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
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.
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.
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 <macellaiodallas.com>. 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.
Cosmo’s Restaurant and Bar (1212 Skillman St., Dallas, 75206, <cosomosbar.net>) 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 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 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
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
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
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 <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Continue reading
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 <https://www.restaurantji.com/tx/dallas/petra-and-the-beast-/>. Continue reading
Frankie made a quick visit to Mac’s Bar-B-Que today! She thought it was so good but everything was gone before she could get a photo. Check out her write up from 3/18/19 in Dallas. It’s still running and very good, don’t miss your chance to go!
We’d been to Beverley’s Bistro and Bar a few weeks ago but looked forward to visiting again and trying some other things as well as having the delicious Steak Frites again. The menu had changed slightly during that time.
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 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 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 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
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 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 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 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.
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
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 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
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 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 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 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 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