Ooh la laa came to mind upon entering Bijoux in Highland Park last week. Being new to the city, it became quite clear that the River Oaks of Dallas is indeed Highland Park. Owner-chef Scott Gottlich has accomplished his goal in creating an atmosphere that feels casual while still maintaining elegance.
The location of this building, filled with contemporary French cuisine, does not have to frighten commoners. His wish is for everyone to feel as though they are at his house having dinner. Has this chef somehow managed to operate a French restaurant, in Highland Park, yet still conquer the feel of snobbery one would expect? While not likely, it’s possible.
Wow. Just wow. Of all the pork products in Texas, never has smoked bacon owned a plate quite like this. Chef Gottlich became borderline hyper while describing this dish of pig delish. To him, this is just like a fancy BLT. While keeping a safe distance, I noticed a poached egg is definitely involved, as well as spinach wrapped in kataifi and covered in sauce choron.
Pan-seared scallops have an English pea purée with tomato fondue and mushrooms. Having been open for almost six years, chef Gottlich and his sommelier wife, Gina, have worked to ensure Bijoux “changes in order to stay with the seasonality of things.” He uses different techniques, both modern and classic, to spice things up. This chef is obviously doing something right, as Bon Appétit named Bijoux one of the “Top 10 Hottest New Restaurants in America.”
This salad and sassy watermelon cocktail force feelings of summer to flow. The casaba melon salad has fresh cantaloupe, watermelon, honeydew, and yellow tomato. This chef is looking for a fully ripe tomato with low acidity. We were told to prepare for certain ingredients to produce a pop on your tongue kind of feel. Exciting!
Another summer dish at Bijoux is seared prawns. On this plate just so happens to be a purée of Spanish chorizo. For those not wanting the occasional mud splasher, Bijoux offers a vegetarian tasting menu for $85 per person, with an additional $50 added for wine pairings.
My writer friend, who always finishes his articles infinity faster than me, loves this dish like a sis. Tasting the pappardelle with lamb ragu & fava beans is one of the best things that happened to him that day. Bijoux’s pasta is made in-house with extra special pasta precaution.
Our tart type of dessert with rhubarb & blueberries arrived with mixed berry sorbet to the side. Bijoux has a brand new cocktail program in place, which makes it possible to pair dinner or dessert with some kind of sassy drink. This is where Thomas Lynch comes in as Bijoux’s right hand man.
Working closely with Gina for years has helped him learn what to look for when pairing food with wine or other cocktails. Chef Gottlich sealed Lynch’s service industry deal by guiding him through the process in the kitchen. To Lynch, working at Bijoux is comparable to being enrolled in culinary school.
Bijoux and Second Floor have the perfect husband and wife team leading the way. Both of these restaurants are the kind of place that truly leaves a person wanting more. Talent! Dallas has talent.