New Virgin Hotel’s Showcase Restaurant Brings Elaborate Cocktails and a Top Dallas Chef’s Best
Your First Taste Look at Matt McCallister's Commons ClubBY Megan Ziots // 01.08.20
Servers mix up the ingredients of the beef tartare tableside.
The Commons Club bar is the place to be.
Chef Matt McCallister and Executive Chef Nick Walker finalizing the Commons Club menu.
Parisian Gnocchi is one of the pasta dishes on the menu.
The dining room of Commons Club has a classy jungle vibe. Courtesy of Virgin Hotel
Hotcakes are available for breakfast.
Root Vegetable Gratin at Commons Club.
A rendering of the semi-private dining room at Commons Club.
Texas Farm Radishes are sourced locally.
Texas Wagyu Short Rib comes with green onion, baby turnips and mushroom aioli at Commons Club.
A rendering of the Commons Club's outdoor patio.
The TX Pecan Pie for 2!!! is delicious. Photo by Megan Ziots
As soon as you walk into Commons Club, you quickly forget that you’re dining in a hotel restaurant. But that’s what the entire Virgin Hotels Dallas is like. Each area, from the Funny Library Coffee Shop to rooftop Pool Club to the “guest chambers” (hotel rooms) makes you feel like you’ve been transported somewhere else.
The restaurant, in particular, gives off a classy jungle vibe with plants, trees and lots of green with hints of gold.
On a Tuesday night, the bar was well populated with guests sipping on Clover Clubs or wine. The Shag Room had a few guests, lounging about on a giant dark green couch and standing on shaggy black rugs. And the main dining room has several hotel guests and locals trying out chef Matt McCallister‘s newest restaurant.
For what turned out to be an incredibly filling adventure of McCallister’s latest menu, I started with the Galactic cocktail. A pleasant and not-too-sweet concoction of Astral tequila, Ancho Reyes, pineapple and lime, I can see why it’s one of the most popular drinks on the list.
Next, we were brought out the tuna crudo with Bigeye tuna, golden beets, serrano chile and tapioca crisps — and the wood grilled maitake mushroom with toasted garlic, fine herbs and aerated hollandaise. Although extremely savory, I found it quite addicting. And the raw tuna pieces, paired with the golden beets tasted very fresh. The hint of serrano chile provided an extra kick.
We watched our server mix up ribeye cap, dijonaise, radish sprouts, onion ash for the beef tartare before scooping it on Cristal’s lavash, a crispy flatbread. After that, we tried the crispy pork belly which ended up being my favorite dish of the night. A “Shareable” on the menu, it came with three big chunks of slightly crisped pork belly, glazed carrots, sauce verte and chicharrón crumble.
For entrees, the pappardelle pasta came with beef cheek ragout and horseradish. A lighter pasta, it really didn’t have much of a sauce, but the beef cheek, either slow-cooked or braised was tasty enough on its own. Then out came the Texas Wagyu short rib. With charred green onion, baby turnips and mushroom aioli, the short rib was decent, but it’s not the kind that just falls off as soon as you touch a knife to it.
A moderate level of cutting is involved. Our waiter noted that McCallister is considering adjusting the dish, possibly gearing towards the more braised version that a lot of people tend to expect.
Lastly, when we didn’t think we could take one more bite, the TX Pecan Pie for 2!!! (Yes, there are three exclamation points in the dish’s title) landed on our table. The dessert included Texas pecans, a hefty dollop of bourbon ice cream and French Broad chocolate drizzle that definitely earned itself all of those exclamation points.
Pastry chef Cristal Gonzalez also does a sweet potato cheesecake with rosemary marshmallow cream and salted pecans that I’d loved to try, but that would’ve required me to not finish my half of the pecan pie. And that was just not going to be possible.