The national press has showered Fearing's with praise in recent months, so I decided to book a table for 4 for this past Saturday night during a business trip to Dallas. I was looking forward to sampling the innovative cuisine that Chef Fearing is famed for and my guests were excited by my tales of the "buzz" surrounding the restaurant.
We had an Open Table reservation for 9:30 PM (switched by me from an earlier 8:45 PM slot). We arrived a few minutes early, checked in and had a drink at the jammed bar. Patrons dressed to the nines streamed into and the through the bar. Minutes began to tick by. I asked about our reservation at 9:50 and was told "just a few more minutes. Some tables are slow in finishing". Several other patrons were milling about, clearly upset. More arrivals passed through the front bar and out to an outdoor patio bar that was more crowded than the one we had been waiting in.
At 10:15 I told the Hostess that I had had enough. A manager overheard our conversation, apologized and practically begged us to stay, and bought us a round of drinks.
A 10:40, we were finally seated, not in the restaurant, but in a side pavilion-like room off of the patio next to an extremely loud party of 25, and alongside another group of 10.
The sommelier was helpful, pointing out a few good bottles and even giving me a free glass of another favorite. The food was very good, but the damage had been done. The shrieking noise level was terrible, as was the feeling of being shunted off to "Siberia".
Chef Fearing should be embarrassed to have his name associated with this establishment. Management is obviously cashing in on the bar trade with spectacular results. But any claim that this is one of the best new restaurants in America is laughable.
The unprofessional manner in which reservations were handled, the obvious disinterest in customer comfort or enjoyment, and the focus in running the place as a glorified meat market show the true aspirations of this establishment. Why not drop the food entirely and put out a velvet rope?
My main regret (besides booking a table to begin with) is that I stayed and endured this insulting treatment because I hoped the food would justify the inconvenience. I was clearly wrong.
Attend at you own peril. You have been forewarned.
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