After more than two decades at one of Dallas' most renowned hotel restaurants, the Mansion on Turtle Creek, celebrity chef Dean Fearing went solo in 2007, opening Fearing's, a 12,000-square-foot, 320-seat restaurant in the Ritz-Carlton Hotel. Designed as seven distinct dining environments — from elegant to casual to garden pavilion — the hottest spot in the house is themed "Dean's Kitchen."
The casual, lively 66-seat room features large windows, light oak paneling, glowing rawhide chandeliers and a bustling exposition kitchen. Fearing describes it as "literally a kitchen wrapped around a dining room."
It includes a high, sleek dark wood chef's table with seating for eight positioned at an open corner of the kitchen. Chef's table guests enjoy multicourse menus, direct views of the cooking action and frequent visits from the chef. The room also includes granite-topped counter seating directly in front of one side of the kitchen. The counter, Fearing says, is "almost like a modern diner, where people can just come without reservations and sit and watch the chefs in action."
The kitchen itself, designed by Fearing with Ricca Newmark Design, comprises roughly 20 percent of the venue's space and on an average night fields 25 culinary team members at various stations. Main attractions in the kitchen, which zigzags along the perimeter of the room to maximize visibility, are two wood-burning grills, large burnished copper hoods, decorative glass panels that divide the front and back kitchens, and illuminated glass-fronted plate-warming cabinets on the dining-room side of the kitchen's counters.
Says Fearing in a video tour describing the space, "It's a very open scene. People can see cooking going on, the smell of food, flames shooting into the air. We can see action, we can hear pans hitting the stove, the sous chefs calling out orders. It's a very action-prone room. The buzz is alive in here . . . and the mood is unlike any restaurant in Dallas."