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
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.
Thanks for many delicious meals!
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 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
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
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
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
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. Continue reading
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 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
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, 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 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 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
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
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
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
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 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 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 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
Dugg Burger is in the Casa Linda shopping center offering a limited menu with a basic concept – the top portion of the burger bun is hollowed out to make room for the many toppings. All of the toppings are included in the price and you pick which you want while your burger is being made to order. Toppings start with your choice of cheese (American, cheddar or pepper jack) and then include mushrooms, bacon, tomatoes, lettuce, sautéed onions, fried onions, pineapple, peppers and various sauces. The topping offerings vary so your only choices are if you want an extra patty on the burger, fries, beverage. Continue reading
House of Gyros is a small family run operation in an eastern suburb of Dallas. They are attempting to open a second location so sometimes the Greek husband, who is the chef, is not there. He has trained some new folks but when he is there the magic is in the food. His wife, who is actually Italian, runs the front of the operation and she is as wonderfully friendly her husband. They do lots of take out orders and can get a good crowd at lunch. The plates are generous and every time I’ve been there they bring out complimentary loukoumades, or Greek honey puffs, for dessert. It’s an unhandy location but worth the drive if you have a craving for Gyros. 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
Mis Cazuelas is a really small place of about 5 tables and a counter. There is another larger version further down the street but this cozy location is way better food even though it offers a more limited menu (not everything on the large menu is available at this smaller, original location). Their lunch food is fine but it’s the breakfast (served anytime) that’s my favorite there. It is a cash only place and little English is spoken, but you can get by with pointing at the menu. The kitchen is behind the bar seats and the constant patting that is the background sound is the lady making fresh corn and flour tortillas, as well as the thicker ones for gorditas. It feels a lot like eating in your grandmother’s kitchen. Continue reading
El Taquito is located in a run down strip shopping center in East Dallas. It is old style Tex-Mex and is cash only. They have a nice crispy chip and a good heat to their hot sauce, which is green rather than the usual red. It is a taste that really grows on you and is good on most of the food. While they offer a large menu throughout the day, my favorite is to go for their lunch specials that are only &6.50, including iced tea. It’s a great deal for a good flavor punch at a very reasonable price. Continue reading
Gonzalez has 2 locations, this is from the one on Jefferson in Oak Cliff. It is a good sized place but not big enough to avoid lines on prime times. They also do a healthy take out business. It is made up of 2 rooms with a small waiting area in the entry room. There are TVs going of past or current sporting events but the sound is down so the Mexican music can be heard. It is a lively buzz. It’s one of my favorite spots in Dallas and we go often. Continue reading
Kirin Court is a large Chinese restaurant that serves cart style dim sum on weekends. They also have it during the week but it is made to order. On weekends you best get there before 11:00 or you will have an hour wait and a hard time finding a parking spot. Once you get your number you can try and find a space to wait in the crowded waiting room full of families and large groups of friends as well as groups of two. The restaurant has a lot of tables for large groups so it is one place where a wait for a party of 2 can be about the same as a table for 10. Continue reading
Flora Street Cafe is a beautiful new restaurant by chef Stephan Pyles near downtown. Pyles has elevated Dallas dining to a world class level with his decorative choices, outstanding service and amazing food. He still has the southwest influence in his cooking but it is toned down to allow a broader flavor spectrum to be offered to the diner. It is an a la carte menu but he does offer a 7-course tasting menu with wine pairings that includes “chef’s surprises” which our evening were another 5 courses. It is well portioned and nicely paced and according to the waiter changes with the seasons. I truly look forward to having another culinary experience there soon! Continue reading
Jeng Chi started in a smaller location in the same strip shopping center. It has now moved to a much larger place and therein lost some of its vibe. When I first visited the new location the food seemed to have lost its soul, but now giving them more than a year in their new space and the prices being raised, the food is back to its former greatness. I visit this place pretty much just for dumplings and the onion pancake. They offer a large menu but dumplings were their original claim to fame and I think that’s what they do best. Continue reading
Uchi opened in Dallas with great fanfare just over a year ago. It had previously opened successful places in Austin and Houston. It is fairly large and very modern in its interior and exterior. It offers a la carte as well as a tasting menu and a sushi bar option. They now have opened a more casual upstairs place which we did not try. This was my second visit and it seems to have gotten much better. When they first opened the service was hurried and the noise level intolerable, but this visit the bar was not so crowded and we were in the dining room not directly adjacent to the bar. Continue reading
Louie’s is a bar with a restaurant that almost seems more like a restaurant than a bar sometimes. It is often the site of post game parties and families, probably because it’s known for its thin crust pizza. However, Louie’s has a long history of being a good bar with fine bartenders that originally attracted a lot of media people. Times have changed but the martinis haven’t and they’re still as cold and wonderful as ever.
