One of the greats is, and has been, chicken-fried steak, and the best versions are made with unmistakable heart. A tenderloin steak is pounded, by hand, until it’s pancake-thin. The tenderized steak passes through fine flour, and then drops in a bubbling bath of peanut oil. Creamy, white gravy -- simmering, born of a stock of roasted chicken bones -- is rich and peppery. The steak is pulled from the fryer, sheathed in a shattering, crunchy armor. That peppery gravy is ladled over the steak, just before reaching the customer, with a side of green beans. This is the scene at AllGood Cafe in Dallas, one of Dallas’ best chicken-fried steaks.
The point: There is heart behind the trend of Dallas’ Southern dishes.
When it comes to the state of Southern comfort food in Dallas right now, there’s electricity in the air. Nashville hot chicken, typically fried chicken loaded with a blazing cayenne or sauced in a searing pepper sauce, was “trendy” for a while. Elevated versions, like the fantastic one at Filament, popped up. Fried chicken sandwiches are scattered around the city like sparklers: At Off-Site Kitchen, tender chicken is fried into a peppery cloud and surrounded by bacon, a punchy jalapeño relish, and -- wait for it -- a cold slice of American cheese. It’s beyond addiction.