KEVIN MARPLE
Food & Drink

The Best Places to Eat in Dallas Right Now

Published On 10/03/2017
Flickr/44 BUILD

Henry's Majestic

Highland Park

This gastropub's consistency at cranking out solid elevated tavern eats has kept the spotlight on it years after its debut -- no small feat in the fickle Dallas dining scene. And as if the burgers, steak, small plates and weekend breakfast don't already keep folks coming in droves, Alex Fletcher, the bar master behind the stick, keeps palates pleased with excellent cocktails to complement brunch, lunch, and dinner.

Courtesy of Kevin Marple

Rapscallion

Lower Greenville

Before you get your straw ready to sip on what sounds like a cocktail, know that this dish is actually the Southern-flavored gastro-tavern’s spin on Nashville hot chicken. Don’t be shy, though, and double up the heat with some shakes of the Fresno chile sauce on the table. And round out that plate: Rapscallion excels at openers like ribeye carpaccio and decadent sides like fried sorghum and "Gammy’s baked mac."

Dan Gentile/Thrillist

El Come Taco

East Dallas

From beginners just starting to dive into the city’s street taco scene, to old hands who know their cabeza from their cecina, this Fitzhugh Ave hot spot draws all levels of taco lovers. And with fillings ranging from brisket to crispy grasshopper, it's bound to have something for you to swoon over.

CBD Provisions

CBD Provisions

Downtown

Executive chef Richard Blankenship continues pushing this modern American restaurant’s menu forward. Case in point, fascinating additions like chargrilled broccoli sprouts, “grits” made of rice and house-made merguez sausage over creamy corn. But if you simply can’t bring yourself to venture past the super-popular pig’s head carnitas or grass-fed beef cheeseburger, we can’t blame you.

off-site kitchen

Off-Site Kitchen

West Dallas

With its move from tiny Design District digs to a lofty, kitschy space on the edge of Trinity Groves, this burger joint has more room to fit in its rabid devotees. Your chances of sitting down while eating any of OSK’s sandwiches, American cheese-topped burgers, tacos, and fries may actually be better, too.

Knife Dallas

Knife Modern Steak

Mockingbird Station

Chef John Tesar’s meatropolis brought to Dallas a much-needed modernization of the classic steakhouse, with enough trappings of the latter to sate Dallas appetites. Special cuts of meat (culotte, tri-tip) and steaks-to-be-shared (28oz sirloins and bone-in ribeyes) beg to be paired with traditional sides, but also unique ones like the avocado fries and collard greens.

Courtesy of Sam Rosen

The Grape

Lower Greenville

This charming European bistro has been around since 1972 but feels like it’s always in the current swing of things, with menus that change to reflect what’s fresh, as well as hardcore classics that keep regulars coming back. In addition to the tartines, the famed mushroom soup is as addictive as you’ve heard -- ditto for the uber-popular brunch here.

Lucia Dallas

Lucia

Bishop Arts Dist.

Chef-owner David Uygur’s homage to an authentic Italian cookery is the hardest table in town to snag, but so worth the effort. The kitchen’s biggest hits and points of pride are the handmade pasta and house-cured salumi, though meaty mains that can include seafood, game, and poultry are executed wonderfully enough to be standouts, too.

Flickr/jcalyst

Ten Ramen

Oak Cliff

This much-awaited ramen shop’s opening was delayed after a fire a few months before its hoped-for launch. Happily, the spare, standing-room-only box of a restaurant has risen like a phoenix to the raves of noodle lovers city-wide. In addition to regulars like tonkotsu and shoyu ramen, be on the lookout for rotating specials.

Courtesy of Bread & Butter PR

Madrina

Oak Lawn

Die-hard foodies can’t resist Madrina’s potent mix of French and Mexican cuisines -- as evidenced by the restaurant’s enduring popularity -- while cocktail enthusiasts give the bar program and tequila & mezcal lists high marks. Anyone who digs on both would do well to stop in at happy hour, when the entire food menu is half off.

