Chef John Tessar walks among the best knife dishes

John Tesar Knife opened in Highland Dallas in 2014. It was an idea built around steaks to celebrate the science of dry aging and cook the perfect dish. But Knife has always been more than just a steak. Tesar appreciates a steakhouse that serves up a large rack of lamb, pasta, salads, and roast chicken because, he tells us, you can’t eat steak seven days a week.

Naif, celebrity steakhouse chef John Tessar, made his debut at the Highland Dallas in 2014, gaining a following with a menu that endorsed dry steaks. Since then, he’s opened another knife location in Plano, as well as restaurants in Florida and California. One of those in Orlando won a Michelin star in June 2022.

“The stars are great, but it’s a responsibility and you get reviewed every year,” Tessar says. “You can win the James Beard award… and then you get the medal and they can’t take it away from you. But the Michelin star could be taken away from us next year if we don’t keep consistency. It’s a different kind of rating system that is really designed to give you the truth about what you’re doing.”

After a pandemic and the opening of a fleet of competitive steakhouses in a city that absolutely adores red meat, the new Tesar shares, what’s still going strong, and where Knife is heading in the future to stay competitive.


45 Days Aged Dry Akushi Bone Knife in Akushi Bone, in 32 oz.
a knife

45-Day Dry-Aged Akaushi Ribeye, 32 oz

“I think the best experience to order a steak at Knife is to try the dry steak for 45 days, which will give you a great experience. When you have dry steak, you have all that umami that comes with it, the sweetness we’ve grown with our mold, and 44 ranch Angus meat.

“Once you do the entry level, you experiment by aging until it’s too much for you. Two hundred and forty days of dry age is too much for a lot of people. It’s too much for me sometimes because after one bite it’s so rich and delicious.” very.

“What I’ve learned over the years is that it’s not about how many months or days or years your steak is. It’s about growing your produce and then discerning if it’s the best day you can serve people. Every animal is different. Every season is different. Cattle need To the water, summer is hot – all of these things have an effect.”


Cooked snapper rests on a wooden board and garnished with vegetables.

Fully cooked snapper at Knife Dallas.
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whole fish

“We’ve had great success in Orlando using local fish, so we’re doing the same in Dallas. We take out Texan-provided seafood out of the bay. We use snapper and redfish. We can remove all the bones, roast them, and serve them with green sauce, chimichurri or okonomy – They change every night.It’s a great item to share.

“The fishmonger gets it and it goes straight into a truck that day. Otherwise you’d buy fish from the East Coast and God knows it could be at the Fulton Fish Market.” [in New York City] For two or three days, then in a truck, then in a plane. By the time you reach that, it could be a week old.

Successfully [my other] two restaurants [Outer Reef in Dana Point, California and Knife and Spoon in Orlando, Florida]I need to bring more seafood to my Knife menu in Dallas. We put shrimp on the list. I add three or four bowls of seafood once I’m square in California.”


In a cast iron skillet, cut lobsters in half and serve with chimichurri sauce.

“Outside Reef” – Buttered Pulled Lobster – at Knife Dallas.
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Boiled lobster with butter

“A lot of times, you go to a steakhouse and get frozen lobster tails from South Africa or Australia for $100. We use Maine lobster and skim it with butter. We serve it with lemon and pulled butter, like lobsters should be served in a steakhouse. That, to me, is integrity, a pure thing – frozen lobster tails don’t serve you. I fly lobsters from Canada and Maine, and they come two or three times a week.”


Garganelli pasta dish topped with butter sauce and grated truffle.

Garganelli and black truffle essence from Knife Dallas Pasta Show.
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macaroni

“I’d like to highlight the pasta program, but Garganelli truffle pasta is a phenomenon. If you remove it from the menu, I think some people will freak out. It’s weird for people to have a love affair with truffles. But it’s a simple dish, just truffle butter and pasta, and people love it.” I love its simplicity. I love its purity. We put Casio e Pepe on the list, and we do it with Montana.

“If you taste our pasta compared to others, it is lighter because of the recipe we developed from Italy in consultation with my outstanding real Italian chef friends. They are the ones who will give you secrets and honesty. Real chefs talk to each other and get better behind the scenes.”


On a wooden cutting board, slice a rack of breadcrumb-coated lamb with a large knife.

Lamb rack in Naive Dallas.
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Oven grilled meat

“It’s a dish I’ve been making for 35 years, it’s a classic Percelli preparation for a rack of lamb. We use Colorado lamb because I think it has the best flavor, and it’s local. I season it in traditionally rosemary, garlic, and olive oil, and then we marinate the lid.” Slightly greasy Season them with salt and pepper brush them with Dijon mustard and make a garlic breadcrumb mixture with herbs We grill them – you needed an oven, the steakhouse complimented having an oven to roast things. Grilled. I think it’s important to have a well-rounded restaurant and to offer people alternatives instead of just steak and salad.”

Knife at 5300 E Mockingbird Ln. , in Dallas, within Highland Dallas.

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