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Essential Dallas-Fort Worth Restaurant for First-Time Visit By New York Foodies

I've had the tasting menu twice at FT33, and both times it was fantastic, with really interesting and unexpected combinations of flavors and textures. I can imagine that it's not for everyone... for instance, most recently it was probably 80% vegetable-focused. If you're looking for a meaty meal, it might not be satisfying. And it changes constantly, so I might have had a very different dinner than you did.

the CBD pig's head is also a good idea.

Dec 16, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Essential Dallas-Fort Worth Restaurant for First-Time Visit By New York Foodies

demigodh's suggestions are generally good. My additional input:

For my personal taste, I'd recommend against any of the "fancy taco" places. You will have a much better taste experience at an authentic taqueria or the like. I'd recommend La Nueva Fresh and Hot, which is a tortilleria (get either of the guisados) or Los Torres (barbacoa roja, tripa, tacos ahogados). Note that La Nueva doesn't really have much in the way of seating, so you might end up standing on the corner or eating in your car.

Also, I'd strongly recommend against the whole "fancy southern" genre. I will say that of the ones listed, I've only eaten at Pyles and Smoke... but I've heard plenty of feedback on Fearings (and not much about Tim Love's places). In the end, they're moderately expensive and frankly not all that good. Smoke might be the exception - but personally I'd go to FT33 over any of those. Will you be disappointed with FT33, coming from NY? I can't really say - I haven't eaten in NY for over a decade. But I'd take my chances there over (for instance) Pyles. In particular, if you're here on Tues, Weds or Thurs, FT33 has a fantastic tasting menu.

out of curiosity, what places in NY seem like they might be similar to, (and potentially better than) FT33? It would be interesting to see what they have going on.

I'd also cut Komali from the list, which has never failed to moderately disappoint me. I like Mesa and Meso Maya, and also (for texmex) Mr. Mesero.

Dec 16, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Solo Dining in Downtown

Fearing's definitely has a bar, and the last time I was there SP had some counter seating. I'd probably recommend taking a cab - it's not necessary, but it won't be the most scenic walk.

I would probably skip both of those places, though. I'll admit that I've never been to Fearing's, but the reports I get from friends that I trust say that it's over priced and not really all that interesting. I feel similarly about Stephan Pyles. Depending on what you eat/drink, it might be tough to keep the bill below $50.

My recommendations for stuff that you don't get in Philadelphia would be either MesoMaya (a Mexican restaurant that I quite like) or Stampede 66 which is another Pyles place. I'm not crazy about Stampede 66, but but it's pretty good and has a kind of Texas kitsch aesthetic. Pyles also has pan-Latin American restaurant called San Salvaje which has some interesting dishes - basically elevated/refined versions of typical food from a variety of South American countries.

I also like CBD Provisions, but I'm not sure that it's anything all that drastically different than what you might find in PA... except perhaps their chili, which is fantastic - it's only on the lunch menu, but they might be able to hook you up. The bar downstairs in the same building, Midnight Rambler, has some pretty cool cocktails as well.

Nov 12, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dallas Restaurant Suggestion for Vegetarian

twinwillow's recommendations are pretty casual venues. If you're looking for something more upscale, then I'd suggest FT33. Matt is really good with vegetables - I recently ate the chef's tasting, and the first 5 of 10 courses were completely vegetarian. The next two had some meat components, but were definitely vegetable-focused. The final savory course was meat, and while delicious, it was far from my favorite part of the menu. His vegetarian preparations were interesting and satisfying, and really utilized the range of flavors of the vegetables. I definitely noticed the absence of meat, but only because I was impressed at how little it mattered. Of course, the tasting menu might be more than they're after... but on the current menu, 2 of the 6 appetizers and 2 of the 6 entrees are vegetarian (or basically vegetarian - I'm sure they'd remove the bacon from the gnocchi dish).

