Tenderloin tips with asadero polenta and house-made barbecue sauce, $11

Tenderloin tips with asadero polenta and house-made barbecue sauce, $11

Hilton’s Grain Restaurant serves more than continental breakfast to its guests. During our interview with Chef James Music for an upcoming Advocate article — along with a recent media dinner — we learned some things.

1. The restaurant was almost named Tumbleweed.

When the hotel restaurant was re-conceptualized from its previous incarnation, Opio, in 2012, dinner was added to the menu and food from local farms and wineries took center stage. Of a list of possible restaurant names to convey the new concept, Grain was the top choice, according to chef James Music.

2. James Music shops at the Dallas Farmer’s Market for his produce.

There were plenty of farm fresh tomatoes adorning our dishes during the media dinner. Texas vendors used for menu items include Proximity Farms (Azle, TX,) Dallas Mozzarella Company (Deep Ellum,) and Wood Duck Farm (Cleveland, TX,) to name a few.

3. The menu will change in less than 30 days.

As we ever so slowly transition into fall, summery appetizers such as the heirloom tomato salad and the Texas watermelon and feta cheese (with seedless red and yellow melon, feta, aged balsamic glace, and mache) will be on their way out, so you’ll want to order them soon. I can’t think of anything more refreshing than the latter split with a friend — plus a bottle of Austin Street Three White Chicks wine from Hill Country winery Brennan Vineyards.

Texas watermelon and feta cheese appetizer, $8

Texas watermelon and feta cheese appetizer, $8

4. The red pepper jam under the crab cakes could stand on its own.

James Music grew up in Philadelphia with a mom who constantly made homemade gnocchi, pasta, and canned jams. The jam sensibility must have been passed down, because the hint of spice and mildly sweet jam made in house is just that good. The fact that James Music studied at the Culinary Institute of America in New York may have helped, too.

5. The restaurant is more casual than you would expect for being inside of a Hilton.

That means come as you are, Hilton director of sales and marketing Shelly Campbell says. She’s seen guests in workout clothes, and she says that’s completely fine. Though the dining area has beautiful lighting and upholstered seating, the food is straightforward and the music is contemporary. Sure you can have a fancy business lunch with a $32, 16-ounce ribeye, but you don’t have to, either. Plus, diners can take advantage of complimentary valet services.

Look for more on Grain Restaurant in our October issue.