Review: 48 Nights @Sylvan 30 in Dallas

Randall Copeland de-stems cherry tomatoes. They come from J.T. Lemley in Canton.

Andrew Chalk attended the surprise chef dinner at 48 Nights @ Sylvan 30. He writes:

Last night Randall Copeland, co-execuchef and co-owner of Restaurant Ava teamed with David Uygur, former executive chef of Lola and owner and execuchef of Lucia (coming this Fall) were the featured chefs at 48 Nights . Although first service was at 6:30pm we found the place hopping with six chefs doing the prep. work at 2:30 in the afternoon.

Jump for recap and photos.

David Uygur grates garlic. He is smiling because just off-shot there are dozens more to do.
Slicing J.T. Lemley onions for 60 people. It makes you cry.
Austin, who usually can be found at Smoke, folds napkins for the two seatings later that day.
On to the evening and prior to the meal there was a wine and hors d’oeuvre reception. We sipped a nice inexpensive wine.
First course: House Cured Salumi from David Uygur.

He apparently makes this at home, so this may be the place to pop round to when peckish, On the left is toscana, a prosciutto-type meat. Dead center is a line of coppa di testa, an Italian take on head cheese. Bottom right is bresaola (dried cured beef). Top right, is coppa (pork shoulder). Not shown is some port paté made from pork from Full Quiver Farms in Kemp. Lots of contrasting flavors and textures on this plate.

Second Course: Grilled Squid Salad with Lemley’s Tomatoes and Sweet Corn from Randall Copeland.

The squid slices were just al dente (such a pleasant change from the Goodyear Calamari you come across so frequently). Note the tomatoes we saw Copeland preparing earlier. I don’t know if these guys planned to have the meat (salumi) course followed by the seafood (squid salad) course but it was a good example of structuring a menu. Of course, 48 Nights is BYOB so we scrambled to get new wines open in time.

Third Course: Windy Meadows Chicken Tortelloni with Peperonata from David Uygur.

Tortelloni are large tortellini (would that make baloney a large Bellini?). It was an interesting idea to stuff these with chicken rather than the usual suspects such cheese and spinach. The peperonata (stewed peppers) provided a contrasting texture and a slight piquant note that enlivened the dish.

Fourth Course: Sweetbreads with Peas, Pancetta and Carrrots from Randall Copeland.

Great preparation with diced sweetbreads and glazed carrots that were still firm enough to retain their characteristic texture. If this is on the menu at Restaurant Ava then this dish alone is reason to go.

Fifth Course: Beef Tongue with Salsa Verde and Sweet Onions from David Uygur.

That form that resembles a filet mignon is the tongue. It is cooked crisp on the outside but soft and succulent in the middle. Those onions are the ones that we saw being prepped earlier. They were cooked with just olive oil and salt but there is no way I can convey how sweet they were. Salsa verde complemented both, especially the earthiness of the meat.

Remember this dish. I predict it will be on the menu at Lucia and become a big hit. If reviewers rated dishes rather than restaurants, this might win “New Dish of The Year”.

Sixth Course: Peach Turnover with Mascarpone and Bourbon Gastrique by pastry chef Cody. Sorry Cody, did not get your last name! One diner described this as being like a New Orleans beignet, but better. The ripe peaches were from J.T. Lemley and the gastrigue carried the bourbon flavors loud and clear.

We piled out just after 8pm but the work for the chefs carried on. Their second seating was at 8:30pm. The attendees in the reception next door had no idea of the wonderful food that awaited them.

48 Nights continues through July. It is a sellout but tickets are often returned for exchange. Contact the e-mail address on the web site for information on availability. And, there is one other possibility. There were actually five no-shows last night, suggesting the possibility of a ‘standby’ seat. No word yet on who the featured chef is tonight.

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