The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

SMU professor Susanne Scholz in the West Bank in 2018.
SMU professor to return to campus after being trapped in Gaza for 12 years
Sara Hummadi, Video Editor • May 18, 2024

Southern cuisine meets European chic in Oak Cliff

It is an understatement to say that it is difficult to pick aplace to dine in Dallas. Hidden in the well-kept secret that is OakCliff’s Bishop Art’s district, Hattie’s offerssophisticated dining without pretension.

The simple décor and good atmosphere in Hattie’screate a pleasant dining experience. The light walls are adornedwith minimal art, and the large floor-to-ceiling windows give thespace a bright European-chic feel. The music is not too loud andthe lively patrons’ conversation does not seem to reach thecacophonic levels it does in most crowded restaurants.

Hattie’s and call the restaurant’scuisine American, but if I were to put a tag on it, it would be”European-style Southern cooking.” Although thecombination of both styles might sound impossible, menu items suchas sweet potato crème brulé define this culinaryoxymoron.

Hattie’s signature appetizer, the proscuitto wrapped figsstuffed with blue cheese and walnuts ($6.95) fell a little short.One serving only had five small figs, and the blue cheese’sflavor overpowered that of the fig and the proscuitto, which turnedthe concoction into a strange overly salty ball. I wish thefig’s flavor had come out a little more to mingle with thesaltiness of the proscuitto and cheese, balancing the sweet andsavory tastes. The other appetizers sounded good, but they arealmost all fried, which could easily cut appetites.

Instead, try the house salad ($4.95), which was flawless. Adelicate mix of fresh baby greens was topped with toasted pine nutsand just enough of an impeccably tangy roasted tomato vinaigretteto dress the salad, not drown it.

The food is presented in simple white dishes, free of fancygarnishes and artistically drizzled sauces. It’s beautifuland appetizing, even without all the fuss that may accompany otherrestaurants. The portions at Hattie’s are realistic, withoutbeing unmanageable, and the new twist on American food isrefreshing.

The classic Southern pulled pork and grits ($9.95) was fanciedup with browned onion marmalade. The sweetness of the marmaladepartnered with the tender pork and well-seasoned grits created apleasing mélange.

The smothered shrimp and eggplant Creole ($15.95), on the otherhand, lacked flavor. The pairing of seafood and tomatoes istypically hard to pull off, and it seems that Hattie’s wasunsuccessful in its attempt. I found myself adding salt to the dishseveral times, especially to the breaded eggplant that lay on thebottom of the plate, trying to impart some kind of distinctiveflavor.

One of the more reasonably priced enrees, the Pecan crustedcatfish ($10.95), was the meal’s winner. Perfectly cooked andsitting on a bed of scallion-mashed potatoes, it was served with awarm lemon butter sauce.

The catfish’s pecan crust was crispy and brought justenough nutty flavor to be different but not overwhelming. Theserving is generous and the people at your table should be glad totake a bit to help you finish.

If you have any room left for dessert, Hattie’s offersfour choices, all at $6.

The sweet potato crème brulé is unusual, to saythe least, but worth trying for fans of very sweet desserts. Thefried fruit pie was a little reminiscent of fast-food fried pies,but the toasted coconut ice cream it was served with was delectableand a perfect companion to the warm pastry. The bread pudding,although accompanied with a tasty whiskey custard sauce, wasnothing to write home about.

The last item on the menu, the molten chocolate cake, is reasonenough to make the trip down to Hattie’s. The meltedbittersweet middle was warm and gooey without being too glutinous,and the cake itself was rich but not too heavy.

Hattie’s is a delicious, moderately priced stylish find,perfect for taking out visiting parents or friends from out oftown. But, make sure you call ahead for a reservation, especiallyon the weekends, as Hattie’s tends to fill up veryquickly.

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