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Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck

February 3, 2015

Late in spring of last year, my husband texted me at work one day and told me that he just found out that Virgin America was starting a new route in the fall from Los Angeles to Dallas’ Love Field, and to celebrate this new route, the airline was selling dirt cheap roundtrip airfare for a limited time, as long as we purchased plane tickets with 24 hours, or whenever the tickets sold out, whichever one came sooner.  Thoughts started swirling in both of our heads as we had talked about and looked into going to Texas a couple of times over the past few years.  Truthfully, all those thoughts surrounding Texas generally equated to San Antonio, but hey Dallas could be just as interesting.  Besides, I now had nothing but the thought of good old Texas BBQ in my head.  That night, my husband and I looked at the calendar, chose a weekend, and booked a ticket.  When else were we ever going to get a roundtrip ticket to Dallas for $150 per person?  You can’t even get a one way ticket for that price.  And so, we were going to Dallas!

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Of course, even a short weekend trip to Dallas meant planning needed to be done:  where would we stay?  how would we get around? what was there to see and do? where would we eat?  With that in mind, we started brainstorming ideas of what to see and do and narrowed it down.  One of the items on our list was to go to the top of Reunion Tower for the 360 degree view of the Dallas skyline.  That’s when my husband told me that there was a Wolfgang Puck restaurant one floor above the observation deck at Reunion Tower that he thought we should look into.

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Next thing I know, we made reservations at Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck for dinner on the night we arrived in Dallas.  The restaurant was a revolving restaurant, so we weren’t missing out on the view by dining instead of going to the observation deck.  As we’d be there at night, we’d get to see the Dallas skyline lit up with the city lights surrounding us.  Traffic on a Friday night in Dallas might just possibly be worse than traffic in Los Angeles, if you can believe that.  And when we arrived at Reunion Tower, our table wasn’t quite ready yet and we were forced to wait, making me even hungrier as we hadn’t really eaten anything all day long.  Finally, as we were seated at our window table looking out over the view of Dallas laid out and twinkling under the lights below us, I couldn’t wait to get started.

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As soon as you’re whisked up the elevators to the restaurant high above you, you step immediately out to see a gorgeous chilled wine rack laid out before you with hundreds and hundreds of bottles of wine.

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When you walk up to the host desk, there’s an open sushi kitchen with a sushi bar to your right.  Being a Wolfgang Puck restaurant, Five Sixty serves contemporary Asian fusion food with a whole sushi menu made fresh upon ordering.

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To the left is a fully-stocked bar, one of two bars in the restaurant serving up all sorts of familiar and unfamiliar concoctions.  Of course, being an Asian fusion restaurant with its own sushi bar, the bar also serves up a whole array of Japanese sake.  Beyond the sushi bar and the bar is the restaurant laid out before you on a revolving platform that makes a full 360 degree rotation every 40 minutes.  The restaurant is quiet and intimate with dark lighting and candlelit tables.  Nothing flashy and glitzy, just intimate, romantic and modern.

Being up this far inside Reunion Tower, which is set off a bit from Downtown Dallas, you get an amazing view of the Dallas skyline at night.  Unfortunately, trying to take skyline photos from a revolving restaurant at night just isn’t conducive for any great photos because there’s too much glare from the restaurant to be able to take any non-reflective night time photos.  So, you’ll have to believe me that the view was spectacular.

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Celebrating a weekend getaway to North Texas while dining inside a revolving restaurant many stories high up above the city calls for a drink.  My husband decided to kick off his night with a drink called Pavlov’s Dog.  Made with Tanqueray #10 gin, grapefruit juice, lillet, lime juice, lemongrass and ginger syrup, it was the lemongrass that drew my husband’s eye.  Leave it to my husband, almost anything that has ginger or lemongrass in it will always attract my husband.  Served in a martini glass, the drink came out a pale pink color, probably due to the grapefruit juice and had a ginger flower floating in the drink.  While it served its purpose, my husband did think that the drink was just ok and maybe a little too girly or frou frou for his taste.

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Later on in the evening, my husband decided that he wanted another drink and decided to peruse the cocktail menu again.  His eyes landed on a drink called Rolling Fog Over Mt. Fuji.  Made with Hibiki 12 year, Aperol, lemon juice and simple syrup, my husband was specifically looking for a whiskey drink for his second drink of the evening.  What arrived at the table was a spectacular drink that looked more like a work of art.  Served in a wide-mouthed stemless wine glass, the drink was dominated by a large cube of ice which when dropped into the drink released wafts of condensation, almost looking like smoke, the same effect you’d see with dry ice, created the rolling fog effect with the ice cube being Mt. Fuji.  The drink itself was frothy and foamy adding to the rolling fog effect.  It was spectacular to behold.  But beyond that, my husband described the drink itself as exceptional.  He was highly impressed with the creativity and combination of flavors in this whiskey cocktail.

