The Mercury, Dallas, 4/12/23

exterior –Preston Forest Square, 11909 Preston Rd #1418, Dallas, TX 75230

In 1998 the award-winning Chef Chris Ward joined the M Crowd Restaurant Group as Executive Chef of The Mercury.  Ward had garnered many honors including “Rising Star Chef” by the James Beard House Foundation.  Today he is still in the kitchen at this neighborhood staple and packing a crowd even in the middle of the week.  Located in a modest strip shopping center, inside you’ll find the lights lowered, dark wood tables, padded seating, stone and wood walls, shaded windows to the outside, and music in the background.  You enter into the large bar area and now next door houses a sushi bar that shares food with this place.  Along one wall is the opening to the kitchen where some terrific food is being offered to diners.  There was only one special that evening but the menu covers a good range of American classics.  The service was outstanding and we truly enjoyed an evening there with some friends. Continue reading

Cry Wolf (update), Dallas, 3/23/23

Chef Ross Demers

Frankie took the night off and we slipped into Cry Wolf for a delicious dinner.  We were lucky to snag reservations for the Chef’s Counter seats where you are able to see all the dishes get prepared and chat with the talented chefs.  What a treat to find owner Ross Demers at the grill.   The menu had changed quite a bit in the month since we were there and many exciting choices were available.  Also, Sommelier Tim Case had added some fun new wines and Sous Chef Mike Stites was doing the finishing touches before the plates were served.  I’ve described this place before but my rule of thumb is to go as often as you can while a place is hot – you never know what the future holds.  So, get there now cause this place is on the top of its game. Continue reading

Meridian, Dallas, 2/16/23

exterior – 5650 Village Glen Drive, Dallas, TX., 75206

Meridian brings modern Brazilian cuisine to Dallas as prepared by Chef Junior Borges.   Opening in 2021, the restaurant celebrates chef’s Brazilian roots in a lively and beautiful setting surrounded by apartments, offices and small businesses.   There is valet parking available but there are lots of places if you’re willing to walk.  You enter through the large bar area that also has some small booth seating and proceed into the large main dining room with one wall having an opening to the open kitchen.  Opposite walls are mostly glass with lights in the trees surrounding the place.  Music is in the background and the tables vary in size with some couch-like comfortable seating.  Maybe due to the wood floor or lots of plants but even in a very full room, it wasn’t too noisy to talk at the table.  Lights are dimmed but it’s not overly dark.   In the dining room, they offer a 4 course fixed price menu with several selections in each category or guests can go a la carte in the Bar Room or patio.  The fixed price menu also has some additions available as well as supplements and wine pairings.  We got the pairings and while it is a way to match the wine in food, the pours are very small and the matchings were not inspired.  There is a happy hour also with drink specials and different food items.  Open every day but Monday, it’s a fun place to try. Continue reading

Cry Wolf (update), Dallas, 2/4/23

exterior – 4422 Gaston Ave., Dallas, TX., 75246

It’s been several months since Frankie officially visited Cry Wolf but she always enjoys her time in this place.  Chef Ross Demers was back to finishing out the plates before being served while others enjoyed some vacation time.  Since we were sitting at the Chef’s Counter this was a plus.  The place was really hopping with returning and new customers all enjoying some heavenly food and the lively atmosphere.  The bar turns out some fun-sounding cocktails but I prefer to put us in the capable hands of Sommelier Tim Case.  He always has something new and different to try that compliments the food turned out by the kitchen staff.  In fact, all the staff seem to enjoy working here and translate that into the fine service delivered to the diners.  The menu changes regularly but staff will help you make decisions if you want.  Put this one on your list to visit soon. Continue reading

Quarter Acre, Dallas, 1/10/23

exterior – 2023 Greenville Ave., Suite 110, Dallas, TX

Quarter Acre opened the last day of 2022 in the space that used to house Rapscallion on Greenville Ave.  Their intent is to combine upscale dining with Chef Toby Archibald’s New Zealand roots.  Chef likes to use seafood, flavors of, and other meats from New Zealand and their wine list has some wines from there. In New Zealand “quarter acre” symbolizes your dream – a quarter acre of land with a house and space for kids to run and grow.  This is Archibald’s dream to showcase his cooking.  Prior to this he served as Chef de Cuisine at Bullion and Executive Chef at Georgie, here in Dallas.  He also has worked in NYC, London and Toronto kitchens.  The place is one large room with a bar running the length of it.  The middle section is crowned by some huge bamboo/rope  fixtures with larger tables underneath and the other long wall is a long bench lined with tiny 2-top tables.  The open kitchen is in the back.  Lots of plants, fairly loud music, and windows to the street are part of the scene.  Service was good but mixed – the same as the food.  Portion sizes vary. Continue reading

Brass Ram, Dallas, 12/23/22

entrance – 2130 Commerce St., 2nd floor, Dallas, TX, 75201

Brass Ram is Chef Nick Badovinus’ ninth and newest restaurant which opened in early November 2022 on the second floor above National Anthem on the edge of downtown.  This place is all about prime rib and old-school steakhouse dining.  There’s leather, dim lighting, brass, exposed brick walls, cozy spacious booths, a large bar, vintage music in the background, and a private dining room decorated with photos of Marilyn Monroe.  Parking is mostly valet but be forewarned – they sent us to the end of the building to climb the open staircase and surprised the hell out of the staff leaning on the door.  There is a proper door on the downtown side of the building where you enter and have an elevator or enclosed stairs to take you up to the place.  Either way gets you in but the hostess stand is by the preferred door.  Staffing has been an issue with the parkers so these people probably really didn’t know how to enter.  The service is friendly, relaxed, and excellent in the restaurant but the food did not overwhelm me.  I love the look of the place, but as with many of Bodovinus’ places, I wish it were less noisy, and even though he was in the house he did not make it around to many of the tables. Continue reading

Don Chabe Steak, Dallas, 12/9/22

building – 3933 Main St., Dallas, TX  75226

Don Chabe opened in August of 2022 in the location that formerly had Mac’s Bar-B-Que.   It’s primarily a Mexican steakhouse but they also have breakfast items and salads.  Fronted by Oscar Rodriguez, the owners also have street taco and sandwich spots and thus some of that is also available.  There are plenty of tables and a dedicated parking lot and the bones of the place still scream Mac’s but they’ve painted the ceiling with fun designs and installed bright tiles around the baseboard.  The lights are bright and music is in the background as well as a large TV screen on one wall that was muted when we were there.  They were not crowded but our server said they have not put out much advertising as they are still working out the menu.  English was not the first language of our server but we were able to get by.  They do now have beer($4) and take credit cards. Continue reading

Cry Wolf (update), Dallas, 11/12/22

View from Chef’s Counter – kitchen

Cry Wolf is still turning out wonderful dishes to eat with a great selection of beverages.  Frankie and I have become regulars there and this visit we sat up at the Chef’s Counter.  This is what they call the first 4 stools at the bar opposite the cooking area.  It’s a terrific view to watch all the different dishes being prepared and the people working seem to enjoy interacting with guests.  I think it’s fun to talk with them and get their opinions on what to order.  If you get a chance, go there.  It’s a fun experience and some really different and exceptional food. Continue reading

Homewood (Rosenthal Dinner), Dallas, 10/11/22

exterior – 4002 Oak Lawn, Dallas, TX, 75219

Homewood has been visited by Frankie and me in previous posts but tonight they hosted a Wine Dinner featuring wines distributed by Rosenthal Wine Merchants matched with an 8-course menu designed by Chef Matt McCallister.  The food was designed to showcase fall flavors and offered the opportunity to taste 11 wine selections from around the world.  The doors opened at 6:30 with the dinner beginning promptly at 7:00.  Wines were for sale in addition if you wished.  A brief introduction preceded the first course but there were no further comments during the meal.  Each seat had a menu for the evening with the corresponding wine/s and on the back was a list of the wines for sale.  I couldn’t see an empty seat in the entire restaurant.  That made for a moderate wait between the courses.  Wines were brought first and no refills were offered. The wine rep and her distributor did stop by each table to chat and answer questions. The event lasted about 3.5 hours. Continue reading

