A Classier Cookout
Jan 02, 2016 04:47PM
● By Dia
We’re a long way off from grilling season, but that doesn’t mean you can’t feast on all your favorite cookout fare. Just take a jaunt over to Jasper’s Plano, an upscale grill hidden away in the Shops at Legacy. The restaurant specializes in gourmet backyard cuisine, which is exactly what it sounds like: comforting classics with a sophisticated twist. We’re not talking about the usual burgers and dogs, though; this food is elegant yet so good you’ll want seconds. Think fall-off-the- bone ribs, perfectly prepared steak and more.
Jasper’s serves Sunday brunch, lunch and dinner, and offers a lively happy hour scene as well. The cuisine centers around the highest quality, fresh, seasonal ingredients. When Chef Kent Rathbun developed the concept for gourmet backyard cuisine, he wanted to provide simple yet unique meals in an environment that’s both casual and upscale.
“I remember what it was like as a kid when my mom and dad were cooking. They both were really great cooks but also enjoyed high-end restaurants,” Chef Rathbun says. “When you couple good techniques with everyday food, you get something on a completely different level. It’s not just steak and ribs anymore but something special.”
The James Beard nominee and Iron Chef America winner takes pride in serving up fresh twists on comforting favorites – and it seems everyone wants to get a taste. Chef Rathbun has prepared meals for such notable guests as George W. Bush, Queen Elizabeth and Oprah.
“I want everything to have a level of comfort, yet for people to feel like they have dined in a sophisticated restaurant,” he says.
When you step inside Jasper’s, you’ll immediately understand his vision. The ambience is modern and appealing in every way, from the serene lighting to the elegant drapery. Though our party visited on the weekend, we could just as easily dine at Jasper’s for a business lunch or romantic dinner.
With Valentine’s Day approaching next month, you might consider Jasper’s if you’re looking to wine and dine your date. The restaurant is Zagat rated as one of “Dallas’ Best Spots for Wine Pairings,” boasting an impressive wine list with plenty of interesting selections. From chardonnay to cabernet and everything in between (including champagne and more than a dozen offerings on the Captain’s Wine list), Jasper’s is ready to cater to those looking to enjoy a glass of fine wine.
Once you’ve made your wine selection, we sug- gest starting with the restaurant’s signature appetizer: the Maytag Blue Cheese Potato Chips. Prepare for your world to be flipped upside down. The house-made chips are perfectly crunchy and warm, oozing with creamy, rich cheese. There’s nothing like them.
As for the main course, we opted for the Slow Smoked Baby Back Ribs. Upon tasting the beautifully tender and juicy meat, we heartily agree with Bon Apetit that these ribs earned the accolade as one of the “Top 3 Choices for America’s Best Ribs.” They’re that good.
A range of mouthwatering castiron sides such as Jalapeño-Charred Corn and Crispy Brussel Sprouts nicely complement the entrées. We particularly enjoyed the Mac and Cheese with aged gouda and smoked ham. The gouda wasn’t overpowering and the addition of ham gave it some exciting flavor. This is definitely comfort food taken up a notch.
If you’re a regular bruncher, add Jasper’s to your rotation. Its elegant jazz brunch runs until 3 p.m. every Sunday, so you can take your time making it across town. The Pecan Waffles dish with marinated strawberries and smoked bacon is a fusion of sweet and savory. It’s as indulgent as it is filling, so come hungry. We also recommend Gramma Minnie’s Fried Chicken. It’s served with chunky Yukon potatoes and a black-pepper maple gravy that’ll have you licking your plate clean (if that sort of thing was acceptable in a fine-dining establishment).
Should you spring for dessert, Jasper’s thankfully has built-in portion control. All of its desserts are minis. Our group shared a Snickerdoodle Cheesecake and Espresso-Hazelnut Ho Ho. Candied walnuts gave the cheesecake a sweet crunch, and Bailey’s Irish Cream really stood out in the cake.
If you find yourself craving some cookout cuisine in the winter months ahead, you don’t have to fire up your grill. Jasper’s offers the best of backyard cooking in a swanky setting. Comfort food doesn’t get any more comforting than that.