The bar at Beverley's in Knox Henderson has a roaring life of its own.

The bar at Beverley's in Knox Henderson has a roaring life of its own.

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

"We'll be doing something about this!" our waitress yelled, making a vague gesture that took in the entire room. We hadn't complained. We hadn't even ordered. But we all knew what "this" was. Beverley's Bistro and Bar is loud.

Really loud. After nearly a year of taking decibel readings at every place I review, no restaurant in North Texas has come close to the sound levels that registered during some seriously delicious nights at this shiny Knox-Henderson bistro. Over a platter of succulent grilled lamb chops with pickled golden raisins and pine nut gremolata, I watched the meter ping as high as 93 decibels — the equivalent of a lawn mower at full throttle. Another night, over a dainty salad of asparagus, favas and fresh peas, it hit 95. And that was after a raft of sound-absorbing panels had been added to the ceiling.

The noise — all-enveloping, at times overwhelming — tends to also dominate the discussion about Beverley's. But it shouldn't. For his first restaurant, owner Greg Katz has assembled a team of Dallas culinary all-stars and created something improbable and wonderful: a high-energy, New York-style bistro on an unremarkable stretch of Fitzhugh Avenue.

Asparagus salad

Asparagus salad

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

Every element of architect Elizabeth Johnson's design gleams with style (and hard surfaces), from the polished white marble bar to the intricately tiled floor, high airy ceilings to chic cafe tables. She may have also designed the pretty people who crowd in every night.

Those acoustic panels in the ceiling didn't make a difference in our decibel readings.

Those acoustic panels in the ceiling didn't make a difference in our decibel readings.

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

The menu — created by Katz with consulting chef Josh Sutcliff, who recently departed, and pastry chef Jill Bates — mixes bistro classics such as steak frites with glam versions of the Jewish dishes Katz grew up with, from a silken chicken liver mousse to latkes topped with caviar.

Old Bowie tunes blow out of the speakers, the open kitchen thrums and clatters, the bar — helmed by the talented Ravinder Singh — has a roaring life of its own. Beverley's is loud, yes, but in the celebratory way of a restaurant running on all cylinders.

It takes skill and nerve to create a glamorous Jewish-Texan-French bistro, in an offbeat location, and Katz may be the only person who could pull it off. (He must have been confident about it; he named it after his mother.)

After growing up in North Dallas, he started in the kitchen at The Mansion on Turtle Creek back in the Dean Fearing years, and went on to manage the front of the house at Manhattan's suave Il Mulino. When he returned to Dallas, to work at Victor Tangos, Sassetta, Wheelhouse and other spots, he remained obsessed with Keith McNally's scene-setting New York brasseries Balthazar and Pastis and the idea of creating one here.

Caviar and latkes

Caviar and latkes

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

But Beverley's has its own identity. Consider its version of caviar and blinis, the little pancakes replaced by tiny, lacy latkes with the strands of potato bound by a whisper of egg and lemon, fried as crunchy as potato chips and topped with a dab of crème fraiche and a shower of finely minced chives.

I ordered a plateau of six oysters on the half shell with trepidation: The bivalves were from the gulf, the waitress said, usually the source for those big, meaty beasts that are best eaten fried. But these oysters, called Murder Points, were medium size and farmed in Alabama, and so clean and crisp with the mignonette and smoked cocktail sauces that I could have eaten a dozen.

Chicken liver and foie gras mousse with herb salad and sourdough toast

Chicken liver and foie gras mousse with herb salad and sourdough toast

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

Beverley's chopped liver is, you know, no chopped liver: Katz refines the old standard into a silken, ultrasmooth chicken liver mousse, enriched with foie gras and a layer of fig gelée. It arrives in a glass jar and is luscious schmeared over sourdough toasts, alternating bites with the lemony herb salad and toasted hazelnuts.

Salads are made with care, particularly that seasonal asparagus salad, a pure green tumble of fresh peas, favas, baby spinach and frisée in a light sherry dressing accented with a runny egg. The Little Gem Caesar is a sharp version of the classic, updated with thin golden chips of garlic.

Most all of the starters were impressive, save for a couple of exceptions, such as the chilled shrimp, a version of shrimp cocktail with eight limp, undercooked crustaceans plastered in Old Bay Seasoning. More disappointing: the matzo ball soup, with a dark brown broth too salty to taste the chicken, concealing dry shreds of breast meat and vegetable bits. That matzo ball, though, was great: schmaltzy and solid, but not heavy, and just delicious.

Double cheeseburger 

Double cheeseburger 

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

Among the main courses are some really well-executed standards, including the steak frites. Order it with the cheapest, $28 "bistro" cut — the teres major, a tender shoulder cut with the texture of a filet but much more flavor.

The double cheeseburger, a towering construction built on 8 ounces of dry-aged ground beef, looks like a lot of status burgers around town. But it is a statement-making sandwich: There isn't a single sweet element on it, just shredded lettuce, caramelized onions, Tillamook cheddar and house-made pickles. It is entirely savory, rich and umami-filled — unified with a mayonnaisey "Special Sauce" that is enriched by bone marrow. Order it. At $16, including the terrific fries, it is one of the best deals in Dallas.