Cry Wolf, Dallas, 9/16/22

counter seating – 4422 Gaston Ave., Dallas, TX, 75246

Cry Wolf is a local favorite, especially due to the ever-changing menu, casual atmosphere, interesting wine choices by Sommelier Tim Case, and excellent cooking by Chef Ross Demers and his staff.  We don’t always think ahead for reservations so the bar counter stools are for walk-ins but we’ve also learned for last-minute cancellations on the reservation system where you can snag a table.  I hesitate to overwhelm readers with the same restaurant but when you’re hot it’s too tempting to not post.  So I’ll keep it short but if the menu doesn’t tempt you to go even my poor picture-taking will make you want to stop by.   We shared all the plates. Continue reading

Casita Tex-Mex, Dallas, 9/8 & 14/22

exterior – 5807 Blackwell St., Dallas, TX

Casita Tex-Mex has been in business for 40 years but in Dec. 2020 they closed for a year and a half after a fire.  The kitchen fire caused owners Norma and Alfonso Valles, who bought the place in 2007, to completely rebuild the interior, and this was on top of dealing with shutdowns due to the Covid pandemic.  The building was also a restaurant even further back, in the 1960s as Casita Dominguez, and thus has a lot of long-time and loyal customers.  They were back in force when it re-opened on August 30.  The interior is clean, bright, and new but the food is tried and true.  There are a number of square tile-topped tables that can be positioned to suit party size and several high-top tables in the bar area, which also has seats facing the bar.  A patio with tables runs along the front of the place and by the time we left, it was pretty much full.  Service was friendly but challenged by the crowd.   TVs are on the walls but the sound was muted.  It was well worth a visit and I went back a week later to try another plate. Continue reading

Tatsu, Dallas, 9/6/22

building – 3309 Elm Street, Ste. 120, Dallas, TX, 75226

Tatsu opened a couple of months ago in the Continental Gin Building near downtown.  The Sushi Omakase dinner included 15-18 courses made personally by Chef Tatsuya Sekiguchi.  There is free parking out front and a comfortable waiting area inside as you wait for one of 2 seatings Tuesday through Sunday.  The wooden counter is set with comfortable chairs and bright lighting with music in the background.  An exposed brick wall backs up the counter and next door is a smaller room for 6 guests.  Service starts fairly promptly and lasts just under 2 hours (that depends on how many extra items are ordered at the end).  Each place has a menu card that also lists the origin of the day’s ingredients.  It is well thought out.  The sushi can be picked up with your fingers or chopsticks.  I prefer the former and they had a lovely little folded moist towel at your place where you can wipe the fingers before and after each bite.  When you go, and do put it on your list, don’t miss the elegant bathroom with bright fish roaming the walls and a fancy Toto toilet to use for the necessary.  It is a calming and beautiful meal, especially under the care of the delightful chef, who has worked with sushi for 27 years, and his wife. Continue reading

Sky Rocket Burger, Dallas, 5/31/22

exterior – 111 S. Hall St., Dallas, 75226

Sky Rocket Burger now has 4 locations in the Dallas area.  I visited the Deep Ellum spot and you can’t miss the bright red and yellow building at Hall and Main.  It started in Frisco and moved here about 3 years ago.  It’s a simple concept selling fresh, made to order smash burgers, fries, tots and milkshakes.  They offer a grilled cheese for the non-burger eating person in the group.  They come with an option of 1, 2 or 3 patties and all-the-way includes lettuce, tomato, mayo, pickle and secret sauce.  Options include cheese, bacon, onions or even a fried egg.  I tried the double cheese all the way with large fries and with tater tots.  The burgers seem pricey but they are Angus beef, never frozen and ground at the place. They are smashed on the grill to give them a nice crispy edge but not enough to dry them out.  The bun is soft and the lettuce cut in pieces.  The secret sauce has a bit of spice in it that is tasty but most importantly the meat is really good. I preferred the tots to the fries.  I’ll go again. Continue reading

Shoyo, Dallas, 4/26/22

exterior – 1916 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

Shoyo, opened in fall 2021 on lower Greenville Ave.  It is a 12 seat Omakase restaurant, meaning the chef choses your menu.  Chef/owner Jimmy Park worked with Sous Chef William Yoon behind the counter to provide our meal, Chef Shin Kondo was missing ( instead there was a soft-spoken chef not authorized to make sushi).  Together they have more than 50 years of restaurant experience.  Reservations for the following month are released on the first of the month and go quickly.  There are 2 seatings, Tues through Sat, at 5:45 and 8:15, with dinner lasting about 2 hours. There is parking behind the building or as you can find it on the street.  There is a small waiting area until you are escorted to your seat the counter.   While getting settled you can order sake, wine or beer to go with the meal if you chose.  They have halves as well as full sized bottles of sake.  There is also a list of extra courses you can order toward the end of the meal. Continue reading

Cry Wolf (update), Dallas, 4/10/22

oysters – 4422 Gaston Ave, Dallas, TX 75246

Cry Wolf is such a treasure, I can’t not post it when we go.  Chef Ross Demers has moved the bar high for other Dallas establishments and so has sommelier and General Manager Tim Case.  The menu is constantly changing but what is consistent is that there are no duds.  You won’t find me saying that about many places.  It doesn’t fill you with bread and there is only one small candy for dessert but somehow that all works magically.  When you find that rare place that is operating at such a level you really want your friends to experience it too.   So, here is the latest meal at this gem of east Dallas. Continue reading

Roots Southern Table, Dallas, 4/7/22

exterior – 13050 Bee St Suit 160, Farmers Branch, TX 75234

Roots Southern Table is all about Chef Tiffany Derry’s southern upbringing.  Eating with the seasons and never wasting anything were mantras of her family.  She has been nominated for James Beard awards in a couple categories.  The far north Dallas location opened in June of 2021 in a strip-like shopping center.  That means there is plenty of parking but it gives the place a slightly sterile atmosphere.  Reservations are a must and even with one we were kept waiting for 15 minutes as other guests were seated.  We were out with friends that evening so Frankie made less of an appearance and I didn’t make as many notes on our food.  Pictures will give you a good feel, though.  The food did have a nice amout of flavor but even with all the vegetables I left feeling heavy on the starch.  Our server could have helped with that but he was ‘all about the bread.’  They have a full bar, the noise level is high and portioning is variable. Continue reading

Cry Wolf (update), Dallas, 3/27/22

exterior – 4422 Gaston Ave, Dallas, TX 75246

Cry Wolf is a great place, and unfortunately too many people know that now.  We had to book a couple weeks ahead to find a reservation we were in town with.  Everytime I go I think I won’t post it cause it’s already on this site, but the food is so good I just can’t resist sharing the photos with you.  Another wonderful part of this place is the changing wine list, which introduces me to things I haven’t had that go with food well.  The ambiance is great and there’s a parking lot at the end of the shopping center.  Without further ado, I present photos of our latest fabulous meal (sweetbreads and escargot were amazing). Continue reading

Cry Wolf (update), Dallas, 2/17/22


Frankie and I wrote-up visits to Cry Wolf in Nov. and Dec. of 2021 and then went back with my husband to enjoy their food again, without Frankie, in Feb 2022 (she was tired).  I am so glad we did!  The place has gotten much more crowded and now they have a reservation system which we were lucky to snag a table on.  Chef/Owner Ross Demers has changed the menu a lot each time we’ve visited, but a few items have been repeated.  The wine selection is small but extremely well selected and the sommelier, Tim can help find a wonderful wine to go with your dinner or the bartender was turning out lots of fancy cocktails.  The cozy place has lowered lighting, music in the background and lovely friendly service.  I can’t wait to go back and hope if you are in the area you will give it a try.   The plates vary in size but all have wonderful creative combinations full of flavor.  We were lucky to catch Chef Liam Byres before ordering and ask what he thought was special that night. Continue reading

Môt Hai Ba, Dallas, 11/27/21


Môt Hai Ba is currently owned by Chef Peja Krstic who wants to merge Vietnamese and French cuisines, stressing quality and seasonal ingredients.  The name means 1-2-3 in Vietnamese and it is only open for dinner.  Located in the Lakewood area of Dallas the place opened about a decade ago under different owners and had communal type of seating.  Krstic changed that to individual tables in the very small facility.  It does have a nice sized patio out front.  In the corner inside is the bar with 4 seats, lights are lowered, there are lots of plants and candles and music is in the background.  The really small tables are set with chopsticks only but the servers bring traditional flatware with plates.  Service was overly cheerful and bit amateurish and the food was disappointing. Continue reading

