“The city of Dallas has one of the most rapidly evolving and eclectic food scenes in the nation, anchored by our unique blend of cultural heritages and championed by world-class chefs,” says Linda Gha ari, TryDallas! founder and CEO. “Our food is like Dallas itself: creative, passionate, but never too fussy.”
Privé, Westin Galleria Dallas
For a truly private dining experience, The Second Floor Restaurant’s additional space, Privé (French for private), is a modern and sophisticated option. It has a unique ambiance, with a separate glass wall entrance, a rock wall with an ethanol-burning fireplace and a built-in bar, according to Ann Joyce, the sales contact for Privé and the restaurant general manager for The Second Floor by Scott Gottlich.
The space, which has a modern, residential feel with rich leather chairs, offers 1,147 square feet of flexible space that can seat 66 and accommodate 83 reception-style. “A glass wall entry with two doors, crystal light fixtures, fireplace and rock wall add interest,” Joyce says. For presentations or meetings, the room has built-in audio-visual options including a drop-down big screen, two flatscreen TVs, ceiling-mounted projector, and finally, an iPod/cell phone dock for music playlists. Popular menu items, according to Joyce, include mini ahi tuna wonton tacos, seared Scottish salmon on fennel potato cake with mustard frill and Chioggia beet salad, and bananas foster pudding or lemongrass cardamom crème brûlée for dessert. Joyce adds that whiskey flights and beverage tastings are a popular trend for groups.
Café Modern, Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
For corporate planners looking for a spectacularly modern venue for a group event, the Café Modern at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth is the ideal choice. The all-glass iconic architecture by Tadao Ando, with steel, concrete and a reflecting pond, makes for a perfect centerpiece in serene surroundings.
“By day, the Modern’s setting on 11 naturally landscaped acres, including an outdoor sculpture garden and terrace and a large reflecting pond at the building’s edge, provides a restful complement to the building’s architectural strength,” explains Roxanne McLarry, director of catering for Bon Appetit/ Café Modern at the museum. “By night, with the concrete walls bathed in an even glow of light, the transparent glass-and-steel galleries appear as large lanterns floating on and reflected in the pond.”
McLarry says the immense cantilevered cast-concrete roofs shade the building’s exterior and accommodate the introduction of natural light into the gallery spaces by supporting sophisticated systems of continuous linear skylights and clerestory windows. The café can accommodate up to 200 seated without a dance floor and between 250 and 700, depending on buffet versus served, if you add the lobby space.
The menu changes seasonally, McLarry says, and everything is prepared from scratch. “We blend seasonal foods from local artisan producers with diverse culinary traditions from around the globe.” For example, appetizer options might include Muhammara & Lavosh, a roasted red pepper and walnut dip, with feta cheese and pomegranate seeds served with lavosh crackers.
Al Biernat’s, Dallas
A 2015 Open Table Diner’s Choice winner and described by Open Table as “much more than a great steakhouse,” Al Biernat’s private dining space is separated from the main room, yet guests still get a great view of the action in the main dining area. “While being completely secluded, you’re still part of the festive environment,” says James Balensiefen, coordinator of private events and catering for Al Biernat’s.
The long private dining table seats 40 in elegant leather chairs and the 50-foot-by-12-foot space features an original concrete floor, modern light fixtures and a 50-inch flat-screen TV with Wi-Fi for videos or presentations.
Steak and lobster are menu highlights, but groups can also enjoy Chilean sea bass with lobster risotto accompanied by Al’s salad, a long-time favorite, which includes shrimp, crab, avocado, hearts of palm and Russian dressing. An enormous wine list makes it easy for hosts to select the perfect wines for the group event.
Dragonfly at the Hotel ZaZa, Uptown Dallas
Located in the back half of Dragonfly, the Hotel ZaZa’s signature restaurant, is the Dragon’s Den, a 700-square-foot separate dining space that can be truly private or semiprivate depending on the curtains, which divide the Dragon’s Den from the main area.
“The room has a distinct style in which you and your guests feel like you are more in a residential setting versus a top dining destination within the city,” explains Riley Nail, complex director of PR, marketing and experience. “The room can be used for intimate meetings, cocktail receptions or even dinners for up to 50 of your nearest and dearest.” The Dragon’s Den can accommodate up to 60 guests reception-style.
Nail adds that the room is laid out in one long oval space and divided from the main dining room by a wall of paneled glass windows. Hand-picked artwork by the owner and his collection lines the room. The menus change with the seasons, under the direction of the Complex Executive Chef Dan Landsberg, according to Nail.
“This current season, one of our most popular items has been the milk braised pork osso bucco, however our calamari salad has always been a crowd favorite for years now and has remained on the menu since the day we opened,” Nail says.
Finally, Nail says that groups now are looking for “more of an experience and less of a sit-down dinner,” so the restaurant strives to deliver an extraordinary experience.
“Whether it’s in the setup, décor, design or even custom menus,” he says, “our group/ corporate business continues to come back and build on that each time they are here.”