NorthPark may have its own Houston's -- and yes, it's called Hillstone now -- with the new Theodore: a reliable, upscale American grill to attract see-and-be-seen shoppers. Certainly the bar showed that potential on its first week open.
The patio made over from Luna de Noche and the illuminated outside-inside approach of the bar draw attention to the Theodore and distinguish it from the darker, more boisterous Kona Grill next door. The interior design was inspired by Wes Anderson movies -- there's definitely a stoner belle époque vibe at work. A less hip reference point might be Smith & Wollensky steakhouses.
Creative winking and nodding extends to the cocktails devised by locavore alchemist Kyle Hilla, formerly of Bolsa. He's carried his A-game over from Oak Cliff.
Cocktails feature intriguing combinations, including a curious affinity for jam in the $11 Redwood, and thoughtfully selected spirits. Conscientious tipplers could be entertained just reading the lineup of bottles on the bar shelves. Don't miss the $12 Badlands of Rémy VSOP cognac, Woodford Reserve bourbon and lemon juice chilled by a spicy red wine ice ball. They could sell Mr. Dallas the ice ball separately.
Apropos of not much, the Theodore is the second local venue to make a Teddy Roosevelt connection. (Those specialty drinks are named after national parks, to honor the 26th president's conservation efforts.) The nightclub Teddy's Room had a decent run in Uptown.
Inside NorthPark Center on the first floor between Macy's and Nordstrom, 8687 N. Central Expressway at Park Lane, Dallas. 469-232-9771. thetheodore.com.
Staff writer Sarah Blaskovich contributed to this report.