Saturday, January 8, 2011

Lunch at Grand Lux Cafe (Dallas Galleria)

I hope my readers had a great Christmas and New Year's Day! We recently returned from a few pleasant weeks in the Dallas, TX. area to visit family.

The trip gave us the welcome opportunity to try a number of great restaurants, but the Grand Lux Cafe at the Galleria Dallas has to be at the top of my list. I hate to admit it, but one of the criterion I weigh heavily in looking at a restaurant is the quality of the coffee that's served. So frequently in Texas, coffee has the strength of a weak cup of tea. Unfortunately, it often has neither a bold or full flavor nor welcoming aroma. In fact, it often appears to be prepared using unfiltered water in communities sometimes recognized for relatively poor water quality to begin with. If good water isn't the first ingredient, the best coffee will fall short.

While the disclosure above may set me apart as a crazy Pacific Northwest coffee purist, the truth of the matter is that the Grand Lux Cafe understands all this. The coffee, the first thing I believe I tried there, was as satisfying and full-flavored as the best Pacific Northwest restaurant could offer. (Granted, a view of the ocean would have been an added benefit.) Being a little under the weather at the time with a cough, it was also greatly appreciated to have such attentive waitstaff ensuring that one's coffee cup never ran dry.

The quality and attention to detail didn't stop there, though. The fresh-baked bread delivered to the table before the meal was absolutely delicious. The whole wheat bread was particularly awe-inspiring, perhaps the best I've eaten. For my main entree, I selected the Reuben Sandwich, which included "warm Pastrami Topped with Sauerkraut Or Cole Slaw, Havarti Cheese and Thousand Island Dressing on Grilled Rye. Served with an Organic Green Salad or French Fries." I have to say that this was one of the most delicious Reubens I've ever eaten.

As a table, we ordered several different deserts in order try an assortment. We tasted their fabulous Creme Brulee Duo (both vanilla as well as a dark chocolate version) as well as something called New Orleans Beignets. These were similar to doughnuts, but included several delicious dipping sauces. While everything was excellent, I think the classic vanilla creme brulee was my favorite desert for the day. It was such a great lunch, I don't think anyone was particularly interested in dinner that evening.

A few words also need to be added about the restaurant's appealing architecture and design. As can be seen in the second photo above, there was a great deal of attention to detail in this area, as well. The good lighting and high gold-colored ceilings give the dining area a remarkably pleasant ambience. In fact, it all creates such an inviting atmosphere that one just wants to continue to sit and enjoy it after the meal has concluded. Tasteful art reproductions are also included. Even in areas where no windows were possible, elegant decorative windows were added which really do compliment the overall lighting and feel of the room. I hope we can look forward to a Grand Lux Cafe in Seattle or Portland in the coming years. We'd love to welcome them to the Pacific Northwest!

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