Dallas foodies have been anticipating the opening of Spoon in Preston Center for months, mainly for the opportunity to taste John Tesar’s ambitious seafood menu.
But the space is equally intriguing, thanks to a sophisticated, beach-inspired interior devised by the stylish duo of Breckinridge Taylor (Cedars Social, Park Restaurant).
With a color scheme that recalls a seaside Greek cafe and the occasional appearance of its namesake utensil, the 58-seat restaurant manages to be both airy and intimate.
Patrons who opt for the chef’s counter can sample multiple experimental courses cooked by Tesar himself. Diners get a view of what’s going on in a kitchen Tesar hopes will “stand in five years with the French Laundry.”
Designers Charles Taylor and Breck Woolsey diamond-ground the existing concrete floors three or four layers, then sanded and painted them to make sea-blue “tiles.”
A classical Greek klismos chair with a curved back inspired the duo to create Spoon’s unique bar stools, counter stools and chairs.
The wine racks hover at a controlled 55 degrees just to the left of the private dining area. As Tesar says, Spoon “is not for fast and furious foodies; it’s for people who want to settle in for the evening.”
The deco bar is devised for multiple purposes: the right side serves as a space where guests can have a glass of wine, a cocktail, oysters or small plates; the left side is a chef’s counter that offers full-service dining options.
The Seattle oyster bar the Walrus and the Carpenter inspired the use of oyster baskets, which will serve two types of mollusks a night. A midcentury modern-inspired chandelier was created by Taylor and Woolsey with bobeches that recall the bowl of a spoon.
Circular blue leather banquettes with charcoal trim evoke what Tesar calls “an old-school Brown Derby feel.” Seascape photographs in black and white hang above them on the textured wall.
Another spoon-like light fixture hangs above the private dining table, where six to eight patrons can celebrate a special occasion. A blue table created by the designers is a reinterpretation of deco style, balance on inverted architectural pyramids.
A two-top table overlooking the kitchen is adorned with fish that formerly hung at the chef’s (now defunct) Houston restaurant, Tesar’s Modern Steak and Seafood. The fish are made with junk found in the Trinity River clean-up project.
Like all other areas in Spoon, the banquette, floors and walls recall the sea. “If you come in here, you’re in the Hamptons in July; you’re in South Beach in February,” Tesar says.