I’ve eaten several meals in chef Bruno Davaillon’s dining room since he arrived here from Las Vegas in 2009, and I’ve watched him reshape and restore the menu to world-class status. It’s nice to have a fine French chef treat Texas ingredients with respect. His celadon soup of lovely, hot, asparagus-scented broth is simply brilliant, with richness and texture added by a small dollop of goat cheese and a squash blossom with an ethereal tempura batter on the side. Smartly, he has streamlined the menu to nine entrées. No doubt that gives Davaillon more time to get creative on the five-course tasting menu, a bargain at $95. There we discovered his soul in a dish of fresh Maine lobster barricaded by a row of poached rhubarb slices. Just outside the slow-cooked lobster, I found three bites of crunchy blood sausage made with lardo and leeks. The contrast of sweet lobster with the savory sausage, combined with an aromatic reduction of lobster broth and Syrah, was blissful. I never thought I’d use the words “elegant” and “East Texas” in the same sentence, but his French touch with our Wagyu makes that possible. The silky red meat, placed on a thin layer of corn pudding, once again made eating a steak a momentous occasion. Our sommelier paired the complications of our two entrées perfectly by offering a half-bottle of relatively obscure Charbono from Robert Foley Vineyards in Napa. Davaillon probably would have been happier if we’d picked a French wine, but he’s on our turf now.
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