Abacus is a star of the Dallas restaurant scene. Über-chef (and owner) Kent Rathbun is on the national radar screen.
SETTING – A new building on old McKinney Avenue. Very sleek, almost futuristic interior – I'd call it "soft contemporary".
FOOD – Abacus bills itself as "Global Contemporary Cuisine". Others might say it's New American or Fusion. (They also have a separate and very expensive sushi menu.) The prices at Abacus are not for the faint of heart, but you get your money's worth. For appetizers, the Lobster Scallion Shooters in Red Chile Sake (20 bucks) are like sex in a shot glass. The Proscuttio Wrapped Rare Ahi Tuna (also 20 bucks) is totally awesome, and I'll bet that no one has ever complained about the price. Among entrees, the menu continually evolves, and my latest favorite is the "Surf & Turf" (White Miso Black Cod in Ginger Broth with Kobe Beef Dumplings). Or try the Wood Roasted Buffalo Tenderloin with Red Wine Butter and Truffle Whipped Potatoes. And the complimentary basket of incredible house-baked breads should win an award all its own. Appetizers $16-$22. Entrees $36-$50.
SERVICE – Impeccable. And the black-clad wait staff gives very good advice on the menu if you can't make up your mind. Trust them.
WINES – The Abacus wine list (250 bottles) has racked up a long list of awards. In Pinot Noirs alone, there are over 30 labels. Plus about 50 different half-bottles, 30 wines by the glass, everything you could possibly want. No screw top caps here.
AMBIANCE – Very contemporary. Very open kitchen. Very busy. Very upscale (casual elegant to business attire). See and be seen. More New Money than Old Money. If you arrive early for your reservation, the bar is definitely worth a detour.
BOTTOM LINE – Abacus is a top dog among Dallas restaurants. Probably in the whole southwest. If you've never been there, I guarantee that your visit will be a memorable one. Bring your best credit card.