Downtown Dining News

Adolphus hotel baits downtown Dallas crowd with new city hall-themed bistro

Adolphus hotel baits downtown Dallas crowd with new city hall bistro

The Adolphus Hotel
The Adolphus hotel is undergoing a comprehensive redo. Courtesy photo

As part of an ongoing renovation, downtown Dallas hotel the Adolphus is introducing a new restaurant concept called City Hall Bistro that will be open three meals a day. Opening is slated for May.

Restaurant-wise, the Adolphus is better known for its award-winning fine-dining temple the French Room. But it has always had a second less-formal restaurant called The Bistro where hotel guests could get breakfast and lunch. It's possible that many local diners don't even know it existed.

City Hall replaces that eatery with what the hotel calls a "light, bright-all-day restaurant," a "buzzing" local bistro, and they've appointed a Serious Chef, Don Flores. A native of California, Flores has worked at TAO, Casa Pomona, Morimoto, and Momofuku Ssam Bar.

 A new entrance on Main Street will allow both interior and street-level access to the restaurant. The restaurant will be open for all-day dining, including daily breakfast, weekend brunch, and happy hour Monday through Friday.

The menu consists of "Southern European-inspired cuisine," with breakfast, house-made bread and pastries, grain and vegetable salads, wood-roasted vegetables, fresh fish (not the stale kind), and aromatic braised meats (not the odorless kind). Dishes include squid ink pasta, whole branzino, paella, and Gulf Coast shellfish.

Bar options will include local beer, cocktails, and a wine list featuring quartino options. Quartino, the little quarter-liter beaker some restaurants bring when you order a glass of wine, is trending up.

There has been some rethinking as of late about the demanding "three meal restaurant," in which hotels try to have something for everyone, but which can often represent a compromised dining experience.

Other upgrades at the hotel include renovations to the rooms, improvements to the lobby, and a new rooftop pool and bar on the seventh floor.

The big deal is the redo of the French Room, which includes an updated menu, new bar, and freshened atmosphere. Is this a good time to mention that CultureMap was first to break the news that the French Room was closing for a remodel back in June 2016? It's hard to know when the right time is to bring up something like that.

In January, the hotel announced new chef Michael Ehlert, who was most recently at the Front Room Tavern. In addition to the French Room, Ehlert will oversee a new bar outside of the dining room called the French Room Bar and Salon, which will serve cocktails and shareable plates.

The French Room is getting replastered walls, gilded Louis XVI-style chairs, and restored Murano glass chandeliers. The new menu will draw upon French culinary traditions and methodology with a fresh sensibility, including table-side flourishes and a comprehensive wine program.

No mention of the ceiling mural, whose rococo style with its cherubs and pastel colors has kind of come to embody the restaurant. Are they going to paint over the cherubs?