When word came that world renowned Michelin Star Chef Akira Back was opening his namesake restaurant near Dallas, a city that idolizes celebrity chefs, local foodies were beyond thrilled. Photographer Chris Waits and I were eager to join invited media for a VIP preview tasting the day before Akira Back’s May 6 opening. We wanted to see what all the buzz was about for this acclaimed Modern Japanese Cuisine dining destination.
Akira Back Dallas
Back’s is the latest restaurant to open in Grandscape, a deluxe 400-acre shopping and entertainment center located in The Colony, 29 miles northwest of Dallas. The intricately designed building is covered with colorful murals and features a lovely patio in the back. The elegant interior includes a dining area plus a sushi bar, a cocktail bar, and a private dining room.
The pre-set menu for the tasting featured a Tuna Pizza (Umami Aioli/Micro Shisho with white truffle oil) that was tasty but the razor thin slices were hard to eat with chopsticks. After seeing several people eat the pizza slices by hand, I quickly followed suit. Hirame Crudo (crispy Shallots with Nanbanzu Sauce) followed.
New Style Whitefish Carpaccio (Hot Oil, Yuzu Soy, Serrano, Ginger, Parmesan Cheese) was next, also very fresh and good. My favorite dish was the Rock Shrimp Tempura that followed. Chris said his favorite was the Texas Wagyu Short Rib with Quail Egg and Braising Jus. Perfect Storm (Shrimp Tempura, Salmon, and Mango Salsa); and Pop Rocking (Snow Crab, Pop Rock Candy) were really good too.
By this time we were too full to eat any more, but of course made an exception for the dessert. A fat AB Cigar (Lucuma Mousse, Chocolate Brownie and Cocoa Nibs) was decadently rich. It made a fitting finale for this fun dining experience. While there weren’t any prices listed on the preview menu, costs from the online menu show the cost of the sharing menu would be close to $200 for the two of us.
As all the tables in the dining room quickly filled with VIP guests, including the local Mayor and other dignitaries, we were struck by how beautifully choreographed the service was at Akira Back. That could have had something to do with the presence of the restaurant’s namesake owner, who somehow managed to greet everyone in the room individually, but it’s more likely due to the extensive training these waiters and managers received.
Our waitress, Jasmine, was effortlessly efficient and very sweet. She answered all our questions patiently, and even brought us both forks without raising an eyebrow. We tried one of the signature cocktails, a Cactus Cooler, primarily because it was so photogenic. The rose-colored cocktail featured Cimarron Reposado Tequila, triple sec, lemon, prickly pear, and egg whites. According to the online menu, the Cactus Cooler costs $15. We also tried a Sake flight of light and crisp flavors that is priced at $21 online.
Akira Back Global Empire
Akira Back has built a global empire over the past two decades, with 20 cutting edge locations around the world, and more coming, including one planned for Houston. According to his bio, the chef was born in Korea and raised in Aspen Colorado. His early years were spent as a professional snowboarder, and he appeared in a number of movies about extreme sports. He left there to attend culinary school, and has received a number of awards along the way to establishing his restaurant empire. He has also been a celebrity guest on numerous television shows.