Last week was SUCH a foodie high — not only did I get to sip and sup through some menu highlights at buzzy new Dallas restaurant Filament, but later in the week I was invited to check out the eats and drinks at Wayward Sons, chef Graham Dodds‘ collab with the team behind So & So’s, High Fives and upcoming Henderson Avenue lounge Whippersnapper.
I’ve adored (and, frankly, foodie-stalked) chef Graham since his days at Bolsa, Central 214 and Hibiscus; his passionate approach to local and seasonal ingredients makes him one of the best chefs in town, so you can bet I was excited to eat my way through the menu at Wayward Sons. Click on to check out what I loved best …
My meal popped off right with this raclette fondue, served alongside veggies, chunks of bread, green apple and pear chunks. I mean, who doesn’t love melty cheese to dip things into?? (Just this once: zip it, vegans!)
If you can handle fishy fish, you will adore the sardines and toast dish — the sardines are tossed with watercress and capers, and when you load a forkful onto that perfect slab of toast … heaven! This small plate also came with a tin of brandade — cod topped with a butter layer of mashed potatoes. While it was about as heavenly as the sardines, I let my guest finish that and snarfed every last morsel of the brandade. It brought me back to France, where I enjoyed an excellent tin of the stuff with a mini-bottle of wine on a train to Italy. Greatness …
Next up was an incredibly inventive dish that’s an absolute must: a “charcuterie” plate that’s vegetarian. Yes, child! That “sausage” you see up there? Made of lentils! The texture took some getting used to, but the flavor was meaty and spot-on. The absolute best component of the plate was in that little jar in back: a veggie play on foie gras that was even topped with a wine gelee. I can’t tell you how exquisite that stuff was. We had to ask for more toasts to finish it off! Bravo, chef Graham.
For my main, I ordered the chicken and dumplings. Since it’s such a homey classic, I’m super-picky about chicken and dumplings, and Wayward Sons didn’t disappoint. Good LORD, I just wanted to blanket myself in the rich broth, studded with fresh carrots, celery root chunks, roasted chicken and pillowy dumplings. Happily, a dish like this makes for epic leftovers, because I had to focus on the other outstanding plate on the table …
… the fried catfish plate here arrived with crispy, piping-hot and perfectly seasoned cornmeal-dusted fillets; big, soft, slightly sweet leek hushpuppies and braised greens. It’s like I died and woke up in the kitchen of a Southern grandmama I never knew I had! I helped my dining partner polish this dish off and boxed the rest of the chicken and dumplings, and you know what? It DID make the best lunch evah the next day!
Wayward Sons more than capably ends things on a sweet note, with plates like this chocolate semifreddo accompanied by snickerdoodles, which are the best type of cookie on the planet, in my humble opinion (take that, chocolate chip!). This went great with the house coffee, as did the buttermilk pie our server insisted we had to have. I’m generally not a fan of the stuff, but paired with Ruby Red grapefruit wedges and crunchy brittle, it was a winner.
Cocktails at Wayward Sons were balanced and fun, which is what I’d expect in these casual-rustic digs. The signature namesake drink is a spicy gin-based cocktail starring radish, cucumber and cilantro — a green beverage that’s GOT to be a nod to chef Graham and his garden loves. Classics like a French 75, a mule and Negroni are also on offer at the Dallas restaurant, as well as a great list of wines and craft beers. And how cool is this: Wayward Sons not only has a sommelier on staff to help with vino choices, but also a cicerone to guide you to the perfect beer.
It’s that attention to craft and detail that make Wayward Sons a noteworthy addition to Dallas’ and Lower Greenville’s booming dining scene. It’s absolutely worth a visit, and I can see myself returning — gotta explore the other half of the restaurant, featuring another side of the central bar, more seating and a gorgeous patio!
3525 Greenville Ave., Dallas (map) | 214-828-2888
[Disclosure: Wayward Sons provided me and a guest a complimentary meal and drinks. These opinions are my own.]