THE POWER OF PRESENTATION

BY DOUGLAS KING | PHOTOGRAPHY BY HOLGER OBENAUS


The main dining room with spacious booths, which seat six comfortably, is separated from the lounge by a decorative wooden architectural screen.

 

Upon entering the north Plano Moxie’s restaurant, you are greeted by an attractive hostess standing behind a wooden stand that spans the width of the spacious waiting area. But, looking to your left and peering through a decorative architectural screen into the dining room, one gets the sense of peering through the looking glass into a magical world where presentation is the Queen of Hearts.

From the hip lime green fabric that covers the double-sided bank of wide booths—large enough for parties of four or more without feeling cramped— to the contemporary décor and decorative wooden screen that provides a visual barrier between the main dining room and vibrant lounge space to the 700-bottle wine cooler, which can be viewed from the main dining room, to the open kitchen where chef Nevyas Subroto masterfully orchestrates his staff, every element of Moxie’s has been meticulously designed and crafted to provide the best atmosphere and presentation.

This perception is only enhanced and accentuated by the appearance of every plated dish delivered from the kitchen.

There are two locations in Dallas and one in Houston—-currently the only locations in the United States—owned and operated by the Canadian company Northland Properties. Promoted as casual fine dining, the restaurant is the perfect stop for extended brunch (until 4 p.m.), family dining, business meetings, happy hour cocktails, special occasions with family, and weekend hangouts with friends, when a live DJ entertains in the lounge.

As operating partner Leigh Pukin says: “Moxie’s is whatever you make it. We are well known for our surprise factor, and we strive to exceed expectations, from presentation to taste.”

They succeed!


A classic 9-ounce grilled tenderloin filet with red wine demiglace.

Moxie’s offers a fantastic brunch menu anchored by a French toast that stands nearly as tall on the plate as the Eiffel Tower. Two nearly 2-inch thick slices of bread are generously battered and slathered with syrup, Crown Royal strawberries and fresh whipped cream. If morning sweets are not your taste, enjoy the vegetarian egg white omelet; the smoked salmon, goat cheese and egg white omelet; or any of the other nearly dozen morning offerings.

Thirty percent of the menu is specific to Texas, and all of the beef is grain fed and sourced from a third generation Texas butcher, Lone Star Meats. To say that executive chef Brandon Thordarson, who oversees the menu for all of Moxie’s restaurants, is meticulous in his decisions would be an understatement. The burger patties alone took three years to develop, from grind weight to seasoning, and all are hand-formed on-site for each day’s servings. The burgers are a combination of Black Angus chuck and brisket. The salmon is sustainably raised Scottish salmon. The chicken and eggs are cage-free from U.S. farms and raised without the use of hormones or steroids.


The smashed guacamole is served with fresh corn chips and salsa fresca.

The loaded burger comes topped with aged white cheddar, red relish, pickled mustard seed mayo, sautéed mushrooms, bacon and BBQ sauce.

 

In all, the Moxie’s kitchen has 150 recipes made in its scratch kitchen. The restaurant offers a full gluten-free menu and takes allergens very seriously, working with any diner who specifies a food allergy to ensure their dining experience is safe and delicious.

But let’s talk specifics. Any plate you order, you feel almost badly cutting into and disturbing such a graceful work of culinary art. Until you finally taste the food, and then it is difficult not to behave like a ravenous beast, devouring yet savoring the incredible flavors that dance on your palate.

The presentation of the salmon and avocado Cobb salad is simply stunning, with a perfect cross section of crisp iceberg lettuce, which rests in a bed of peppercorn ranch and sundried tomato dressing, topped with feta, avocado, boiled egg and house-made rustic croutons. It’s then crowned with a thick slab of salmon and two perfectly prepared strips of bacon. The flavors are balanced despite the tower of ingredients.


Stir-fried veggies, jasmine rice and curry-buttered naan spice up the red Thai curry bowl.

The signature sticky toffee pudding is served warm with candied pecans, buttery caramel sauce, bourbon crème anglaise and vanilla bean ice cream.

 

One of the signature items on the menu is the blackened mahimahi. The chefs at Moxie’s have added a wonderful new element to it: chorizo sausage. Minced and sprinkled over the nicely portioned filet, along with corn hash and salsacado, this dish is a masterpiece to behold and mouthful of pleasure.

This is Texas, so of course we must talk about steak. Moxie’s is known for its flat iron steak salad, served with fresh artisan greens, herbed goat cheese, grape tomatoes and spicy vinaigrette, with a hint of clamato, and a goat cheese crostini.

And, let’s not forget the signature 9-ounce tenderloin filet, classically grilled with red wine demiglace or the steak frites, a top sirloin served with chimichurri, arugula and fresh cut fries. All steaks are served with your choice of roasted baby potatoes, lemon quinoa or a twice-baked potato stuffed with mashed potatoes, cream cheese, green onion and bacon. Plus, fresh seasonal vegetables. The potato is worth mentioning on its own as the potato itself is hollowed out, the various ingredients mixed and whipped and then returned to the skin in a spiral presentation that is Instagram worthy. As is every dish that Moxie’s serves.

No meal is complete without dessert, and Moxie’s remains ever vigilant with picture-perfect perfection in this area as well. The sticky toffee pudding is the signature dish. Served warm with candied pecans, buttery caramel sauce, bourbon crème anglaise and vanilla bean ice cream, it closes out a meal that checks every box for presentation and deliciousness.

When dining at Moxie’s, a tell-tale sign that your meal is going to be spectacular (even before it arrives at your table) is when you hear the Perfect 10 Dish cheer from the staff in the kitchen. This shout goes out every time another impeccable plating occurs as a celebration of perfect presentation. Needless to say, there is a lot to celebrate at Moxie’s, every day.