Buffalo Frills: Buffalo tenderloin gets a Southwestern treatment with grits, greens, butternut squash taquito, and smoky aioli.

Restaurant Review

Fearing’s Continues to Buck Against Tradition

Usually that's a good thing.

You know certain things will be true when you go to Dean Fearing’s namesake. There will be long, exuberant menu descriptions and indulgent fantasy desserts, like banana pudding with a bananas Foster drizzle and warm beignets. And there will be lavish cuts of meat. A subtle sweetness works beautifully for the buffalo tenderloin, swathed in maple syrup overnight and bearing the deep imprint of black pepper. The kitchen knows how to handle its proteins. Deep down, you also know Fearing’s is willful and spirited as a colt for all its aura of Southwestern elevated chic, its golden atmosphere of light on rawhide and limestone. And yet you will, on occasion, search for the reins, especially when some dishes feel like fancy, jumbled, unnecessary fusion. Why advertise the pickled golden beets that appeared as nearly microscopic confetti on a busy carpaccio of Texas Wagyu beef? Yellow dollops looked and tasted like egg yolk but were billed as basil custard. Bay of Fundy salmon grilled yakitori-style, one of a series of new, rotating globally inspired entrées, had none of this flamboyance. The plating was elegant. Each component—asparagus, oyster mushrooms, umeboshi onigiri (rice cake studded with salted plums)—played its part, and a lemon miso sauce brought everything into thrilling focus. The dish I feared would be the most fusion-y was the least—a sensitive interpretation of Japanese flavors.

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