Those who feel buttoned-down by the man and banned from flexing their creative muscles may find salvation in the latest chapter of chef David Uygur, formerly of Lola, now ensconced at Seventeen Seventeen at the Dallas Museum of Art.
Lola afforded Uygur a platform to run wild, run free, especially in the famed Tasting Room, where he made a name for himself with his radical culinary spins. But the hours meant that he never saw his family, so he walked away from all that.
Seventeen Seventeen is hardly a step down. Between its DMA setting, elegant Paul Draper interior, and spotless service, Seventeen Seventeen is among the nicest lunch spots in town. But the format comes with constraints. It is lunch, so there must be entrée salads—in particular, the Asian green salad, with its absurdly over-the-top rice-paper basket, chopsticks, and dueling streaks of wasabi and soy. So not Uygur.
In the midst of this, Uygur-ites will suss out his more pensive constructs, such as the sea scallops appetizer with cauliflower purée, capers, and raisins—a tale of contrasting golden textures. Or the pork sandwich that, anywhere else, would be plain old pulled pork. But Uygur’s pork gets the deluxe confit treatment: salted, cooked in duck fat, shredded, and piled on a baguette with lightly fermented cabbage, like a homemade kraut. The result: earthy, flavorful pork set against a tart-sweet slaw. Creativity often thrives under the constraints of a tight leash.
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