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Posted by jwdineline in Home, Savor The Flavor with Jim White.
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On Being in Two Places at Once

When I was a kid, I recall numerous references to “the studio commissary” on Bob Barker game shows (NBC Commissary) and on “I Love Lucy” when Ricky Ricardo went to Hollywood and would meet guest stars like William Holden for lunch on the studio lot.  For me, the word commissary always conjured visions of glamorous people having glib conversations while enjoying exotic cuisine like pheasant under glass.  Leave it to John Tesar to interrupt my innocent childhood daydream with his latest bite of easy food and good vibrations for the 21st Century lifestyle.  And, kudos, too, for taking over the defunct Dali space in One Arts Plaza by re-visioning The Commissary into a casual gathering space for lunch, dinner, and late night nibbles (think burgers, pasta, and interesting “chef driven food”), and wine priced at retail (two times wholesale price instead of the usual 3 to 4 time markup of most restaurants).  Be the first on your block to catch the new restaurant concept in the midst of a “soft opening”, as we speak, this week.  But wait, there’s more!  Tesar’s vision is actually two restaurants in one!  Anything worth doing is worth over-doing?  No.  It’s much cooler than that.  In addition to the 40 seat restaurant–“The Commissary”–you can also partake of “The Table”.  A 12 seat community dining space with its own entrance–actually two–one from One Arts Plaza and the other interior door from the main restaurant.  Reserve one seat or all twelve.  Show up when you want.  When you arrive, someone may be having dessert as your meal is beginning.  As Tesar says on this video clip shot by foodie Brad Murano (The Brad’s Blog), it’s a great way to share conversation about the food.  We’ll give you our own personal “Zen” views soon as we become one with “The Commissary” and “The Table”.  For now check out “The Brad’s” view and read on for some excellent insights from food writer Kim Pierce.  And, hey John, welcome to the neighborhood.  Nice that somebody fixed the hole in One Arts Plaza since Dali closed.

More Details on The Commissary

By Kim Pierce on DallasNews.com Eats Blog

I can understand Leslie Brenner’s confusion about how John Tesar plans to launch TWO restaurants within his new restaurant in the old Dali Wine Bar space. It is confusing until you see it.
The Table is a side room to The Commissary proper and has an inside entrance as well as its own outside entrance. It’s basically a community table.
Tesar says he’s going to offer six-course, fixed-price menus (wine extra): $55 on Thursday night, $65 on Friday, $75 on Saturday. You reserve your seat (or seats) over the course of the evening. One diner may start at 7 p.m. The guy next to him might come and start at 8 p.m. Everyone eats together, but at their own pace. He promises to have a cheese cart and a candy cart, as he did at the Rosewood Mansion Restaurant.
Another way to think of it: a scaled-back and more accessible tasting experience like he offered at the Mansion. I’m also excited about his avowed lower mark-up on wines.
Tesar told me that the mark-up on wine bottles will be two times wholesale, which is considerably lower than you find at most Dallas restaurants. Three times or four times is more the norm. Scott Barber’s wine list, he says, is “sommelier-driven.” Wine will also be available on tap, starting with the Duchman Family Winery’s Vermentino from outside Austin.
When I asked who designed the place, Tesar said, “I did.” He’s chosen shades of lime green and brown with a mix of tables and banquettes for about 40 seats inside, plus three patio areas. (Tesar kept the curvy, embedded-wine-cork bar from Dali.) The Commissary is also a retail wine store, and Tesar’s proud of his inflatable wine bags.
There’s a whole chalk-board-and-chalk thing going on (see the website), paying homage to the restaurant’s location across the street from the Booker T. Washington High School for the Performing Arts.
Michael Martensen, co-owner/barman at The Cedars Social, created the cocktail list. He and Martensen, Tesar says, plan to collaborate on several projects. Tesar was the consulting chef at Cedars and, while he’s cooking there for now, he’s not on staff.
1722 Routh St. (One Arts Plaza), 214-643-6557, www.thecommissarydallas.com

And, from Urban Daddy

Let’s review.

One Arts Plaza: great for indulging in patio dinners of flatbreads, short ribs and/or sake.

But after dinner: crickets.

Until now. Or actually, later this week…

Presenting The Commissary, a new late-night gourmet burger joint with its own tasting restaurant, soft-opening this week in the old Dali location.

Yes, you heard that right—a restaurant within a restaurant. It’s like Inception (but sadly, no Marion Cotillard).

First, there’s the Commissary itself—a tall room with a winding bar made from old corks. You’ll find yourself here for three reasons: a power lunch over chicken-fried burgers with gravy on the front patio. A raucous dinner with hanger steaks and wine punch bowls in the lime-green banquettes. Or, come 1am, lounging by the back patio fire pit with a short rib burger in hand.

But for those evenings when you need more one-on-one time, head to the Table. You can enter through the Commissary, but you’ll take a separate door (eight long feet from the main one; also conveniently marked “The Table”). Inside, an intimate room with one long communal table for 12. Here, you’ll eat from a set menu of six courses. And it all concludes when they roll out the candy cart.

Consider the Skittles your seventh course.


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