National Anthem, Dallas, 11/4/21


National Anthem, Nick Badovinus’ (Town Hearth, Neighborhood Services) latest restaurant, opened Oct.6.  It’s in the 100 year old triangular shaped building on the east side of downtown, almost to Deep Ellum.  There is street parking and valet and it’s a lot like Badovinus’ other places – noisy, heavily decorated and serving good food.  His concept is to further develop the floor above and the rooftop into other restaurants.  Here you enter into the bar area with a few high top tables and stools around the u-shaped bar.  Then you pass into the main dining room which has a combination of booths and tables and a long open window into the kitchen.  There are tons of people working – providing good service, but between the TVs, windows to the street and various decorations there’s a lot of eye distractions.  The large menu includes everything from raw oysters to prime steak and there are a few daily specials.  It’s worth going to. Continue reading

Milagro Taco Cantina, Dallas, 11/4/21


Milagro Taco Cantina opened July 6 and is the new restaurant of Jesus Carmona in the Trinity Groves area.  Carmona had owned Tacos Mariachi which gained fame after being featured on Diners, Drive-In and Dives and spawned the opening of a second Mariachi. During spring of 2020 Covid shuttered both.  Milagro means “miracle” in Spanish which is what re-opening a Tijuana street taco spot meant to Carmona.  The place has a large patio area out front and is adjacent to a free parking garage.  Inside is a long counter where you place your order and then get a number to take to the table and they bring out your order.  The paper menus describe the options but you have to use the signs on the wall to get the prices.  Non-alcoholic drinks are self serve opposite the counter and margaritas and beers are at the counter.  Service was friendly and welcoming – it’s a fun place for a casual meal. Continue reading

MoMo Italian Kitchen, Dallas, 11/2/21


MoMo Italian Kitchen originated over 35 years ago and in 2017 Wende Stevenson and Aaron Gross bought it from a member of the Gattini family to carry on the tradition of Fernanda Gosetti’s (the Julia Child of Northern Italy) recipes.  Actually Wende worked at the original MoMo in 1988, but both have much experience working/managing wonderful restaurants in Dallas.  Now they have their own piece of history and continue to serve tasty Italian food in a comfortable, welcoming setting.  I have to admit, I’ve known Aaron through a number of restaurants where he’s worked and enjoy his humor and commitment to quality.  I ate a number of times at the previous MoMo and was glad to enjoy a lunch at the present day incarnation.  Service was excellent and there is a large patio out front. Continue reading

Garden Cafe, Dallas, 10/30/21


Garden Cafe had been a staple in East Dallas but closed for over a year because of the Covid-19 pandemic.  During the time closed they were able to do many renovations and also finally obtain a liquor license, so you no longer need to bring your own.   They still have a large patio out back and now have a real bar serving cocktails out front, Thursday through Saturday with brunch on Sunday.  There is music in the background and the lights were dimmed midway through our meal.  Inside are booths with tile topped tables, high-top tables and regular small tables for 2.  On the walls were photos for sale.  Service was friendly and well paced but the wine list had already sold out of a number of options.  The menu reads nicely but the food has little spark. Continue reading

Beckley 1115 , Dallas, 10/30/21


Beckley 1115, a wine bar and casual restaurant, opened in early October this year by longtime chef Sharon Van Meter.  Van Meter currently also works with an event space at Trinity Groves and previously served as chef at Neiman Marcus downtown and later as executive chef.  Her inspiration here was to create something welcoming, casual and affordable and I think she has done just that.  There are lots of tables outside, an adjacent parking lot and a nice bar inside as well as tables.  Frankie and I caught up with a friend there and they were happy to have us sit and visit for several hours and kept the coffee coming during a Saturday brunch.  They also offer dinner and lunch and I took pictures of the menus for you.  I look forward to going back and trying more of her dishes and visiting with all the friendly service people. Continue reading

First Chinese B-B-Q, Dallas, 10/28/21


First Chinese BBQ has been around a long time but somehow never got a visit from Frankie. I’m sorry cause this is a gem of a place located in the corner of a strip shopping center in Richardson.  There is an adequate parking lot out front and also one behind the building.  As you enter through the double set of doors you’ll see the hanging chickens and roasted ducks on your right as well as various cuts of beef and BBQ pork.  On busy days you’ll hear the chef out there hacking up the meats to serve to the tables or use in take out orders.  The menu is large and filled with many tasty Cantonese options, meant to be served family style.   I particularly like their noodle dishes and fresh greens.  Inside there are booths along both walls of the dining rooms and bigger tables as well a few smaller ones in the middle.  At the table you’ll find various condiments but the food is well seasoned.  The staff speak limited but usable English, lighting is bright, no music is in the background and they only take cash for payment. Continue reading

Cry Wolf, Dallas, 11/26/21 and (update) 12/18/21

Cry Wolf opened 3 days ago at 4422 Gaston Avenue, a  space that formerly held a Subway and you’d never know it.  Chef/owner Ross Demers and his team have done a miraculous makeover to present a cozy, fun spot to have a delicious meal.  Chef Demers previously owned On the Lamb but also held positions at Flora Street Café and Beverley’s Bistro.  Alongside Demers in the open kitchen is another Fauna (part of Flora Street) alum, Liam Byres and also from there is sommelier Tim.  The less than 30 seat stylish place offers a small seasonal menu of gradually-increasing-in-size options – to mix and match as the diner prefers.  The plan is to change options as ingredients become available.  The interior has a long concrete counter facing the kitchen and bar where diners can eat and interact with staff.  There are also standard tables on the other side of the room.  Music is in the background and the lights are lowered but you can still see.   Get here before it gets so popular that you can’t.  This is a new favorite restaurant and highly recommended. Continue reading

Sister Restaurant, Dallas, 10/11 & 16/21


Sister Restaurant was opened by Duro Hospitality (behind The Charles) in the spot where the Grape Restaurant had been for 40 years.  It serves an Italian/Mediterranean loosely inspired selection of dishes.  They make their pasta which is served 7 nights a week.  Barely open a month, it is already packed with hungry excited guests.  The large porch dining area is still there but inside it has been completely transformed.  Two large faux trees are in the center which is surrounded by cozy booth seating and tables.  A sleek bar is at one end and opposite are shelves containing an assortment of objects.  The previous 2 rooms are now one and it is much brighter with music in the background (louder on the porch than inside).  Some of the tables have clothes and others a polished finish.  It is a pleasant space, service is excellent and the food is good too.  Plates are meant to be shared which always makes for a more interesting meal. Continue reading

Carte Blanche (update),Dallas, 10/12/21


Now that they’ve been open several months we wanted to re-visit Carte Blanche and see how it’s evolved, and I’m happy to say they’ve made some positive changes to the place and menu.   It’s more subdued inside with lights from the kitchen being dampened by a partial shield and curtains added for the front windows. Parking out back is now well marked, there are way more people in the kitchen, the wine list has greatly expanded, flatware is delivered by servers (instead of the roll up) mellow music is in the background and the interior bar has lost the rail and hanging baskets.  It’s a lot of little things but they all add up to a more elegant and softer ambiance all while providing excellent service and delicious and beautiful food.  Put it on your list to visit Carte Blanche and enjoy the tasting menu of Chef Casey La Rue’s dishes. Continue reading

Rye, Dallas, 9/12/21


Rye opened in McKinney in 2018 and the owners, Tanner Agar, Nic Cain and Executive Chef Taylor Rause, decided to open a second location in Dallas, which happened on August 25, 2021.  The menu stresses small plates to share, filled with dishes prepared from local sources, as much as possible.  They also have a large bar offering lots of cocktails and of course rye.  Next door they have a bar called Apothecary where you can wait for your table in a darker, cozy setting.  Rye is a medium sized long room with small bare wood tables – some paired with benches along the wall, lots of plants, music in the background, mirrors and frames decorate the walls and lowered but fairly bright lighting.  The server told us that the kitchen prefers to have the whole order placed at one time and then the kitchen will portion out the plates so you are not overwhelmed.  The server was helpful in determining just how much to order.  It’s a fun place with an adventurous and flavor filled menu that I look forward to getting back to. Continue reading

