By Rebecca Combs, Foodable Contributor
The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek has dazzled Dallas with it's fine dining and Southern hospitality for more than three decades. The 1920's Italianate villa has opened it's doors to celebrities and royalty. It is truly an icon and is rich with Dallas history.
The Mansion Restaurant History
The Mansion was originally built in 1908 but was destroyed by a fire in 1923. It became a home in 1925 and after various renovations and owners, it was opened by Caroline Rose Hunt as a luxury restaurant and hotel in 1979. In 1985, Dean Fearing became the executive chef and so began the domino effect of awards and recognition. The Mansion continues to be an example of fine dining, elegance, and luxury. From Frank Sinatra, Elizabeth Taylor, Madonna, and Bill Cosby, the Mansion has drawn world famous celebrities into it's doors and is the epitome of luxury and Texas haute cuisine. The current executive chef is Bruno Davaillon, who took over in October 2009. Chef Bruno, originally from the Loire Valley, brings the flavors of France to The Mansion, while staying committed to local Texas influences.
Defining Fine Dining
The classic style of fine dining originated in Europe – things like white table cloths, front waiter, back waiter, and so on. But, according to the Director of Food and Beverage at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek, Luke Mathot–these things would classified as simply “service points” and “it's about more than that– setting expectations is key.” “When you go out to fine dining, it's something new...you're going to taste something you've never tasted before and be blown away,” said Mathot.
One of the Mansion's Food and Beverage Managers, Daniel Rivera– describes fine dining as being about the overall experience. "Fine dining is a lot more intimate, there are a lot more intricate details that go into it...personal touches that are involved that accentuate the whole dining experience,” said Rivera. Not to mention, when one dines at a luxury restaurant, it's about feeling good. Ryan Harvey is also a Food and Beverage Manager and has been at The Mansion for almost four and a half years, so he knows what guests are looking for. “They go there because they want to feel special and pampered,” said Harvey.
Going Above and Beyond
Obviously, diners can go to a luxury restaurant and not have that great experience. So, what is it about the Mansion that has kept people coming back? Hospitality. According to Mathot, “you can't teach someone to be genuine and hospitable. And the two of those combined? That's the winning combination of fine dining.” It's more than just making sure you nail the service. “Really, it comes down to how you make the guest feel” says Harvey. You can pull up to the valet in a piece of junk, step into the bar in jeans and a polo and be treated like royalty. Why? As Mathot says, “everyone's a VIP here”. And that is the difference. Daniel calls it “tender, love, and care” and that's what every guest feels. Not only is there extreme attention to detail, but it's the intuitive service that shines. You can sense the excitement and passion that every staff member has to serve the guests.
The other tip from the Mansion team? Make the experience fun! Just because it's “fine dining” doesn't mean that it has to be boring! On the contrary, the Mansion Restaurant staff wants the guests to feel relaxed, comfortable, and enjoy their time. Harvey summed it up perfectly, “It's genuine southern hospitality without being stuffy.”
And so, no matter who you are or where you come from, you will always feel welcome at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. A true piece of Dallas history, the Mansion Restaurant has seen countless celebrities and the menu has always varied and offered flavors from around the world– but the one thing that has always remained the same is the Texas flair and true Southern hospitality.