Kitchens in Charlie Palmer’s newest restaurant at Dallas’s newest hotel The Joule are large and shiny, designed to serve tables in Charlie’s dining room and the hotels luxurious rooms and banquet facilities. They’ll even provide meals to all employees in the hotel and the restaurant, a big job that requires precision almost 24 hours a day.
My contribution was to provide an extra set of hands, in return I was able to see how a new venture of Charlie’s takes flight, the hotel rooms were not yet open, the dining room was only in its third day of service when I arrived and after a weekend of friends and family they opened for business quietly with no promotion and very little word of mouth. An intentional move that was designed to allow the team time to work out any opening kinks before the Dallas fine dining community starts to put the service under a microscope.
The executive chef, Scott Romano is a confident young man who’s worked for Charlie since starting his career 11 years ago. I first met him at the James Beard house in 1998, we were on Charlie’s team when he served a $30,000 dinner party along with Daniel Bolude and Charlie Trotter. More recently I interviewed Scott for my 2004 article Kitchen doors New York. At that time he was the chef at Charlie’s casual price fix concept Kitchen 82 on Manhattan’s upper west side. Since that time he’s run the kitchen at Charlie’s catering facility Astra in the D & B building in Los Angeles. With enough energy to rise at 9am and work until midnight 7 shifts a week he’s the perfect man for the job, stern when he needs to be and a leader with enthusiasm for excellent food, Scott made my time in Charlie’s kitchen memorable.
The dishes that caught my attention include a sashimi salad with celery leaf, frizze and shallots topped with thin slices of raw white tuna and slivers of capicola in a rice wine vinaigrette. I spent my first day preparing the angolatti pasta filled with herbed Ricotta cheese and mascarpone. Once on the plate it’s finished with grated Parmesan and lightly fried shiitake mushrooms.