The French Room, in the Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas, just finished being restored to its original finish and re-opened in October 2017 after being closed 14 months. Gilded chandeliers and arches now preside over the high ceiling that used to house clouds and cherubs. It is a nice, elegant new look but it’s formality is not matched by the shortened tablecloths draped over metal pedestal tables. The previously red upholstered chairs are now white to go with the walls and lightened interior. A couple of the side windows have been popped out to put in a bench seat that looks out toward the restaurant. Carts are still used to deliver your food but the silver domes are missing and the carts are ridiculously short for anybody over 5 feet to push around. The partially partitioned smaller room is still there but was unoccupied the evening we were there and yet fairly brightly lit, which I found to be a distraction to those in the main dining room which has pretty low lighting.
Another problem is the noise level which felt inappropriate to the elegance of the place. Part of this is due to less sound absorbing surfaces in the room, the tables also felt more closely spaced and smaller and the music in the bar pulsates into the serene surroundings. But all that said, it’s still a lovely space and re-modeling is still going on so maybe some of these issues can be fixed. The menu is a 7 course tasting menu or a fixed price 3 course menu. A couple optional supplemental items, caviar or truffles, are available. We chose the longer tasting without supplements.
We started with a canape of appplewood smoked salmon on a sesame seed cracker. The salmon was quite smokey flavored accented with a bit of balsamic and the nice crispy cracker. One bite that was tasty.
An amuse bouche was chestnut purée and petite vegetables with a seed crumble of sunflower and pumpkin seeds. The vegetables had nice flavor but it was other wise very mild in flavor.
There were several flavors of breads including fig, demi baguette, olive rosemary and multigrain offered that were served with house made butter.
Nantucket Bay scallops with mandarin and black truffle was the first course. The scallops were slightly overcooked but they were surrounded by a lovely buttery sauce. The truffles had good aroma but not a lot of taste.
Consommé Celestine was with fine herbs and buckwheat crepes. It was a double chicken consommé that was finished with cognac. The herbs were too strong and some rather odd tasting, for the delicate broth and again the truffles looked nice but were tasteless. The balance didn’t work here.
Seared foie gras was plated with quince, roasted squash and cranberry. The Hudson Valley foie gras was wonderful as was the Kuri squash which had been caramelized to a nice crunchy edge and creamy center. This brûlée style of presentation worked great with the rich foie gras as did the flavor of the quince. A good one here.
Wild Black bass was served with salsify and sauce bretonne. Some of the salsify was braised to render it nicely soft and then a larger slab of it was crusted with uni bread crumbs. The fish was nice and the sauce excellent with a hint of pepper, as was the uni encrusted piece. A good course.
“Tête de veau” was a warm veal terrine that included pickled ramps, capers and egg on a mustard dressing. It was served room temperature with some nice crunchy stuff underneath it. A very tender slice of veal tongue was swirled up alongside it. It was amazingly good. It was a really good course.
Duck Bigarade was a piece of seared duck breast on an orange sauce It was nicely rare and served alongside a confit leg with a compressed mushroom stuffing. While the breast was nicely cooked it was tough. The leg was pretty dry and well cooked. The mushroom stuffing was very good and paired with some bitter greens. Another very good sauce, the protein just didn’t measure up to it.
The pre-dessert a blood orange curd with fresh pomegranite seeds. It was tasty and nice.
Dessert was named Bavarois and was a vanilla bean custard with jimica and pineapple surrounded by an exotic sauce. It was sweet and tropical; a good sweet fix. An excellent combination of flavors and textures, it tasted as good as it looked.
A dessert cart was brought over for final treats. Some of the options were mocha caramel, a blueberry and pistachio cake, candied almonds, fruit bar, marshmallows and vanilla drop. There were a ton of choices and it’s up to you how much you want. A nice selection and most were okay.