Goldrush Cafe is a small neighborhood spot for breakfast and lunch. It has a large supply of repeat customers who tend to pull chairs together and discuss anything from sports to politics and do this on a regular basis. It’s that kind of place, where most don’t need a menu and many have a customized way their food is made. It’s not fancy, just plain food well done in a cozy, welcoming atmosphere.It’s not a chain and is family run with a friendly and happy staff who make you feel glad to be there. Continue reading
Gemma is a medium sized cozy “little gem” that was opened a couple years ago by a couple that had been working in a restaurant in Napa Valley and decided it was time to venture out on their own. Stephen Rogers runs the kitchen while his wife and business partner Allison Yoder manages the front end. It is a lively spot that really needs a reservation to secure one of the dining room tables. However there are counter seats at the bar where you can get dinner or drinks that are first come, first served. Located on a busy street and in a strip of other businesses there are valet parkers out front whose fee is taken care of when you get your ticket validated inside. Continue reading
Dairy-ette has been in business since the 1950s and is still run by the Prikryl family. It is a flash back in time with small booths, counter stools and car hop service. They are famous for their house made root beer which is dispensed from a keg into an ice cold mug and is thick and sweet. They also make fresh lemonade and limeade drinks and an assortment of malts and shakes with their soft serve ice cream. If you want less sweet try their iced tea, you can also get this sweet, but the nice refreshing tea in a cold mug actually has tea taste and is a winner. Continue reading
There are several locations of Neighborhood Services and each have a different ambiance and menu. This is the one on Lovers Lane, the original location. It is always fairly crowded and the reservations are suggested so you don’t have to wait for a seat at this medium sized place. The noise level is a fairly loud but that is just part of the buzz of the place. They have a full bar which turns out some great cocktails and small but changing wine list. The waitstaff are all friendly and helpful. We had Chad this evening and he really makes your meal a fun event. Continue reading
This is not the original location of Keller’s restaurant, but it is the one with indoor seating. The other location on Northwest Highway is carhop service only. This Garland Rd. location has a drive thru, patio and indoor seating but no carhops. Here there is a counter for you to place your order and they call your name or number when your order is ready for you to take to the table of your choice. Continue reading
FT33 has been open several years but is still serving some of the most creative food in Dallas. It has 33 tables plus a bar area and the prime table for 4 (fire table) directly across from the open kitchen, or better known in restaurant talk as FT33. It is fun to have the show while you eat but it is also nice and a little less busy to eat at one of the floor tables. There are some sound absorbing features in the ceiling but the many hard surfaces provide a fair noise level or lively buzz as some may prefer to call it. Service is attentive, helpful and the staff appear to enjoy working there. Continue reading
DaLat is a reasonably large place located in a quickly changing neighborhood. It offers a full bar, for drinking and eating, which is nice for singles. It is known for its late night hours as well an evening karaoke option, but it is also open for lunch. They have gone to a picture based menu which blends well with the quirky vibe. The food isn’t standard Vietnamese but is the fused with some Texan and Mexican flavors. An associated take out pizza place has opened next door, to further satisfy those late night cravings. Continue reading