The Butcher, The Bakers, The IPA Maker
Part One: Michael Sindoni, Butcher
Writer Bradford Pearson spotlights four of Dallas’ culinary minds stretching the rules of the kitchen. Up first, Michael Sindoni, Culinary Operations for Headington Cos. and one of the masterminds behind the newly opened Commissary downtown.
The first thing you notice when you step into the walk-in cooler with Michael Sindoni isn’t the funky blue-cheese smell, or the hundreds of pounds of aging beef lined up on racks like shoes at a sidewalk sale. It’s the humidity or, rather, the lack of it.
Most walk-ins are cold and damp, which is why they’re ground zero for TV shows hosted by British chefs yelling about spoiled food. This one is cool and dry, 75 percent humidity instead of the usual 90 to 95. Sindoni points at a rack full of 90-day, dry-aged New York strips. “Mold is not necessarily bad, white mold is good,” he says. “But when it gets green…”
He glides over to a tub of strip steaks, slathered in beef fat rendered at Mirador. Like much of the rest of this Willy Wonka fun house, it’s an experiment, he says. The steaks have been resting in the tallow for…180 days? 200 days? He can’t remember off the top of his head. A very, very long time, either way.
In another freezer, Sindoni shows off the meatless components that go into the sausages and charcuterie. Sassafras leaves that become filé powder that finds its way into andouille sausage which nestles next to braised cabbage and spicy mustard at Wheelhouse. Italian wild fennel for fennel salami. Calabrian chilies.
Winding through the walk-ins and past the bathtub-sized mixers, Sindoni stops and pulls a swath of beef jerky out of a tub. The first bite tastes like fish sauce, then the red wine marinade kicks in. It is, of course, an experiment.
The Details: Taste some of Sindoni’s finest work at Commissary, 1217 Main Street. commissarydallas.com