Front Room Tavern's Chef Michael Ehlert. Photography by Kevin Marple

Restaurant Review: Front Room Tavern

Inside the Park Cities' Hotel Lumen, indulge in a hip yet cozy vibe.

“I feel like we’re dining in Palm Springs,” my friend said as we approached the Hotel Lumen. I shared his excitement. The Park Cities boutique hotel has plenty of midcentury modern panache, with its clean lines and glass facade. It was easy to forget that SMU’s traditional campus sits right across the street. Once inside, we both fell hard for Front Room Tavern’s hip yet cozy vibe. The same goes for chef Michael Ehlert’s self-proclaimed “modern Americana” menu. An appetizer of Texas pea fritters with charred onion yogurt were the fluffiest falafels I’ve ever tasted. Entrées ranged from a hearty dark-beer-braised pork shank to linguine Bolognese with pistachio gremolata to roasted chicken with polenta and trumpet mushrooms, the only misstep being the chicken’s slightly dry white meat. And how delightfully civilized it was to find a mushroom and cheese frittata on a dinner menu in Dallas. As we greedily devoured pastry chef Alison Morse’s lemon buttermilk pudding cake with huckleberry compote, my tablemates all agreed that Front Room Tavern felt more like a neighborhood hangout than a hotel restaurant. It served the kind of food we’d want to eat on a regular basis. From the look of Front Room’s crowded streetside patio, the Park Cities crowd already consider it home.

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