I don’t think I’m alone when I say that The Green Room, at one point, was my home away from home. For someone young and living in Deep Ellum, you couldn’t ask for a cooler place to grab dinner and hang out. Best described as “rock and roll meets fine dining” (the two things in life I really geek out about), The Green Room was originally opened to be just that – a place to feed the artists playing at the owner’s live music venue next door. So naturally when I heard that the Deep Ellum institution was reopening its doors after an almost four year absence, I jumped at the chance to head down there for the first official night of service.
Upon arrival, my best friend Gabby and I immediately took note of the buzz of activity on Elm Street – and this was a Tuesday night. The Bone (yup, they’re back too) and La Grange were alive with Dallasites enjoying good food, cold cocktails and live music. Runners and cyclists flew past us on the street while others were casually walking their dogs. We agree: people are starting to feel safe here. And they should. Two police officers stood strong in front of the Green Room doors to put patrons at ease–they will have a uniformed presence until nerves begin to settle –and valet parking will be available shortly. It’s beginning to look like Deep Ellum is finally making its deserved comeback.
Walking into the Green Room I instantly recognized the space. And that’s not all I recognized…former Green Room managers Taylor Allday and Zenon Oprysk (the men responsible for the comeback) were right up front and greeted us warmly. Behind the bar was Chris Chapman (if you frequent Hector’s on Henderson, you know exactly who I’m talking about) and in the kitchen was Executive Chef Joel Harloff, formerly of Dali. Both Joel and Chris are former co-workers of mine from Mi Piaci years ago and were welcome surprises. Chris immediately poured us a glass of velvet smooth Pinot Noir and walked us through the bar menu. Within minutes we were jamming out to the White Stripes and drooling over yummy steak tartar with grilled pumpernickel bread and hard-boiled quail eggs. I’m picky about my tartar, and let me just say, this was KILLER. The Angus beef was spot on in taste, its texture perfected and offset by crispy fried onions sprinkled on top. Equally delicious were the Dutch mussels steamed with Serrano ham in a Albarino wine broth and paired with perfectly charred French bread.
We soon found ourselves sharing BYOB wine (a temporary trait until they acquire their liquor license, stay tuned) with the intimate crowd and friendly staff. Working the bar with Chris was Tony – a long time Deep Ellum alumni who told epic stories from the neighborhood’s heyday. In addition to being hilarious, Tony was a gentlemen. He walked the ladies to their cars and gave a few of us (read: me) some change to add time to our parking meters. With the excitement of the reopening and seeing old friends, there was no way our one hour and forty-eight minute parking meter was going to last as long as we wanted. Plus we hadn’t had dessert yet. When we came back from feeding our meters, we found that Zenon had sent us an ice cold mint chocolate brownie with strawberry basil chutney – a perfect dessert for such a hot Texas summer night. While I think the dish could do without the basil (it overpowered the mint and started to steer the dish away from sweet towards savory) we came close to licking the plate.
The Green Room is back, and thanks to its new (old) team, it successfully recaptures what made the iconic restaurant so popular years ago. But don’t get too comfortable, improvements to the original are still coming. The side room that was primarily used for private parties is getting a makeover. Joel is developing a specialized seasonal menu for the infamous rooftop deck, which according to Zenon will be extensively landscaped this fall. Weekday lunch hours and an extended Sunday brunch service (see also: people in the bar business can still sleep in and not miss it) should also appear this fall.
Come to The Green Room and experience why I fell in love with Deep Ellum years ago – you feel as though you are part of something special and family like. And as Tony so eloquently put it, “Where the hell else can you enjoy 5 star food while jamming out to Jack White and Van Halen?”the green room 2715 elm street | dallas, tx 75226 open Tuesday-Saturday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. 214.744.ROOM (7666)
www.greenroomdallas.com the green room facebook page