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.
The flatbreads are thin crust pizzas. The Jalapeno Flatbread is made with jalapeno cream cheese spread, mozzarella, red wine onions, roasted tomatoes and crispy prosciutto. It had a bit of spice but was not overwhelmingly hot. Good flavors made it a fun choice.
The Steak Flatbread came with chimichurri sauce, mozzarella, skirt steak, onions, tomatoes, avocado and jalapenos. The bits of beef were quite chewy and it was okay.
The Italian panini was composed of hard salami, capicola with mozzarella, roasted red peppers, field greens, tomatoes and roasted garlic balsamic vinaigrette on a grilled panini bread. All paninis are served with a choice of pasta salad, pita chips or fruit. We tried the pasta salad and it was pretty ordinary, but the sandwich was well stuffed and quite tasty with a nice crispy bread.
On a second visit, this time at lunch, we tried two other panini options – the waitress said they were the 2 top sellers. The Turkey and Brie panini was made with oven roasted turkey, brie, cranberries and raspberry vinaigrette served on grilled panini bread. It was well stuffed but the brie flavor dwarfed that of the the turkey.
It didn’t come together as well as the Braised Chicken and Drunken Goat Panini made with roasted tomato pesto aioli, braised chicken and drunken goat on a grilled panini bread. Drunken Goat is a wine infused goat cheese. It was quite good. With the sandwiches we got pita chips which were very crisp and unseasoned. They added a nice crunch but had a fairly dull flavor. All paninis also came with a dill pickle that was very strongly flavored and full of juice – nice.
On the side we had a small Wedge Salad made with blue cheese dressing. It was plenty to split and the lettuce was fresh and crisp but I found the blue cheese flavor wasn’t strong enough for me.
For dessert we had daily special chocolate torte. The crust was made with ground chocolate graham crackers and then that was spread with layers of dulce de leche and chocolate. It was gooey and sweet and apparently sells out every time they make it.
The Mitchell is located in downtown Dallas. It has the feel of a bar with tables rather than the reverse. I had read another person’s glowing write up of this more casual French place that would be a good option to the more formal ones newly ‘opened’ and recently written up here. Unfortunately when we got there the chef in the write up was gone and another had assumed his duties and changes had been made to the menu. Not sure these were good changes. The place has elegant chandeliers and a silent TV boxed in by the giant bar. They are short on wine selections but have about any liquor you’re looking for. Tables are small dark wood and seating is upholstered black chairs and a curving black banquette. There are also a number of seats at the bar. Service was friendly and efficient but I might have preferred if they’d spaced the serving of the dishes due to the size of the tables. Continue reading
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