Food & Drink

The 5 best off-menu items in Dallas. Period.

Published On 09/12/2013 Published On 09/12/2013
Torchy's Tacos
Torchy's Tacos

Menus are for normal people, like your 5th grade teacher Mrs. Tyler, and… um, Miley Cryus, so we're helping you go totally and utterly off-menu by taking a Wrecking Ball to the stuff you normally order and leaving you with Dallas's five very best not-available-unless-you're-in-the-know options.

Adam Costello

The Ace of Spades, Torchy's Tacos
Various Locations
For whatever reason, few people realize that Torchy's actually has an entire secret menu, boasting a quintet of mind-blowing tacos, including one made using a twin corn/flour tortilla system (!...?) and also the mother and brother of all tacos, The Ace of Spades: a jalapeno sausage link smothered in grilled brisket, plus green chile queso, cotija, sour cream, cheese, Diablo sauce, and a fried egg. Finish it, and you'll know what a full house feels like.

El Ranchito

Milanesa Tacos, El Ranchito
Oak Cliff
El Ranchito's Milanesa's basically Italian-done-Tex-Mex-style anyway, so why wouldn't you want all that thin, breaded beef in taco form? Exactly.

Lockhart Smokehouse

Burnt Ends, Lockhart Smokehouse
Bishop Arts District
If you're craving some of the best 'cue this side of the Hill Country, everyone knows you've got to go to Lockhart. But if you're craving 'cue that rivals anything they (legally) smoke in Austin, you've got to go to Lockhart on a Thursday, where burnt ends make their weekly appearance, chock-full of extra bark and brilliant smokiness.


The Nooner, Jonathon's
Oak Cliff
The Nooner's just a regular burger topped with Swiss, and bacon, and 'Merican… and a fried egg… and ham. Those who frequent Jonathon's are all too familiar with it; those who don't are much healthier.

Victor Tango's

Chicken & Waffles, Victor Tango's
You only thought that chicken & waffles were a fading menu memory from one of your favorite Henderson staples, but the truth is, if you put-your-hands-up-they're-playing-your-song-the-butterflies-fly-away, they'll still bring 'em out.

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1. Victor Tangos 3001 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206 (Knox Henderson)

A classy, dimly lit Mexican restaurant doling out savory goodness like roasted marrow bones and brisket with chimichurri and toast, Victor Tangos in Knox-Henderson also offers killer cocktails to boot. Seasonal ingredients shine in boozy libations like the Pepper Smash with gin, red bell pepper, local mint, freshly squeezed lemon juice, and house-made clover-honey syrup.

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2. Jonathon's Oak Cliff 1111 N Beckley Ave, Dallas, TX 75203 (Oak Cliff)

With not one but two daily happy hours, a build-your-own Bloody Mary bar, and breakfast served all afternoon, Jonathon's Oak Cliff is pretty easy to love. The popular soul food spot, housed in a charming green clapboard building, serves classic Southern fare all day. While the (literally) award-winning chicken and waffles are the crowd-favorite on the brunch menu, the kitchen serves everything from breakfast tacos to pancake-battered sausages. For dinner, the burgers are the house specialty, ranging from the fresh veggie burger to the famous "Nooner Burger," stacked with bacon, ham, Swiss, and a fried egg. Whether searching for some hearty Southern fare, or a serious hair of the dog, Jonathon's will certainly deliver.

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3. Lockhart Smokehouse 400 W Davis St, Dallas, TX 75208 (Oak Cliff)

This classic Texas smokehouse serves up juicy cuts of meat the old-school way. Walk up to the counter, make your pick, and watch your protein pulled straight off the smoker, wrapped in butcher paper, and placed into your anxious mitts. The brisket is done Central-Texas style and has a delicious peppery, spicy bark.

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4. El Ranchito 610 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208 (Oak Cliff)

An authentic Maxstaurant that's been around since 1983 serving up eats from the North part of our neighbor to the South, like deep-fried catfish and a Hamburguesa Mexicana guac, refried beans, cheese, ham & jalapeños.

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5. Torchy's Tacos 5921 Forest Lane, Dallas, TX 75230 (North Dallas)

Sneakily slid into Preston Forest's NW corner, Torchy's is a beloved Austin mini-chain started by an ex-MTV/Dell chef in an Airstream before he added four casual non-wheeled locations; the Dallas debut's far classier than the Austin spots, with iron- and