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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)

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      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.)

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          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.