Nov 09, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Cheap Eats in and around Downtown Dallas

there's not a lot in the way of cheap (and good) food that's near the Omni. Your best bet is to hit Deep Ellum, which is right on the edge of your limit... about 1.5-2 miles away. There you have Cane Rosso for Neapolitan pizza, good burgers at Angry Dog and Twisted Root, bbq at Pecan Lodge, Monkey King Noodles, and good CFS at Allgood Cafe. Aside from Monkey King, I can't think of any ethnic foods worth trying.

There's also a texmex restaurant called El Fenix... not the best ever, but it's ok for a local chain. Right next to El Fenix is Meso Maya, which is good - but I wouldn't call it cheap.

I'll also mention CBD Provisions and Tei An, which are not cheap restaurants, but I think you could eat well at a pretty reasonable price if you order carefully. For instance, the soba noodles at Tei An only cost something like $8, and I think a bowl of chili at CBD is similarly priced.

cattlemens vs del frisco + itinerary review

some random thoughts/comments:

1) If you are interested in chocolate I'd recommend Kate Weiser in Trinity Groves. I prefer her stuff to Dude, Sweet... although they're very different. Dude, Sweet seems to have more creative and interesting combinations, but I always find that they fail to deliver in flavor. Kate Weiser has some interesting combinations as well, but they're less adventurous - but in my opinion more delicious.

2) Carbone's has way better cannoli than Jimmy's.

3) I've only been to Pepe and Mito's once, but I was thoroughly unimpressed. If you're after texmex, I'd head to Mr. Mesero, which I think is fantastic - although the atmosphere is a little more upscale. If you're looking for a more laid back environment, I'd probably go to Mia's... and I know that some on this board like Gonzalez on Jefferson in Oak Cliff.

4) Nonna Tata is a nice place, and the food is good, but in my opinion you're not really missing out on anything special. It's a quite good version of "red sauce Italian", although frankly I think that Carbone's is better (same chef/owner as the restaurant Nonna here in Dallas). Personally I'd take Lucia or Nonna (Dallas) over either Carbone's or Nonna Tata (FW) - but that's just a style preference.

Oct 24, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

4 Days in Fort Worth

I like Shinjuku Station and Woodshed Smokehouse. I'd also be inclined to try AF+B based on reviews (although I wasn't enormously enthused about the chef's food at Bolsa, it would probably still be worth a try). Nonna Tata is also pretty good ("red sauce Italian") but it's byob. I've also heard very positive reviews of Revolver Taco Lounge.

Oct 08, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

One Night in Dallas (Downtown).... I need EPIC

coming from OC is specifically why I didn't recommend Tei-An. While I like the restaurant a lot, I've heard enough complaints about unmet expectations to realize that the omakase experience is not reliably stunning. If you don't get lucky (or go with a regular) then you're likely to get served food that seems pretty "standard" (although of high quality). In the traditional spirit of omakase, it's more geared towards regulars where the chef has a sense of what you'd like and is willing to push those boundaries.

Oak is a good suggestion. I can't vouch for the food - I haven't been since the chef change, and I wasn't really blown away by Zenner's cooking at Belly & Trumpet - but it did recently get good comments from Leslie Brenner (for what that's worth). And I find that dining room a bit more stuffy/formal than the other places I mentioned.

Oct 03, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

One Night in Dallas (Downtown).... I need EPIC

I haven't eaten there either, but yes - I've heard that they do. None of the food-based reviews have sounded impressive, though.

Oct 03, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

One Night in Dallas (Downtown).... I need EPIC

what kinds of things knock your socks off? Some of the best restaurants in Dallas are a bit less on the formal/glitzy side. For instance, Lucia has a pretty casual, neighborhood feel to it but produces some of the best Italian-style food I've eaten. FT33 is a "modern farm to table" restaurant, and the atmosphere is concordant with that... personable service and some very nice elements of style, but no white table cloths, they play hip hop music, etc. Spoon or Knife wouldn't be bad choices either.

Those are the places I'd recommend, but... if you're in the mood for something more formal, then I'd echo Dallas Alice's suggestion of the Mansion - specifically the chef's tasting menu (I haven't had it, but I've heard good things). Interestingly, Dallas doesn't have much in the way of really formal dining venues. I can't think of any place I've eaten here that requires a jacket and tie. And I've heard that even the Mansion has begun to relax the atmosphere in their dining room.

