Petra and the Beast opened last April and is two restaurants in one. During the week (closed Monday and Tuesday) they have a chalkboard menu where everything is a la carte for lunch and dinner but on Saturday night they produce a tasting menu for 18 lucky people. This menu included things not on the regular menu and changes every week. Seating was communal with 3 tables each seating 6. It is BYOB at all times. We were there for the Saturday evening tasting. The building used to be a service station but chef Misti Norris has transformed the space into a pleasant space decorated with dried herbs and flowers and lots of jars of ingredients. A high tin ceiling was above the exposed ductwork and the bare wood tables, set with metal chairs, were all slightly different. It was a setting full of hard surfaces and so the noise level could be a bit high. Seating was not assigned so it’s a fun opportunity to meet some new people also interested in food. Arrival time was 7:00 but then there was a period for you to look around and enjoy a welcome cocktail, which is given to you after you’d taken care of the evening’s payment. Continue reading
E Bar is a medium sized place that serves Tex-Mex food. There is a small parking lot adjacent to the place as well as 3 spaces in front and otherwise parking is find as you can. Seating inside is in 2 areas divided by a large bar and there is patio dining, where they have optional plastic walls to enclose it. We were there for an early lunch and so had no problems but I have seen lines out the door waiting for a seat in the evening. Tables were nice sized bare wood with fair spacing between. A wood bench provided one side of the seating. Service was friendly, efficient and helpful and they had a large menu that offered the full dinner menu as well as lunch specials. While I wasn’t blown away by the food, I expected to be as they get amazing crowds of people. However it was nicely done and good enough that I’ll go back and try some more dishes. Sometimes you just have to find that option that works for you, and obviously they have for a lot of people. Continue reading
Urban Vines is a large place in East Dallas. They are open for lunch and dinner and offer snacks if you just want a place to drink some wine. You enter through a patio with a large fireplace and plenty of outdoor seating into bar area that adjoins the dining area. Some bench seating, regular tables and high top tables are available. Tables are bare wood but cloth napkins are part of the set up. The walls display art, some of which is for sale. Different days offer specials and Thursday is half price wine by the glass. Two of the walls have large windows letting in some natural light in the daytime but in the evening the lighting is fairly low. The menu offers sandwiches, flatbreads and a few bigger dishes. Frankie and I visited a couple times to try some of the options. It is a casual place with friendly and helpful servers and while the food is not outstanding it is a perfectly adequate place to meet with friends over wine and food.
The flatbreads are thin crust pizzas. The Jalapeno Flatbread is made with jalapeno cream cheese spread, mozzarella, red wine onions, roasted tomatoes and crispy prosciutto. It had a bit of spice but was not overwhelmingly hot. Good flavors made it a fun choice.
The Steak Flatbread came with chimichurri sauce, mozzarella, skirt steak, onions, tomatoes, avocado and jalapenos. The bits of beef were quite chewy and it was okay.
The Italian panini was composed of hard salami, capicola with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, field greens, tomatoes and roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette on a grilled panini bread. All paninis are served with a choice of pasta salad, pita chips or fruit. We tried the pasta salad and it was pretty ordinary, but the sandwich was well stuffed and quite tasty with a nice crispy bread.
On a second visit, this time at lunch, we tried two other panini options – the waitress said they were the 2 top sellers. The Turkey and Brie panini was made with oven roasted turkey, brie, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette served on grilled panini bread. It was well stuffed but the brie flavor dwarfed that of the the turkey.
It didn’t come together as well as the Braised Chicken and Drunken Goat Panini made with roasted tomato pesto aioli, braised chicken and drunken goat on a grilled panini bread. Drunken Goat is a wine infused goat cheese. It was quite good. With the sandwiches we got pita chips which were very crisp and unseasoned. They added a nice crunch but had a fairly dull flavor. All paninis also came with a dill pickle that was very strongly flavored and full of juice – nice.
On the side we had a small Wedge Salad made with blue cheese dressing. It was plenty to split and the lettuce was fresh and crisp but I found the blue cheese flavor wasn’t strong enough for me.
For dessert we had daily special chocolate torte. The crust was made with ground chocolate graham crackers and then that was spread with layers of dulce de leche and chocolate. It was gooey and sweet and apparently sells out every time they make it.
The Mitchell is located in downtown Dallas. It has the feel of a bar with tables rather than the reverse. I had read another person’s glowing write up of this more casual French place that would be a good option to the more formal ones newly ‘opened’ and recently written up here. Unfortunately when we got there the chef in the write up was gone and another had assumed his duties and changes had been made to the menu. Not sure these were good changes. The place has elegant chandeliers and a silent TV boxed in by the giant bar. They are short on wine selections but have about any liquor you’re looking for. Tables are small dark wood and seating is upholstered black chairs and a curving black banquette. There are also a number of seats at the bar. Service was friendly and efficient but I might have preferred if they’d spaced the serving of the dishes due to the size of the tables. Continue reading
La Victoria is a small place that looks like it was once a drive-in burger joint. However when you get inside it’s light and airy with a number of stools at a counter and a half dozen large bare wood tables. Many windows let in lots of natural light, which matters as they are only open for breakfast and lunch. Service is friendly and helpful. For example, when I was there for lunch the waitress suggested we order the half size rather than the whole one because it’d be too much, and she was right. Food is not your standard Tex-Mex and chips are not automatically on the table, but they are on the menu if you want some. The spiciness of the sauce varies but they also have an un-spicy variety that is available upon request. There is a quality to their food that I find appealing, it’s simple but honest and the owner is often in the kitchen cooking when she’s not out on a catering job. Continue reading
Hello Dumpling is in a shopping center near several other casual restaurants. It is a moderate size place with a counter where you place your order, pay and then put a number in the stand on your table. They feature Chinese dumplings and noodles made on site. There is a good selection of stuffings but a similarity to the tastes. The main difference I found was in the method of preparation. They also offer sides that provide a vegetable or texture to your meal. One last option is their bubble tea but I didn’t try it nor did I get the hot bites skewers that sound pretty good. The workers are friendly and helpful and they have souvenirs for sale. Service is quick and so it could make an ideal lunch spot if you are on a time frame. Continue reading
The Parlor on Commerce is a good sized bar in the Deep Ellum area of Dallas with food as well as drinks. They’ve been open 13 months and the wine list is limited but they have a good supply of beers and hard liquors. The kitchen also turns out some pretty tasty food to go for or to snack on while drinking. The folks at the bar, bartender and guests, are super friendly and the place does have lots of counter seats as well as a number of tables. The finish out of the interior has lots of interesting objects around as well as art. The owner, Seth Byars, is a Star Wars buff so watch for some articles from that theme. Also check out the boxcar flooring that was made into the bar counter and the basketball flooring that is now the bar’s flooring. Continue reading