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To start off the meal, the chef sent out an amuse bouche of Szechuan green beans with black and white sesame seeds, candied pecans and scallions.  Normally, I’d never order a dish such as this, and probably would never even sample this dish as I’m not a fan of green beans.  So, when the dish was delivered to the table, I told my husband that this was all for him to enjoy.  As he sampled the dish, he told me that I had to give it a try because he really liked it.  When it comes to food, since I’m so picky, my husband has learned what I like and don’t like and when he tells me that I should try something he’s usually telling me because he actually thinks it’s something that I would like, so I had to relent and at least give this dish a try.  Surprisingly, I liked it and discovered that once again, my husband didn’t lead me down the wrong path.  The green beans were crispy and fresh and delicious and the sesame seeds just added a great nutty flavor to go with the caramelized pecans.  I was quite surprised that I’d even like a dish such as this, but I did.

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For appetizers, we decided to order 3 different appetizers.  Mind you, we hadn’t eaten all day long, literally, and it was past 9 pm by this time, so we both felt like we were hungry enough to eat a horse.  We started with pot belly potstickers served with dried cherries, black vinegar and chili oil.  I was a bit concerned by the chili oil as I wasn’t too sure how spicy the potstickers would be, but it didn’t end up being that big of an issue.  There were chili flakes on the plate and as long as I scraped the flakes off of the potstickers it was fine.  The potstickers were terrific, though I admit that I am not sure that I could tell that they were stuffed with pork belly as opposed to anything else and I don’t remember tasting the dried cherries at all.  That’s not to say that these potstickers weren’t good because they were, they just didn’t stand out all that much.

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Our second appetizer was the “surf and turf” roll made with poached lobster, garlic, chili aioli and seared wagyu beef.  While my husband and I do eat raw fish, neither of us is a huge fan of sushi, but in this case, the roll was made with poached lobster and seared beef, so while not completely cooked well done, neither the surf or the turf was actually raw.  Again, I was a bit concerned about the chili aioli in this dish just in case it made the dish spicy, but honestly, I couldn’t taste it at all.  The poached lobster was buttery and melted in my mouth and paired with the avocado so perfectly and the seared wagyu beef was so tender and flavorful.  The flavor combos in the roll were just heavenly with the sushi rice and the slight saltiness from the nori seaweed wrap.  I really enjoyed this surf and turf roll and am glad that I decided to try something different and order something I normally wouldn’t order at a restaurant.

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The third appetizer was my husband’s choice of the spicy tuna tartare.  Served in sesame-miso cones and topped with shaved bonito flakes and tobiko egg roe, the three “cones” were served in a cute vertical wooden display that you might see at an ice cream shop for them to rest ice cream cones in.  Again, I was a bit concerned about this being too hot for my liking with the spicy tuna, but I honestly didn’t taste the spice at all.  I loved the presentation of the sesame-miso cones which not only served as the vessel for the tartare, but added a great amount of texture and flavor to the entire dish.  The finish with the tobiko egg roe was a nice touch and the spicy tuna itself was so fresh and clean and jam-packed full of flavor.  This appetizer was certainly one of the most creative appetizers I’ve seen in a long time.

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To enjoy with our entrees, my husband and I ordered the house fried rice with lapsong sausage, scallion and egg.  I was excited about the fried rice because of the lapsong sausage.  Chinese sausage is fantastic if you’ve never had it before, it’s a little sweet and just not the same consistency of what you’d think of when you think of a sausage.  This is the kind of sausage I grew up eating a bunch as a kid, so to see it here in fried rice, I couldn’t wait.  The fried rice had a lot of flavor, especially with the simple ingredients of sausage, scallions and egg, all with strong distinct flavor in their own right.  The fried rice also did have a bit of spice in it as it actually had some diced peppers in it, which I didn’t completely enjoy and wish I had known would be in the dish before I ordered it.

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For his entrée, my husband ordered the ordered the beef filet “au poivre” served with caramelized brussel sprouts, mushrooms, bacon and smoked shallot sauce.  I was actually looking at this dish because I’m such a beef lover, and I love au poivre sauce with the spicy bite of the black peppers.  I did ask my husband if I could steal some of the caramelized brussel sprouts from his dish as I’ve discovered I really like brussel sprouts and these caramelized brussel sprouts flavored with bacon didn’t disappoint as they were perfectly roasted and quite tasty.  The meat was perfectly cooked to a medium rare as requested and was quite tender and flavorful.  My husband loved the black peppercorn crust  and the smoked shallot sauce with the mushrooms and the red and green bell peppers were something my husband particularly enjoyed as it gave the dish a bit of spice, flavor and the slightest bit of heat.  The serving size was also substantially larger than my husband anticipated it being, which since we were starving was very much welcomed.