Twenty Seven, Chef DAT, Dallas, 9/11/21


Twenty Seven is the private event space and catering company that Chef DAT (David Anthony Temple) is now using to host his dinner events.  There are 27 seats  in the same space that also houses the open kitchen and the varying table set ups.  They are using as many local vendors as possible for the meals and you can bring your own wine.  Proof of vaccination is required to attend.  To get on the Dallas dining email list send your information to <> or you can sign up through his website <> and he will notify you of upcoming events here and elsewhere.  This one was a 6 course menu and was $95/person + gratuity.  Chef DAT underground dinners started in 2009 with several years operating out of a home on Swiss Ave.  Being from New Orleans his cooking style shows definite influences from his roots, but he also spent time in Belize (2018) which has provided new seasoning options.  Our latest dinner was nicely intimate and fun, with Chef presenting each dish and its influences and ingredients. Continue reading

Carte Blanche, Dallas, 6/29/21


Carte Blanche opened in mid-June in the space previously occupied by Mudsmith Coffee on lower Greenville Ave.  In the evening it offers a fine dining tasting menu and in the day it sells baked goods and coffee.  The 4 or 12 course tasting menus are offered Tues – Sat.  Husband and wife, Casey and Amy La Rue are the co-owners and chef and pastry chef, respectively.  The tasting menu features native Texas ingredients and wine pairings are available.  One interesting fact is that he doesn’t serve beef, focusing instead on smaller animals but the menu does stress seasonal items and will change regularly.  Inside the large area are well spaced fairly large bare wood tables divided into 2 sides by a huge bar, which holds the pastries in the morning.  Exposed ductwork runs across the high ceiling, art decorates the walls and music is in the background.  The tables are set with a nice cloth napkin and a wrap of flatware that you chose from during the meal.  We had the 12 course tasting and wine pairings however should I go back I would order my own wine.  Portion control was good as was pacing, however the meal was over 2 and a half hours. Continue reading

Mac’s Bar-B-Que, Dallas, 7/27/21

Frankie was sad to learn that her friend Billy McDonald closed Mac’s Bar-B-Que where she loved to eat!  She tried to come by and say goodbye to Billy and Debra (who worked there)  but the line was out the door and wrapped into the parking lot yesterday.  (Today it was locked up tight when we drove by).  We wish them fun and good times in retirement and hope our paths will cross in the future!

Frankie wanted to share the article in the Dallas Newspaper.

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Thanks for many delicious meals!

E Bar Tex Mex (update), Dallas, 5/27/21



Our last visit to E Bar Tex Mex was in 2018 and I wanted to update it as I was not wowed by the food on that visit but speculated that you had to find the items that spoke to you.  They continue to get crowds and now I know why cause I’ve found my item – Jorge’s Tacos.  The place is physically about the same except they’ve added a non-enclosed tent next to the enclosed one and their name is on a nearby parking lot to provide additional parking. Service is good, helpful and friendly. Continue reading

Invasion, Dallas, 3/9/21

exterior, 4029 Crutcher St., Dallas. 75246  (214-272-7312)

Invasion is a “fast food”, gourmet restaurant in at the corner of Haskell and Crutcher in Dallas created by Chef Airric Heidelberg.  Unfortunately,  Heidelberg along with his business partner Agon Raka planned their opening at the same moment that Covid-19 hit and restaurants were shuttered.  They kindly donated much of the food to charity and to this day dedicate a percentage of their profits to prepare and deliver meals to homeless.  I am happy that they are once again up and serving food and have a wonderful patio as well as tables inside.   It is a tiny place containing limited tables but a good sized patio outside and they do a lot of take out business.  You can call your order in ahead of time or line up at the counter and order.  Either way, pick up is at the same spot – the order area which leads to a bit of a bottleneck situation but staff may re-think routing once they’re open a bit with actual walk in traffic.  Currently they offer lunch and dinner Tuesday through Friday and Brunch and dinner on Saturday.  We only tried a couple things but they were fresh, well done and nicely seasoned to provide that ‘invasion’ of taste. Continue reading

Lucia at Macellaio (re-visit), Dallas, 11/21/20

We visited and wrote this one up just a couple weeks ago but were fortunate to get back and try again.  In Dallas we finally have the perfect weather to eat outside and the Lucia folks do such a nice job of distancing and masking that it feels almost like a bit of normal in what has been a crazy restaurant blogging year.   Tasting menus are not for all but I sincerely urge all to give this one a chance, especially because during pre-Covid times you could hardly get a reservation to Lucia.  This is the opportunity to eat the fabulous Lucia food only on the patio of their sister restaurant Macellaio.  The menu really changes weekly as you’ll see below but the portions are generous and tasty.  I even enjoyed the wine pairings.  Frankie slept through the meal but urges her followers to check this one out.


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Encina, Dallas, 11/7/20


Encina opened one month ago.   Chef Matt Balke previously worked at York Street, Bolsa Mercado, SMOKE and finally at Bolsa, which previously occupied this location.  He combined his talents with Corey McCombs (last at Flora Street), who coordinates the beverage program and was very present on the floor of the place.  Together they created Encina a restaurant that stresses fresh, seasonal ingredients presented in a simple, consistent quality driven style.  They have a good sized interior but the real plus is the large open air patio out back.  There are screens on the openings and covers if it gets too cold but they have installed heating so guests can still enjoy the well spaced outdoor wood tables.  Plenty of light is in the room so the table candles are mostly for ambiance but music is provided by noises from the outside streets.  A large bar window opens into the interior so it can service both side.  A parking lot is adjacent to the building as well as available street parking.  Service was well masked, friendly and willing to serve things one at a time so we could share.

<;, 614 W. Davis, Suite 100, Dallas, 75208 Continue reading

Macellaio/Lucia (update), Dallas, 10/31/20

Borrowed this pic from Macellaio page. Thanks!

Covid 19 has caused restaurants to adapt if they want to survive.  Frankie has previously visited both of these fine restaurants, co-owned by Chef David and Sommelier Jennifer Uygur, but now the options for getting their good food have changed.  Lucia is not offering dine-in service but is doing take out only with a weekly changing menu on Thursday through Sunday with 24 hours advance notice.  Dinner for 4 is just $100 and includes bread, salad, choice of entree and dessert.   They are located at 408 W. Eighth St., #101 with a phone of 214-948-4998.  Trust me, it will be a great meal.  Their sister restaurant is Macellaio, just around the corner at 287 N. Bishop Ave.  A much larger place, it also has a patio that wraps around the indoor dining room.  While indoor is not open they are taking advantage of the nice weather in Dallas to offer “Pasta on the Patio” featuring Lucia’s pastas.  Seating is distanced and patio heaters are near every table.  It is a fixed price of $100 per person for 5 courses plus their delicious bread and butter.  You can make reservations on their website <>.  This is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss if you are in the Dallas area.  Jennifer has chosen wines for pairings at $50 pp or there is a list of bottles and by the glass or you can describe your tastes and she’ll find something for you.

