DMN Critic Eviscerates Park Cities Dining

We don’t have a food critic at Park Cities People. We do have Uncle Nancy Downthehall, who we rely on to let us know when things are opening and closing. We rarely turn to her for fantastic criticism, though, since that’s not really what we do here.

That aside, Morning News dining critic Leslie Brenner lambasted the Park Cities-Knox Street-Preston Hollow restaurant scene in her Sunday column, call them “the most jarringly disappointing dining experiences I’ve had in the last year.”

About Café Pacific:

At Cafe Pacific, the tony seafood house in Highland Park Village, our waiter urges us to start with the $36 plateau de fruits de mer. Can our tiny table even accommodate it? Instead, I go for ceviche, which sounds luxurious from its menu description but turns out to be rubbery bay scallops interspersed with unidentifiable bits of crustacean (shrimp? crab?), all soaked in lime and decorated with pallid, out-of-season diced tomato. Lemon sole amandine floats in so much butter, it’s scary. Simple grilled halibut has terrible texture, as if it’s been poorly frozen. Wrong wine vintage, cheap stemware. Come dessert time, my apple crisp, a tower-like construction, tumbles over. The runner plunks it on the table, pretending not to notice, and scurries away.

About Kathleen’s Sky Diner:

We’re served a watered-down martini (or so it tastes) at Kathleen’s Sky Diner, along with a tough New York strip steak cooked so well-done that my guest who ordered it can’t eat it (he asked for it medium-rare) and a challenging asiago-crusted trout. Our hazelnut-chocolate torte oozes with underbaked batter. Yes, any restaurant can make mistakes, but no one bothers to ask if things are OK. Again, barely touched plates are cleared without comment.

I admit, the fine dining in the Park Cities is not the most adventurous. I go to the Design District and Oak Cliff for that. But has anyone else had these experiences? They seem — how should I put this — severe.

12 thoughts on “DMN Critic Eviscerates Park Cities Dining

  • July 30, 2012 at 5:41 pm
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    There’s a tendency for PC people to shop and eat at the “right” places whether or not a place has earned its reputation. A few years back there was a discussion here about an expensive shop on Lovers with a very rude proprietor. How did such a shop stay in business? Maybe Groupthink? (OregonState.edu: “Groupthink occurs when a homogenous highly cohesive group is so concerned with maintaining unanimity that they fail to evaluate all their alternatives and options.”)

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  • July 30, 2012 at 6:49 pm
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    Leslie’s article was over the top. If you don’t like the restaurant food or service, don’t come to the Park Cities restaurants. Good grief. The article’s tone seemed to be more about bashing the Park Cities and not about food.

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  • July 30, 2012 at 7:14 pm
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    for pete’s sake, its not so much that they
    are bad or expensive. its that they are
    located in areas with little or no parking.

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  • July 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm
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    I can’t say that the critic was far off. Cafe Pacific used to outshine the competition but the competition has caught up. Still is a great place for special occasions notwithstanding. The true outstanding eatery in my opinion is Jack’s Burger House on Hillcrest. When longtime residents have been away for some time they most likely have a craving for a burger and fries from Jack’s more than any other place.

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  • July 30, 2012 at 9:47 pm
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    I was offended by her using the word “bubble” to describe parts of Dallas. Everyone knows The Bubble comprises only UP and HP. Gauche.

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  • July 30, 2012 at 9:59 pm
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    as my neighbor sez: “MMMM, burgerz!”
    its where the griffin sisters always
    want to eat when they are back in
    the hood.

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  • July 31, 2012 at 8:09 am
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    I agree with Leslie’s article completely, although it is sad that that these restaurants have declined over the years. We try to dine close to home in the Park Cities, but have moved to Greenville restaurants as they pop up and even Grandpa Tony’s across from Love Field just because of the great service—never thought we would move outside the bubble to dine.

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  • July 31, 2012 at 8:29 am
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    What @Bibliomaniac and @JR said. And @Mom of Boys, don’t you think as a newspaper restaurant critic, Brenner’s job is come to Park Cities restaurants and write about her experience? Good grief, she can’t just avoid eating in certain parts of town.

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  • July 31, 2012 at 8:56 am
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    There’s always Bubbas! I dare the Dallas Morning News try and find something negative to say about the Park Cities best restaurant.

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  • July 31, 2012 at 11:56 am
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    We love the food at Kathleens, it is the service that stops us from going back!

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  • July 31, 2012 at 12:55 pm
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    I’d agree Cafe Pacific is just coasting on an old reputation. I understand people still go there because it’s easy and familiar. Sometimes convenience and atmosphere can still draw a crowd even when quality declines. I think the tone of Leslie’s review is quite harsh because I simply don’t believe she went there expecting a culinary masterpiece.

    While the tone of the Cafe Pacific review is overly severe (because we all know the quality has severly slipped), the Kathleen’s review reads more honest. Kitchens can have a bad night. The food at Kathleen’s may or may not be good on a regular basis. However, a bad meal is so much worse when the waitstaff pretends to not notice when food goes basically untouched. This happened to me recently, and rather than pointing out we’d only eaten three bites, I simply paid the bill and left. I emailed the establishment and didn’t recieve a response for three weeks. Sadly, after three weeks of silence the only way to “make it right” is to never return. My hard earned money is better spent somewhere that values customers.

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  • August 1, 2012 at 10:10 am
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    Old song just popped into my head:
    “I’m in with the in-crowd. I go where the in-crowd goes.”

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