Greetings from a new Dallasite
Just a brief introduction from a new member. I moved to Dallas back in July and just got around to posting up here. I've already picked up lots of great recs from searching around here. Also, I work at Central Market on Lovers as a "foodie."
Interests: Vietnamese and Thai, real Mexican, mega-spicy foods, Offal, Pork, Oysters and Crawfish
Favorites in town so far: Bistro B, Louie's, Herrera's, Lola, Tong's House
I haven't been an avid poster persay on Chowhound but I check it regularly for recommendations. I have lived in Dallas my entire life (except the brief time in Denton at UNT). As for the recommendations for the cuisines you listed:
Thai: Hands down Zoom Vietnamese and Thai (especially if you are in North Dallas or the northern suburbs)
I have never had a bad dish (if you include getting the typical Pad Thai then probably yes). I am never one for getting the ordinary at the resturants around town. Tess Nyugen (owner) and Dat Pham are great at recommending dishes just make sure you know what type of meat you are in the mood, for the menu is quite extensive. I have gotten the "hot" on the menu and it is pretty fiery although if you like uber hot try the "extra hot". Most people will recommend Asian Mint or Royal Thai. I have never been to Asian Mint b/c I didn't feel like waiting for an hour when I went (It is usually packed but has the typical Thai dishes that everywhere else has). Royal Thai is good but I like the ambiance of Zoom much better (think the food tastes more fresh at Zoom). Been to Bankok City one night and had the Tom Yum soup...they were heavy handed on the fish sauce, out of several appetizers, and shorthanded....not good for a first impression.
My second recommendation for Thai is Thai Chili - Las Colinas - (Las Colinas Blvd btwn O'Connor & Rochelle (next to Mayuri Indian mentioned later)). Thai Chili is a small location but has great food and you can get it to your heat tolerance. Thai Chili is a bit more upscale side but preparation and ingredients are always on top.
Vietnamese: Have been to several and I have favorites at each)
Pho: Saigon Kitchen - Garland
Banh Mi: Pho Express - Carrollton (if you care more for the barbecued pork or chicken rather than the bologna type meat
Real Mexican: Depends what you are after and what style)
Cabrito: El Ranchito - Oak Cliff (Jefferson - Btwn Zang & Tyler/Polk)(make sure you bring another person to help finish the cabrito)
Tacos (Picadillo (addictive)): Fuel City - Dallas (just off Industrial on the South Side of Downtown
)Mole as well as others: Nuevo Leon - Farmers Branch (SWQ Josey Ln & Valley View Ln)
Fresh Corn Tortillas - Cuqitas - Dallas (Knox/Henderson), Mis Cazuelas - E. Dallas (Deep Ellum/Main), Luna's - Dallas (Downtown/McKinney Ave & Woodall Rogers)
Tamales - La Poplar - E. Dallas (Columbia Ave btwn Peak & Munger
Plug - If in the area of E. Dallas make a side trip to two foodie places Jimmy's Food Store (Fithzhugh & Bryan) has great italian sausage and meatballs (family recipes) as well as a fine selection of Italian imported cured meats, Italian imported cheeses, Italian wines, and great prime meat cuts. Mozarella Cheese Company (Deep Ellum - Elm & Walton) has a very fine selection of artisnal cheeses great smoked scamorza and fresh mozzarella. http://www.mozzco.com/
Not too much of offal meats but the ones on the Dim Sum carts and on the menu at Kirin Court are pretty good - Richardson (75/Central Expwy & Belt Line/POLK)
Mega-spicy foods: Thai - Zoom (see above), Thai Chili - Las Colinas (from above), Indian - Mayuri - Las Colinas (Las Colinas Blvd - Next to Thai Chili - Btwn O'Connor & Rochelle) I think Mayuri has a good spread at lunch better than India Palace and the food has a more lively and fresh taste. Mayuri has been consistent in the tastes and spice since I have been eating there (10+ years). If feeling adventurous and have brushed up on your Indian dialects, try Taj Chaat House. It is a full vegetarian place but the Dosas are freshly prepared in front of you. Listen to your order though you might miss it being called out overhead in the native tounge. This is not an elegant place by any means but gives you a good idea what it might be like to eat street food in India without the long flight.
Sichuanese - Plano (NWC of Coit & Park) awesome Sichuan Boiled Fish and anything else there has been excellent and spicy!! Might have a bit of time with ordering....mostly Chinese spoken.
Cajun: Aligator Cafe - E.Dallas (Live Oak - btwn Peak & Carroll
Fried Chicken - Brothers Fried Chicken - E. Dallas (WC of Gaston & Fitzhugh) also in Richardson (NWQ of Coit & Spring Valley)
Soul Food - Hands down South Dallas Cafe - (Fair Park - Grand Ave just southwest of Robert B Cullum Blvd). Hard to name a dish that isn't good here, just go trust me! Greens are awesome, chicken fried steak awesome, bbq ribs awesome, sweet potato pie awesome, and south dallas kool-aid awesome.
