An unassuming eatery located in a buzzing shopping center in greater Dallas is one of the city’s best kept ‘fine dining’ secrets and most underrated restaurants. And it’s finally actually getting some major attention of its own thanks in large part to its chef/owner’s unconventional move.
Canary by Gorji became the first fine dining Dallas restaurant to adopt a no-tipping policy.
The non-tipping movement has gained momentum in cities such as San Francisco and New York thanks to celebrity chef advocates such as Danny Meyer and Tom Colicchio. But in Dallas, it still a long way from taking off.
Canary chef/owner Mansour Gorji is leading the way, intentionally or not, and setting the example for other chefs in a city with no shortage of restaurants. He went completely no-tipping in November.
Yes, you heard that right. You don’t have to tip at Canary by Gorji. In fact, it’s forbidden. In many ways, it makes perfect sense for Canary by Gorji to do it first. Canary is a very small restaurant, seven-tables to be exact. The non-tipping system creates a fair system for both the front and back of house teams, and it allows for better hourly-wages for chef Gorji’s five full-time employees.
Most importantly in chef Gorji’s mind, it fosters a superior dining experience for the customer (the waiters won’t try and upsell you or rush you to finished your meal to get more customers into your seat).
To make the system work, Gorji raised his menu prices around 20 percent, creating more fixed revenue. This chef has always been something of a rebel. His restaurant already banned children — and it thrives on a decidedly different vibe than many of its fine dining competitors. It’s located in Addison in the upscale Village on the Parkway strip mall complex.
Canary by Gorji is not the kind of restaurant that you casually walk in and get a table at (you’ll definitely need a reservation) and it is certainly not a turn the table, high-pace kind of restaurant. It’s the complete opposite. In fact, Gorji has curated a pleasurable and relaxed fine dining experience — one where he truly wants you to enjoy your meal (trust me, you will).
Chef Gorji takes the best elements and essence from the Mediterranean cuisine and melds them into simple, but flavorful, exquisitely crafted dishes.
Think, escargot in a pomodoro, Gorgonzola mushroom sauce, and baby eggplant stuffed with Gorgonzola dolce in an arrabbiata style sauce. Followed by Texas wild boar tenderloin with sea scallops and Gorgonzola gnocchi with grilled Campari tomatoes.
And for dessert, you ask? A provocative beer-float — vanilla bean ice cream drenched in an Irish stout style beer. Delicious is an understatement — if I could swim in it, I would.
It’s evident that chef Gorji is driven by a relentless devotion to satisfy his guests with superbly prepared dishes, only rivaled by the unimpeachable service given by his staff. To dine at Canary by Gorji almost seems like dining at Gorji’s own home.
If this is what no-tipping looks like, I want more.