Bullion is located in the golden-scaled undercarriage appended to the building, formerly known as the Belo building at 400 S. Record in Dallas. The restaurant is a product of the building’s recent makeover by the architecture firm, Gensler. And with it, Bullion is both shouting its gold-plated existence and declaring its intentions to its would-be competitors. Jacquelyn and I had dinner at Bullion last Saturday. And Bullion, led by Chef Bruno Davaillon, formerly with The Mansion on Turtle Creek, does not disappoint. It is the best food Jacquelyn and I have had in Dallas in a very long time.
We arrived a bit early as we always do for a new dining experience, intent on trying out the bar. Our initial test, admittedly subjective, is whether the bar can make a good martini. We climbed the stairs and were greeted by a beautifully flamboyant, mid-century interior with comfortably arranged low upholstered chairs tastefully positioned within a blue and gold, mohair velvet framework. Our orders were taken and the bartender worked his magic, quite successfully. The magic was preceded, however, somewhat surprisingly, with a wonderful amuse-bouche, a short Bees Knees cocktail, consisting of gin, infused with lemon juice and honey. As the temperature outside on this May evening hovered around 95, it was a welcome treat!
Once seated, in perfect conjunction with the timing of our reservation, our server Jessica allowed us a few minutes to look over the menu and the extensive wine list. She offered us a rendition of the specials and we ordered the salmon, split between us, and a couple of appetizers: the Foie Gras Torchon, with fig marmalade and sourdough bread, and the L’oeuf Pochè, poached eggs, morel mushrooms and asparagus. I have become convinced that a well-prepared foie gras speaks volumes as to the capacity of a restaurant. And Jessica suggested, again somewhat surprisingly, a Chateau Guirauld sauterne to accompany the foie gras. The pairing was absolutely superb, as was the L’oeuf Pochè; but the appetizers were merely a foreshadowing of our delightful evening.
Julie introduced herself as our sommelier, ignoring a unfortunate inquiry from a table near us as to whether she was “the wine lady.” While Jacquelyn and I have some experience picking wines, Julie, who revealed herself to be a recent transplant to Texas, narrowed the choices for us and brought us a 2010 Chateau Sociando-Mallet, which frankly was among the best wines we’ve had with a meal.
We split the entrée between us, as Jacquelyn and I do on most occasions. Americans tend to overeat. Restaurants tend to over-serve. That being said, the food was extraordinary, its preparation absolutely perfect. And while we usually don’t indulge desserts, given how wonderful our meal was, we had to this time. We (again) split a delicious strawberry shortcake confection and given the skill associated with our wine pairings, we also ordered a couple of dessert wines. Those, too, like everything in Bullion, were wonderful.
This is a restaurant that D magazine recently suggested was a good candidate for Michelin status. While we whole-heartedly agree, to Jacquelyn and me, such rankings are immaterial. Some of our best meals have been in un-ranked restaurants. And this new restaurant, without equivocation, has offered us simply the best meal we have recently had in Dallas. It outshines and out-powers the recently renovated French Room, which, frankly, was a disappointment on a whole host of levels. Aside from the wonderful flamboyance of the interior, the quality of both the food and the wine at Bullion reminded us of Semilla and Fish La Boissonnerie in Paris, of Fort Worth’s recently-shuttered Le Cep and of our first meal at Binkley’s outside of Scottsdale, Arizona.
The food at Bullion is simply superb. The service is unobtrusive yet efficient. Jessica’s suggestion of the sauterne added a welcome depth to our appetizers. Bullion’s sommelier is knowledgeable but it was clear her intent was simply to allow us to choose a wine that was complementary to our dinner and our budget. While the wine list is replete with very expensive wines, they have many that are reasonably priced, and like ours, delicious.
Bullion’s atmosphere, like its service and its food, is rich, warm, friendly and inviting. We recommend that you make your reservations now. It’s worth the wait. But before you do, allow us the opportunity to go one more time before everyone finds out about it.