Wolfgang Puck’s Five Sixty restaurant located in Dallas’ iconic, sphere-shaped Reunion Tower, closed its doors in 2020 as one of the countless restaurant casualties during the pandemic. The tower, which also operates as an observation deck, sat without a marquee restaurant for three years. But that all changed in April when Elizabeth Blau came to town.
Crown Block opened April 17 in the former Five Sixty space.The restaurant is the latest concept from Blau + Associates, the restaurant development company from husband-and-wife hospitality veterans, Elizabeth Blau and chef Kim Canteenwalla. It’s operated in partnership with Dallas-based Hunt Realty Investments, Inc.
Blau + Associates also runs restaurants in Las Vegas and Vancouver, including the popular restaurant, Honey Salt, a farm-to-table neighborhood comfort food spot with locations in both cities. This is the group’s first restaurant in Dallas, a city that is increasingly drawing attention from outside players like Major Food Group, STK, and Groot Hospitality.
“Dallas is a top epicenter of nonstop growth,” Blau said. “People who live in the DFW area are adventurous eaters, and as we’ve gotten to know the city, we’ve seen that residents are truly seeking new experiences when eating out, almost like a vacation within city limits. That applies to everything from dish presentation, using unique flavors, and immersion in new cuisines and food cultures.”
She also noted that Texans like supporting other Texans, so it was important for the restaurant to support the local scene as much as possible by utilizing local purveyors and ingredients.
Crown Block sits on the top of the 560-foot Reunion Tower, providing panoramic views of downtown and beyond. Upon exiting the elevator, guests are greeted by a circular wine wall, a bar, and a sushi bar. Tables and chairs line the glass windows. Crown Block also features an event space called the Crown Room that’s located one floor below the restaurant and can accommodate around 250 guests.
The menu focuses on seafood and steaks, including prime beef, Texas wagyu sourced from local ranches, and Japanese A5 wagyu. Steaks range from a $38 10-ounce flatiron to a $240 48-ounce tomahawk that can feed a crowd. The menu also includes sushi and a selection of chilled seafood, including oysters, mussels and crudos, plus hot dishes like crab cakes, branzino, and salmon. Showstopper desserts include a turtle peanut butter candy bar and crème brûlée donut holes with maple cotton candy. The restaurant also features a substantial wine list and cocktail program.
Dallas is a steak-heavy town, and new restaurants pop up every day, so it takes a special formula to stand out and consistently earn diners’ dollars. Blau said that the food is a big component, but it’s also important to create a sense of place. At Crown Block, they tied into the historical roots of the Hunt family and the city at large.
“We made sure that no detail was left untouched, from the oil-themed art to, of course, showcasing the stunning skyline,” Blaud said. “Overall, diners are certainly paying a lot of attention to the complete feel of restaurants beyond the plate, and that’s been something we’ve seen a lot of in Dallas.”
Blau + Associates may be new to town, but they’re hoping their Dallas experience isn’t one and done.
“We would love to open a Honey Salt here one day,” Blau said. “The menu is a little bit playful, but it’s also rooted in classic dishes that draw on nostalgia. It’s really the perfect blend of healthy and indulgent options, which is something I can see Dallasites enjoying.”