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Southlake Style

Accent on Delicious

Jan 06, 2017 10:36AM ● By Ashley Pape

There’s Tex-Mex and then there’s French-Mex, south-of-the-border fare with a straight-out-of-Paris influence. If it’s hard to wrap your head around this food fusion, just plan a trip to Madrina. The swanky eatery in Highland Park boasts a menu that’s refreshingly different: elegant Mexican dishes with French accents. If you’re craving chips and salsa, this isn’t the place for you. 

Madrina has received accolades such as D Magazine’s Restaurant of the Year and has been hailed as one of the “10 Sexiest Restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth” by Zagat. We can certainly understand why. With traditional French cooking techniques that flirt MADRINA 4216 Oak Lawn Avenue Dallas 469.513.2505 with irresistible Mexican flavors, it’s a recipe for a captivating evening—or at least an unforgettable meal. 

“We like to blur the line between things that are traditionally French and tradition-ally Mexican,” says David Fingerman, executive chef. “Most modern kitchens take root in French technique, but we like to play with how we can apply that to modern Mexican flavors and vice versa.” 

With Fingerman at the helm in the kitchen, Madrina turns out a procession of dishes that is refined and full of flavor without packing the heat of many Mexican favorites. Standout dishes include the Tacos de Chivo (braised goat, avocado, pasilla, parsnips and baby greens) and the Enfrijolada (duck confit, cilantro tortilla,serrano chile, black bean puree and queso fresco). Regulars never miss the Wild Setas (Spanish for mushrooms), a nest of fried hen-of-the-woods, royal trumpet and beech mushrooms set atop a cilantro-scented poblano sauce. The dish is served with warm, handmade corn tortillas for a one-of-a-kind taco experience. 

Fingerman’s personal favorite menu item, the Quail Gordita, happens to be a flavor-packed example of French-Mex fare. Envision lightly battered quail stuffed with chorizo and queso Oaxaca on a bed of incredible purple hulls. “It’s a twist on a traditional dish that has a Texas feel,” he says. “It’s a great-looking dish with a down-home vibe that is just really unique. I’m a huge fan.” 

Whether it’s a dish on the Sunday brunch or dinner menu, you can count on it being original, fresh and inspired. Fingerman has made it a personal passion to push the envelope and offer up inventive tastes that bridge the culinary worlds. 

“I’m always looking at how we can challenge ourselves,” Fingerman says. “Working with seasonal ingredients is a big part of our inspiration. Different foods are available at different times of the year, so we always aim to reflect that in the menu. Seasonal changes keep variety in our guests’ mouths and keep our cooks from becoming complacent.” 

The ingredients at Madrina are also locally sourced, so you can rest assured that the Beef Tartare, Filet Au Poivre and even the Gateau Noir on the dessert menu are made from ingredients as nearby as possible. The farm-to-table trend is one of Fingerman’s favorite culinary movements. “It’s important to know where your food comes from,” he says. “I take advantage of every chance I get to work with a local product from a farmer I believe in.” 

Sophisticated French-Mex doesn’t end at the plate; Madrina’s bar, which features 120 bottles of wine, separates cocktails into French and Mexican-inspired categories. The diverse drink menu features a handpicked selection of agave-distilled spirits such as mezcal tequila from Mexico and aperitifs from France. For those wanting a French-inspired beverage, we suggest the Jack Rose, a handcrafted blend of apple brandy, house grenadine and lemon juice. And for a Mexican-influenced cocktail, we like the Daisy, a mix of Blanco tequila, orange liqueur, lime juice and doctored agave. 

If a creative cocktail is how you start your meal, end your meal at Madrina with the Horchata Pot-Au-Crème. It’s the French classic deliciously reimagined with 24-hour sweet rice milk, toasted almonds and piloncillo. Madrina’s churros are another reason to save room for something sweet. They’re made with hazelnut sugar, vanilla cream and spiced cocoa for a truly French-Mex dessert. 

The next time you crave a little Mexican food, don’t settle for a queso drenched burrito; expand your palate with the culture-intertwining menu and imaginative fare at Madrina. French-Mex blurs the culinary lines in the most delicious possible way. 

MADRINA 4216 Oak Lawn Avenue Dallas 469.513.2505