I grabbed lunch with a friend this week at the new Jefferson and Polk restaurant, located in Casa Fransisco’s former spot. Mr. Faz greeted us at our table, and when I asked for change for $1 to fill the meter outside, he graciously sent someone out to take care of it.
When we sat down, he explained a little about the restaurant — everyone who works there is family (his son, who was our waiter; his wife, the pastry chef; his brother, the chef; his cousin, and so on), and they are Oak Cliff residents. He has been in the restaurant business for roughly 20 years, and mentioned working under big names like Stephan Pyles and Dean Fearing, but this is his first solo restaurant venture. He also said that though he’s not a chef, he comes up with all of the recipes in his head and communicates them to his brother, who creates them.
The lunch menu had roughly 10-15 options, and I couldn’t tell from a quick glance what style of cuisine the restaurant was aiming for. It offered a Mexican shrimp cocktail, but also had more Italian-sounding dishes as well as regular sandwiches. When I asked, I was told the fare was European. Before bringing our meal, the waiter served us a basket of bread and olive oil, which he described as the restaurant’s special recipe with rosemary, garlic, balsamic vinegar and a couple of other spices.
I ordered the half chicken sandwich with pesto and cup of tortilla soup for $7.95, which came with rosemary fries. The spices were good, but I still wanted ketchup. I liked the soup; it was a little more brothy than some tortilla soups I’ve had. My friend ordered the lunch special, tilapia served over pasta with mushrooms and tomatoes for $8.95, and enjoyed it.
My only complaint about the restaurant was that Mr. Faz spent a little too much time at our table. At one point, he came over and sat down, and talked for a while about the restaurant and his dreams for it. When he got up, my friend commented that he was "very attentive", which was probably a nice way to describe it. I noticed that he did the same with the other two tables (it was a yucky day, so that may have accounted for the sparse lunch crowd and the extra attention we received).
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