Restaurants / Openings

Dallas’ Answer to New York’s Legendary Balthazar Completes a Fine Dining Neighborhood

This is No Chili’s Wasteland Anymore

BY // 12.19.17
photography Chris Plavidal

Steps from the Highland Park entrance to the Katy Trail, a posh address at the intersection of Knox and Travis streets sat promisingly vacant. Diners who frequent neighboring Lombardi restaurants Toulouse and Taverna and, down the street, favorites like Le Bilboquet and Grange Hall, watched the empty corner location that, for decades, had been… well, a Chili’s.

As potted boxwoods and bistro tables moved in, the navy awnings went up, and so did the hopes of the fine dining crowd. Once it was divined that the property was in the hands of neighborhood veteran Stephan Courseau — owner of the beloved Bilboquet — expectations went through the roof. And, with good reason.

The resulting brasserie, Up On Knox, has become the answer to neighborhood dining prayers: a place to meet for an espresso and classic French breakfast or to linger over a champagne cocktail at the bar. Call it Dallas’ answer to Balthazar.

On a Tuesday, long after lunch hours, we found patrons still chatting comfortably with the staff, already familiar in a place that had been open less than a month. A gentleman was lost in his book at a cocktail table by the front windows, only stirring once he caught a gust of crisp air through the revolving doors — another friend stopping by to say hello.

In the evenings, Up On Knox has become the newest see-and-be-seen dining room where well dressed social ladies and gents flock.

The interior, with a classic-meets-contemporary hybrid of black lacquer and polished brass, fittingly calls to mind a La Cornue range. The covetable appliance looks fresh and modern but has been found in all of the best French kitchens for over a century.

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All of the brasserie’s decadent caviar selections are served with egg, capers, red onion, crème fraiche, chives, and toast points.

This kitchen is presided over by husband and wife duo Kelly and Melody Bishop. The chefs have created seasonal menus for breakfast, brunch, lunch, and dinner, as well as an oyster bar and decadent selection of caviar. Popular appetizers include the salmon rillettes, made with shallots, lemon, crème fraiche, and herbs, and a classic French Brandade — a plate of salt cod served with potato, spicy blistered tomatoes, mint, and a toasted baguette.

Entrée standouts like the Arroz Negro — Valencia rice, squid ink, sofrito, squid, clams, roasted tomato, and saffron aioli — distinguish the restaurant with bold flavors and enticing aromas.Whether stepping in off the Katy Trail for an almond croissant or hosting a chic celebration in the restaurant’s private dining room, expect to be greeted by easy jazz music and friendly servers — and to stay far longer than you had planned.

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