Chef Gareth Dickey Hits It Out at The Park in Dallas

Saturday Ijust attended a press event at Park. I liked the food. But there were many things surrounding the event that make it harder than it should be to enjoy Chef Garreth Dickey’s menu items. I have put together some of them in a list at the bottom.


Fried Okra at Park

We started with the fried okra. I chose this for the most nefarious motives. Okra is difficult for chefs. It is too easy for the cooked results to appear like pea pods in frog spawn, or the results of a pathology practical at Southwestern Medical Center. My ploy didn’t work at Park. Each whole pod was crisply fried with a sweet batter clinging to the exterior and the interior a tart and fibrous center. I experimented with eating pods either straight, or drizzled with lemon. I think both worked.

Shrimp at Park

Our other starter was the shrimp and avocado which we spread onto crackers. This is a bit like a ceviche that you lift up. I could sit in front of the television for hours eating this and swigging Albariño. It is that tasty.

Seared Salmon at Park

On to the mains: The seared salmon with avocado was as good as it looks in the picture. The sear was deep and absolutely perfect and the whole taken off the heat nice and early, keeping the inside fleshy.

For my main course I thought I would continue my path of nefariousness. That meant choosing chicken which, across town, is either dry (the bad experience). Or tasteless (the most common experience). Or good (unusual – and likely found in an Asian restaurant where sauce is invariably part of the recipe). However, before I tried this test at Park, I spied an even better candidate on the menu: plaice. Plaice is a fish that makes pollock

Plaice at Park

look interesting, or tilapia look tasty. At Park the plaice was breaded and fried and I think they did about as well as one could. But it was still plaice. I am sure that Dickey can come up with a better neuro-protein.

We skipped desert. However, a few words on the non-food aspects of Park. First, the valet parking: The company that runs it appears to be staffed by guys who were thrown out of the Albanian mafia for human rights violations. They expect to be paid $5 up front, and they are pushy about it. I know they are a legally separate entity from Park but they are the first link in the chain of hospitality of a night out, and they put me in the wrong mood to appreciate the work involved in the restaurant. Park: get one of the other valet companies around town.

Wretched Wine Glass at Park

Next, the wine glasses: We learned wine glasses must be stemmed (to prevent warming the wine as you hold the glass); thin, for a pleasant tactile mouth feel; and, most crucially, the right shape to funnel the wine’s aromas. Park’s molded, stem-less tumblers fail on all three counts. The wine list is currently being reworked (that is why I am not commenting on it) so, guys, use the opportunity to have a tumbler-smashing party this week. These tumblers are so bad you might as well cut costs further by not serving wine at all.

Last, smoke wafts inside from the patio. Move the smokers up to the roof where the bees are. They won’t survive the stings, but smoking deaths will fall.

So if you want to appreciate everything at Park, be a chain-smoking Albanian British teetotaler with a penchant for good food. For myself, the food is the most important thing, and for that I will surely go back.

Ed. note: apologies to all of my Albanian friends.


  • Liz Landry

    I’m pretty sure the non-smoking ordinance says that in order to allow patio smoking, the restaurant has to have a separate entrance for the patio and it cannot be within 15 feet of the front door. SO, it seems like Park would not be able to allow smoking on that tiny patio!

  • Amy

    Yummy!!! I’ll have to try the new menu!!!

  • Elizabeth

    I’ve been 3 times since the new menu and it’s really great! Also I’m a smoker & they don’t allow smoking on the patio so this sounds like a mistake.

  • James Walsh

    I enjoyed the article until it came to the Albanian comments that caused a lack of respect for the article and yourself. On to the wine glasses now. Anyone that drinks wine, especially someone that is going in to review and post, should know whites are to be consumed in a stemmed glass except when by choice not to. Future word to the wise……stay away from the tacky comments in referance to the restaurants surrounding and maintain being proffesional.

  • MCC

    You may have been smelling smoke from next door at Barcadia.

  • Downtownist

    Many valets in Dallas require payment up front. I’ve never understood why people get their panties in a knot over it.

  • Johnny Walker

    I valet in downtown and reason why we ask for the charge up front is so we dont have to pay for the charge if when the customer comes out stumblin and doesnt have any money and we pay for the charge. Also, if get the charge up front we get a tip from the cheapos instead of just the $5 on the way out. Dont get all wound up and seems like you might be difficult towards service instead of an average customer.

  • A.D.

    Frankly, if I’m going to valet in Dallas and I have to pay, I’d rather pay up front. Then I don’t spend the entire dinner wondering whether it’s complimentary or whether I need to scrounge up some random amount of dollars for 1) payment and 2) tip.

    Obviously, I’m one of those people that tips regardless of whether valet is free.

  • Antonio

    I like Park, I like the decor, (haven’t yet tried the new chef’s food)…but I avoid it because of the valet service there. I prefer a valet who is gracious and friendly, and who let me determine how much I will pay…in the form of a tip when they return my car to me at the end of the night. If they remedy the parking situation down there, or replace the valet service and the current payment options, I’ll go back. Otherwise, I can find great food, cocktails, and design elsewhere.

  • Monica

    It amazes me about all of the time that people take to talk about parking. Have you ever traveled outside of Dallas? Go to the larger cities and compare. 1. when you go to a parking lot or street parking, there are meters and you PAY BEFORE you go to your desired location. 2. It is more expensive that it is here in Dallas. 3. when you go to a event, club, movie,or other social activities, you pay before not after. Really, I am thankful that when we go out in Dallas and I only have to pay the fees they have here instead of the outrageous prices in other cities. Oh and Andrew, real classy of you to have such rude comments like, “Albanian mafia” and “Albanian teetotaler”

  • Senor

    Who knew so many Albanians read this blog?

  • VM

    Let’s hope no Albanian mafia members are reading, they sound bad to the bone.

    Speaking anonymously for Philadelphia’s City Paper a member of the “Kielbasa Posse”, an ethnic Polish mob group, declared in 2002 that Poles are willing to do business with “just about anybody. Dominicans. Blacks. Italians. Asian street gangs. Russians. But they won’t go near the Albanian mob. The Albanians are too violent and too unpredictable.”[12] The Polish mob has told its associates that the Albanians are like the early Sicilian Mafia — clannish, secretive, hypersensitive to any kind of insult and too quick to use violence for the sake of vengeance.[12]

  • Downtownist

    Is that a Kielbasa Posse in your pocket, or are you just happy to see me?

  • Spencer Piro

    WAY TO GO Chef Dickey. You are a success no mater where you go!

  • Spencer Piro

    It thinks i’m cursing when i type your last name… sorry

  • Micheal Townsend

    I have Dined @ Park and also use to be a Valet. Normally the charge is upfront for parking at restaurants or night clubs if there is a fee. The restaurant has the option of what they pay for and even at times get a portion of what the charge is. It is up to the restaurant to determine if they want complimentary or a charge. You should dig deeper into your acusation of why they do it and why they have to have the charge. Think outside the box.

  • Jonathon Reece.

    Awesome awesome food at park now. Worth the trip for sure down Henderson! Did not much appreciate the old menu w chef cassel. This one is (and it changes everytime I go) is delicious. People you must try it!!!!!!!!