Celebration Dinner on a Sat. night in Dallas

that sucks that you didn't have a good experience. I think that many of the issues you describe can be attributed to differences in taste - for instance, I've had the soba ice cream with black honey and kinako (the powder on top) and I think it's a phenomenal dessert. And, for me, the texture and flavor of the soba noodles are quite good and quite authentic. That said, I can see why it might be too bland/subtle for some people... and there's no saving tuna with a mushy texture. I've always found the quality of Tei-An's raw fish to be stellar, but sorry it wasn't for you.

Sep 28, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Celebration Dinner on a Sat. night in Dallas

FT33 will do a "tasting menu" assembled from smaller portions of menu items, even on a Saturday.
http://eatsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/0...

Tei An's omakase is another delicious option, and I've heard that the tasting menu at The Mansion is fantastic. Bijoux's is ok, although I haven't been for a year or so. Local also has a tasting menu but I have no data on its quality. Casa Rubia does not, but the food is good and tapas give a similar effect.

Sep 26, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Dinner near the Kay Bailey Hutchinson convention center

CBD provisions and Meso Maya (Mexican, if that's sufficiently "basic") would be my top choices in that area. Savor or Lark on the Park are also OK. You're also a ~5' ride away from Nonna, which is one of the best Italian restaurants in Dallas, and about the same time to FT33, which is modern farm-to-table.

Tlacoyos

I think I saw a pambazo on the menu at El Come

Sep 08, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

This board is awfully quiet

I agree that it is unfortunately quiet here. There was a time when this board saw much more interesting discussions. I know a few of the people largely responsible for those discussions that have either left the city or no longer participate here because of the general decline in depth and quality of what gets posted.

But, that said, I don't think there's a better option with regard to Dallas restaurants. I keep up with the local food media (DMag, CultureMap, DMN, Escape Hatch, Crave, etc.), but that's mostly just information about what's opening, where and when - not so much interesting discussion. I haven't found any other Dallas-focused boards or blogs that seem worthwhile.

Sep 01, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Foodie Dinner in Dallas

I have never been very even vaguely excited by Bolsa's food (although cocktails are great). Boulevardier has both good food and cocktails. But, having said that, I think it would be a mistake to choose either of those over FT33 or Lucia.

depending on how busy they are, FT33 will put together a tasting menu on the weekends - 5 courses of smaller portions of items from the regular menu. Yes, the weekday chef's tasting is incredible - but if you've never eaten there before, I don't think you'll be at all disappointed by the regular menu items.
http://eatsblog.dallasnews.com/2014/0...

With regard to Lucia, my approach is to generally stick with appetizers and small portions of the primi (pastas, risottos, etc). The secondi can be very good, but I find that they occasionally become a bit monotonous. I'm overstating this a bit - they are delicious - but still find the smaller portions more engaging.

Best Carnitas in DFW

I can't remember which but either Meso Maya or Mr. Mesero had really really good carnitas. The other of the two had pretty unimpressive carnitas, but other dishes were quite good... so if your order something in addition you'll have a good meal regardless.

Also, you could check out CBD Provisions which serves "pig head carnitas" - basically a split pigs head with crispy skin, served with tortillas and salsa. I haven't had it yet, but I've heard multiple favorable comments regarding it. Knife serves something similar.

Aug 20, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Royal Sichuan (Richardson)

there's a decent Indian restaurant in the near downtown area?

Jul 06, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Help with really picky eaters in Dallas!

I've always had the opposite impression, but my experiences have been mostly at dinner (where BBQ is only ~20% of the menu, alongside things like foie gras, shishito peppers, beet salads, and a host of other things that you'd rarely find at a BBQ place) and at brunch (pancakes with vanilla poached apricots, smoked salmon florentine, broiled grapefruit, granola).

In fact, I find the bbq there to be pretty lackluster, so I don't even consider it when I'm ordering. I can see that lunch might give you a different impression, but Smoke also has a totally different atmosphere than a typical "BBQ place" - much more like a restaurant (table service, cocktails, tablecloths and cloth napkins).