Top Knot

Top Knot

Uptown

Uchi’s upstairs spin-off features a less buttoned-down feel and a more wallet-friendly price point than the sushi superstar, with the same top-notch culinary pedigree. The Asian-inspired eats include shareable snacks, crudos, and a few mains, as well as the craft cocktail list, which is what sets Top Knot most apart from its sake-forward downstairs neighbor.

Filament

Filament

Deep Ellum

Badass chef Matt McCallister’s down-home sequel to FT33 is a must-visit, thanks to modern takes on Southern classics. Think zesty shrimp & grits, a regional version of okonomiyaki, and fried catfish done up “Nashville hot”-style. Don’t miss any of the fine drinks from the outstanding cocktail menu.

Street's Fine Chicken

Street's Fine Chicken

Oak Lawn

The folks behind beloved, locally grown homecooking chain Black Eyed Pea have mined their homestyle roots again with this fried chicken concept set in the old BEP on Cedar Springs. In addition to brined fried bird, you can dive into roast chicken, chicken tenders and a peri peri chicken that’s been marinated in hot pepper sauce. There’s a shortlist of beer, cocktails and decadent side dishes, all served in the shadow of the restaurant’s cheeky wall of cocks (that is, a wall of framed painting of chickens. What were you thinking?).

Courtesy of Robert Strickland

Trompo

Oak Cliff

Birthed from the popularity of local pop-up parties, this OC storefront’s main attraction is the Mexican-style spit-roasted pork that’s sliced, griddled, then folded into tacos and quesadillas. There’s also bistek on hand, as well as veggies and paneer for vegetarian palates, but the rotisserie signature is the can’t-miss menu feature by far.

Courtesy of Flora Street Cafe

Flora Street Cafe

Arts District

One of Dallas' favorite sons in the biz is back with this fine arts-influenced take on Texas cuisine. And this restaurant's Flora St location -- right across from the Meyerson and Winspear performance facilities -- is just ripe for indulging in artistic culinary expressions from Stephan Pyles. Seafood, steak, game, and desserts get loving treatment from the top-notch kitchen team.

Shake Shack

Shake Shack

Uptown

This New York-born burger joint brought its instant-classic eats to Uptown in late August, to the delight of food enthusiasts all over DFW. Now Dallas can line up for the house-specialty cheeseburgers, fries, and dogs as well as an edible, smoked-meat collab with Pecan Lodge. Complete your order with the famed crinkle fries and some local brews before seating yourself at a lawn table and Instagramming your meal.

Mesa - Oak Cliff

Mesa

Oak Cliff

It's no wonder big-name stars of stage and screen (Beyoncé, Conan O'Brien, and many more) pop into this cozy, family-owned Mexican restaurant -- the Veracruzan specialties are legit. Taste the Reyes family love poured into every mole dish and each plate of ropa vieja... and definitely pair those with beer or one of Mesa's irresistible cocktails. Come November 2016, do it all again at Mesa's second location, in Grapevine.

nattanan726/Shutterstock

Montlake Cut

University Park

Neighborhood Services wizard Nick Badovinus strikes again with another inspired, upscale destination for the Park Cities. With Montlake Cut, Badovinus aims to evoke the feel and flavors of his former Pacific Northwest digs. Think seafood and more seafood, including seasonal raw bar selections, in a nautical-themed space. That said, the Tillamook cheeseburger has gotten all kinds of buzz, as has Montlake Cut's extensive wine list.

Up Next
Courtesy of Sassetta
Food & Drink

Dallas' Best New Restaurants of 2017

Published On 11/13/2017
T here’s something going on in Dallas. There’s a movement shifting around -- a de-chefied slide back to restaurants that focus solely on monument-big flavors. In Deep Ellum, American cheese is king and sweetbreads are made to look like chicken nuggets. In the Cedars, crackling-bread banh mi will introduce you to the flavors of Vietnam while Shiner Bock trucks roar by, all for less than 10 bucks, under the hot Texas sun. Many -- arguably too many -- restaurants have come and gone this year, but there’s a revolution of good, honest, simple and heartfelt food here. These are Dallas’ shockingly good new restaurants.
Clark Cabus Photography

