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 <email@example.com>. 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. Continue reading
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.
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
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
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
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. is an underground dinner party whose catch phrase is “food, to the point.” You submit your interest in attending via their website <https://frankunderground.com> 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 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 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 is a large place in East Dallas. They are open for lunch and dinner and offer snacks if you just want a place to drink some wine. You enter through a patio with a large fireplace and plenty of outdoor seating into bar area that adjoins the dining area. Some bench seating, regular tables and high top tables are available. Tables are bare wood but cloth napkins are part of the set up. The walls display art, some of which is for sale. Different days offer specials and Thursday is half price wine by the glass. Two of the walls have large windows letting in some natural light in the daytime but in the evening the lighting is fairly low. The menu offers sandwiches, flatbreads and a few bigger dishes. Frankie and I visited a couple times to try some of the options. It is a casual place with friendly and helpful servers and while the food is not outstanding it is a perfectly adequate place to meet with friends over wine and food.
The flatbreads are thin crust pizzas. The Jalapeno Flatbread is made with jalapeno cream cheese spread, mozzarella, red wine onions, roasted tomatoes and crispy prosciutto. It had a bit of spice but was not overwhelmingly hot. Good flavors made it a fun choice.
The Steak Flatbread came with chimichurri sauce, mozzarella, skirt steak, onions, tomatoes, avocado and jalapenos. The bits of beef were quite chewy and it was okay.
The Italian panini was composed of hard salami, capicola with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, field greens, tomatoes and roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette on a grilled panini bread. All paninis are served with a choice of pasta salad, pita chips or fruit. We tried the pasta salad and it was pretty ordinary, but the sandwich was well stuffed and quite tasty with a nice crispy bread.
On a second visit, this time at lunch, we tried two other panini options – the waitress said they were the 2 top sellers. The Turkey and Brie panini was made with oven roasted turkey, brie, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette served on grilled panini bread. It was well stuffed but the brie flavor dwarfed that of the the turkey.
It didn’t come together as well as the Braised Chicken and Drunken Goat Panini made with roasted tomato pesto aioli, braised chicken and drunken goat on a grilled panini bread. Drunken Goat is a wine infused goat cheese. It was quite good. With the sandwiches we got pita chips which were very crisp and unseasoned. They added a nice crunch but had a fairly dull flavor. All paninis also came with a dill pickle that was very strongly flavored and full of juice – nice.
On the side we had a small Wedge Salad made with blue cheese dressing. It was plenty to split and the lettuce was fresh and crisp but I found the blue cheese flavor wasn’t strong enough for me.
For dessert we had daily special chocolate torte. The crust was made with ground chocolate graham crackers and then that was spread with layers of dulce de leche and chocolate. It was gooey and sweet and apparently sells out every time they make it.
The 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
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
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
Sachet 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 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
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 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 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
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
The Heights in Lakewood has been open about a year and serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch. I’ve been for lunch several times and have enjoyed the food and friendly service; during two visits at dinner both had great service but the food was terrific once and flawed the other. I believe the good meal is more indicative of their product but can’t omit it in all honesty. The restaurant offers a full bar but a very limited wine list. Continue reading
Sprezza is a large place that has been open since the end of April. It got lots of hype due to chef Julian Barsotti being the man behind the food, as he has been responsible for well regarded Nonna. However if this is how he imagines the food of Rome to taste, he needs to visit there again. Overall it left a non-impression, as the flavors were mild in everything except the nice spicy pepper to sprinkle on your pizza. Portions are small and meant for sharing which makes it nice to have lots of bites of different things. Continue reading
The Grape has been in business since 1972 with the current owners Brian and Courtney Luscher taking over in 2007. Brian is the chef and Courtney is the manager and sommelier. The business has grown enough that couple is not always in house but Chef Sarah Snow runs the kitchen directed by Brian’s culinary vision. It has a medium sized main room, a smaller added on room in the back, a good sized bar and a plastic enclosed porch for street side dining. The menu has a selection of standards that are always available, some in half portions as well as monthly specials. Many of the standards are very nice but I like the seasonly adjusted new options that are available. Continue reading