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Dallas - help me to narrow choices

I'm from Toronto Canada. It's a great city with a restaurant scene that reflects it's diversity (asian, greek, italian, indian, caribbean, persian...). Although, it is weak or non-existant in the following.

Let me know what you think of these choices:

1) Soul food: Sweet Georgia Brown, Vern's Place, DC's Cafe

2) Southern (not sure how/if to differentiate from soul food): Bubba's Cooks Country, Dixie House, The Mecca

3) BBQ: Sonny Bryan's (Inwood Rd)

4) Southwestern: Blue Mesa Grill, Stephan Pyles

5) Tex-mex: Herrera's, Mariano's Hacienda, Matt's Rancho Martinez, Mia's, Taco Diner

6) Mex-mex: Ciudad, Javier's Gourmet, La Calle Doce, Monica's Aca y Alla, Nuevo Leon, Veracruz, Via Real

7) Cajun: Dodie's, Pappadeaux

8) Steakhouse: Bob's, Chamberlain's, Del Frisco's, Nick and Sam's, Pal, Pappas Bros, YO Ranch

I don't plant to eat at all of these places! Just looking for the best in each category.

Thanks so much for the help.

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  1. Hands down Sweet Georgia Brown for soul food. Been to Vern's and to my tastes and I didn't care for it all. Sweet Georgia Brown's sides from the collared greens, to the awesome mac and cheese win all the time. For Southern, I would either go to Babe's or Bubba's. Same owner but slightly different in each way. Both very good! Get their fried chicken or ckicken fried steak. BBQ- skip Sonny Bryans! Might be rated high in Dallas by the food magazines but it is one of the worst BBQ places I've eaten at. A better choice would be Big Al's or Holy Smokes. Or if you have times and want to make a 3 hour trip to Lockhart and visit Blacks, Kreuz, or Smittys that would be even a much better better choice. Stephan Pyles is highly rated, can't comment on it but from everything I've heard on this board it's worth it. Blue Mesa on the lower end of Southwestern is good too and much less expensive. Steakhouse, any of the first 4 are great though if push comes to shove I'd probably pick Bob's or Chamberlains. Just my 2 (american!) cents! Enjoy!

    1. note: there is no "Pal" steakhouse. that was a typo. :)

      1. I'm a Herrera's devotee, so that would be my choice for TexMex. They were just awarded Best Chips by D Magazine.

        And if Sonny Bryan's Original is the worst BBQ someone has experienced, then I don't think they've experienced enough BBQ to have any credibility. While SB's may not be the equal of the Central Texas legends, the original is worth at least one visit by anyone who considers themselves a 'hound. The sauce is the standard by which all others are judged, and you can't go wrong with a chopped brisket sandwich and an order of o-rings, both generously doused.

        As for your Cajuny selection...Pappadeaux is decent for computer food and strong drinks. Don't know Dodie's, but you might want to check out Big Easy in Plano. The recent Morning News review made it sound like it was well worth the drive.

        2 Replies
        1. re: GroovinGourmet

          Instead of disparaging one person comments how about respecting them? Actually I've eaten BBQ all over the DFW area from Angelo's in Fort Worth,Macs, Mike Andersons, chain places like Red Hot and Blue, Hardemans and other various places in south Dallas and of course Sonny Bryans. The list goes on trust me! Yes, you are correct that there are worse places than Sonny Bryans but having eaten at the Inwood location on many occasions being right down from the hospital the brisket is always dry, lacks smoke and with that the lovely characteristics of a smoke ring. The sauce is ok in my opinion but I do respect your opinion that you like it and that's fine. Perhaps SB way back when was an excellent place such as the Lockhart legends but I think those days of good BBQ are long gone. Good BBQ in my opinion shouldn't require sauce. Now to be fair, being from Chicago SB would rank pretty high up there but there are much better options for our canadian chowhound to visit and indulge. For atmosphere SB wins hands down but the food ain't that great. If anyone has lost any credibility it should be SB for not putting out a quality product as it used to. Course I can't really say what it tasted like 20 years ago but perhaps someone else can enlighten us. Anyways, from one chowhound to another happy eating! This site is great because it informs the consumer and our tummys what is out there. And yes, Pappadeaux is decent! :)

          1. re: dl72

            Amen! Sonny Bryan's is a mere shadow of its former self and their food is no better than several other Dallas bbq places. I'm all for earthy atmosphere when it comes to bbq houses but the place on Inwood is a dump.

        2. 1. Sweet Georgia Brown.
          2. Babe's (3 locations - Carrollton & Garland locations have more menu choices.
          3. Sonny Bryan's only if you must for lunch at the original. It's not that great anymore but probably not the worst you'll ever have. There's just so much better to be had in Texas.
          4. Stephen Pyles or Abacus - both high end. Forget Blue Mesa.
          5. Mia's or Avila's.
          6. Any of those choices are good although I like Javier's and Nuevo Leon.
          7. I haven't eated at Dodie's but not a big fan of Pappadeaux.
          8. Pappas Bros, Bob's, Del Frisco's & Chamberlain's all good.

          1. so which places will you be eating at? are you planning a trip to dallas soon?