Restaurant Reviews DFW

Toulouse Marks Another Win for Legacy West

If five years ago, someone told me that Plano would grow to be a thriving restaurant and nightlife district, I probably would’ve never believed them. What I love about Legacy West are the many opportunities for shoppers, diners, and consumers to embrace a variety of world cultures. At Legacy West’s newest addition, Toulouse, Planoites are offered a wide selection of fine, authentic French cuisine.

Toulouse is the product of Lombardi Family Concepts, the founders of Taverna. It is the second of three Lombardi restaurants to open in the Legacy West development thus far (the third being Kai, which is set to open later this spring.)

On a Thursday evening, my best friend Nick and I dine in Legacy West’s newest addition. Upon arrival, we are promptly greeted by a hostess, who appears to be in great spirits. Although my reservation has somehow managed to have gotten lost, we are welcomed with open arms and seated immediately.

The restaurant’s walls, ceilings, and floors are decorated in white and silver. Each shelf of the bar is stacked to the brim with fine wines and pricey liquors. It is a replication of an authentic French brasserie.

Moments after being seated, we are approached by a server, who is clearly knowledgeable of the menu, ready to make suggestions based on our tastes.

To kick things off, we both order Old Fashioneds. Traditionally, an Old Fashioned consists of bitters, rye whiskey or brandy. Although the drink is served in a tiny glass, the amount served was satisfying. It is a very strong cocktail, so it is best sipped slowly.

Toulouse’s spin on the Old Fashioned (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For my second drink, I order the Blackberry Mule. I had previously tried the Blackberry Mule at Taverna and it immediately became a favorite of mine. I am thrilled to see that Lombardi brought it over to Toulouse. The Blackberry Mule is heavy on fruit flavor, but not too strong on booze. It’s like drinking a pressed berry juice with a ginger kick.

The Lombardi signature Blackberry Mule (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

When it came time to order appetizers, we ordered the Escargot Bourguignonne and the Oysters Rockefeller. When Nick and I order appetizers we typically take a little bit off of each others’ plates, and that night was no different.

I had never tried escargot before, but I am quite surprised by how much I enjoy Toulouse’s. They are easy to chew and taste no different from most kinds of seafood. Plus, the garlic sauce they come coated in adds an absolutely divine kick.

Escargot Bourguignonne from Toulouse (photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

What I like about Toulouse’s oysters is the fact that they aren’t super greasy and oily, like those of most restaurants. Albeit light on oil, Toulouse’s oysters are still very hearty and flavorful.

Toulouse’s signature Oysters Rockefeller (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For my main course, I order the Duck Two Ways. The Duck Two Ways is a plate containing Long Island Duck Breast, both grilled and fried, compressed apples, potato dauphinoise, and dark cherry demi. I find the duck to be delicious beyond my expectations, and the pairing with the fruits allow for sweet touches.

Toulouse’s signature Duck Two Ways (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Like the appetizers, Nick and I go splitzies on our desserts. We ordered soufflé and crème brûlée. It was my first time trying soufflé, and I wasn’t expecting it to be so egg-heavy. It’s good, but perhaps I probably would enjoy it more around breakfast time.

Soufflé from Toulouse (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

The crème brûlée, on the other hand, is incredible. The caramelized coating is crisp to the touch, and the custard filling is thick, creamy, and consistent; not at all sloppy or oozy. Toulouse’s crème brûlée is probably the most well put-together version of the dish I have ever had the pleasure to try.

Crème brûlée from Toulouse (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Overall, I feel Toulouse is a fabulous addition to Legacy West. It is the closest thing to a French brasserie one can get in Dallas and makes for a remarkable cultural experience. Lombardi Family Concepts can do no wrong, and they show no signs of slowing down.

Restaurant Reviews DFW

Alberto Lombardi Details Early Career Beginnings, New Additions to Legacy West

While Dallas’s nightlife and dining scene is currently on an exponential rise, Alberto Lombardi has been a major driving force in the industry for decades. If you go out and about regularly in Uptown or in Knox Henderson, chances are, you’ve dined in one of Lombardi’s restaurants. Dining establishments, including Taverna, Lounge 31, and Toulouse are all fathered by Lombardi under his restaurant group, Lombardi Family Concepts.

From a young age, Lombardi knew that his lifelong career was destined to be in the realm of hospitality.

“I’ve been in this business since I was 13 years old,” Lombardi says. “I worked in Italy and went to school over there for three years. Then, when I was 16, I left for Berlin and worked in a hotel. After that, I went to Norway for six months, then worked on a cruise ship.”

Apart from his extensive European travels, Lombardi also worked in Miami and San Francisco, eventually finding his way to Dallas.

“I arrived in Dallas in 1974,” Lombardi says. “My first job in the city was managing The Venetian Room, which I did until 1976.”

After eventually parting ways with The Venetian Room, Lombardi opened his first restaurant, Lombardi, on McKinney Avenue in 1977. He later opened the first Taverna location in Knox Henderson, which has remained a staple in the city’s dining scene. He has expanded his empire by opening Taverna locations in Houston, Austin, Laguna Beach, Atlanta and most recently, Plano’s Legacy West shopping center.

One of Taverna’s many pizza options.

“When I first heard about the Legacy West project, I said ‘wow, let me put my concepts in,’” Lombardi says. “When I first came to Dallas, Plano was a rural area. There was nothing to do, but Legacy West is such an urban area where people can shop and go to restaurants. It’s amazing how much Plano has changed.”

Despite having opened Taverna’s Legacy West location only two months ago, Lombardi has shown no signs of slowing down. Earlier this year, Lombardi announced big changes would be taking place within Lombardi Family Concepts. These changes include his three daughters playing a larger role in the restaurant group’s operations.

“My daughter Laura will be handling marketing and my other daughter, Sarah, will be coordinating the menus,” Lombardi says. “Anna will be helping us with the technological side of the business. She’ll be maintaining our website and our social media handles.”

Apart from the big changes coming from within the company, Lombardi Family Concepts will also be expanding its territory by opening up Toulouse and Kai locations in Legacy West during the first quarter of the year.

“The Toulouse location in Dallas is more of a bistro,” Lombardi says. “The Legacy West location will be more like a brasserie. I believe it will be one of the most beautiful restaurants around here.”

Toulouse is set to open for Dinner beginning March 12. Also joining the Legacy West development will Lombardi’s newest concept, Kai Asian Bistro.

“Kai will consist of Asian fusion, a sushi lounge, and live music,” Lombardi says. “We plan to open at the beginning of April.”

Lombardi Family Concepts currently operated multiple restaurants across the Dallas metroplex. Also, be on the lookout for Toulouse and Kai’s new Legacy West locations opening soon.