Hide

Deep Ellum

A comforting home for artisan cocktails and some of the best bar food in town
Early in 2017, a new bar from Nick Backlund nestled its way into the corner of Elm and Malcolm X. It has a fresh, hydroponic herb garden hanging in good light behind the counter. It deploys artisan cocktail tricks -- including Old Fashioneds that are served in a glass flask, made-in-advance, and kept hidden in the refrigerator. The upshot: there’s not a lick of pretension to their stunningly simple and just plain-damn delicious bar food. The chicken sandwich is a Rembrandt, made with chicken breast brined with lemon and spices for a day before a buttermilk bath and a dunk into seasoned flour. Lightning hot oil fries it crisp, and then it’s topped with pickled Fresno peppers. Their burger, six bucks at happy hour, is a comforting, new American cheese icon. The bacon is shatteringly crisp. This is a true American bar, and it walks the line of comfort and elevation.

Revolver Taco Lounge

Deep Ellum

A transformative taqueria that finally found a home here in Dallas
Revolver opened its doors in 2017’s Deep Ellum after a long stint in Fort Worth, and it’s changed the landscape of tacos for good. There’s nothing on its menu that won’t change you, and everything tastes autumnal, heating your core like a hearth. It begins with the smell of garlic tumbling into a hot pan when you walk in and continues through the pickled onions and lime-showered pastor that top your tacos and make you shut off everything around you. Don't worry about talking about how good Revolver’s tacos are for a while. Just sit and process the flavors. The pulpo taco, made with octopus as tender as you’ve ever had it (this is so far from the tire-chew of most sad octopus rings) is electric, zapped by ocean and a lime-green salsa. This is all you need.

Joy Zhang

Sandwich Hag

The Cedars

Every insane sandwich you can get here is a steal
One of the hardest-working joints in the city right now is this sandwich spot from owner and chef Reyna Duong. Right around lunch, you may catch the smoky aroma of charring pork piping from the window. Duong’s team makes everything -- except the bread, sourced from a bakery in nearby Garland -- in-house and until the ingredients are gone. The pork sausage banh mi is art in sandwich form. That Spam-thick patty of house sausage, garlicky and fresh as a Texas breeze, will cost you no more than 10 bucks, and you’ll be on your way to golden slumbers. It started as a pop-up generating great word-of-mouth from Duong’s cooking (she was born in a fishing village in Vietnam), and now it’s one of the best damn places to grab a sandwich in a city with too few good ones.

Town Hearth

Oak Lawn

A rare steakhouse you feel great about shelling out for
You deserve a comforting-to-the-bone, steak meal after a year like this. You deserve tater tots topped with mountainous pulls of crab, martinis as cold as icebergs, and, of course, oysters. Town Hearth, chef Nick Badovinus’ gem of a steakhouse, is where you want to be when the apocalypse presents itself. Park us in front of tots du jour, the north-of-$20 tater tots dish with crab and bearnaise sauce. Saddle us up to an aged steak, with plenty of Gibsons. Cocktail onions count as vegetables, right? This is one of Dallas’ most expensive restaurants for a reason: You’ll want to empty your checking account for a night out here.

Courtesy of Sassetta

Sassetta

Design District

A surprisingly terrific, cheap Italian restaurant in Dallas
Finding great Italian, the kind that’ll knock the Joe Pesci right out of you, is no easy task in Dallas. Good dishes are scattered to the wind -- a pizza here, a cold cut sub there -- and all-around great spots are rare. Sassetta, one 2017’s entries to the Design District, is one of them. The food is light and lemony. White sauce clam pizza tastes like clean New York winter air. Charred octopus is cut through with salsa verde. Sassetta’s a surprising, delicious new edition to our design district. The best part: the most expensive menu item is the $16 lasagna al forno.

