Felix Culpa's bar
Felix Culpa's look to the outside world
Where the Felix Culpa host resides.
Audrey and Marilyn keeping a watchful eye on Felix Culpa patrons
A pop of Pop Art presiding over couch seating
Felix Culpa's winter salad features greens, squash, citrus, pomegranate, radish, pumpkin seeds, and shaved carrots.
Felix Culpa's surf (a light and fluffy salmon).
Felix Culpa's turf (a mouth-watering filet mignon).
The Knox-Henderson neighborhood has seen a lot of change in the past five years. Housing options abound, but the price-points for those apartment rentals and new construction townhouses are rapidly rising.
A new development is being planned for the area on the north side of Henderson east of 75 that will be mixed-use commercial and condos. In my mind, what this all means is a larger population of upwardly mobile folks always in search of dining and drinking options.
Some of Dallas’ favorite culinary haunts and perhaps favorites to just people watch have closed in recent years. Standbys like the T-Room (at Forty Five Ten’s original location), Mr. Mesero (where we had many a boozy daytime excursion), Sissy’s (for when we craved good ol’ Southern fare), Hibiscus (which was definitely not your standard steakhouse) and Victor Tango’s (a great spot for the aforementioned people watching) are now all gone.
The former space occupied by Victor Tango’s is now home to Felix Culpa.
Over the holidays, I decided to check out the relatively recently opened restaurant. Felix Culpa is the pop-princess baby of the SBBC team. Previously known for watering holes including Truth & Alibi, The Tipsy Alchemist and Punk Society, the hospitality group decided they needed some food to go with their spirits offerings.
Given SBBC’s background, I would say that Felix Culpa has a serious lounge-like vibe. Upon entering I felt as though I was in a Rat Pack lair. Expecting millennial versions of Frank, Sammy, and Dean to be ponied up to the bar.
The staff and patrons were all attractive, but definitely not in a pretentious way. Then again, my vision might have been skewed given the excellent lighting produced through the numerous chandeliers. Kept dim they are successful at taking a few years off anyone’s age.
A favorite quote from one of my best girlfriends when she encounters, less than hospitable lighting is: “This place is lit for surgery.” (Hopefully, all restaurateurs took heed of that last comment, especially if they want to cater to anyone over-the-age of 40.)
Contributing to that Rat Pack idea, the mid-century modern space offers a whimsical mix of plush decor — velvet chairs, ivy festooning the walls and pop art pieces.
At the helm of the kitchen is Nick Amoriello. Originally from Philadelphia, the innovative chef moved to Texas in 2005. Most recently, Amoriello was at Hattie’s in Bishop Arts District – but prior to that, he worked at Kitchen LTO and Rapscallion.
Felix Culpa’s menu is touted as new American cuisine infused with a little European flair. On my visit, I found the appetizer and side options to be incredibly intriguing. Perhaps I prefer the foreplay to the main course of a meal?
After deciding upon the Elouan Pinot Noir, I then swiftly ordered the steak tartare, yukon gnocchi, roasted broccoli and house-cut fries. I could order fries with every meal — I am truly an aficionado of the slender potato shavings.
Felix Culpa’s were offered up in two little bags accompanied by three ramekins filled with truffle aioli, honey tomato jam and malt vinegar mayo. These fries have entered my Top 3 list (alongside the Mansion on Turtle Creek and CDB Provisions). The gnocchi was extremely memorable for its sweetness produced by the pairing of potato and lemon with the kick of a delightful crunch.
These four dishes, along with our primary course: the salmon and bolognese sgarbi, were easily shared, family style, between me and my dining companion.
If you are looking for a new go-to spot for later night festive libations, but anchored with some delicious dishes (meaning you aren’t going to need to slurrily request that your Uber driver pull through Whataburger on the way home) I would definitely suggest adding Felix Culpa to your repertoire. A rotating group of turntable maestros including DJ Flip and DJ Kitty show-up for weekend mixing.
This place might also be perfect for a first date. The lighting is just right to show you at your best and the décor might help spark any awkward pauses in the conversation.
In summary, I would equate Felix Culpa with an extremely approachable hot guy. Don’t many of us want more of those in our life?
Felix Culpa, 3001 North Henderson, 214.446.9269, felixculpadallas.com