Exiting Sylvan Avenue off I30, one would make a right to head to the popular destinations of Smoke and The Belmont. Along that short stretch of a few blocks, you’ll find a hodgepodge of random buildings, surrounded by overgrown grasses, their windows dark. You probably wouldn’t give another thought to this area unless it was a Monday or Tuesday evening, where, in front of one such unassuming store front, you will find a valet and a group of well-dressed individuals milling about, sipping white wine.
For the past six months, 48 Nights @ Sylvan|Thirty has been tantalizing the taste buds of Dallas foodies, inviting local celebrity chefs to whip up prix fix meals twice a week in the name of charity. Restaurateurs Chris Jeffers, Chris Zielke and Tim Byres, together with the Mass Care Task Force (American Red Cross Dallas Area Chapter, North Texas Food Bank, The Salvation Army DFW Metroplex Area Command, and Volunteer Center of North Texas), concocted the idea to benefit the Mass Care Task Force in order to increase North Texas’ level of disaster preparedness. The events also serve to garner interest in the new Sylvan|Thirty development, which will house lofts, stores and other businesses, once the current properties are leveled.
One, I couldn’t BELIEVE I hadn’t heard about this great concept, and two I couldn’t wait to attend. On Monday evening I headed up to Sylvan Ave for the 6:30 pm seating (a later one happens around 9,) and was thrilled to find that this week’s guest chef team came from Oak Cliff favorite Tillman’s Roadhouse. The mood is a jovial one, a group of around 30 people escorted to community tables where they can chat and share their brought bottles of booze (TGIBYOB, eh?) Word is the restaurant itself has evolved as the weeks have passed, thanks to the hand of interior designer Mike Thompson, who has created a homey/chic effect, with his dripping candles, baskets of wine bottles and corks glued to mirrors (my favorite touch.)
The menu is divided into one amuse bouche and five courses, consisting of incredible dishes crafted using fresh, homegrown ingredients. The gang at Tillman’s said creating the menu was a collaborative effort, and a “labor of the heart.” Here’s a taste: Creamer Pea Hummus with huarache corn chips, Big Eye tuna fish “tacos” with blackberries and pickled watermelon rinds, a salad topped with smoked almonds and a goat cheese croquette (pictured), Texas Quail confit topped with Deep Ellum Blue Cheese alongside a breaded Yoder Farm egg (a play on the age-old question “Which came first…?”), finished up with a 30 day-aged Burgundy strip steak and Lone Star Summer Buttermilk Pie with Blueberry Crisp ice cream.
My apologies if you’re reading this before lunch. But hey, you can still sneak in to 48 Nights. Tickets are $75 (grat not included) and all proceeds go to charity. Visit www.48nights.com for more info.