It doesn’t have a name yet, but the latest restaurant by Stephan Courseau (Le Bilboquet, Up On Knox) and his new partner, Chef Junior Borges, has officially found a home at 4514 Travis St., right next door to Le Bilboquet, in the former Villa-O space.
Set to open early 2019 (by March at the latest, hopes Courseau), the restaurant is still in its developmental stages, but the duo already has some exciting details to share.
The unnamed restaurant will put a big emphasis on farm-to-table food sourced from local farms with a meat-centric menu.
The duo will work closely with friends who own an East Texas ranch to ensure the best free-range chicken, seasonal vegetables and, of course, grass-fed beef. The chef wants to create cuisine that is “interesting, fun, refined, and innovative, while at the same time approachable—with some Brazilian nuances.”
Though, they assure, it will be neither a steakhouse nor a Brazilian restaurant.
Instead, the flavor of Borges’ hometown of Rio will be showcased in the “farm shop” adjacent to the restaurant, a butcher shop-meets-bodega with an entrance facing the quaint fountain and courtyard that connects Le Bilboquet and the new space.
“I grew up with these bodegas, or ‘botecos’ as we call them in Brazil, everywhere—we called them TV for dogs,” he laughed, as he described the sizzling rotisserie chickens slowly turning in the windows of all the botecos of Rio. “The dogs would sit in front of the windows, mesmerized!”
The shop will serve dishes like paninis and salads for the lunch crowd, but it will also showcase goods from the farms they source foods from for the restaurant.
It will be a place where people can come in and buy some beautiful radishes, some seasonal greens, and farm eggs.
At the center of it, will be the in-house rotisserie, where people can come in and purchase an organic, free-range chicken with sides—such as potatoes cooked slowly under the rotisserie drippings—to take-out and enjoy at home.
The restaurant will mainly be a dinner place where Junior will be able to flex his impressive culinary skills, added Courseau.
“But the “farm shop” will be a very exciting addition to the neighborhood, and an opportunity for people to buy the same grass-fed beef or seasonal vegetables we will use in all three restaurants,” he said.
Nobody does this in Dallas yet, they add, citing restaurants like Marlow & Sons in New York, Gwen in Los Angeles and Cochon Butcher in New Orleans, where the concept has been wildly popular. The rotisserie chicken may even remind Dallasites who spend half the year in the mountains of the ever popular one served at Meat & Cheese in Aspen.
Borges and Courseau are already working with another powerhouse duo on the space, Brooklyn-based Rustam-Marc Mehta and Tal Schori or GRT Architects, who just completed the glitzy new Don Angie in the West Village (NY).
“Don Angie just got a great review in The New York Times, so we are very excited to work with these guys,” said Courseau. “They are both architects and interior designers who create their own light fixtures and furniture—we are really trying to create a restaurant that has not been seen in Dallas yet; we are gutting the place, you won’t recognize anything from inside to out.”
As for how Courseau’s three restaurants on one block will not compete with each other, he said, “I’m into what I call a niche that is more sexy European, yet the restaurants I am trying to open are very anchored in the American culture.
“You know Le Bilboquet is French, but you don’t really see French restaurants like it in Paris.
“Up On Knox has lots of elements of a brasserie, almost like a Balthazar (NYC), but it’s not that French either.
“The new one is the same thing, just trying to mix the different cultures. I have been in America for 30 years, that’s who I am now — I’m as French as I am American, or as American as I am French. For me, the new restaurant must have that identity that is the European culture that is really part of what America has become. The new space will share that identity, but it will be very different from Le Bilboquet and Up On Knox while still sharing a link.”