Some people spend an entire successful career dreaming of the one thing they haven't done -- like how the dramatic actor Dane Cook has always yearned to make a comedy. Finally opening a long-sought HP Village spot after decades as a leading restaurateur: Alberto Lombardi, whose Bistro 31 soft opens today.
Opened up by window arches extending from the floor to a canvas-covered, exposed-beam ceiling, B-31 borrows from Spanish, French, and Italian Mediterranean culinary and aesthetic styles, with Murano glass chandeliers, deco-esque marble-and-chrome tables, and original paintings from local French expat Jacques Lamy, whose merging of classical training with Dallas's energy could be called "Fina Art".
The menu's been assembled by ex-Mansion exec sous-chef Eric Brandt, and kicks off with apps like ham-and-gruyere galette, escargot w/ crispy pork belly, and a fricassee of walnut w/ chicken, mushrooms, and walnut pistou, a close enough cousin to pesto that they probably shouldn't get married.
Heavier stuff runs (very slowly) from Torchio pasta (with dungeness crab & lemon confit), to Kobe steak frites (balsamic cippolini, Provençal aioli), to a roasted black cod accompanied by fingerling potato salad with 'shrooms and mustard sauce, which the Colonel must've drank plenty of before doing it in the library, with a candlestick.
The back-lit, marble-topped wood bar gets the libations going with numbers like the "Torino" (Cocchi vermouth, absinthe, bitters), the "Juniper Flower" (Old Tom Gin, St Germain, g-fruit juice, bitters, Prosecco), and the raspberry vodka/Creme Yvette "Killing Thyme" -- which is really what aspiring comedian Dane Cook is doing with all these serious roles that don't indulge audiences with even one laugh.