The King Tut exhibit has put the Dallas Museum of Art back on the map, but what of its restaurant, Seventeen Seventeen? To give the nearly forgotten lunch spot a shot in the arm, the museum brought in quintessential Dallas chef Stephan Pyles. The neat surprise is that the menu update he’s engineered with Seventeen Seventeen’s new executive chef, Jason Ferraro, has not only reinvigorated the place, it’s renewed his luster as a creative culinary force.

Pyles’ signature dishes included forays into trendy “molecular gastronomy,” and here they came out surprisingly well. Best example: salmon terrine, a provocative composition made up of layers of salmon and butter compressed into tight rectangles, with cubes of watermelon and microgreens, and a sprinkling of saffron “caviar” pearls. That a waiter waved a glassful of smoke over the plate was hokey but fun.

East African sweet pea soup sounded like something off the menu of Pyles’ eponymous restaurant up the street. The presentation was marvelous, with the server pouring the creamy, spicy-hot green bisque from a pitcher over shreds of lobster and oven-dried grape tomatoes. The menu items will rotate with the seasons, but sweet pea soup sounds good year-round.

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