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Cosmo’s Bar and Restaurant, Dallas, 9/29/20 and 10/10/20


Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar (1212 Skillman St., Dallas, 75206, <>) is a medium sized neighborhood lounge that has been in business for years.  My understanding is that it started as a bar with a small pizza kitchen and several years ago the manager/chef Jackson Tran (now part owner) wanted to expand the menu with Vietnamese specialties from his family, to see how that would impact business.  It was a terrific idea that has really caught on with more than just the locals.  It’s a small kitchen so food may take a bit of time but while you wait there is a full bar with well made drinks.   The interior has lots of vintage furniture and decorations.  They were ready for Halloween the evening we went.  The heavily tinted windows to the street along one wall keep it dark inside even before sunset.  Tables are well spaced and there is hanging plexiglass between seating areas.  A large u-shaped bar has spaced stools for eating and/or drinking.  Music was in the background and there was a patio.  Besides the tasty Vietnamese items the menu features pizzas.  Unfortunately the night we were there they were out of the Beef Pho, but I will definitely go back to try it and some of the other things on the menu.  Service was friendly, helpful and well masked. Continue reading

The Peak Inn, Dallas, 9/25/20


The Peak Inn opened in November of 2019 and then closed for much of Covid till it re-opened in late May.  It is on a street corner and we entered around 5:30 in the afternoon and the drop in lighting was dramatic.  The sun outside was full force but you’d never know it inside where some colored lights give most of the glow.  It wasn’t crowded, with just 3 guys playing pool in a back room but we were there to check out the patio for Covid outside dining options.  It was also empty with a variety of chairs and picnic tables.  A TV screen was on but made no noise as music was in the background.  We ordered beers at the bar on our way in and a server came out after a bit to give us menus.  On the way in we passed through the pool table room and another lounge area that had a fake fire place going.  All was pretty dark with lots of music.  They state that all their food is cured, ground and made in house.  People were friendly and masked. Continue reading

Hudson House (Lakewood), Dallas, 9/2/20


Hudson House recently opened their third Dallas location in the Lakewood area.  The restaurant is owned by Vandelay Hospitality and is said to be known for it’s East Coast oyster happy hour and burger.  It is open for lunch , dinner and brunch.  They offer curbside pick up as well as indoor dining.  Seating is in booths, tables and at the bar.  It is a pretty large place and people at the bar were well spaced but booth seating didn’t seem to be limited.  They also have a “Pineapple Room” available for parties and it was empty.  Reservations were necessary and there is plenty of parking in the lot out front.  All staff wore well fitting masks and were friendly and helpful.  Service was efficient but I didn’t feel rushed.  Inside there was a wood floor with bare wood tables.  Around the bar was a path of the tiniest tiles – very striking.  The walls held a lot of New York and sports based art.  Music was in the background and the place was well lit. Continue reading

Salum, Dallas, 5/16/20 and 6/6/20


Chef Abraham Salum opened Salum in 2005 which could seat 84 people pre-Covid 19.  It has re-opened after sustaining itself with take out orders.   I’d been there a number of times for both dinners and lunches and honestly don’t know why I never visited with Frankie.  But it was well worth going back to and the food and service are especially appreciated now.  The nice sized white cloth covered tables are well spaced and waitstaff wear masks and gloves.  The kitchen area is shielded with a curtain now as it also serves as a staging area for take out orders.  The guests are a varied crowd but most are attired with a dressy casual look.  Windows to the street are covered with a darkening shade and the light fixtures that hang from the ceiling are covered with a gauzy fabric.  It all yields a lower lighting level but not so that you can’t see your food.  Also the extra spacing of patrons eliminated one of my objections from the past, that being noise when the room was full.  Music plays faintly in the background.  The restaurant has a full bar and so offers a specialty cocktail menu as well as a nice sized wine list.  There is no tasting menu but the menu does change regularly, with the “Build your own Burger” always on the menu, both lunch and dinner.  Service was attentive and friendly and the chef who was in the kitchen greeted all his guests.  There is a dedicated parking lot in front. Continue reading

Desert Racer, Dallas, 5/31/20


Nick Badovinus opened Desert Racer in 2019.   The Covid 19 outbreak temporarily closed the place and when it recently re-opened several major changes happened.  A concrete wall surrounds the small restaurant and large 8,000 sq. ft. patio.  Wall signs point to the original entrance but now the exit and entrance are through the same break in the wall, under the motorcycle.  Inside is a long bar and tables with garage door type windows that roll up to let the outside in.  The menu is currently called Vantina and based on a pop-up food truck, which is now parked in the patio but the food comes from the kitchen.  That means the menu is much smaller than when the place first opened but fits the setting. (The only dessert offered  was soft serve ice cream).   Currently they have just 4 “indoor” tables and two groupings of 2 seats at the bar were open.  The large patio had various means of shade and fans but some did receive full sun.  Lots of plants are inside and out and outside the polished wood tables are mostly on artificial grass.  Inside the same tables are on rugs on a concrete floor.  There is lots of parking in a dedicated lot and the patio is smoke free.  Servers were friendly, efficient and wore masks. Continue reading

Fauna 2.0, Dallas, 1/4/20

hotel exterior

This entry is coming out of chronological order and in Dallas not Basel, but that’s because I don’t know how long you have the opportunity to try out Fauna 2.0 and its innovative and tasty food.   Stephen Pyles decided to close Flora/Fauna just after the first of the year where Chef Peter Barlow had been in charge of the Fauna space that offered only a tasting menu on Friday and Saturday nights.  He wanted to honor all those who had made reservations and here’s where you can now get in on it.  The old venue was not available so in about 36 hours Barlow and his crew made arrangements to have the meals offered at the new (opened in December) Hall Arts Hotel on 1717 Leonard St. in the Dallas Arts District.  It’s not far from the old location but it’s a fabulous opportunity to see this new modern and stylish hotel.  Couple details still to work out, but the drink service is presently provided by Ellie’s the restaurant in the Hall Arts Hotel.  They came up with some fun off the menu bottles of wine that were reasonably priced or offered a selection of wines by the glass or of course there is water, tea, etc.  This portion of the meal can be paid by credit card, however because of the quick transition Fauna 2.0 was only taking cash but it was the first night in business.  Valet parking is available at the hotel and it is complimentary if you are having dinner there.  There is also a fun bar where you can enjoy a cocktail while you wait to be ushered into the dining room.  The 10 course tasting menu is $150 per person with tax included but not service and the menu is not printed (thus I tried to get the best description written down, but with many ingredients I may not have them all or have mis-interpreted my scribbled notes).  This system is through the end of February because in the spring Barlow and his team are going to Copenhagen to work and get new inspirations.  The large dining room had 3 good sized white clothed tables set next to each other with 4 diners at each table.  Lighting was lowered, music was in the background and art was on the walls.  Chef Barlow came out to explain each course and helped serve.  Pacing was good as was portion control.  To make a reservation call 214-454-4915 or email <>. Continue reading

Petra and the Beast (update), Dallas, 9/28/19

Frankie checked the herb in the cocktail

It’s been a year since we tried the tasting menu offered only on Saturday nights. The rest of the week they serve off a chalkboard menu.  Reservations for the tasting are hard to come by, there is a waiting list for most every one of them, since the little restaurant and Chef Misti Norris have been getting lots of critical acclaim and notice in national publications.  The interior has added more tables and seats.  The little alcove that was the cocktail stand now contains tables too.  This is good for the public but it does create a lot more noise in the interior that makes conversation difficult and hard to hear any presentation by the server.  Water is still provided but if you want wine or other flavored beverage with your meal you need to bring your own.  They have opened up a few more parking spaces in an adjacent lot but a lot of guests appeared to be dropped off by a car service.  In general my impression was that the food had less intense flavor than the last visit but everything was good it just didn’t cross over to the great that I had first sensed.  I got more of that intensity when visiting other nights but the service is far less refined with most dishes being presented in plastic coated cardboard boxes.  They asked if I’d share their website, which is <;. Continue reading

El Vecino, Dallas, 7/28/19


El Vecino is a good sized place in a small shopping center in the Casa Linda area.  The bare wood tables are well spaced and set with cloth napkins wrapped around the flatware.  The colors are bright and the place is too, but there are windows all across the front to the outside free parking lot.  They offer a good sized menu with lunch specials for weekdays, special selections for brunch on weekends and some summer specials.   They have a second location that has opened in Travis Walk but we were at the original.  They have a full bar and you will see it when you first enter.  It has stools so you could probably eat there if they were full.  There are benches on the covered patio out front, I’m guessing for waiting.  The name “El Vecino” translates to neighbor and they want to be a neighborhood place, opening in the fall of  2017.  The owners, the McBride family, have Mexican restaurants in their blood with his grandfather starting El Fenix and he working in NYC’s Rosa Mexicano.   Service was efficient but did try to ‘upsale’ extra stuff to order several times. Continue reading