Chicken schnitzel, a paillard pounded flat and tossed in seasoned breadcrumbs and fried, is right on trend and set off by a retro marsala mushroom sauce and a bitter arugula salad. But the roast chicken, balanced on a fine succotash tinged with sherry vinegar, was a more interesting dish (and a relief from all the breading and frying on the menu). I just wished the chicken were cooked slightly less.

Chicken schnitzel 

Chicken schnitzel 

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

Shrimp cocktail aside, the kitchen absolutely nails seafood. A thick pink square of Scottish salmon arrives with the skin seared to a crackle and the flesh still rare and pink, paired with earthy braised black lentils and a caper butter sauce. On another night, the fish of the day, halibut, is also perfectly cooked but matched with much less interesting grilled asparagus and mashed potatoes.

Desserts — generally a choice of three — are nice, but not earthshaking. The Key lime pie is the best of them, with a crumbly graham cracker crust and tangy custard under a finely textured meringue. An early Nutella red velvet cookie has morphed, thankfully, into a much better Nutella brownie topped with a scoop of vanilla bean ice cream.

Coffee Talk cocktail

Coffee Talk cocktail

Brandon Wade/Special Contributor

It isn't a bad idea to skip dessert entirely and just order Singh's Coffee Talk cocktail, a complex coupe of coffee-infused Campari, rye whiskey, bourbon and Cinzano.

As the evening winds down, Beverley's does get quieter. On a recent night, I sat at the bar as another woman, wilted after a long day at work, chased dinner at the bar with a shot of Fernet-Branca. Alongside her, an elegantly dressed couple breezed in for a late drink after a night out.

"You're my new go-to place," the woman said, gathering her jacket after she and the bartender exchanged names. It wasn't the first time I heard an exchange like that at Beverley's. And if they can figure out how to lower the volume, I suspect I would hear even more of them.

Beverley's Bistro and Bar

Rating: Two and a half stars

Price: $$$ (starters $6 to $21, mains $16 to $56, desserts $10 to $12)

Service: Friendly, familiar and efficient in a way that makes everyone feel like a regular

Ambience: Owner Greg Katz assembled a team of Dallas stars (consulting chef Josh Sutcliff, barman Ravinder Singh, pastry chef Jill Bates and architect Elizabeth Johnson) to create something improbable and wonderful: a high-energy, New York-style bistro in a strip center on Fitzhugh Avenue. Every element gleams with style, from the long white marble bar to the chic cafe tables and the pretty people who crowd in every night. The menu mixes classics such as steak frites with glam versions of the Jewish dishes Katz grew up with, from a silken chicken liver mousse to latkes topped with caviar. It is loud, yes, but in the celebratory way of a restaurant running on all cylinders.

Noise: Deafening (86 decibels)

Drinks: The tight wine list tilts toward familiar labels from France and California (Olivier Leflaive, Cakebread, Orin Swift), balanced by more offbeat choices such as 2017 Terlano Pinot Grigio ($55) from Italy's Alto Adige region, 2017 Piedrasassi Syrah ($55) from Sashi Moorman in Lompoc, Calif., and 2018 Badenhorst Secateurs Chenin Blanc from South Africa ($44). House cocktails include a summery, lavender-tinged gin and tonic lightened with white vermouth ($12).

Recommended: Asparagus salad, Little Gem Caesar, chicken liver and foie gras mousse, Scottish salmon, chicken schnitzel, double cheeseburger, steak frites, gin and tonic, Coffee Talk cocktail

GPS: Loud and chic on the inside, quiet but sweltering on the patio. Parties of two should request Table 14 indoors, a corner spot that lets you sit close enough for easy conversation. At the back of the restaurant, behind a door marked "Private," is a terrific private dining room that seats 30 and has its own bar and patio.

Address: 3215 N. Fitzhugh Ave., Dallas; 214-915-8840; beverleysdallas.com

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday from 5 to 10 p.m. Bar opens at 4:30 p.m.

Reservations: Accepted. Bar seating, including tables, is reserved for walk-ins.

Credit cards: All major

Health department score: A (92, March)

Access: Restaurant and bar are on one level.

Parking: Free valet parking.

Ratings Legend

4 stars: Extraordinary (First-rate on every level; a benchmark dining experience)

3 stars: Excellent (A destination restaurant and leader on the DFW food scene)

2 stars: Very Good (Strong concept and generally strong execution)

1 star: Good (Has merit, but limited ambition or spotty execution)

No stars: Poor (Not recommended)

Noise Levels

Below 60: Quiet. Maybe too quiet.

60-69: Easy listening. Normal conversation, with a light background buzz.

70-79: Shouty. Conversation is possible, but only with raised voices.

80-85: Loud. Can you hear me now? Probably not.

86-plus: Deafening.

Prices

Average dinner per person.

$ -- $19 and under

$$ -- $20 to $50

$$$ -- $50 to $99

$$$$ -- $100 and over

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