Local. If there is one reason to push through the snarled Deep Ellum weekend traffic (and try to forget the recent negative headlines), it is Local. Every meal begins with a bowl of warm mixed nuts; a single piece of chocolate bids you adieu. These thoughtful touches are precisely the kinds of things that spring to mind when it’s time, once again, to decide where to dine.
The sophisticated but simple menu is carefully crafted by co-proprietress Tracy Miller; some of the components are sort of Southern and certainly comforting, such as a knockout fried chicken complete with potatoes mashed with gouda and a wee cup of pepper-spiked gravy, or comforting mac and cheese updated with mascarpone and penne. The wine list, too, reflects care, with its off-the-beaten-path selections. The waitstaff is appropriately attentive but laid back, serious about serving but not stuffy in its execution. Dining here is much like dining at a friend’s house, assuming your friend likes to whip up hazelnut-crusted halibut and her home is the historic Boyd Hotel, its exposed brick spruced up by clean lines, flickering candles, burnt-orange accents, and retro laminate tabletops. We can thank the other proprietress, interior designer Alice Cottrell, for that vibe.
Dessert here is no afterthought. Under Miller’s skilled hand, Chocolate Composed was as precious as it was delicious, with a stack of chocolate brownie cookies, a mini ooey gooey chocolate soufflé, and a shot glass of Olvaltine-spiked malt, replete with a tiny straw. “Delightful”—whether referring to the dessert or the restaurant—may not do Local justice. But it’ll do. 2936 Elm St. 214-752-7500. $$$. —J.C.