Top Chef. Golden Bulls. Acrobatics. Techno. 1920’s Jazz. Sashimi. Can you visualize all of this in one place? Can you guess the venue?? This must-see-it-to-believe-it kind of establishment isn’t in Vegas. It’s here in downtown Dallas. Don’t Tell Supper Club is a new 10,000 square foot supper club that morphs into a pulsing nightclub after 11p. Owner Derek Braun has opened several nightlife concepts in the U.S. and felt that Dallasites could get behind the concept of spending your entire night – cocktails, dinner and dancing – at one location.
- Good for large groups (i.e. birthday and bachelorette parties). NOT good for catching up with an old friend or a romantic date as you’ll just seem rude gazing around trying to take in all of the stimulating sights.
- Book a table for later in the evening so that you’ll be finishing up just in time to start dancing your dinner off.
- Have post-dinner drinks upstairs and people-watch from the 2nd floor balcony.
- The Steak Frites for two people ($60) really could feed three people if you already split another dish but you’ll want to add a second order of their addictive fries to prevent fighting with your friends.
- Dress-up, people! The attractive female servers and all other staff members are so why wouldn’t you?? Would you go out in Vegas wearing flip-flops and shorts? If the answer is “yes” then perhaps Don’t Tell isn’t your cup of tea.
The interior of this 2-story building reminds me of the music hall at House of Blues, which I love, with brick and dark wood throughout, two bars – one upstairs and downstairs – and a 24-foot stage partly surrounded by dining tables. Apparently, there is an enclosed patio with awesome city views but sadly I never got around to seeing it. Walking in you could feel that this was more than just a restaurant as the glow of the purple and red lights made the ambience feel club-like. But like a restaurant we were seated and quickly greeted with menus and then shortly after received a small glass of some type of citrus flavor mixed with coconut milk, rum and crushed ice as an amuse-bouche (something to prepare your mouth). Meanwhile on stage, a man dressed sharply in a tux and top hat performed tricks and illusions – balancing a carnation stem on the tip of his nose (see here), tearing “metal” in half – accompanied by a 1920’s jazz tune.
Tre Wilcox, the chef behind the menu, was the primary reason I wanted to visit Don’t Tell. I first discovered Chef Wilcox’s talent when he was chef de cuisine at Abacus but most people might know of him as a Top Chef season three alum and Top Chef All-Star. Every time I’ve sampled his food at various food events (e.g. Burgers and Burgundy) I’ve never been disappointed and tonight was no different. By the way, I was curious if “consulting chef” meant that he only had a hand in the concept but wouldn’t actually be doing the cooking but indeed he was the night I attended. The menu consists of only ten items, all shareable plates. Since I was with a calorie-counting cousin we skipped the DT Castle Burgers and the Spicy BBQ Pulled Pork Sliders and opted for the Shrimp and Squid Ceviche to start which was served in a martini glass and topped with crispy plantains. Additionally, every plate was delivered on a tray or platter that was anchored by a metal sculptural piece; in this case it was a steam-punk octopus.
For our main plates we shared the Smoked Yellowtail Sashimi and the Steak Frites with Truffle Fries for two people (can also be ordered to serve 3-4 people). The seafood dishes were delicate with bright flavors and executed perfectly. But in my opinion the real star was the latter entrée – the grilled prime NY strip and the Parmesan truffle fries. The meat was cooked to a perfect medium (at my request) and the fries were so crunchy, hot and flavorful that we ordered a second basket!
If Don’t Tell has dessert, I wouldn’t know as we took ours in the form of an Old Fashioned and other cocktails. I read that the Old Fashioned was served in a medicinal bottle but mine was served in a traditional tumbler. Nonetheless, my Bulleit bourbon Old Fashioned met my standards as a quality cocktail as I hoped it would as the general manager, James Hamous is a co-owner of the popular “cocktail den”, The Standard Pour. I also tried the Most Unusual Tea, comprised of Hendricks gin, lime juice and basil with a touch of chamomile poured over dry ice for effect. It was surprisingly strong for such a delicately described cocktail and not too sweet. A word of caution: drink like this and wait until it stops bubbling else risk burning your lips!
Throughout the evening the entertainment rotated between women performing aerial acrobatics (see here and here) and a guitarist playing everything from Bon Jovi to acoustic versions of top 40 hits. For the most part the entertainers were talented except for one clown/magician (not sure what he was). We couldn’t tell if it was part of his shtick to bumble everything he attempted and other times the only “stunt” he performed was to balance on a hover board on stage alongside the guitarist. I felt that the pairing of the two acts clashed and wasn’t needed.
All in all it was a fun night. I admit that at first I was a little overwhelmed with everything going on. I had to leave right as Don’t Tell was converting to a nightclub. Go-go dancers suddenly appeared as servers moved some of the dining tables away to make way for a dance floor. From what I heard the DJ spinning I wish I could have stayed longer! I didn’t even make a dent in the list of creative cocktails but with a tad bit of sensory overload occurring I felt it best to save the cocktail sampling for another evening and a separate blog post! Don’t Tell won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but it could be if they just pretended to be in Vegas and who doesn’t love Vegas? I feel that this place has the ingredients to be successful for a certain crowd – the food and cocktails are on point, edgy club music – so long as the quality of the entertainment remains high. Bonus points: saving money on Lyft and Uber by not hopping all over the city in one night!