Quarter Acre opened the last day of 2022 in the space that used to house Rapscallion on Greenville Ave. Their intent is to combine upscale dining with Chef Toby Archibald’s New Zealand roots. Chef likes to use seafood, flavors of, and other meats from New Zealand and their wine list has some wines from there. In New Zealand “quarter acre” symbolizes your dream – a quarter acre of land with a house and space for kids to run and grow. This is Archibald’s dream to showcase his cooking. Prior to this he served as Chef de Cuisine at Bullion and Executive Chef at Georgie, here in Dallas. He also has worked in NYC, London and Toronto kitchens. The place is one large room with a bar running the length of it. The middle section is crowned by some huge bamboo/rope fixtures with larger tables underneath and the other long wall is a long bench lined with tiny 2-top tables. The open kitchen is in the back. Lots of plants, fairly loud music, and windows to the street are part of the scene. Service was good but mixed – the same as the food. Portion sizes vary.
After we ordered the server brought “a gift from the kitchen” – a basket with 2 slices of sourdough bread that had been toasted and some softened New Zealand butter. The bread was tasty and lightly smoked from the grill. However, I hardly consider a couple of slices of bread a gift. It also added to the proverbial problem of a small dining table and huge serving plates. The basket and butter had to be cleared for there to be room for other dishes to be set down. This is a pet peeve of mine.
Smoked Beef Tartare was in an olive oil emulsion with black garlic mustard and crispy shallots. It was presented under a smoke-filled dome which they seemed pretty taken with. The tartar was knife cut and topped with some grated beef jerky. It was supposed to be reminiscent of Texas barbecue with the jerky and crispy shallots providing the crisp ‘bark’ of the beef. Black garlic mustard and pickled onions make up the barbecue sauce. The beef was tender and tasty and I liked the addition of some crunch. It did not come with any bread product.
Kingfish Ceviche contained lime, coconut, radish and chili jam. This is a New Zealand staple with a bit of Asian influence. The chili jam is not spicy and the radish slices added a bit of crispness. The coconut foam is the main flavoring with a hint of cilantro. It was good.
The 48-hour beef short rib was served with an earthen potato, roasted sour mushrooms and jus. The New Zealand wagyu beef was cooked for 48 hours and then finished on the grill. It comes out sliced and was very nice but could have used more sauce. The sour mushrooms add a twist to the dish that I’m not sure I liked. Some potato foam with coffee powder and roast potatoes completed the generous plate of food.
Parmesan buttered Red Snapper was a much sparser plate. It came with cauliflower, a squid ink vinaigrette with ginger and sea beans. The fish was cooked nicely but the cauliflower was too smokey and the parsley flavor dominated the plate. The cauliflower was in purée form as well as solid form. This plate was not as successful.
We skipped dessert.