Pepes & Mitos, Dallas,7/26/19


Pepes & Mitos is a large place in Deep Ellum.  The tables are covered with oilclothes and well spaced and good sized.  The restaurant has several rooms and an enclosed outdoor patio with fans.  In the entrance room you can see through to the kitchen and a counter houses a large selection of cold drinks.  The next room has a large bar where you can also sit and eat or just have drinks.  A concrete floor, brick walls and exposed ductwork in the ceiling give it a casual feel.   Lots of art is on the walls.  Even with all the hard surfaces noise was not a problem.  A number of large groups were there at lunch so it seems to be a good place for work people to lunch together.   They have a good sized menu and do offer lunch specials for weekdays.  Service was helpful and very friendly.  Parking is on the street by meter or in a paid lot. Continue reading

Cafe 43, Dallas, 7/24/19


Cafe 43 is the dining spot in George W. Bush Presidential library.  It is a good sized place and you don’t need to pay admission to the library to gain entrance to the cafe, but you will have to pay for parking on the SMU campus.  The nice sized tables are slightly spaced and bare dark wood set with mats.  Art is on the walls, some by Bush, and large windows look out onto the campus and surrounding grounds.  Service was attentive and very friendly and content for us to take a long visit with lunch. Continue reading

Beverley’s Bistro & Bar, Dallas, 7/23/19


Beverley’s is a good sized place that opened in March of this year.  It  serves American food on bare marble tables set on a beautiful tile floor.  There are a few booths for seating but most is at tables with some spacing between them.  A patio offers a few tables off to the side of the place and some small tables are out front and I’m guessing they’re for waiting when the large bar area gets filled.  The dining room is divided between the main eating area and the long bar with stools and tables.  An open kitchen is opposite the entrance that is on a busy street.  Valet parking is out front.  Windows to the street provide additional lighting to the already well lit room.  Acoustic tiles are on the ceiling but unfortunately with all the hard surfaces and packed, lively crowd the place does have noise level issues to deal with.  The patrons vary in ages and dress level.  The staff is very friendly and helpful with ordering.  Ours was willing to bring the food in courses and split plates.  The menu features some locally sourced products and a couple nightly specials were presented by the server as well as the nightly fish. Continue reading

Homewood (update), Dallas, 7/9/19

sign out front
sign out front

We visited Homewood again and had different things as much of the menu had changed.  The menu this time was for summer rather than spring.  It was still really busy but with a reservation we had a table waiting for us.   Walk-ins were waiting for a seat and the noise level is a struggle.    It is a lively, varied aged crowd.  Chef Matt McCallister was in the kitchen and out visiting with his guests. Continue reading

Fauna, Dallas, 6/22/19


Fauna is the newest addition to Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe in the Dallas Arts District.  It only seats 16 in the smaller dining room off to the side.  The setting is dressier and quieter than the larger front room, with nice sized tables draped in lovely linens and appointed with comfy padded chairs.  The tables are slightly close but it is a small room and there is adequate space between them.  They have purse stools, music in the background, art on the wall, a tall candle on each table, dark curtains on the windows and TV screens above the serving window with scenes of fire and water.  It has the southwestern touches, that Pyles is known for, like antlers above the monitors and branches in the ceiling fixture.  The room is completely enclosed when the meal starts and serves only the same tasting menu of about 12 courses to everyone there.  Pacing is a little slow but portion control is good.  The doors nicely shut out the hum of the front part of the place.  They do pass out a printed menu for you to take home at the end of the meal.   The pass through window to the kitchen is below the monitors and everyone is served at the same time.  Plan to spend a couple hours.  When we went they had only been open 3 weeks, so I’m sure some changes have been made to the set up. Continue reading

Homewood, Dallas, 5/7/19


Homewood is Matt McCallister’s newest venture following the closure of his successful FT33.  It is more centrally located and has a more casual feel.  When we first visited he had only been open a couple weeks.  It is a bright and modern spot with large windows looking out on the patio and the busy street beside it.   Wood and tile are the surfaces and the open ceiling has painted wood rafter joists with acoustic tiles.  A low counter bar is the bar but also a place for walk-ins to have dinner.  It is appointed with stuffed chairs.  There is also a high counter bar where you can get a reservation as well as the many small, closely set tables around the room.  A few larger booths are along the windows that look out on Oak Lawn Ave. and some booths for 2 people face the low bar area.  A short wall separates the 2 sections of dining tables.  The section that also houses the higher bar is open to the kitchen.  McCallister can be seen in the kitchen as well as coming out to visit with guests and friends.  They have valet parking if you want to be in the lot adjacent to the  building.  Service was efficient, friendly and directive.  The menu changes regularly and features many locally sourced items as well as those that have been preserved, pickled, etc. by the restaurant staff.  They are happy to have you share things. Continue reading

Mac’s Bar-B-Que, Dallas, 3/8/19


Mac’s Bar-B-Que has been a regular spot in my Dallas dining scene and somehow I forgot to take Frankie and photograph. So when we  last visited I got some photos to include on this series of Dallas posts.  Chef and owner Billy McDonald put Mac’s up for sale (2015) but that’s been a while and based on the crowd it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast.  The restaurant opened in the mid-50’s and moved to this spot, very near the main Baylor Hospital, in 1982 when his dad and mom still had the place.  It’s a plain little place that you’d easily drive by but there is parking on the side and in back.  Inside the tables are good sized and spaced nicely.  Customers line up at the window and the menu is posted on the wall beside you.  While your order is being prepared you can chose from a nice selection of condiments, including pickle relish, onions, lemons, banana peppers, dill pickles and jalapeños.

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Alamo Club, Dallas, 2/21/19 and 3/4/19


Our first visit was the fourth day in business for Alamo Club and the place was packed.  It is located on lower Greenville in the space where the Blind Butcher had been.  It is the brainchild of Austin Rodgers who has worked in the restaurant industry for many years and run several of Nick Badovinus’ restaurants.  There is a large bar that spans most of the depth of the restaurant and the other side is filled with small and medium sized closely set, bare wood tables.  Along the opposite wall is a bench seat that meets up with chairs and a string of 2-top tables.  The floor is wood, lighting is low, the ceiling is tin with exposed ductwork, music is in the background and exposed bricks make up the walls and are decorated with mirrors and old photos.  The noise level is loud, not due to music but instead due to all those people enjoying themselves in the relaxed, clubby atmosphere.  Austin wanted a neighborhood feel to the place and thus they are open every day with a ‘happy hour’ around 5:00.  A window at the end of the room provides a limited view into the activity in the kitchen.  The menu is small, simple and affordable, filled with American standards and the wine list is nicely chosen.  The service was good and fairly speedy but we never felt rushed even with a crowd waiting for your seat (right now there are no reservations).  The servers were friendly and helpful.   Continue reading

Bullion (update), Dallas, 2/20/19

bar area

It’s been about a year since Frankie visited Bullion.  The place has held up well and is still an elegantly appointed setting. It is really one of the prettiest places in Dallas to dine.  Last time we encountered service issues and for the most part they were much better, however there were still some timing issues with our main course being presented while the salad plates were still on the table.  This happened even without a full room and plenty of servers.  Even so, the servers were friendlier and generally better trained and the sommelier did come and visit with us when we requested – so better than the first visit.  The food is lovely looking but not the most flavor loaded. Continue reading

Herrera’s Café, Dallas,1/25/19


Herrera’s Café has been around since 1971 and been in many locations.  There are now a number of similarly named places but this is the original that started on Maple St.  I have eaten there for years but don’t get to this “new” location as often as it’s not real convenient.  They were a staple for a long time because they had a really spicy salsa with warm really corny chips.  They still have that and some of the original family are around too.  At this location there is a fairly good sized parking lot but it naturally leads you to a door that is not the entrance, so go around the building to where it faces Sylvan and you’ll find the proper entrance as well as a large area for outdoor dining.  Inside a wall of press about the place greets you and the desk that takes names as well as check you out when you’re through.  To the right are the bathrooms and kitchen and to the left is a large dining room.  If you go straight ahead you’ll be in another dining room with the bar and a doorway to another smaller dining area.  At lunch it was bustling with people but we didn’t have to wait long for a table to become free.  Service is friendly and efficient. Continue reading

Avila’s, Dallas, 1/24/19

building (4714 Maple Ave., Dallas, 75219)

