Bartender Jules Pagan pours a mixed drink at Madrina in Dallas, TX on September 15, 2015. (Alexandra Olivia/ Special Contributor)

Bartender Jules Pagan pours a mixed drink at Madrina in Dallas, TX on September 15, 2015. (Alexandra Olivia/ Special Contributor)

Alexandra Olivia/Special Contributor

Perhaps you've never been to a Mexican-French fusion restaurant. The co-owner of new Highland Park restaurant Madrina hopes you haven't.

The chef's table, which looks into the kitchen, seats six.

The chef's table, which looks into the kitchen, seats six.

Alexandra Olivia/Special Contributor

"People need to come with an open mind," says Michael Martensen a few days before it opened. "We're creating our own genre."

Its top toque is Julio Peraza, a French-trained chef who recently worked at Mexican restaurant Komali. The original chef, Kyle McClelland, has since left the company.

Peraza has a few playful menu additions up his sleeve, such as grasshoppers served on a cheese plate.

The Mexican-French theme is seen in nearly every dish. Take the enfrijolada: duck confit inside a cilantro tortilla with serrano chiles, black bean puree and ricotta cheese. Another, the tamal (a Mexican tamale), comes topped with caviar.

"There are no rules," says Michael Martensen, whose team also operates Proof + Pantry in the Dallas Arts District.

The restaurant is open now, every day but Monday, for dinner. [UPDATES: The restaurant is open for lunch, too, beginning Oct. 13. Brunch begins Nov. 15 and will become available every Saturday and Sunday thereafter.]

The Highland Park spot seats six at its chef's counter, where diners can order from a special menu while they watch the chef work. There's also room for larger parties in the restaurant, plus an adjoining bar and lounge.

The bar has some amusing quirks, too:  

The cocktail program includes a mescal aged in Pappy Van Winkle whiskey barrels. When it arrives -- it isn't available yet -- it'll sell for about $100 per shot. You read that right.

Madrina

Martensen has created a cocktail menu of 22 drinks and sells 100 agave tequilas. The bar will pour red and white wine from a tap and serve Mexican and French beer. The wine list is 100 percent French.

A secluded wine cellar will eventually become a private dining area for 8-person dinner parties. It's brisk in there, so Madrina's management will offer blankets during meals.

Anyone used to Tex-Mex won't find it at Madrina, Martensen warns. There's no chips and salsa on the tables. Instead, diners will find warm, housemade flour tortillas and French butter.

4216 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas. Open seven days a week. Brunch is Saturdays and Sundays, 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. madrina.herokuapp.com.

Notable: From 4-6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, all food and many drinks are 50 percent off in the bar/lounge.

Take a look inside the restaurant, which is destined to attract curious Dallasites:


Follow Sarah Blaskovich on Twitter at @sblaskovich.

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