At On the Lamb, his former restaurant in Deep Ellum, Ross Demers sent out dishes of beauty and complexity, like this Moroccan-spiced lentil tagine with merguez sausage and a duck egg. Demer’s newest restaurant, Cry Wolf, opens November 23, 2021. Kevin Marple

Dining Dispatch

The Seasonally Immersed Cry Wolf Arrives in Old East Dallas

Ross Demers and a talented culinary crew open November 23 at 4422 Gaston Avenue.

Ross Demers did it. He said he’d open Cry Wolf, his restaurant in Old East Dallas this year. And he did. Of all the 2021 restaurants we looked forward to opening, including Cry Wolf, only one hasn’t made its debut so far. (Cough, cough it’s Major Food Group’s New York import, Carbone.) This was first slated for mid-September, but nonetheless, we’re happy Demers did the dang thing.

As we reported this summer, Demers had been incubating Cry Wolf for several years. You may recall the chef’s innovative takes on bar food at On The Lamb, after which he helped open Beverley’s as sous chef before taking on a position at Flora Street Café. When the latter shuttered January 2020, Demers was able to really gestate Cry Wolf, which opens at 4422 Gaston Avenue in Old East Dallas on November 23.

At the end of the day, the restaurant is “a full-blown extension of who I am,” Demers said in August. That is, a bit of a rogue, a bit of an adventurer, or…an impeccably technique-driven place that enjoys playing in the shadows.

The menu, which leans heavily toward using what’s local and in season, won’t be the usual breakdown of starters and appetizers. Instead, expect each dish conceived in its own right as a set piece in an intuitive mix-and-match. “It’s just gonna be whatever you want to do. If you’re in a rush, or you have other stuff going on, have some grilled razor clams and get out of there. Or have a four-course dinner. That’s totally cool, too,” said Demers.

It’s a refreshing there’s-no-wrong-way approach to dining. But don’t mistake laid-back for listless. Demers’ technical skills and finesse will shine in what he calls “fine-dining in disguise.” There might be a 44 Farms steak or two, but don’t call it a steakhouse. West Coast fish, seafood, and vegetables might take a tumble on a coal-fired parrilla grill.

As for the layout, find a 14-seat bar, a banquette of seven tables, a lounge-like nook with room for another four tables, and an outdoor dining space for when it’s not so chilly. All told, it’s not a vast space, but all the better to cozy in with an abbreviated menu and a glass of wine or a cocktail.

Cry Wolf joins the ever-evolving Old East Dallas landscape, which includes restaurants such as Petra and the Beast, Khao Noodle Shop, the comeback kid that is Garden Cafe, Trompo’s second location, and Jimmy’s Food Store. Demers is in good company.

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