It's a safe bet that I've made my first - and last - trip to Fedora, a restaurant at 1722 Routh Street, in Dallas' Arts District.
Carol Allen and I, always on the lookout for a good place to eat near to the Winspear, made reservations prior to the final performance of Lucia di Lammermoor Sunday afternoon. Our visit was a disaster. Not because our server didn't try, but absolutely nothing went right.
We should have realized we were in trouble when we were seated at a table with no knifes or napkins. Oops. A small error, easily fixed by an apologetic hostess.
Then, in a truly inspired moment, I ordered a Bloody Mary. It was 11 a.m. on Sunday morning in Dallas. A Bloody Mary would be great with brunch, I thought. I requested extra horseradish - the way my mother taught me, and the way they make them at Brennan's in New Orleans. Horseradish gives the cocktail the perfect Sunday Brunch kick.
Boy, was I in for a surprise.
Imagine my surprise when the waiter told me they had to go next door - to Jorge's - to borrow the ingredients for my poison of choice. What Texas bar - worth it's Margarita salt - doesn't have the fixins' for a Bloody Mary ... during Sunday brunch?
When it arrived at the table, my glass was filled with liquid that the sickest shade of red you've ever seen. Really. It was closer to pink. Who makes a PINK Bloody Mary?
Then, to add insult to injury, the borrowed mix was served in with AN OLIVE and a pitiful piece of lime floating near the top. I admit I don't frequent bars much anymore, but really ... an olive? Olives belong in martinis, don't they?
It wasn't fit for human consumption.
Realizing the drink was going untouched, our waiter then came to the table and said he could fix me a proper Bloody Mary because someone on the staff had "gone to the store and bought some real mix."
It was better, to be sure, and much healthier looking. Gone was the olive, but still no horseradish. What kind of restaurant doesn't have some kind of horseradish on hand?
Then, there was the food.
The calamari was *this* close to be being cold - and we were one of only 4 tables, so it's not like the kitchen or wait staff was under a lot of pressure. Besides being nearly cold, it was tough and the side of mustard aoli someone must have thought clever was actually inedible.
The waiter, sensing our growing discomfort, offered to split our orders (Carol had the frittata.I had the eggs benedict.). Nice. Carol and I could have a helping of both dishes.
It took two people to bring the order to our table. It was on four HUGE plates.
No way the four gigantic pieces of white porcelain were going to fit on our itty, bitty table for two. The waiter - a nice guy, but way out of his league - offered to put combine the plates, but he seemed stumped about the logistics, until Carol said, "Just give me the plates and I'll fix it." Clearly, Carol has had more experience serving guests than this fella.
The food was pretty, save the chef's putting salad on top of Carol's fritatta. Maybe this is some new trend, stacking raw greens on the top of cooked (or, in our case, semi-cooked eggs), but I can tell you, no hostess worth her homemade mayonnaise would serve it to her guests like that.
I liked the Hollandaise sauce on my eggs benedict, but Carol said it wasn't tangy enough. Since Brennan's abandonded its space at One Main Place (downtown Dallas) a decade or three ago, I've had Hollandaise two, maybe three times, so I'm leaving this call to my friend, who loves to cook and entertain.
The only bright point of our experience was Carol's creme brulee.
I had the tiramisu ... The lady fingers were mushy, which tells me the layered confection was not made that morning, but was a sad leftover from Saturday night.
Oh, yeah. The coffee was fresh, hot and tasty, but certainly not worth our $75 tab.
I can't make this stuff up.
It's a shame about Fedora's, since it's in such a prime location, just right up the street from the Meyerson Symphony Center, The Wyly Theater and the Winspear.
I'll continue to go into town for concerts, the opera and the symphony, but I'll be avoiding Fedora's ... you can bet on it.
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