Filament: Upscale Southern Casual in Dallas’ Deep Ellum

Filament in Deep Ellum is Matt McAliister's newest eatery.
Filament in Deep Ellum is Matt McCallister’s newest eatery.

Photo Credit: Filament/Facebook

Matt McCallister’s new restaurant, Filament, is nothing at all like it’s more artisan sister, FT33. While FT33 is a bit like a walking tour through the Scandinavian countryside Filament is more like a stroll through the deep south in summer. The classic southern comfort food that we all grew up with is updated and reworked — essentially creating a silk purse from a sow’s ear.

And they said it couldn’t be done.

Located in oh-so-trendy Deep Ellum, Filament is housed in a space that used to be a machine shop. Exposed brick, rough hewn beams, and bar lights made from vintage glass insulators create an industrial-chic look that is a step beyond the steampunk trend. Clean and stark are words that come to mind.A metal contraption that was found in the building, once a drill press, has now been transformed into  the hostess stand, and is a real conversation piece. Concrete floors and an open kitchen complete the urban look.

The goal is to have a casual restaurant in the area so that people can duck in after a movie or afternoon of shopping. In order to accomplish that in an area where reservations and increasingly necessary the Filament team reserves half the space just for walk-in guests. It’s a good move given the fact that Deep Ellum is the hot spot for developers who are interested in recreating old buildings into residential and office spaces. So when you are shopping Akola or Elluments you can grab a quick bite.

Chef Cody's Gumbo Ya Ya is full of Andouille sausage, chicken, and California Gold rice.
Chef Cody’s Gumbo Ya Ya is full of Andouille sausage, chicken, and California Gold rice.

Photo Credit: Filament/Facebook

Let’s talk food. Everyone in Texas has an onion dip recipe but Filament takes it to an entirely different level with their ember roasted onion dip and sea salt chips. Grits served with greens and a fried egg were bite after bite of southern perfection. Is there anywhere else in DFW where you can get Natchitoches (NAK-i-tosh) meat pies just like the infamous Louisiana dish? We think not.

You can’t go wrong with the chicken thigh. It’s bite after bite of crispy goodness served with cheddar chive biscuits, pepper jelly, and bread & butter pickles and would fit in quite comfortably at any Sunday dinner. Sides include a fantastic Hoppin’ John with black truffle and creamy buttermilk mashed potatoes. Finish up with a buttermilk pie or coconut cake. There is a “secret menu” that changes daily and depends on what Chef feels like cooking. Ask your server what’s available that day.

Cocktails follow the southern theme. The Whiskey Smash is made with bourbon, mint, demerara sugar and lemon — classic flavors artfully combined into a refreshing cocktail. The Sloe and Low combines sloe gin, Amer Gingembre bitters, and blood orange into a grown-up Kool-Aid with a spicy-sweet citrus kick.

Filament has been open just about a month — long enough to have worked out the kinks that are to be expected in a brand new restaurant. You don’t have to put on a suit but the dress is definitely upscale Texas casual.