Can One Art Save The Commisary's Tarnished Service Reputation?

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Tesar prepares to take a bite from an imaginary sous-vide burger
One Art is coming! The Commissary folks sent out a press release last week and invited the media to a preview dinner this evening; look for lots of pretty food photos tomorrow in the Dallas blogosphere. Dinner service opens to the public Tuesday, offering two seatings -- at 6:30 and 8:30 -- by reservation only. The restaurant-within-a-restaurant concept gives chef John Tesar a chance to woo diners who have previously been disappointed in his service.

The release has all the buzzwords you'd expect to see, including "using as many local and seasonal products as possible," "farm-to-table" and "interesting and inspiring cuisine." What's more interesting is hearing Tesar talk about the concept himself. On the phone, the chef speaks passionately about the new concept, but also says he's ready to embrace some simplicity, eschewing stuffy foie gras and truffles in an attempt to make his food more approachable, while also hanging on to a certain level of refinement.

Tesar has gotten a lot of attention of late, with a cover story in D branding him as a hated chef and mixed reviews of his restaurant. Most complaints surrounding the Commissary center on service, and the chef admits having a hard time dealing with the intense surge the theater crowd brings. Those I've talked to who have eaten during slower hours, however, describe a decent experience, and one of Dallas' better burgers. I've avoided the restaurant so far, waiting for the One Art concept to kick off. It's now officially on my radar.


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4 comments
Slappy White
Slappy White

Been maybe 12 times and never a service hiccup.

Robynfolmar
Robynfolmar

Was at One Arts this weekend and purposely avoided it because of the service issues. Hope they get it on track.

TLS
TLS

I don't understand why if there are so many complaints about the service that they can't fix the service!  It doesn't happen often enough that a restaurant owner is given insight into why people are unhappy so when there are crystal clear issues with service I would think he would throw everything at fixing the problem.

If the problem is a crush of people before a show are they taking reservations only during that time so they know how many are coming and when?  Are they offering a special theater-goer menu designed to help the kitchen bang out the food?  

Uppercase Matt
Uppercase Matt

The theater issue would also be my concern -- I generally get down to OAP before seeing something at Winspear, with an 8pm curtain.  I wouldn't be confident at all that I'd make it with a 6:30 seating and their track record.

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