SHORT RIB WITH HEIRLOOM BUCKWHEAT-CORN POLENTA, smoked maitake, tomato-ramp jam and kale. Cast-iron corn bread with mango chutney and hot sauce butter. Walnut tart with figs, gorgonzola, honey and white balsamic.
The unorthodox-and delectable-pairings on the menu at FT33 could be considered a reflection of chef/owner Matt McCallister’s equally unusual industry rise.
Lacking formal training, but inspired by years of cooking alongside his mother, in 2006 McCallister landed a job at Stephen Pyles Restaurant in Dallas where he ascended the kitchen hierarchy to become executive chef. Eventually, McCallister left the position, traveling and learning from some of the nation’s most notable chefs: José Andrés, Sean Brock, Grant Achatz and Daniel Boulud.
"I wanted to explore high-end restaurants and get experience in different kitchens," McCallister says. "I wanted to cook, observe and have fun."
In 2011, McCallister landed back in the Big D and paired his interests in fine art and food: He opened FT33 in the city’s up-and coming Design District. The name FT33 is derived from the chef’s penchant for yelling "fire table" as he cues the kitchen to ready the next course; 33 is the table number for the prominent table in the dining room that offers an entertaining view of the chef at work. Like the whole of the space, which can accommodate 78 seated guests for private events, the dining room is outfitted in reclaimed barn wood and industrial materials.
The menu is in perpetual flux, reflecting McCallister’s gastronomic riffs on seasonal ingredients. "We’ve grown into our style in the past year," he says.