Dallas: Will Dallas' Bromance with Omakase Overtake the Venerable Steakhouse...

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Published Time: 24.05.2024 - 17:14:59 Modified Time: 24.05.2024 - 17:14:59

By Danielle Beller Dallas

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[ ,,,,, ] The conversation with the gentleman next to me started innocently enough when he asked the Border Collie on my phone’s lock screen. Of course, the stranger would have no way of knowing that I had put down my dog just two weeks earlier, so I did my best to let him down gently. But when he immediately leaned into questions when I would get another dog, I was desperate to change the topic. Since we were wrapping up a meal at Tatsu, the brilliant omakase restaurant in Deep Ellum, I asked him what he thought of the experience. “Oh, it’s awesome,” he declared with a laugh and nodded toward the woman next to him. “This is our third time here. My wife and I love it.” This week, food writer Brett Anderson published an essay titled, “‘Bromakase’ Is the New Steakhouse” that brought me back to my own conversation at Tatsu. Anderson credits the “bromakase” moniker to fellow food critic Pete Wells, who used it to describe both the young, wealthy and often male patrons and the restaurants that have sprouted up to cater to them. They eat omakase not because they respect the tradition of the meal, but because it’s expensive and they are on corporate expense accounts. Wells puts the bow on his apt description with a callback to the second season of the Showtime series , where the character Mike “Wags” Wagner is thoroughly engrossed in an omakase dinner. Wags notices a pair of finance bros at the end of the table, one of whom is loudly talking on his cell phone while the other waterboards a piece of fish in soy sauce. Wags vocally takes them task, decrying them as “fucking heathens” with expense accounts but no appreciation for the art at hand. While the man next to me was nowhere near as disrespectful as the two power-suited guys from , the lack of social cues when asking when I would replace my dog as if I’d misplaced an umbrella, not to mention the not-so-humble brag his third visit to an exclusive dining enclave, makes me think that I may have encountered a “bromakase” in the wilds of Dallas. For almost as long as there have been restaurants, there have been restaurants that lean into up-market exclusivity. For decades in Dallas, that rarified air has mostly been occupied by steakhouses. Opulent interiors, a la carte sides and massive cuts of beef are the name of the game, because nothing says “conspicuous consumption” quite so eloquently as a 90-day dry-aged 32-ounce Tomahawk ribeye. Anderson’s essay makes the point that omakase restaurants are the next generation of the exclusive restaurant trend, where the same high-dollar meals are given a fresh coat of global shine. “Just as red-leather booths and dark oak paneling trigger the Pavlovian expectation of a frigid martini and a glistening rib-eye,” writes Anderson, “intimate counters from Omaha to Austin to Chicago to Denver promise a multicourse procession of jewel-like fish flown overnight from Japan.”

By Aaren Prody