Wednesday, August 17, 2022 Aug 17, 2022
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A PLACE AT THE TABLE

Fame is fleeting and quality inconstant for the restaurants in the running
By W.L.T. |

Entropy is the great enemy of top restaurants, as of all beautiful things. Nothing is tougher than to maintain quality
in the face of rising costs, financial strain caused by the great number of competitors in the market, the vagaries of
fashion, the sheer grind of keeping up standards day after day. A number of places we used to think among the best in
the city have succumbed to these pressures and slipped out of the highest ranks: Jennivine, Newport’s, L’Ancestral,
Michel in Fort Worth. Each is still a worthwhile restaurant, but seems to have lost the sense of èlan that once
graced it. Restaurant Silvano closed its doors in June as a result of such a decline, and Dakota’s passed to new
ownership at the end of a comparable slump.

But some restaurants do continue to climb. Some of the best food news this year is the rise of a few mid-priced
restaurants offering really good French food. Ceret and L’Ancestral were joined by La Tour-aine, but the top prizes go
to Chez Gerard in Dallas and St. Emilion in Fort Worth.

The restaurant at the Mansion on Turtle Creek may soon top every list. It’s been a scene for power lunches since its
opening, but the food at the beginning did not rival the social clout. The recent loss of chef Avner Samuel seemed
grievous, but turned into a potential triumph when the Mansion hired Dean Fearing, who made Agnew’s a name to be
reckoned with in Dallas dining.

Some restaurants move up and down almost nightly. On any given night, you can go to Calluaud, Jean Claude or
Cafe Royal for a meal as good as any in town. Or you may come away wondering what all the fuss was about. Every chef
can have an off night, but these three estimable restaurants seem to be going through some strange oscillations. Maybe
the chefs are going through mid-life crises. Or maybe it’s just entropy, striking once again.