The Second Floor restaurant may seem old hat with its dual mall and hotel location in the Westin Galleria in Dallas, but the fresh local offerings of chef Scott Gottlich make it as new as any discerning diner could desire.
The menu includes house-made charcuterie and specialty local cheeses like lamb kielbasa, lonzini, pecorino, drunken goat, and French-style double cream. The starters not to miss are a heavenly asparagus soup with spring asparagus garnish and Parmigiano-Reggiano; deviled eggs with New England lobster, lemon parmesan crisp, and tarragon oil; crispy Asian quail wings served with bánh mì veggies; and braised pork belly with toasted sesame seeds and Chinese hot mustard.
Not surprisingly, the mains are just as inviting, with a three meat loaf made of beef, pork, and veal, served with house-made steak sauce and collard green mashers, and a spectacular whole fish, which was Branzino the night we dined there.
We were so intrigued by Gottlich’s inventive menu that we had to ask what inspired him when it comes to food and all of the magical combinations it can offer.
The Daily Meal: How did you fall in love with all things culinary?
Scott Gottlich: I always enjoyed the art of cooking (and eating), but it wasn’t until culinary school when I became completely enthralled after only my first week. Once I realized I couldn’t imagine doing anything else I became totally committed.
What is the most important thing to you as a chef?
Why is it important to you to source locally?
There are so many reasons why looking to local producers is important. I believe in supporting your community and this is an easy way to do it while at the same time knowing your ingredients should be in season and at peak freshness. When you take the time to build relationships with farmers and ranchers in your area, you know where your food is coming from and the integrity and commitments behind it. Lastly, sourcing your food locally is good for the environment on many levels and keeps you grounded in the geography and history of your area. When you take the time to build relationships with farmers and ranchers in your area, you know where your food is coming from
Why is it important to you to use ingredients that are in season?
When ingredients are in season they are reaching their optimal crop, flavor, etc. It also means you’re using food that makes sense for that particular time of year.
What is in season right now?
Field peas, tomatoes, peaches, sugar melons, okra, eggplant, and squash.
What are some of your personal favorite summer ingredients for cooking?
For summer I can’t get enough of creamer peas, they’re my favorite ingredient right now. I also enjoy cooking with tomatoes and purple hull peas.
What are some of your personal favorite summer ingredients for mixing drinks?
Watermelon; cherries and blueberries are great and can easily mix into all sorts of stuff.
When you think about eating and drinking in the summer, what excites you the most?
Peach tea, grilling, good cocktails, and beer.
What is one of your fondest summertime eating and drinking memories?
Growing up, it was eating fried chicken and ice cold watermelon by the pool. Later in life, I think of being in California, eating fresh tomatoes and melons with burrata, black garlic, and wine.
What can diners expect from your menus this summer?
Expect dishes that incorporate peek vegetables.