Instead of enjoying retirement, Anita and Octavio Avila opened a restaurant featuring family favorites in 1986.  They have added new items as well as expanding their selection of beers since that time.  They are at 4714 Maple Avenue in Dallas, near where “Little Mexico” still holds many locations but neighborhood change has brought a more diverse population to the area. Located in a little house they have 2 main dining rooms, one much small than the other.  Along the walls they utilize bench seating to work in the maximum number of tables.  There is a mix of 2 and 4 top tables and they seemed to turn over quickly, as lunch sometimes has a short wait.  They do have an adjacent parking lot as well as a few spaces in front.  They have only had this location but now a sign on the table refers to a second location in the planning for Casa Linda in East Dallas.  The menu has lots of options but I generally go here for the tasty Tex-Mex food and the fairly spicy salsa on the table.  Service is friendly and efficient and they have lunch specials which are delivered fast enough to be able to fit a meal here on a lunch hour.  They do have lunch specials but nothing on the menu is over $20. Continue reading

Jack’s Kitchen, Dallas, 10/30/18 and 11/21/18


Jack’s Kitchen opened this year in Lakewood.  Scott Jones is chef and provides most of the service but I believe his sister makes the desserts.  It is in a medium sized location between a well known Thai restaurant and organic nursery.  They are open for dinner, Sunday brunch and lunch as well as offering take out, delivery and catering services.  The small menu didn’t change between lunch visits.  The walls are decorated with art pieces and the tables are set with a placemats and plants or candles.  Windows to the street line one wall and a display cabinet held a collection of enameled cast iron cookware.  Both visits the owner was our server and was most cooperative in helping us place our orders.  They serve fairly simple but honest food that is nicely seasoned and generously portioned.  It won’t make you want to lick the plate but it was plenty good enough that I’ll go again.  It helps that the owner is on sight and very nice. Continue reading

Lucia, Dallas, 10/31/18 and 11/24/18


Lucia is in the Bishop Arts District in Dallas, a small chef owned Italian restaurant.   It was opened in 2010 by Chef David Uygur and his wife Jennifer, who also serves as wine coordinator.    There are just 32 seats in the place and is still a hard reservation to come by but there are 4 seats at the counter that are reserved for walk-ins, on a first come first served basis.  Parking is another issue, as there is no valet, only street parking and a few spaces in a lot to the side of the building.  If you don’t get dropped off make sure and allow time to circle around looking for a place to leave your car.  Inside you’ll find a cozy place with benches and pillows lining the walls and small bar wood tables fairly close together.  A couple of windows are on one wall that look out onto the busy street.  Lights are lowered and there is no music but the hum of a full house provides plenty of background noise to keep table conversations private.  Memorabilia line the walls along with jars of preserved foods.  The counter seats look at the salad and cold appetizer preparation are and workers there are friendly when they have a minute.  Service is efficient and helpful with fairly quick pacing.  We have visited many times but for the purposes of this entry we visited twice. Continue reading

Macellaio, Dallas, 9/23/18


Macellaio was opened in the end of June 2018 by David and Jennifer Uygur, the owners of the ultra popular Lucia.  It is also in the Bishop Arts district but a more casual place with lots of small plates to share.  There are a limited number of tables available for reservations and a large bar and patio seating available for walk-ins.  Bare wood tables are set with a nice cloth napkin and the ceiling is open to expose the ductwork.  Lots of hard surfaces are ready to create a significant noise level but it was not a problem when we were there as the place wasn’t full yet.  The menu is printed daily with a good number of choices, half of which are the salumi offerings.  They do offer a family style dinner for the table where the chef will make your selections for you but we opted to pick our plates and utilized some advice from our friendly server.   Continue reading

Petra and the Beast, Dallas, 9/1/18


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 Tex Mex, Dallas, 8/13/18

exterior side
exterior side

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

Two Doors Down (Urbano Cafe), Dallas, 8/9/18


Urbano Cafe has been around for 9 years, located in the shopping center that has Jimmy’s Food Store.  Owner Mitch Kauffman had tried several other locations before settling here.  It is a small BYOB restaurant with fun choices but early this year they opened Two Doors Down (2DD) next door.  It serves the same menu but also offers wine by the glass and bottle.  It is nice to have the choice if you forgot to bring wine and are there too late to swing into Jimmy’s and pick up something.  They serve lunch and dinner with a small menu and a menu of specials that changes regularly.  The small bare wood tables are fairly closely spaced and a small bar is at one end of the room.  The opposite end looks out to the street but the blinds were closed when we were there as you entered through Urbano Cafe.  The lights are dimmed and there is a hum of people talking softly and having fun.  Service was efficient and reasonably helpful.   Continue reading

frank. (Underground) Dinner, Dallas, 7/29/18


frank. is an underground dinner party whose catch phrase is “food, to the point.”  You submit your interest in attending via their website <; and then 20 attendees were chosen by lottery ( or possibly by one of the cute dogs named Frank).  Chefs Jennie Kelley and Ben Starr met at the MasterChef competition when they were finalists and later Jennie came up with the idea of hosting private, or underground, dinner parties where all would sit around one table and enjoy a meal of the freshest and finest local ingredients they could source and recruited Ben to help her bring the idea to reality. The concept has flourished over many years and now it make take some time to have your name drawn to participate.  However, you can also watch their Facebook page where they post opening from last minute cancellations.  It was a multi course meal that included generous alcoholic beverages, amuse bouche and lots of food talk. It took about three hours.  After being accepted they will email a menu and location of the dinner which is generally close to downtown.   Continue reading

The Charles, Dallas, 6/12/18


The Charles had just been open 5 weeks when we visited.  It is a good sized place with their own parking lot and a valet.  The room is divided by a low wall with a variety of dining table options on both sides.  Some are booth seating and the table sizes and materials (stone, metal, wood)  vary.  The ones in the middle of the room have clothes but others don’t and are reasonably close together.  One side of the room is a long bar that also has some stools but across from it are dining tables.  At the end of the room is the open portion of the kitchen.  There is music in the background but the noise in the room is from the people that packed the place while we were there.  Service is helpful, friendly and efficient.  The menu is set up with sections of dining options and most plates are made to be shared.  The food is really tasty and nicely packed with flavor.  I give this place 2 thumbs up.  Continue reading

Fachini, Dallas, 5/17/18


Fachini is a large second floor place in an upscale shopping village. I would advise using the valet parker near the entrance as parking in the u shaped lot is a nightmare.  There didn’t seem to be a charge for this service.  As you enter you find yourself in a good sized well lit bar area with the dining room across the long hallway.  On the way in you pass by the wood fired oven and grill where the chef had the fire stoked to a red flame.  The room is finished to resemble places of times past with a tin ceiling, tile floor, lowered lighting and formally dressed male waitstaff.  White table clothes and napkins are set at each of the widely spaced large tables or booth seats.  Large photos cover one wall and part of one wall is a glassed in wine area.  The guests are a range of ages and fairly casual.  Service is efficient, friendly and helpful and there is a significant noise level to deal with.   Continue reading

Urban Vines, Dallas, 4/5 and 5/25/18


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. Continue reading

Purepecha Room in the Revolver Taco Lounge, Dallas, 3/7/18


The Purepecha Room is a small room for about 14 in the back of Revolver Taco Lounge.  Opened in April 2017 it is run by Chef Regino Rojas who was a 2018 James Beard Award Semifinalist.  It is meant to resemble his mother’s kitchen and recipes he ate growing up.  Indeed, his mother, Juanita Rojas, is in the kitchen still helping as is his aunt and I understand his father was helping inside the kitchen.  This is a family operation and it feels like that as you sit in the cozy room with dishes that feel like your grandmothers and the chef cooking close enough you really feel like you’re in his dining room.  A totally different ambiance than in the noisy, casual front Taco Lounge.  They offer a tasting menu only and there is no printed menu, however you can let them know about allergies.  Service is efficient, friendly and paced on the quicker end of  the continuum.   Continue reading

The Mitchell, Dallas, 3/3/18


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

Bullion, Dallas, 1/30/18


Bullion is a very stylish and large place on the second floor of a high-rise downtown building. The restaurant, created by Chef Bruno Davaillon, juts out as a gold rectangle protruding from the second floor, which he calls a French brasserie.  Shiny lacquered tables are outfitted with lots of banquette seating, except for the center tables, and are fairly close together. You enter on the ground level and first notice a two story art piece that looks like giant glass beads. Upstairs there is a large lounge area where you are invited to stop and have cocktails before dinner. The bar is adjacent to the dining room which provided background noise but not so much that you couldn’t easily talk at the table.   Continue reading

