On the corner of Elm Street and North Good Latimer Expressway is a flurry of development, making adaptive reuse of historic buildings.
The famous African-American architect William Sidney Pittman built what would be the Knights of Pythias Temple here — and now, the hotel in the space carries his name.
At the bottom of the Kimpton Pittman Hotel sits Elm & Good, a beautiful dining space where customers get to experience the cooking of well-known chef Graham Dodds.
Dodds, who has been with the restaurant since it opened in August 2020, says the space inspires him — and you can tell. The light-filled, bright area is the right setting for fresh vegetables executed in an interesting enough way to make any carnivore happy.
“I always felt like it kind of had this vibe, like a New Orleans place with the globe lights and the feel of the place and soul of the place and funky neighborhood and old building,” Dodds says. “I think it always resonated to me what Tristan Simon would always tell us: ‘You have to cook to the space.’ I don’t know if I ever made that connection in my life before that.”
He’s executing that well here at Elm & Good, especially with the vibrant preparation of vegetables. Dodds, like plenty of Dallas chefs years ago, used to be focused on plate-dominating cuts of meat. When he started working for the vegan owner of Wayward Sons (formerly on Lower Greenville), that started to shift.
“It kind of grabbed me: It was a fun departure from what I had been doing, from this whole meat-veg-starch-sauce thing; it was just one other challenge to make a dish that everyone could enjoy,” Dodds says. “It just happened to be vegan or gluten-free, whatever the situation might be.”
A new menu will come out soon to match the coming warmer temperatures, but for now go in and try the sunchoke pate: It’s like a chicken liver mousse, but just as flavorful and rich pairing the root vegetable with Lambrusco gelee and pickled kohlrabi. Another way to see vegetables shine is the mushroom paella, with trumpet mushroom “chorizo” piperade and braised leeks.
The salads are all popular, Dodds says, especially the addictive shaved Brussels sprouts with dates, honey crisp apples, candied nuts, Parmesan and a honey-dijon vinaigrette.
There’s plenty of protein, too, from redfish ceviche to bourbon-glazed bone marrow and an Akaushi short rib pot roast.
There’s also a bar worth visiting, not only for its beautiful aesthetic but for the talent behind it. Indy Acevedo-Fowler is the new lead bartender, and she’s starting to craft new cocktails for the menu. Acevedo-Fowler grew up in the restaurant industry and she began her beverage career as soon as she turned 18. She served at several notable restaurants before joining the team at Elm & Good in 2020.
If morning foods are what excite you, there’s a sizable brunch menu with deviled farm eggs (which Dodds has done well in the past), Scottish smoked salmon with all the accoutrements, a brisket hash and a grass-fed beef burger. The ever popular dish, Dodds says, is the cornflake-crusted brioche French toast, which is crunchy on the outside before giving way to a pillowy, sweet inside.
Whatever is on the menu, the space where you’re enjoying it is a big part of the inspiration of what you’re eating.
“I love the building. I’m always drawn to these places — they don’t knock them down, they turn them into something,” Dodds says. “All in all, it’s a nice utilization of space. It’s easy to be proud of that dining room.”
Elm & Good is at 2551 Elm St. and is open for breakfast 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. daily, dinner 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and brunch 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. The bar is open 5 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.