Sumo Shack

University Park

A fun Japanese joint great for late-night bao and sake juice boxes
You may not know it yet, but you need Sumo Shack, one of SMU Boulevard’s newest establishments. This Japanese joint adorns its walls with huge illustrations and keeps its menu -- packed with ramen and hot dogs -- super affordable. There’s a fried-chicken bao, a steamed bun filled with delicious things, that gets served to you with a hit with American cheese sauce. There’s a cheeseburger bao, probably the only one this side of the Mason-Dixon, that's made with -- wait for it -- homemade Baco’s. All of this comes from the mind of chef Dien Nguyen, who clearly knows the balance between comfort and innovation and incorporates both into every dish on his menu. From the ramen to the beef hot dog topped with strips of seaweed, his food is electric and damn fun. There’s sake juice boxes, and it’s open so late that you’ll be eating bao straight into tomorrow.  

Kathy Tran

Junction Craft + Kitchen

Deep Ellum

Ever-changing Southern food made with fresh ingredients and international flavors
You wouldn’t think it at first glance, but this humble spot, right across the street from one of Deep Ellum’s best bar corners, right now, is probably making its own fish sauce. Actually, chef Joshua Harmon is making his own everything at Junction Craft, where American cheese, butter, and white wine are labored over, the vegetables come straight from Harmon's garden, and his mom bakes daily helpings of pie. The seasonally changing dishes range from sweetbreads that are transformed into “chicken nuggets” to parsnips and blood sausage plated as vividly as a Technicolor movie. Chef Harmon and restaurateur Casie Caldwell took what Kitchen LTO was in early 2017, and transformed it into one of Dallas best, most mutable fine dining restaurants.

Taquero

Oak Cliff

A taco stand built on bold flavors and delicious blue-corn tortillas
Everything needed for the hierarchy of human happiness can be found at one of Oak Cliff’s and best taquerias. Its fish taco -- flat-grilled and seasoned with dry peppers -- sparks and bursts like fireworks on your palate. Owner and executive chef Fino Rodriguez uses the powers of pastor on his chicken, marinating it with achiote and herbs like orange leaves, thyme, and laurel, and creating powerful and bright food in process. Do not -- we repeat -- do not forget the Taco Olmeca, which is a giant quesadilla filled with your choice of meat, grilled green and red peppers, and cheese. Taquero opened in April 2017, and its blue-corn tortillas deserve an award unto themselves.

Scott Mitchell

Easy Slider

Deep Ellum

Finally, a permanent hub for the food truck burgers you can't stop inhaling
Life should begin and end with tater tots, among waterfalls of ranch and chives. Easy Slider knows the happiness of simple things and simple foods. Inside, halved Topo Chico bottles are filled with succulents, and a neon sign blazes with the succinct, capitalized slogan “EAT SLIDERS.” The company's brick-and-mortar spot in Deep Ellum is as simple and to the point as a great Western flick. It’s a remarkable evolution from their food truck with the same name and it’s an evolution that few get to make. The stars of the party are the cheeseburgers. Each is delicious from top-to-bottom -- especially the Roadside, made with fried onions, barbecue sauce, bacon, and Cheddar. Still, there’s something about those loaded tater tots that touch the sky.

Too Thai Street Eats

Carrollton

Perfectly balanced, authentic Thai food in the city
If there are 200 Thai restaurants in the metroplex, each one does pad Thai in its own way. The most Americanized versions skimp on the tamarind sauce, and spike up the sweetness until it taste nearly like honey-roasted Planters peanuts are in there. The best versions are scarlet with tamarind, and better employ the classic Thai balance of sour, spicy, and hints of sweet flavors. Carrollton’s new Thai spot has one of the best in the city. Its food is Bangkok direct to Dallas. The tum thai, an electrically spicy papaya salad, tastes atypical of anything Dallas. The noodles and curry are rich and bold and spicy in levels (listed as 1-5). It took less than five months of being open, but Too Thai’s mastered its flavors.

Coronado
Sponsored

Indoor Day-Trip Destinations To Cure Your Chicago Winter Blues

Published On 02/16/2018
The Hot Chicken Bun from Top Knot | Claire Hogan
Food & Drink

The Dishes That Define Dallas Southern Comfort Food

Published On 01/19/2017