he plans for The Milk & Honey Co. Keller, Southlake and Colleyville have been remarkably barren of good food for years. Hopefully, this is the start of a turnaround.

Jazz Singer Judy Chamberlain and accompaniment

25 comments on “A former Le Cirque Chef Sets Up Shop In Keller

  1. wow, congratulations Josh!! I hope you are doing better, I always knew you would do awesome things in this industry!!

  2. Great article, even better FOOD!! I had a 5 course tasting at the milk and honey co. that was to die for.

  3. I ate there last weekend and The chef came out to ask “is everything OK?” i told him it was way better then ok and my wife was to busy stuffing her face to say anything. Finally a place to be proud of out here in keller.

  4. This is one of my favorite articles in a long time. Though we live in Dallas we will be making our way out there asap! We love little places like this.

  5. Easily one of my favorite story’s in a long time. We will definatly be making the trip from Dallas VERY soon. I love little places like this!

  6. This place is VERY SMALL. Food was good but it’s a little pretentious for Keller.

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  8. YUMMY! I am a one-a-weeker at The Milk & Honey Co. Everytime I go in the food gets better and better!! New favorite restaurant!

  9. I live in Burleson and plan to make a trip to Milk and Honey, sounds like awesome food for dinner!

  10. John, don’t be a hater and a douche bag. Chef Josh is making something of himself and you’re a maggot working a line somewhere with no hope of becoming anything. The food at M&H is amazing, the atmosphere is awesome, and the service is top notch. I’ve been to M&H several times and have brought friends and we have NEVER been disappointed. Keep up the great work!

    Oh, and John…give Josh a call. Maybe they’re hiring? They are about to BLOW UP!!!

  11. Where did this kid come from?? I had the food last weekend, it was way out of left field. Great find D mag. this place is going to be a popular one….

  12. Can’t wait to try this place. That’s what’s great about this ezine. Without this article, I would never have known. Where is Keller, anyway?

  13. I have already gone several times and every time is a better experience than the last. The 7 course tasting was phenomenal!! A little taste of almost everything on the menu, but it wasn’t bite-sized. I was full after the second course, but finished everything else because it was soooo good! Josh is a creative and imaginative chef who puts a unique twist on classic favorites that makes them become my new favorites! Don’t forget to try the mouthwatering desserts that melt off your spoon, I can’t seem to get enough of them!

  14. Went Friday it was a really cool place, food was phenomenal, awesome back story to with the whole family. Great spot hope it lasts. Can’t wait to go back and hear some jazz

  15. such a cool little place. very warm and friendly. felt like i was at a relatives house visiting. food was incredible. we had fried green tomatoes which i could eat daily, the fried chicken will have Babe’s in Roanoke clucking, the pork chop was beautiful and very tasty, and the shrimp and grits (Yes, grits) was extremely flavorful and finally, the desserts are insanely good. all family ran. all made fresh daily. one of my new regulars. GREAT place to dine. ps……………we saved at least $100 by bringing our own wine as it is BYOB. Im in love with Milk and Honey.