Te Deseo: Dallas Morning News


By Michalene Busico / Dec 04, 2019 / The Dallas Morning News

Across the din of the dining room at Te Deseo, we can hear them. A table of women is celebrating a birthday and every few minutes there’s a group yell — AAAaaaaah!!! — that sounds like a roller coaster making a circuit through the booked-up restaurant.

Are they opening presents? Ogling the other gorgeous customers in Dallas’ primo see-and-be-seen spot? Or maybe they just ordered one of Te Deseo’s more dramatic dishes, say, the picada Argentina, an extravaganza of grilled meat that is borne aloft and — wheeee! — served on a four-legged butcher block with an enormous cleaver holstered at its side.

Wait till they find out that an even bigger, wilder party is busting out in the rooftop bar — 45 degrees in November, be damned.

Te Deseo is fun. Big fun. A kind of gorgeous delirium rules at this stylish Pan-Latin restaurant in the Harwood District, like a slightly debauched Miami Beach villa washed up on a grassy spit of land amid the office towers near downtown.

The dimly lighted dining room has its own atmospheric conditions — warm even when the retractable roof is open in cold weather, and I swear, there’s a sort of mist floating around the surreal turquoise tree at the center of it, the fake bougainvillea climbing the walls and the fire roaring away in a painted-tile hearth.

Snake down a narrow dark corridor and you’ll hit the packed bar. Find a staircase and it’s up to the roof, where miniskirted waitresses are parading through the crowd with sparklers and bottles of Patrón tequila held aloft in neon halos.

It’s a scene, and we know what that means: It’s the kind of place where food is usually an afterthought, and not a good one. A glance through chef Ty Thaxton’s menu — a mashup of Mexico, Peru, Argentina and everyplace else between here and the South Pole — doesn’t exactly reassure you.

But Thaxton, it turns out, spent about six years living in Mexico, where he was a hotel chef, and devoted a good deal of his off-time to traveling through South America. Rather than offering a menu filled with dishes from here and there, he’s combining influences from everywhere, plate by plate.

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