At the Mansion, you’re in the hands of one of Dallas’ most skilled chefs. My advice: let yourself be led. A tasting menu will plunge you into the particular sensibilities of executive chef Bruno Davaillon. But everywhere the dishes marry impeccable technique with elegant, creative twists. Traditionalists can order beef tenderloin with duck-fat fries. Better, though, to let Davaillon show off his talent for seafood and game. Tender medallions of pheasant breast with thin-shaved pear, potatoes in smoked cream, and a fat raviolo stuffed with leg meat, intense and delicious, left us rapturous. A crudo of fluke and braised daikon was magnificent, a universe in a tiny space. Its bathing liquid of cucumber, lime, and olive oil had a sweetness almost like honeydew. Toasted buckwheat groats and Korean red chile threads completed the dish. The textures in shrimp dumpling soup with its firm cubes of butternut squash were less integrated.
Pastry chef Nicolas Blouin delivers delightful surprises, whether the architecture of a deconstructed mont blanc (I would have liked more of the chestnut purée and less pummeling from kalamansi ice cream) or the rush of blueberry compote that burst from lemon crème brûlée. And how fortuitous that a glass of Sancerre will take you to Davaillon’s native Loire Valley.