As for Pork and Crawfish I am kinda out of suggestions on those. Seafood is a bit spotty in Dallas. Oysters I would prolly recommend Oceanaire in the Galleria since they bring theirs in daily. Pork it just depends if you want New American to Chinese as to what suggestion you can get.
Chinese: Kirin Court - overwhelming menu - mentioned above
First Chinese BBQ - Plano (Richardson & Carollton locations also) (NEC of Coit & Parker) all the dishes are great!
Sichaunese - Plano (mentioned above)
Jeng Chi - Richardson (Richardson Chinatown (Greenville -btwn Arapaho & Belt Line)) great house made dumplings (boiled or steamed) only one in the center with a round door.
Japanese: Ajisen - Richardson (Richardson Chinatown (Greenville -btwn Arapaho & Belt Line)). Awesome Tokyo ramen soups.
Lebanese: Afrah - Richardson (Belt Line/Main just past Greenville across from Richardson Police Station). Have the best pita, hummus, baba ghanouj, Kibbe, and baklava you have ever had.
Since I live in the northern half of Dallas my recommendation tend to be "outside the loop" as some would call them, but they also tend to be on the inexpensive side so you give up convenience for price.
I lived in Dallas for 15 years until I was able to move to the Hill Country about 9 years ago, I try to get back to the Big City about twice a year. Last time, a week ago,I lunched on mussels et frites at 'The Old Monk' (Henderson @ Central), I also revisited Café Madrid on Travis just South of Knox and it was as excellent, if busier, than I remember. I also went back to Campisi's 'Egyptian' Italian Restaurant (SW corner Greenville & Mockingbird) and had a great 'down & dirty Italian feast'. Other meals were consumed at 'Trinity Hall' as I was just a tad too overserved to venture further from my 'within walking distance' Radisson Hotel. I did not have the opportunity to go to my old favourite Vietnamese restaurant 'Mai's' on Bryan, I'd appreciate any recent reports on their cuisine?
Unfortunately, my last two meals at Mai's were unimpressive and borderline bad. Service was slow and inattentive. I wonder if they have new owners since I've heard others say the same. It was very crowded each evening, so I can only imagine that most of the diners were there so they could BYOB.
In my opinion, Vietnam Restaurant on Bryan down the street is a million times better. You will also actually see Vietnamese people eating there.
My absolute favorite place for Vietnamese now is Bistro B in Garland. That place is amazing.
Best Thai in Addison isn't bad at all. It's kind of hard to find, but it is in the shopping center right next to Ferrari's on Midway if I remember correctly. I usually just order from them through DiningIn.com, though. I also have trouble finding good Thai food here in the Dallas area. There has to be a good little dirty mom & pop Thai place waiting for me out there somewhere.
There are some good things In Uptown -- Primo's has good brunch items and decent margaritas. I agree with the Breadwinners recommendation. It's been a couple of years, but Thomas Ave Beverage Co was dependable, and I like some of Marc Cassle's fun dishes at Dragonfly. Yutaka has really good sushi/sashimi, and S&D does a nice job with authentic barbecued shrimp.
Royal Thai? Really? I've only been once for dinner, but I thought it was pretty sub-par; I also got the same impression at Bangkok City on Greenville. I do like Thai Soon and Jasmine Thai a good bit, and there' s also the true hole in the wall: Thai Lotus! I'm about to go now I think... It's in the Oak Lawn area, on which crossroad I can't recall. Vietnamese and Korean seem to be in abundance though. Hong Ly is good in Richardson's Chinatown area.
We stayed in an uptown apartment for a month right after we moved from CA 18 months ago. Breadwinners was around the corner and we love their breakfast and bread.
For real Mexican, we like El Fuego in Richardson.
We like Thai Thai's buffet, but not so much the dishes we ordered from the menu.
Is Tong's House (in Richardson?) good? What kind of Chinese? It's around the corner from where we live and we never paid attention.
If we're just talking Uptown:
Kozy Kitchen for something a little different
Tin Star in the Quadrangle
Yutaka Sushi Bistro
Coal Vines for pizza
Campania also for pizza
Hola or Cafe Madrid for Spanish tapas
Tio's Tortas supposed to be good, but haven't been
Wild About Harry's for frozen custard and hot dogs
Otherwise. . .
Cuquita's on Henderson
Dallas doesn't really have great Thai, but my personal preferences in town are
Thai Soon in Richardson
Chan Thai in the Bishop Arts District
Toy's Cafe on Lemmon Ave
First Chinese BBQ
my parents still go to Saigon Kitchen in Garland, but that's more out of habit than anything else. You might want to check some of the places discussed here:
http://chaskemp.googlepages.com/east_... But there's definitely lots of viable options in that Jupiter/Walnut Little Saigon area.
Daza's in Deep Ellum
Crustacean's in Deep Ellum
If you like Lola you'll also like York Street. Had some great sweetbreads there in the past, but the menu is seasonal, so.
Other notables in town:
Hattie's in Bishop Arts
Sushi Sake in Richardson (search for previous postings on this board; you'll find plenty of accolades
)Doughmonkey for baked goods
Henry's in Plano for ice cream
Can't help you with pork, uber-spicy, oysters, or crawfish.