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Preview: Five Sixty’s Chinese New Year Menu

Chinese Tea Egg Custard with Caviar, Smoky Lapsang Souchong Tea
Chinese Tea Egg Custard with Caviar, Smoky Lapsang Souchong Tea

According to the Chinese Zodiac calendar, The Year of the Horse embodies a sense of energy, intelligence, and ability. That being the case, Wolfgang Puck’s establishment, Five Sixty, atop Dallas’ renowned Reunion Tower, seems the appropriate venue to celebrate Chinese New Year, which starts on January 31 this year. Last night, executive chef Patton Robertson presented a picturesque, five-course prix fixe media dinner centered around the upcoming celebration. Admittedly, this is “Americanized” Asian cuisine, but the views of Dallas are the best I’ve ever seen.

Highlights from the special menu, which is chock-full of Chinese symbolism, makes Five Sixty a choice place to venture into Asian cuisine this season. The menu is offered from January 31 to February 13. Here are some tasting notes from this media preview:

What to try

  • Robertson opened with an amuse bouche consisting of a Chinese tea egg custard with caviar and smoky Lapsang Souchong tea, served in a manicured egg shell. The custard possessed an unctuous mouthfeel and texture, similar to overly fattened foie gras, with singular hits of salt from the caviar.
  • The horse mackerel tartare, accented with avocado, carrots, daikon and candied jalepeño, was pleasing. The tartare was tender and had a semi-mild oceanic flavor, further complemented by crushed peanuts and the slight heat of pickled jalepeño. My favorite of the evening.
  • Try the shrimp, pork, and lobster dumplings. Contrary to blended renditions, each bite was unique in that you could distinctly identify the three primary ingredients. The plate was beautifully adorned with both a Szechuan vinegar and a spicy mustard sauce, but blending the two together is not advised.
Horse Mackeral Tartare with Avocado, Candied Jalapeño
Horse Mackeral Tartare with Avocado, Candied Jalapeño

What fell short

  • The whole roasted quail in Satsuma pepper sauce with crispy garlic was a bit of a disappointment. By itself, it was simply bland and overcooked. But the heat and acidity from the flavorful Satsuma pepper sauce saved the game.
  •  The final savory dish consisted of a deconstructed stir-fry of bok choy, carrots, bean sprouts and mushrooms. Flanking either side were medium rare slices of Wagyu New York Strip and Maine lobster. It looked enticing on the menu, but the Wagyu beef had very little marbling and an ample amount of intramuscular gristle.

Five Sixty’s Chinese New Year’s Dinner runs $135 per guest or $185 with wine pairing, not including tax or gratuity.