frank. (Underground) Dinner, Dallas, 7/29/18

art
art

frank. is an underground dinner party whose catch phrase is “food, to the point.”  You submit your interest in attending via their website <https://frankunderground.com&gt; and then 20 attendees were chosen by lottery ( or possibly by one of the cute dogs named Frank).  Chefs Jennie Kelley and Ben Starr met at the MasterChef competition when they were finalists and later Jennie came up with the idea of hosting private, or underground, dinner parties where all would sit around one table and enjoy a meal of the freshest and finest local ingredients they could source and recruited Ben to help her bring the idea to reality. The concept has flourished over many years and now it make take some time to have your name drawn to participate.  However, you can also watch their Facebook page where they post opening from last minute cancellations.  It was a multi course meal that included generous alcoholic beverages, amuse bouche and lots of food talk. It took about three hours.  After being accepted they will email a menu and location of the dinner which is generally close to downtown.  

menu
menu

 

While all 20 arrived we consumed a couple glasses of cold refreshing sparkling wine and met the chefs and other dinner guests, and then we were seated.  The table was assembled from the antique floor boards reclaimed from a demolished farmhouse. Seating is close and you can look over your shoulder and see the plates being assembled. Each course is prefaced with some explanation of the ingredients and thoughts behind the dish.  Our theme for the evening was Brunch after Dark, VI – a popular one which they have repeated and refined. 

table
table
table set up
table set up
Frankie and flowers
Frankie and the table plant
opening sparkler
opening sparkler
introduction
introduction

 

An amuse bouche was a small jar glass filled with shrimp, crab, Gulf red snapper and Village Farms heirloom tomato purée. It was fresh, salty, spicy and wonderful.  The ceviche like mixture was speckled with goldfish crackers that added a nice bit of crunch. 

amuse bouche: levantamuertos
amuse bouche: levantamuertos
from the side
from the side
img_6486.jpg
inside
Frankie studied the light
Frankie studied the light
art
art

 

Sous vide egg bites were a Flock savory egg custard with a three year old Vermont cheddar mixed with chives, sour cream & onion potato chips.  The chips added a fun texture and an interesting taste to the dense custard.

sous vide egg bites
sous vide egg bites
from the side
from the side
closer
closer
underneath
underneath
kitchen
kitchen
Chef Adrian and Frankie
Chef Adrien Nieto and Frankie

 

Gratuitous Toast was a take on the avocado toasts that seem popular these days.  This one featured house made thick sliced sourdough bread covered with “everything” cream cheese, caviar, avocado caper onion relish and house cured smoked sockeye salmon. The toast was griddled in duck fat and the salmon house cured and smoked with blackberry canes. The topping was tossed with pea tendrils and purple radish. The salmon had a nice mild smoked flavor.   It was a fun play on the excessive number of avocado toasts that are working their way on to too many menus.

Gratuitous toast
Gratuitous toast
closer
closer
kitchen at work
kitchen at work
Miriana and Frankie
Miriana and Frankie

 

The house cured bacon tasting featured 3 types of bacon- triple pepper from Chubby Dog Farms red wattle and mangalitsa pigs,  everything umami from Laraland Farms red wattle pigs and hatch green Chile from Legend Meats red wattle.  All of them tasted more of pork than smoke. The pepper had a slight heat as did the Hatch chile but the umami was the one that caught my eye as it had an interesting curry flavor.  It was a fun change to a standard piece of bacon.

house cured bacon tasting
house cured bacon tasting
Frankie gave it a sniff
Frankie gave it a sniff
about Frank
about FRANK
Frankie thought the glass had her name on it
Frankie liked the name on the glass, like hers

 

A strawberry  rose sorbet was mixed with House distilled mollyberry gin.  It was refreshing with a good hit of strawberry flavor. 

sorbet
sorbet
closer
closer
Frankie liked it
Frankie liked it
art
changing chalkboard art

 

Green eggs and Lamb were made with local egg shakshouka, Texas green veggie sauce and Circle 15 Farms lamb.  A coddled egg was cooked with tomato, asparagus, heirloom potatoes and artichoke heart then topped with baby lemon basil.  It was creamy with a nice mixture of flavors and textures.  

Green eggs and lamb
Green eggs and lamb
closer
closer
inside
inside
mixed up
mixed up
sign
sign
Chef Doodles and Frankie
Chef Doodles and Frankie

 

Duck, duck, goose was a combination of Circle 15 farms duck confit, a 63º duck egg, Texas veggie hash, goose egg hollandaise and stonefruit hot sauce.  Cornmeal fried okra dotted the plate and cherry plums were the main stone fruit in the sauce.  It was another fun combination of flavors and textures.  

Duck, duck, goose
Duck, duck, goose
closer
closer
egg broken open
egg broken open
interior
interior
Frankie joined the dogs
Frankie met the dogs

 

Dessert was peaches and cream which included a gooey cinnamon roll, cream cheese frosting, cinnamon honey butter and bourboned Texas peach compote.  The cinnamon roll was poached in butter and topped with a dollop of dark caramel.  Hazelnuts were the final touch, which added a crunch.  It was indeed a gooey cinnamon roll which was divine.  Smothered in cream cheese frosting it was perfectly balanced with the peaches and cinnamon ice cream.  This was a wonderfully sweet closing for the meal.  Yum!

peaches and cream
peaches and cream
from the side
from the side
from the top
from the top
Chef Ben and Frankie
Chef Ben Starr and Frankie
Chef Jenny and Frankie
Chef Jennie Kelley and Frankie

 

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