Jul 01, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Fermentation crock?

I've been doing small batch fermentation in ~1 quart glass jars, and it works just fine. My approach is to cover the surface with plastic wrap (pressing it down on the surface of the liquid). I then use something that will fit into the opening to weight the surface to keep the vegetables submerged. I assume that this keeps the culture fairly anaerobic, but still allows gasses to escape. It's not perfect, and I'm sure that a dedicated vessel would work a little better. Something like this seems ideal:
http://www.pickl-it.com/

You're right about mold being the problem with air exposure of the vegetables, and yes - if it's white mold I've scraped it off and have had no further problems.

The amount of time is temperature dependent - fermentation goes faster when it's warmer (but not too warm). Typically I find that foods are sufficiently sour for my purposes after 4 days or a week. I've never tried letting it go much longer, but that could be cool too.

Jun 12, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Walking distance Omni Hotel

just to be clear... you're referring to the Omni that's downtown on Lamar, not the one "at Park West" on LBJ, right?

If it's the one on Lamar, then you could walk to CBD Provisions in 12', Meso Maya in 20', Stampede 66 (which is probably on the pricey side, given your budget) in 20', and Savor or Lark on the Park in 23' (according to Google Maps). This also happens to be the order in which I would recommend these restaurants (CBD would be my first choice, etc).

Jun 12, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Best Philly Cheesesteaks in DFW?

agree - it's delicious. And it's only non-authentic in that they use higher-than-average quality ingredients.

Jun 11, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Minneapolis foodie in Dallas

Lucia is a good call. The tasting menu at FT33 would also be delicious. A number of people have raved to me about Spoon as well... I don't have enough experience eating there to comment, but it's probably worth considering.

Apr 22, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

All things Goat

does the pambazo at La Hechizera not qualify? I'm not clear on what defines ahogada, but the pambazo is dipped in a salsa. Maybe the quantity of sauce is the distinction... the pambazo was definitely not swimming in soup.

Apr 11, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

All things Goat

just remembered... FT33 has (or at least, has had) a goat mortadella as part of the salumi board. Very very good.

Apr 11, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Innovative in Dallas--April 5-7

I don't think $10 for foie gras is an unreasonable upcharge... as long as it contributes favorably to the dish. Your feeling was that it worked well, and enhanced the dish by 2x?

Apr 03, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Innovative in Dallas--April 5-7

I got a pretty negative report on the BB poutine, from a Canadian transplant. They felt that:
1) the fries were poorly executed (not crispy)
2) there was insufficient gravy
3) the foie gras added very little to the flavor, given the pretty substantial increase in price.

I, myself, haven't been yet.

Apr 03, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Innovative in Dallas--April 5-7

I haven't been to any of the restaurants you metioned, so I might be missing your mark... but for dinners FT33, Lucia, Casa Rubia would be the obvious choices. Belly & Trumpet, maybe. Tei An can be pretty cool if you like omakase, but it's not generally "innovative" in the sense of Uchi or Uchiko. Of the places I mentioned, Casa Rubia and Tei An are open Sunday - the rest are closed.

Restaurants near Anatole Hilton in Dallas

glad you enjoyed it. I really need to get back and try the current version of the tasting menu - I think that pretty much every dish has changed since I tried it last.

All of those recommendations are excellent - I ate at Lucia last night, in fact (and it was delicious). I'm guessing they meant Yutaka for sushi.

Mar 28, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth

Restaurants near Anatole Hilton in Dallas

I've never been to SER, and haven't been to Abacus in a very long time. Belly & Trumpet has some good stuff - in fact, a few of the flavor combinations I tried on my first visit were really creative and quite delicious. I'd say, however, that there were probably as many failures as successes, and it leaves me somewhat underwhelmed.

I will say that two of Dallas' best bartenders have been working at Abacus lately, so it would definitely be a good place to grab a cocktail if your so inclined. Belly & Trumpet also has good people behind the bar.

Mar 20, 2014
gavlist in Dallas - Fort Worth