Food & Drink

Don't call it Mexican

A judge's advice usually consists of something like "You need to get your act together and start paying your child support", or "You need to rent Fast Times -- I'm really good in it." Following judicial advice of a more culinary/geographic nature: Manuel Arredondo, opening Manuel's Creative Cuisine this week.

There's a lot of backstory here, so let's get to it: After studying under Gualtiero Marchesi (the first Italian with three Michelins), Arredondo created menus for events from Super Bowl XXXVIII to the 2000 Republican Nat'l Convention, and was personally requested by Bush 41 for both his 75th and 80th birthday bashes. He opened his first restos in Jalisco and Los Cabos, then, after a local judge/Centrum resident told him there was a prime place available, hired an NY design guru to lay out this tastefully minimalist 100-seater with surprisingly comfy high-backs and, following Bill Gates Architecture Theory, glass walls on three sides for an all-in bet on windows.

Organic and mostly locally sourced, the "international, global" menu kicks off with jumbo scallops (w/ beet juice-infused Israeli couscous, port & vanilla sauce, black squid cracker), duck empanadas (dried fruits, cream cheese dough, avo), and pot stickers stuffed w/ pork, Granny Smiths, spinach, soy & balsamic glaze, soy foam & micro greens, also a Pop Warner team sponsored by UNT. Mains range from red wine-cinnamon-sage lamb ravioli moistened oxymoronically (it's naturally juiced), to Thai shrimp (red curry paste, lemongrass, coconut & c-nut foam, rice noodles, crispy rice), to the sweet potato puree, spinach, Shiraz-vanilla-sauced Cacao and Coffee Pork.

Chunk out on desserts including beer batter-topped crispy brownies, coconut-infused Italian Sabayon (served w/ seasonal berries), and, with ice cream, panna cotta, foam, and a caramelized-mango Napoleon, the Mango Fantasy -- which, if it involves Kattan, is a fast time any judge will tell you to avoid.