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Visiting Dallas from the East Coast for my husband's 50th B'Day - Worthy Recs?

I'm going to surprise my husband with a weekend trip to Dallas for his 50th birthday (We live in Baltimore). I discovered that the Old 97's (one of our favorite bands) are playing at the Dallas House of Blues on the Friday closest to his b'day! So I booked a room at the Adolphus Hotel for the weekend - it's a total surprise. Sat I was thinking of taking him on a horseback ride outside of Dallas (he just started riding). Saturday night will be THE 50th Birthday dinner and I'm stumped. I want something fun, lively, romantic with excellent food! I've looked at Lola, Nana and the French Room (I thought that might be too stuffy for a b'day dinner, even though we're staying there and would normally most likely try it). We're more about the food than the atmosphere - but he LOVES good food so I want it to be special!!
Any ideas? Also, we arrive Friday at 6 PM. By the time we get our car and check in I'm not sure if we'll have time for a big meal - any ideas for some pre-concert food? Is the food at the House of Blues any good? Thanks - I'm really looking forward ot my first-ever trip to Texas!!

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  1. The H.O.B. is not open yet. I've heard good things about their food at their other locations, nothing spectacular about their menu. Lola, Nana, and the French Room are all good choices. I would also add York St. and Bijoux to your list as well The Mansion on Turtle Creek.

    1. You could try to get reservations for The Tasting Room at Lola (separate from the main restaurant, and quite a different experience). If that doesn't appeal, then I agree with adkim's recs - my bias is toward Lola or Bijoux. The menus are available online, if you want to peruse them (www.lola4dinner.com and www.bijouxrestaurant.com)

      1 Reply
      1. re: gavlist

        I guess part of my question (that I didn't write above) is whether we should stick close to the hotel. We are renting a car...but I'm not sure I want to drive in a strange city after a meal with lots of wine! Will that change the rec's?? ( I was considering the Tasting Room)...

      2. All of the restaurants listed are w/m a 5-8 mile radius of your hotel. Since you guys love the Old 97's check out this site http://www.thejenvilleshow.com/

        She is a foodie who interviews indie rockers. Ben Gibbard (death cab for cutie), Ben Kweller, Jenny Lewis of Rilo Kiley, Rhett Miller, Iron and Wine, etc. Pretty Cool stuff.

        1. Don't dismiss the French Room yet for Saturday night. Were I in your shoes I'd do the Tasting Room at Lola, but the French Room has the nicest service you'll ever find, and certainly isn't stuffy. The food is not as interesting as what you can get at Bijoux, Lola or the Tasting Room at Lola, but it's very, very good and the atmosphere can't be topped. The room is absolutely gorgeous as well, and there is a great deal to be said for having a great meal and being able to stumble upstairs to your room. (On that note, if you've never been to the Inn at Little Washington, try to do it once before you die.)

          1 Reply
          1. re: David Pearlman

            Thanks adkim, that site is pretty interesting! And I am re-thinking the French Room - the idea of stumbling upstairs might be a good one after being out on Friday night and horseback riding Sat! I appreciate the input...

          2. Mr. sistereurope is certainly fortunate to have someone who recognizes the big five-o with good music, good food, and horses. Mr. Alice just turned 50 and we celebrated by going to NYC (including a great dinner at Eleven Madison Park). I think all of the above recs are excellent; I second the suggestion of York Street, given your criteria. The only thing I would add: on Friday evening, consider going to Local after you arrive and check in. It's a very quick drive from the hotel, it's not real formal so you don't have to change after your long flight, the food's great, and if you don't want to commit to a reservation and don't mind eating at the bar, you can just walk in.

            1. thanks Dallas Alice! Actually for MY 50th a trip to NY would be ideal (although Paris would be tops :). But Mr. sistereurope is a country boy at heart, so I think that Dallas is the perfect place (city for me and country for him) And of course we both love the Old 97's!!
              I had a look at York St - it sounds great (Gayot says "if you're only eating one meal in Dallas, eat here". Whew! I may change my seesaw mind again - I'm not sure we'll feel up to packing a coat and tie AND riding boots.
              Do you think we'd have enough time to: get our rental car, check in to the hotel, go to "Local" and make it back to the HOB by the time the show starts? I don't want to miss the boys since they were the clincher on Dallas :)
              thanks - you all have been so nice!

              1 Reply
              1. re: sistereurope

                One more question (I have to decide on this soon because it's driving me crazy!)...I only eat seafood (no red meat or poultry), while my husband will eat ANYTHING...would they accomodate that at The Tasting Room at Lola? I'm back to leaning that way of so...but still want to try York Street, Bijoux and the French Room. I guess I have to make a retrun trip to Dallas!

              2. I know you are deciding amongst a number of choices and all these recs are just making your decision all that more difficult. I also have a dietary restriction (I don't eat beef) and would like to let you know my experience with the Tasting Room at Lola. They have either a 7 or a 10 course I believe. One of the dishes on the night that I was there was a beef dish so they did a nine course tasting and adjusted the price accordingly. They were not able to replace any dishes on the menu. So, my fear is that if you were to eliminate all red meat, then you would have to do the 7-course tasting and may not have a true entree.

                A good tasting menu (7 course)that I recently had that had no red meat (I think duck was the main entree) was at Nana grill. I had a great experience with great food/wine there. Also, have a very nice view of downtown dallas through floor-ceiling windows from the 17th floor.

                1. On more question. How important is wine to your husband in the grand scheme of food things? If he's a wine nut as well as a foodie, that could strongly tip the scales in favor of Lola. If not, Lola, Bijoux or York Street would all be excellent choices, although Lola is my personal favorite. But then again, I'm a wine AND food nut.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: Mike C. Miller

                    He's definitely a wine AND food nut. I've been leaning towards York St because of the set menu of the Tasting Room (I only eat seafood)...do you recommend Lola's regualr dining room over York St or Bijoux? Or just the Tasting Room?
                    Sorry for the repeated ?'s folks - I'll decide soon, I promise (and I promise to come back here in May and tell you how it went!!)

                    1. re: sistereurope

                      Given that he is a food and wine nut Lola (regular side given your seafood requirement) is the ticket. Tell the owner, Van, that it is a special occasion and I guarantee that he will take care of you. I love York St. but I think Lola more fits what you are looking for.

                      1. re: bhoward

                        I have a reservation for Lola's Tasting Room for May 12th. They were quite accomodating about my only eating seafood...I am very excited!
                        I will be sure to report back on our Dallas experience. I've been combing the board in search of some other great cheap eats and have lots of suggestions. Thanks yet again!