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Hector's on Henderson or...?

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Hi TX 'hounds,

We'll be visiting this weekend from Chicago (I'm from Dallas but we have been away for 4 years) and I have the following must-tries on my list (to get to at some point over the course of my next several trips):

-Local
-Stephen Pyles
-Lola
-Urban Bistro
-Hattie's
-Hector's on Henderson

I know these places are all relatively different, but I'm just trying to give you a taste of what appeals to me... Could you all please recommend somewhere good we might go this Friday night (from this list or other) after having flown in earlier that evening (thus being tired and probably eating relatively late)?

Also, how IS Hector's? I can't get a good feeling about it based on the hype and the menu. It looks like it could be fantastic, but also that it might be too over-the-top. Any thoughts?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. DKS1,
    Of your list, my favorite is Stephen Pyles. Mostly because it is a beautiful and delicous restaurant but also because I am naturally fond of ceviche and southwestern cuisine.
    I really try to stay away from negative posts, but I have to tell you that one of my worst dining experiences in DFW was at Hector's. I took friends who were visiting from NYC to eat dinner there. Today, we laugh about the horrible experience and often joke that they will only come to see me again if I promise to take them to Hector's. The menu sounds great, but lacks execution. Among the disppointments:
    1. We were told of a rare cheese selection that was available on a limited basis. We wre told it would be served warm with a baguette. However, the cheese was overcooked and turned into a runny mess. We had to "sop" our bread in it just to get a taste- which was nondescript. It was a tiny, tiny portion for $17.
    2. Of the four of us, all Hounds, nobody rated their entree higher than a 6 on a 1-10 scale. Mine was bland.
    3. One of our desserts was served en flambe, but not all of the alcohol burned off. Nobody could eat it because of the grain alcohol taste. Other parts of it were charred because of the pyrotechnics. We told the waiter, but a replacement never came.

    I assume other Hounds have had better experiences there because the place has its fans, but I would strongly advise you to spend your limited number of meals in Dallas somewhere else.

    1. Of the places on your list, most folks would agree that Lola has the best food. My favorite, though, is Local: the food is almost as good, and I love the more casual ambience and less haute preparation and presentation of the food. Stephen Pyles also ranks way up there in my book.

      I've never had a bad experience at Hector's, and after eating there recently wondered aloud why I don't go more often, especially since I live not too far away.

      The restaurant that I would most highly recommend that is not on your list is York Street. It is a real gem.

      1. Lola is an absolute can't miss. I love Hattie's as well. In point of fact, all of your choices are excellent.

        But you're missing something. Local Tex-Mex/Mex-Mex. Luna de Noche is perty dang good. Or maybe a Taqueria? Los Arcos or Avila's maybe?

        And I agree with the York Street comment. If you're going to take a culinary tour of DFW, York Street is a can't miss.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Epicurious Esquire

          I am a fan of all the restaurants you mention (with the exception of Urban Bistro which I think is nothing extraordinary). Coming from Chicago you have a wealth of excellent restaurants that do similar cuisines as some of the restaurants you mention (and probably better when compared head to head). While Local is unique for Dallas with its innocative twists and locally driven menu -- I think you would find better restaurants in Chicago. The same can be said about Lola and Hector's.

          My vote would thus be either Stephen Pyles or Hatties which have unique menus that you probably won't see in Chicago. I also like Cafe San Miguel a lot but you have Frontera Grill which, although considerably more expensive, is probably better.

          1. re: Bhutani

            Wow, thank you all SO much for your wonderful posts/feedback.

            I am totally with you on York Street, but we have already been there. Actually, it was 2-3 years ago already, though, so it might definitely be worth going back again soon!

            Bhutani - thanks especially for the insight re: Chicago cuisine. And I agree with you 100% about the wealth of culinary talent we are lucky enough to experience here. I appreciate your feedback about the Dallas "local flair."

            Luckily Stephen Pyles and Hattie's are at the very top of my list, so maybe we'll focus on those first... Interesting to hear the mixed reviews about Hector's, though. Maybe I'll wait until we're back in the area for good to give that one a go (hopefully within the year!)...

            If you all think of any other new, unique, or otherwise different places to try, please share! I will be looking forward to contributing more on these boards in the not-so-distant future!

            Thanks again...

            1. re: DKS1

              One of my favorite quirky places is Fuel City. It is a huge gas station near the downtown mixmaster (off Industrial I believe). The tacos served there are wonderful taqueria-style nuggets of goodness. They are open 24-hours a day meaning you don't have to eat an entire meal there. Rather, you could pop in for one taco as an afternoon or late-night snack.
              My favorite is the tacos al pastor with the picadillo being a close second. The pastor were recently voted the best taco in Texas by Texas Monthly. Those types of awards usually scare me away, but I was very impressed with Fuel City tacos. You should absolutely swing by for one.

        2. I think Hatties should def stay atop on your list.
          For mexican food I would suggest Cafe San Miguel.
          For asian Yutaca on Mckinney.
          Mint is another great spot.

          1. Of the restaurants you list, I have been to Stephen Pyles and Hectors, many times...Stephen Pyles is wonderful ( and expensive), and I have a fondness for Hectors...The food is good, and if you go on a weekend night, Hector and "the band" plays and sings...It's fun...but you don't mention my favorite, which is right next door to Hectors..."Hibiscus" has some of the best food in town...Both "Hibiscus" and "Pyles" require reservations, ASAP....You won't be disappointed...Also, I have not been to "Lola's", but everyone I know that has been, loves the place...