Avner is back! That’s been the headline of a lot of the stories that came out this summer announcing Chef Samuel Avner’s return to the Dallas dining scene. PaperCity reported the famed chef’s return back in June with a similar connotation. Avner even said it himself, in the third person, on the phone with me.
So, there have been tons of hype and expectations for his new Nosh Bistro restaurant. Good thing, it is living up to them.
I recently had the opportunity to check out the new space and try some of Avner’s newest creations, inspired by his travels in Israel. The interior space is pretty unexpected based on what the outside looks like.
Located at 8611 Hillcrest Avenue in Preston Hollow, Nosh Bistro sits in a strip mall, right underneath Equinox. But once you go inside, you quickly forget.
The space has a beautiful mid-century look with green and brown neutral tones and just the right amount of color. Some of the chairs are a turquoise green, some are a coffee brown. But what really stands out is the mural that Avner had made that hangs over one of the larger half-booth tables.
Painted by Australian artist Craig Grimston, the “Nosh” mural is colorful and fun, with a hot air balloon carrying a toaster across the sky and various other kitchen appliances floating amongst a sort of whirlpool. Avner’s name is included as well.
We started off dinner with several appetizers. Avner has so many options on the menu, there was no way to try them all in one sitting, but I got through quite a few. By far my favorite was the Crushed Carmel Avocado toast on a seeded vegan bread with watermelon radish and Greek salt flakes. A close second was the Crispy Moroccan Spicy Beef Cigars with Persian cucumber mint yogurt & amba lebni. And an even closer third was the Red Beet Cured Pacific Salmon on potato latkes with lebni & American cavier.
The Midnight Black Hummus was pretty great as well, made with eggplant, which creates the black color. Avner also recently added on an Iberico Bellota ham served on Bernardaud volcano plates. Not really my thing texture-wise, it’s quite chewy, but beautifully served.
For main entrees, I couldn’t get enough of the Three-Way Globe Artichoke Ravioli. I am artichoke obsessed, so this rendition with brown butter and soft herbs was amazing. Another favorite was the Braised Short Rib on Mujadara Rice. So easily cut, which is my favorite part of short rib, with good flavors. And although this wasn’t my favorite, my taste buds may have been doing something weird at this point, but the Scallops with red beet Israeli couscous was a hit at the table. It had an odd foamy consistency on top that I just couldn’t get past imagining as soap.
And then the show began. For dessert, Chef Avner brought out his Chalice of Knickerbocker Glory. It’s sorbet with a pipette of 100-year-old Grand Marnier situated in a clear, almost ice cube-like bowl. Avner brought out his remote control and with a few clicks had all of the clear containers lit up in different colors. It may seem cheesy, but it was actually pretty fun.
Also for dessert, pastry chef Diana Zamora serves Sumac doughnut holes with Pop Rocks on top, which were delicious, Cardamom Star Anise Flan, and a Cardamom Chocolate Ice Cream with Halvah gravel, salt flakes and pistachio brittle. I also tried the Nabulsi Kunafa, which is a thin noodle-like pastry made with phyllo dough. A classic Middle Eastern dessert, the taste was good but it’s definitely an acquired consistency.