Three hours earlier...we pulled up to valet, because EVERY place in Dallas has a valet, even the sports bar, the tex-mex restaurant and the Cantina. As we got out of the car there was a red carpet leading us to the glass doors that opened up into the restaurant. The greeter was very friendly as we told her we would be going to the bar. We found a seat on the right side of the U shaped bar. It was very clean cut, LOTS of bottles of liquor and wine in neat rows, all of the finishes were polished and glimmering showing the new restaurant off. We took a peek outside at the patio before going in and it was very rich also we later found out they dropped about a million on it. If I didn't know any better i'd say we were in Beverly Hills - there was plastic every where, and not on the walls.
My friend's brother, Micah (My-kah), was our bartender and asked us what we would be having. He explained that they had "hand crafted cocktails" meaning they used fresh squeezed juices, fresh garnishes and house-made syrups. My kind of place. Folks if you haven't been listening to me - THESE ARE THE BEST KIND OF COCKTAILS! Go get some, you can get a great deal on their cocktails at happy hour. I will say you do need to be patient because hand crafted cocktails take some time to make, just like a good work of art. Similar to the other places, the bartender tasted the drink with a straw to make sure it was right, if he needed to balance it out he would add a little more of this or a little more of that.
While we waited...the bartender put a bowl of popcorn in front of us, drizzled with truffle oil, very nice.
Sol ordered a "Cucumber Gimlet" - Bombay Sapphire gin, muddled fresh cucumber and hand squeezed lime. Let me say, the fusion of cucumber and gin is a natural one. I believe this is the 3rd cucumber-gin cocktail I have written about and though all have been very different they have all be very good and well balanced, the Cucumber Gimlet was no different. The green you see was a cucumber peel for a garnish.
Next, I ordered a "Whiskey clover"
Gentleman Jack whiskey, Hennessy VS, honey water, hand squeezed lemon and orange. You'll notice in the background of the Cucumber Gimlet picture the bartender is hand squeezing the orange juice to go in my cocktail. This should give you an idea of the freshness of every concoction. If you look hard enough you can see the built in wood cutting board that every garnish is cut on. My Whiskey Clover was amazing, the perfect amount of fruit juice and liquor. Micah, cut a piece of orange peel about quarter sized, heated the outside up with a lighter, then with the flame close he bent the peel squeezing a burst of juice out of the rind and the flame popped like someone was blowing fire out of their mouth, it was a nice touch.
We started with some bar appetizers: Sonoma Goat Cheese Ravioli with Golden Oak Mushrooms - a light, fresh slightly tangy dish. The ravioli were small and bite sized. What an easy dish, I have had this once before at a place called Anteprima in Chicago - I can't say one was better than the other but they were both wonderful and if you have an opportunity to try this dish or a variation of it, you should.