The latest new restaurant to open in the Rockwall Harbor District is also – so far, at least – the best. And that’s saying a lot, as we love both Gloria’s and Valore’s. But the Blue Canyon is a cut above the rest.
There are some great places around Ray Hubbard to have a nice meal, but when we wanted something really special, we had to go into Dallas, to the Mansion or Fearing’s. Now we may never have to leave the lake; that’s how good the food was at Blue Canyon when we visited a few days after they opened.
There are several different dining areas, each with a slightly different feel. I read that some folks were surprised when the Executive Chef decided to open this restaurant in Rockwall rather than Dallas, Addison, Plano or Frisco where many of the area’s best restaurants are. Well, the view of the lake certainly beats looking out at city streets or parking lots as you do in most of those other places.
Just a look at the leather-covered menu (and the prices on it) tells you this is going to be an upscale dining experience. But with appetizers like lobster nachos (as a friend said: "wow – combining my two favorite food groups), who needs entrees?
Tom opted to start with the lobster and crawfish bisque, and I tried the lobster corn dogs (Maine meets the Texas State Fair). Both were quite good, but only a warm-up for what was to come.
The lobster was tender and succulent, and I was beginning to believe what our waiter had told us about how they have the freshest seafood in the area, flying it in daily.
Tom knew right off the bat what he wanted for dinner. He’s a steak person, so he went for the Cowboy Beef Ribeye. He usually has trouble getting his steaks cooked exactly right; even at Fearing’s, they come out overdone. He pronounced the ribeye here ($29.99) to be the best steak he’s ever had. Ruth’s Chris previously held that title.
For me, making a selection was a little tougher. I was torn between the seared sea scallops and the intriguing Lobster Mac and Cheese. Both went for $23. Finally I settled on the sea scallops at the recommendation of the waiter. He explained that not only were they flown in that day, but were "dry packed" to prevent them from shrinking (apparently a common problem). I didn’t regret my choice when they were brought out. There were five huge, plump scallops cooked to perfection, neither dry nor watery. Of course, the magic is in the sauce, and this sauce was truly magical. Again, I was reminded of Dean Fearing’s cooking – and that’s a very good thing.
My scallops came with whipped Yukon gold potatoes and butter fried garlic green beans in smoked tomato corn butter. It was a perfect pairing with the scallops. Tom got a side order of "Lobster and Green Onion Mashers, which I tasted as well. Basically it’s mashed potatoes with big chunks of lobster and onion. Oh, yum. Yet another combination of favorite food groups.
The reason you don’t see any photos of the entrees is that, well, they looked so good that we both dug in and forgot to take pictures. At least it gives us a good excuse to go back again soon.
The entree portions were perfect. They weren’t tiny little four-bite servings that leave you wanting to stop by McDonald’s on the way home just to get some actual nourishment, as you sometimes find at upscale places. But they also weren’t the enormous portions that some of my favorite places serve, that leave you either asking for a doggie bag to take half of it home, or wishing that you had. In fact – and this is a rare occurrence for us – we actually had room left for dessert.
We both ordered something called a chocolate malt mousse ball. We had seen it when someone at the next table got it and it looked wonderful. And it tasted just as wonderful as it looked – the inside was a white chocolate mousse that melts in your mouth, literally. It was glazed in a dark chocolate shell, and the whole thing sits on top of a thin chocolate cake. Because the mousse is so light, you don’t get that aftertaste that sometimes happens with too-rich desserts.
My only real complaint is a minor one; I tried to order a glass of white zinfandel only to find that they don’t carry it. I know many wine snobs look down on white zinf, but it’s an extremely popular wine and back when we frequented the Mansion (how much more upscale can you get, at least in the metroplex?), I never had trouble getting a glass of white zinf there. I tried a red zinf instead, and it was okay, but they really ought to add a white one to their otherwise fairly extensive wine list.
I’d give it a 4.75 out of 5. Will we go back? Just as soon as our budget and diet can justify it. Although pricey, it’s less expensive than our favorite upscale Dallas restaurants (the $30 ribeye was the most expensive thing on the menu) and we got a very comparable experience with a much nicer view and without having to fight Dallas traffic. We wish the Blue Canyon much success, as we’d like this restaurant to stay around for a long time.