Well-backed Canadian group Joey Restaurants has raised the stakes for dining at NorthPark Center, Dallas’s nearly 60-year-old landmark shopping mall. The overall vibe and the menu created by Top Chef Canada 2013 winner Matthew Stowe evoke a worldly, slightly more sophisticated Cheesecake Factory, with steaks, sushi, handhelds, salads, bowls, pastas, and a variety of mains. Unlike most restaurants, anywhere, it has locally commissioned artwork that’s actually interesting, and a profusion of employees, some dressed more like cocktail waitresses, and we’ve never seen an open kitchen with as many cooks. Our temaki (sushi cone) starter—with tempura shrimp, crunchy tobiko, and a little too much rice wrapped in soybean paper—nearly filled us up (and cost an extremely reasonable $6.25). So we had just an appetizer portion of the jumbo lump crab cake. It came attractively freckled with whole corn kernels, an unusual ingredient that resulted in a welcome pop of texture. We also enjoyed the simple marinated salad of green apple, fennel, and celery that came with it. We’ll also admit to liking the “famous fully loaded crispy mashed potato,” which was essentially mashed potatoes deep-fried in an egg roll wrapper and finished with a squiggle of sour cream and real bacon crumbles. For dessert, we quickly dispatched the two squares of creme brûlée cheesecake on a puddle of fresh strawberry compote. After witnessing the Cajun blackened chicken on a mountain of potato salad being delivered to the table next to us, we knew what we’d be having on our next visit.
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A Canadian group brings a classy, wide-ranging menu to a landmark shopping mall.