The entry to Cry Wolf

Words and photography, Jesse Jackson IV |

When my wife and I first moved to the city of Dallas, we lived in the eastern section of the city, off of a street called Gaston Avenue. The apartment befit our paltry budget, as the two of us lived off of my earnings as a newly graduated graphic designer while my wife was a doctoral student at a nearby university - but it was clean, for the most part. The specific area of the city, somewhat less so. Dallas, as many cities in America, is very much a tale of the haves and have-nots in close proximity. In many cases, they can be neighbors, as was the case at our apartment complex. This presented certain challenges that we addressed as time went by, which ultimately resulted in our moving at the end of our lease into a noticeably nicer building. Now that we are squarely in a bracket some would categorize as the haves (all things being relative) I look fondly on our time in that space, and in fact, we bought a home within walking distance. It’s a special neighborhood, and there is a lot of potential here. Thankfully, more talented folks than I share that belief.

A view of the room
Towards the bar
The author surveys the menu
The proprietor of Cry Wolf is not too keen on being seen. A cursory glance through their Instagram will reveal very little about the man running the show; there is no splashy biography on their web property, which is little more than a home page, a link for reservations via Resy, and an Instagram redirect. In all likelihood, the team is too busy running the damn restaurant, which opened at the very tail end of 2021, to worry about the communication strategy. I like to believe that perhaps, in addition, there is an ethos being displayed - let the work (or in this case, the food) speak for itself, and the rest will sort itself out. If that doesn’t give you a sense for who the folks running the place are, the previous tenant was a Subway, and the tenant adjacent was The Hood Store - which was just a bodega, but a more apt name you would be hard pressed to find. They opened in the middle of a surge in Omicron cases, the aforementioned staffing challenges, and still they press on. Hands, meet horns. Just the sort of place I like.

Campari soda
Daniel regales us with a tale
Right, to the food. There is no prevailing sense of place to the menu, except perhaps for a general West Coast sensibility and an affinity for seafood. Inspired by that affinity, and having secured our aperitifs (my go to is a Campari soda - light, slightly bitter, perfect for prepping the palette for wine), my group ordered a coursed dinner focused on the seafood, working backwards from the entrees - Squid Ink Spaghetti with Rock Shrimp, olive oil, green garlic butter and garlic crisps; Atlantic Sole with turnip, dill, and mustard seed; Ora King Salmon with morel mushrooms, baby leeks, pickled red onions, and herb butter; and Crispy Jidori Chicken Thigh with a lemon frisee, a vinagrette and crispy chicken skin. From there, back to the mid course, a lovely Pappardelle with basil, beef butter, and parmesan. I tend to order appetizers last; it’s easier to pick the perfect place to start when you have an understanding of where you’ll finish. In this case, we had a dozen oysters, gone far too soon, and beef tongue - a dish which has been the only constant on the menu since opening.

The aforementioned beef tongue
Caught in conversation
Pewsey Vale
Conversation, continued
There is also the question of the wine pairing, which always goes better if you’ve determined the theme of the evening. I selected a 2017 Pewsey Vale Eden Valley Dry Riesling, as I love to start a dinner with a riesling with a little age, and for the mains I selected a 2018 Girolamo Russo ‘a Rina from Etna Rosso - much like the menu, the wine was all over the place, but all the better for the conviviality we sought.

Girolamo Russo
Pasta and shrimp
Setting the table
Chicken, variation

I suspect readers of this publication will be familiar with dinner starting well before the reservation. That certainly holds true for me. The forces impacting our favorite retail and restaurants are also impacting our wardrobes, and there is a persistent pull towards a more relaxed approach to dressing - even when going out for dinner. Try as we might to resist, tailoring aficionados are nonetheless impacted by the environments we operate within, and while it is always preferable to be overdressed than underdressed, it is even better to be dressed exactly as one should be while still appearing elegantly put together. Whether or not elegance was the result achieved, I attempt to incorporate tailoring in to each outfit I wear every day - whether it’s bespoke trousers paired with a t-shirt, or an unlined double breasted jacket made up in a beautiful Fox Air wool paired with a vintage Hawaiian shirt, Raleigh Denim Workshop jeans, and beaten to hell Vans, as was the case here. Rather than taking pride in the garments themselves, as I once did, I now make it a point to see how I can sneak the garments into outfits that allow everyone, dressed however they please, to feel comfortable. Perhaps true elegance is care for the comfort of others.

It is this care for comfort, or rather, the pleasure in the comfort of their guests, that the greatest in hospitality offer each and every service. At the core of it, this is what makes a restaurant, bar, or retail space exceptional; this is what allows them to weather the storms of life.

Cry Wolf has it.

Flowers in the corner