La Victoria, Dallas, 11/2017 and 1/30/18


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, Dallas, 1/24/18


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 French Room, Dallas, 1/12/18

entrance through hotel
entrance through hotel

The French Room, in the Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas, just finished being restored to its original finish and re-opened in October 2017 after being closed 14 months.  Gilded chandeliers and arches now preside over the high ceiling that used to house clouds and cherubs.  It is a nice, elegant new look but it’s formality is not matched by the shortened tablecloths draped over metal pedestal tables.   The previously red upholstered chairs are now white to go with the walls and lightened interior.  A couple of the side windows have been popped out to put in a bench seat that looks out toward the restaurant.  Carts are still used to deliver your food but the silver domes are missing and the carts are ridiculously short for anybody over 5 feet to push around.  The  partially partitioned smaller room is still there but was unoccupied the evening we were there and yet fairly brightly lit, which I found to be a distraction to those in the main dining room which has pretty low lighting.   Continue reading

The Parlor on Commerce, Dallas, 1/2/18


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

Sachet, Dallas, 12/10/17

exteriorSachet is a large place opened a couple months ago by the owners of Gemma (Frankie visited in June and July of 2016), where the food is inspired by Mediterranean cuisine.  About a third of the space is for the bar and the seating around it.  An open kitchen fills one end of the restaurant and a large clear cube containing wines is a focal point in the dining room.. With lots of hard surfaces the noise level is significant but tables are placed a nice distance apart to give you some ability to talk once the place fills.  The menu starts with “meze” plates which are priced in groups of 3 or 5.  They are small plates meant to be shared by the table.  Pastas are in serving sizes like appetizers but can be turned into a main plate for an upcharge.  Service is efficient and friendly and tables are turned throughout the evening.   Continue reading

Here, Dallas, 11/4/17

neon sign
neon sign

Here is a good sized, very stylish bar and restaurant.  The small, closely set tables are in the middle of the lowly lit room.  Around the edges are cozy round booths that match the elegant large arc shaped bar.  Comfy chairs and bar seats finish out this amazing looking space that is located in a very non-descript strip shopping center.  The menu offers a range of small plates and larger ones but the beverage service is mostly liquor.  Portions run on the large side, so be prepared to split even the small plates.  A good selection of beers is available but the wine list is very small (one thing that would really improve this place). Continue reading

The Cock and Bull Neighborhood Pub, Dallas, 9/7/17


Cock and Bull has been in the Lakewood area for many years and has gone through several owners.  It is a neighborhood bar but also serves non-bar food in the evenings and for weekend brunch.  Prices on the menu are very reasonable and they also offer a few nightly specials, two of which on the night we were there, were beef tenderloin preparations for $32 – so it could become a more moderately priced option.  They have a full bar but limited wines however on Wednesday night wines by the glass are 1/2 price and that makes them quite a deal.  Tables are set with nothing but lists of wine and cocktails and the flatware comes wrapped in 2 paper napkins.  Music plays in the background but the noise level was not bad however there were also lots of empty tables.  Service by the bartender was friendly, efficient and she was also willing to help with choosing menu items. Continue reading

FT33, Dallas, 8/18/17

Frankie posed on the sign out front
Frankie posed on the sign out front

This is the second  official Frankie visit to FT33 and the restaurant has made a few more changes to the place.  It’s still the same large dining room with 4 counter seats across from the kitchen , a good sized bar area and located in the Design District.  Now valet parking is a must if you want to park in the lot adjacent to the restaurant since several others places have opened that share the same lot.  Self parking is available if you’re willing to walk down to the next lot.  Now they not only stress locally sourced ingredients but exclusively use them.  If not fresh and in season they may be pickled or otherwise preserved and flavor is the focus of the meal.  They have an inventive cocktail menu and a well chosen wine list.  Food is offered in a daily a la carte menu but now they offer a $65 4-course menu with about 4 choices for each course.   Continue reading

Mirador, Dallas, 2/11/17


Mirador is on the top floor of the new 4-story building housing the  ‘Forty Five Ten’ store in downtown Dallas.  They have been serving lunch since January and are starting offering dinner on Friday and Saturday the weekend before we tried it.  Josh Sutcliff is Executive Chef and Junior Borges collaborates with him as Executive Chef of the Joule Hotel(which operates the dining room).  It is a large room with two side of windows looking out over downtown.  There is a balcony on the other side of the windows if you choose to dine with a closer look at the buildings and downtown activity.  The indoor seating is with tables using banquette and chair seating options.   Continue reading

Town Hearth, Dallas, 2/2/17 & 2/10/17


Town Hearth is the newest addition to the restaurants run by Nick Badovinus.  This one is more upscale but large and filled with decorations like his other places.  When you enter a small private party room is to one side and the large bar with some dining tables is right in front of you.  The chandeliers start here and carry on into the main large dining room.  They give nice light and a real glitter to the ceiling, as well as being quite striking. You also can’t help but notice a mini yellow submarine immersed in an aquarium filled with fish – it separates the bar and dining room. Don’t miss the car that sits right in front of the large open kitchen, it’s lower to the ground.   Continue reading

Lakewood Landing, An Upscale Dive, Dallas, 1/1/17


Lakewood Landing has been around a long time – I can’t seem to find out how long – but a while to be sure. The exterior is non-descript with a newish wooden patio facing the street that was added when the smoking ban happened and an iconic sign advertising their contradictory status of  being both “upscale” and a “dive”.  Inside is a long bar separated from the tables by a wooden railing, a separate room with couch and pool table, and the dining room with a few well used booths and standing tables.   Continue reading

20 Feet, Dallas, 11/25/16


Marc Cassel of Green Room fame started 20 Feet a few years ago and it hasn’t changed much since then. In a strip shopping center, next to a beer-burger joint, it serves a limited menu for lunch and dinner. It is a reasonably large dining room and they have added a plastic enclosed patio with additional dining. I spied A/C and heating units to make it usable year-round.  The mussels from his Green Room days are on the menu but most talk was about their fried fish so that’s what we tried.  It’s a restaurant where you line up at the counter, place your order, pay and then take a number to your table.  They bring your food out to you. There is a large supply of condiments for you to use as well a pitchers of water and tea for refills, however they were nice enough to come around and refill our glasses.   Continue reading

Montlake Cut, Dallas, 11/5/16


Montlake Cut is a Nick Badovinus concept restaurant specializing in Pacific Northwest foods.  It is medium sized with fairly close tables and bar seating which seemed to be for walk-in guests.  The decor is nautical with bench seating that reminds you of seating on a boat and various boating signs, etc used as decorations. There is also a large aquarium toward the back bar. Service is helpful but staff are stretched so order while you can. In their defense, the night we went they called to see if they could move up our reservation by an hour as somehow they had gotten overbooked, which may have attributed to server overload.   Continue reading

Barbec’s Restaurant, Dallas, 9/27/16


Barbec’s has been around as long as I can remember. Located in an old Howard Johnson’s building it serves large, cheap portions of southern style food.  The service is efficient but sometimes you’ll have to ask for something rather than a waitress noticing and asking. They seem to be best known for their beer biscuits which are better at breakfast than at lunch, when they’ve been out of the oven for awhile. They offer a large menu and well priced specials for breakfast and lunch, but it is a cash only business. With the lunch specials there is a huge choice of sides to go with your entree, of which you’ll see a preponderance of chicken fried steak. Continue reading

John’s Cafe, 9/16 & 10/8/16, Dallas,


John’s Cafe dates back to the early 1970’s when it was further north on Greenville. Various lease and sign issues forced them to move slightly northeast for a couple years but then they found a new location on lower Greenville.  It is the same breakfast and lunch place with slightly more seating.  There is a lunch special everyday but John Spyropoulos seems to be mostly popular for his breakfast special, $6.99 for your choice of 2 eggs, choice of bacon, ham or sausage and hash browns and toast or biscuits.  He makes a number of tasty omelets, the Gyro being a favorite. Continue reading