Saturday, October 15, 2005

Gastronomic Adventure and Tepid Begininngs

Tonight Brad and I ventured out to two places recently added to the Dallas culinary scene and the lineup of gay bars.

Our first stop was the newly opened french restaurant, Toulouse. I must admit that I was skeptical and recalcitrant of this restaurant. The space that it occupies was once my all time favorite gelato shop and cafe, Talenti. Talenti has since been relegated to the ice-rink level of the Dallas galleria, pathetic. However, Toulouse is a worthy replacement.

The atmosphere is stunning. Every detail mimics the touches of a Parisian bistro. Marble tables, bamboo chairs with rattan webbing, octagonal mosaic tile patio floors all set the stage for an authentic french atmosphere.

We started our meal with a specialty of the house, fresh mussels. Toulouse offers a variety of mussels which can be served either as an appetizer or as an entree. We opted for the Portuguese; mussels served in a tomato and wine sauce flavored with red bell peppers and chorizo. I have never had mussels so tender, they simply melted in my mouth not rubbery, salty, or sandy. The accompanying sauce was well balanced and flavorful, great for sopping up with a piece of fresh baguette.

For my entree I opted for the Duck Confit. The duck was moist and flavorful served on a bed of al dente lentils. The meal was outstanding and very satisfying.

The meal was completed with a chocolate souffle. Imagine a warm hot chocolate mousse with a baked top layer drizzled with a rich thick chocolate sauce. It was amazing. If you order the souffle be sure to ask for it when your food comes to the table, preparation takes at least twenty minutes.

I would certainly recommend Toulouse. The menu is filled with standard french fare but certainly not boring. Entrees range from $17-$30. If you go with your other and order drinks, appetizer of mussels, entree, dessert, and coffee expect to pay $50 per person. Given the atmosphere and the quality of the food, it is money well spent.

Toulouse: 3314 Knox St Dallas, TX 75205

After our gastronomic exploits we ventured to Dallas' newest gay bar, Rocket Bar. Rocket Bar is a venture of David Nieves, a former reality TV star on VH1s StripSearch. David is definitely a hottie but his bar falls short. Dallas gay bars are dominated by a handful of bars on Cedar Springs Rd. (known as the Strip) owned by the entertainment conglomerate Caven Enterprises. Therefore, any new gay bar that sprouts up has to offer something really different to compete. Rocket Bar is doomed.

As soon as we walked in we were greeted by linoleum tiles that must have been recently cleaned by an industrial-grade bleach cleaner. The result is that the entire bar looked and smelled like a freshly cleaned public restroom. The main bar area is oddly lit with shabby fabric couches haphazardly sprinkled in odd placements. Here's a tip: fabric couches and gay bars, or any bar, don't mix. I guess they spent all their money on the large flat screen TV showing HGTV re-runs of Sell This House.

The upper level was a barren open area which one could only assume was supposed to be a dance floor. In one corner there was a small bar with a bored looking boy with his shirt off shuffling some bottles. Off of the empty upper level was the patio, which was just a rotten wood plank overlooking Lemmon avenue.

The piece de resistance of the bar was the stairwell leading from the lower level to the upstairs. It is a narrow pathway ill lit by a plastic lamp placed on a landing that is powered by an extension cord originating from the main bar that is run through a round hole in the wall. Perhaps its an attempt to encourage patrons to grope passers by as they climb the stairs. I suggest a sign at the foot and the top of the stairs that reads, "Climb [Descend] at your own risk."

It is my hope that since this was only the second night this bar has been open that this was a soft opening. If not I would not revisit this locale.


Blogger tim said...

Wait, is David gay? I thought he had a girlfriend and a child. Anyway, see what happens when you try to open a bar and you think your good looks is all you need?

12:03 PM  
Blogger Adam said...

David does what he needs to do to make money. If that means being gay, then he's gay.

One thing I need to add is that the ad for the grand opening of the bar says, "Reserve your table now." There are no tables.

1:36 PM  
Blogger Jim said...

Restaurant sounds great, thanks, will try. Bar? No way, why bother, its a predictable failure like many others before him.

1:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After reading your article I could not help myself from leaving a valid rebuttal. It seemed as if you were stretching a bit to insult, what I considered a refreshing change, to gay dallas. If anything I give the young entrepreneurs a pat on the back for trying to compete aganist the monopolized bar scene, dominated by Caven Enterprise. I also hope you have years of experience on how bars are run, and what makes them successful. With that said, I want to reiterate that although not all promises were delieverd, and perhaps organization wasn't quite adequate; as a whole I think the bar creates an atmosphere not offered elsewhere. From the patio that over looks the streets (JR's), to the roomy and classy looking interior (s4/Mickey's), Rocket Bar seems as though it would attract all crouds. The attractive staff was the next thing that caught my eye. Although they were working for the first time, they never seemed to overwhelmed, but rather seemed to enjoy the surplus of people as well as the super cheap drinks ($2 everything!). I disagree with the points and views you stated. I think dallas should diversify its repetitive bar life, and support a nice change.

5:17 PM  
Blogger Adam said...


I was just recounting what I saw when I went to the bar that evening. I wanted Rocket Bar to be better because I DO want there to be gay bars other than the usual suspects on the strip. I think one such place that maybe the Rocket Bar management should have taken a page from was Minc. The decor and atmosphere there is pleasing to they eye and offers a great overall experience. I hope that maybe Rocket Bar will prove me wrong and be the next best place in Dallas.

10:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd concur with the lackluster review of the bar, although I thought the description of the patio as "just a rotten wood plank" was harsh. The patio may be empty, but I think it has potential. What struck me most when I entered Rocket was that the walls were sloppily textured and then painted black. Was it like this when they acquired the building, or did they perpetrate this themselves? It looks AWFUL, and makes the place feel bizarre and creepy in combination with the lighting. If they did it on purpose, then I have very little hope for the place.

And Minc is an example they'd do well to emulate. Rocket bar needs the aid of someone with taste and design sense. As it stands, the atmosphere of the place feels dank and divey. If they don't mind that, then the bartenders might as well lose the pants and just serve drinks in their underwear. Apparently several guys working there also/used to work at The Male Boxx, so they should be used to it.

5:06 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sadly, the original blog was the most accurate. While I agree that the Dallas bar scene is predictable the answer is not The Rocket Bar. Keep in mind that market is driven by need and or want and another bar with Gay for Pay guys will not last. It has been attempted by many and all have ultimately failed. Visa VI, the Male Boxx. Most of these guys came from that establishment and would we believe that it failed because these boys went off to create the new and wealth generating Rocket Bar. Let' snot be naive. Additionally, the arrogance of David (aka Tristan) in his first interview with The Dallas Voice was boisterous and juvenile. He speaks of an establishment that will create an environment for 'upscale' people. Well no offense intended, but this upscale individual was insulted by the actions of most of the staff during my visit to the bar. Several bartenders were drunk or shall I say substantially inebriated and could not even function. This is not how a business is run. While us as people wish the Rocket Bar success, we as realists know that factually most new bars and restaurants fail within the first 90 days. I predict that this bar will too fall to the statistics.

9:44 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

adam.. do you even know david? why do you say he does what he needs to do to make money?if that means being gay then he is gay? also why do you assume that the bartenders are gay for pay? explain yourself. i thought the bar was a nice experience. i hope they are a great success.

9:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Honestly, I have been a customer of the Rocket Bar for quite some time. At first, it actually was an enjoyable experience. The atmosphere was fun and relaxed. However, over time it has just turned into a gay pediphilic atmosphere where you see men over 45 making out with 19 year olds. It is sickening. The kids prostitute themselves to the richer older men, so they receive cars and whatever else will be bought for them. It's a trashy place that needs to be closed. And the drugs and everything else that goes on in that place is pretty scary. The guys do anything for money.. even when they claim they are 'straight'.

7:42 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

david nieves the owner is gay. he no longer pretends to be straight. sad

10:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

david does anything that you want upstairs at the bar. his private shows go all the way but be careful he is going steady with a old man. he is good for a laugh. no reallt worth the effort once you get there. the bar should be busted

10:29 PM  

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