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I also went with a beef dish for my entrée.  I selected the braised beef “belly” served over XO mai fun noodles, crisp garlic and Thai basil.  As soon as I placed my order, our waiter approved, stating that I’d really enjoy the beef belly as it wasn’t just fatty, but had a good amount of really good, tender, flavorful meat.  And he wasn’t wrong at all.  The braised beef belly was packed full of outstanding flavor.  There was a good deal of fat, as you’d expect since it’s beef belly, but as advertised, it also had much more tender meat than I had expected.  It was perfectly braised and a little bit caramelized as well, which was fantastic.  The XO mai fun noodles were outstanding, but spicy.  There was sliced red chili peppers sautéed with the noodles which added tons of heat to the noodles, which surprised me.  It was so spicy I had to start picking out the peppers and chili seeds so that I wouldn’t burn my tongue, but it was certainly flavorful.

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By this point in the evening, I was stuffed.  But again, I really hadn’t eaten anything all day and I wasn’t about to turn down some dessert.  The minute I saw the menu, I knew exactly what I was going to order for dessert.  It wasn’t even a question for me.  However, my husband didn’t share my same desire for the dessert I wanted and decided he needed to order his own dessert, which on second glance at the menu may have been my pick had I not already made a choice.  That’s when you know that a restaurant has an impressive dessert menu, when they’ve got 2 absolutely amazing desserts that are just calling your name.  Good thing I have my husband who orders the other thing I want so that I can at least try a bit of it.  My husband ended up ordering the glazed banana bread for dessert.  Served with white chocolate crumble, candied walnuts and black sesame ice cream, it was the ice cream that appealed to him, whereas it was the banana bread that appealed to me.  The dessert was fantastic.  My husband loved the black sesame ice cream, it was unique enough to be different, but still sweet enough with hints of sesame to be ice cream.  The glazed banana bread was terrific, heavy, but with only one slice not completely overpowering and not insanely sweet.  The white chocolate crumbles and the candied walnuts helped balance out the sweetness of the bread and draw out the sweetness in the ice cream while creating interesting textural contrast for the dessert.  We agreed that this dessert was both creative, inventive, thoughtful and really fit with the idea of the new age, modern Asian fusion cuisine that Wolfgang Puck is known for.

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For my dessert, I chose the bittersweet chocolate soufflé.  Served with chocolate sauce and topped with a scoop of gianduja gelato and crème fraiche whipped cream, this dessert was decadent and amazing.  The chocolate sauce comes in a small ramekin and the waiter pours it over your dessert when the dessert is brought to the table.  This beautiful chocolate soufflé, piping hot out of the oven is topped with a scoop of the amazing gianduja gelato and a canal of melting crème fraiche whipped cream and finally this drizzle of chocolate sauce to finish it off.  I was concerned about the combination of the soufflé with the gelato as it was chocolate and chocolate and I thought it might be a bit overpowering, but it’s the combination of the bittersweet chocolate in the soufflé with the dark chocolate flavor of the creamy gianduja gelato that pair together so well to create a balanced chocolate flavor and base.  The soufflé is perfectly cooked, and while it looks large is completely light and fluffy and airy inside.  The crème fraiche whipped cream is a nice touch, and putting it directly on top of the hot soufflé is smart so that the melting of the whipped crème creates a nice sauce for the soufflé so that there’s not a need for crème Anglaise or any other sauce is perfect.  While the dessert is rich, it’s certainly not overpowering in its chocolate flavor.  It has mellow, but rich, flavor notes and is the perfect crescendo for a wonderful, and filling meal.

Five Sixty was quite the dining experience.  First off, the dining atmosphere was incredible.  Dining in a revolving restaurant atop Reunion Tower in Dallas is fantastic.  The views of the city lights at night were fabulous.  The décor and atmosphere of the restaurant itself was amazing.  Sleek, classic, but yet muted sophistication with elegant touches could be found throughout the restaurant.  The very intimate seating arrangement and the setting created a private, cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for dining with your significant other or for special occasions.  Exactly what I had in mind for this meal when my husband and I decided to make reservations for dinner here to kick off our weekend getaway trip to Dallas.  Excellent food with strong flavor components, terrific cocktails and yummy desserts had my husband and I walking out of the restaurant fully satiated and thoroughly delighted with our experience.  If you’re in Dallas and looking for a different, unique dining experience with terrific, unbeatable atmosphere and delicious Asian fusion cuisine, Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty is a real winner.

 

 

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