Jean-Michel Sakouhi worked at the Mansion on Turtle Creek from 1987-94, the heyday of that restaurant. Dean Fearing was chef and every celebrity and VIP who came to Dallas ate there. He served Queen Elizabeth when she visited in 1991.
After that, he ventured into restaurant ownership and has had a string of them including Le Paris Bistrot in Uptown and Tramontana in Preston Center. In Fort Worth, he had the Vault and a restaurant called Cowboy Burger.
“Can you imagine, a Frenchman owning a cowboy restaurant?” he says.
Now Sakouhi is in Oak Cliff with a wine bar and as French a menu as possible.
He hired chef Victor Garcia, who also helmed the kitchen at Le Paris Bistrot. Garcia is stellar with French cuisine, Sakouhi says. Menu favorites include the rack of lamb, scallops, mussels and the cheese and charcuterie boards. Garcia also makes the desserts, including a crème brulee adapted from Sakouhi’s grandmother’s recipe, a flourless chocolate cake and an apple tart.
The restaurant, on West Davis at Edgefield, is in one of the oldest retail buildings in Oak Cliff. It was built in 1912 and is enjoying a renaissance under new owner Kacy Jones. Sakouhi is from the French city of Dijon, which has buildings dating to the 12th century.
“I loved Oak Cliff on first viewing,” he says. “I really like the old architecture. It reminds me of home.”
He recently poured a small patio in front of the restaurant. That took away three parking spaces, but two parallel spaces were added. They’re planning to add a valet stand and are working on a contract to park cars at the church on Edgefield at Seventh. Bouchon, which serves beer and has a wine list of 200-plus labels, also is getting a liquor license as soon as this month, and a cocktail menu is in the works. Once that happens, they likely will extend the hours to midnight on weekdays and 1 a.m. on Saturdays.
1314 W. Davis
Price range: $15-$35
Hours: 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Sunday, closed Monday
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246 W. Davis