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Dallas: Boston Hound comin to town

Ok, I will be coming to your fine city in a couple weeks for the Patriots/Cowboys game and will be there all weekend. What I am looking for, obviously, is some chow-worthy chow. So, if people could give me their TOP 3 Dallas area restaurants that would be great. No real restrictions, but I would like to know if there is something unique to the area that I should try while I'm there. Any guidance is greatly appreciated. Thanks.

TOP 3 DALLAS SPOTS...

Oh yeah, and I'm staying at the Fairmont if that helps anything geographically.

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  1. My personal TOP 3 UPSCALE:
    Stephen Pyles
    Abacus
    Mansion on Turtle Creek (although I have not been there since Dean Fearing left and the dining room is under renovation). I have not been, but would suggest trying Dean Fearing's new place, simply called...Fearing's.

    My personal TOP 3 casual
    Avila's
    Cafe San Miguel
    Vietnamese place in Garland whose name I can't remember. Realizing that is not helpful (and that you probably get good Vietnamese in Boston) perhaps you would be interested in stuffing yourself at Babe's Chicken House. Fried chicken, biscuits, all the sides. Very good and uniquely southern.

    5 Replies
    1. re: Honey Bee

      Not sure if the game is during the Texas State Fair, but if it is then you should consider going. It is bigger than any other State Faor I have seen. Search this board for food recs at the Texas State Fair and you will find all sorts of information.

      1. re: Honey Bee

        Definitely consider the Fair. This is the most recent link on the subject:

        http://www.chowhound.com/topics/443913

        Make sure you mega-dose any cholesterol medication before you go.

        1. re: Shayna Madel

          The game is on October 14, so the fair will still be running. I'd also toss my recommendation towards attending!

          1. re: air

            Definitely thinking of hitting up the fair for saturday morning/early afternoon, looks like a good time.

            1. re: ebone

              At which point, you must eat a fletchers corny-dog.

    2. Price is no consideration!!! Hey, can I get a no-interest loan with no payback terms and no conditions of default . . .

      Fearing's in the Ritz Carlton is awesome if you don't mind the "hotel" atmosphere. The Bison marinated in maple syrup is spectacular.

      Stephen Pyles - The 8-course ceviche tasting just might be the best selection of tastes I've had in a while.

      Lanny's - I haven't been in over a year, but I think it's the most interesting restaurant in the Metroplex. Inventive and "Texas" all the way (no Boston chef would ever come up with the concept).

      Baby Back Rib Shak - South of Downtown, it's my favorite BBQ spot in town. Great for lunch.

      Avila's - If you're gonna stay in Dallas, you gotta get some Taqueria grub. Great place to help you forget the Pats' blowout loss to the Boys!!!

      Sincerely yours,

      A Devoted Romosexual

      1 Reply
      1. re: Epicurious Esquire

        Touche...its shaping up to be a hell of a game though. I love the suggestions, keep em comin!

      2. A Patriots fan, huh?

        There's this place P F Chang's - they have a location in Northpark. Or, you know, Dallas is where Chili's originated. Also, most people don't know this, but you can just scoop up handfuls of dirt in Irving and eat it just as it is.

        Seriously, though, I'd recommend a "when in Rome" strategy. Boston has plenty of upscale restaurants, so you should search out things that Dallas has but that Boston doesn't. I'd recommend Tex-Mex, Fried Chicken, Barbecue (though pickings are slim in Dallas), and Soul Food. Searching these boards should find you plenty of information on all of these categories, but I'd recommend looking into Mia's, Babe's, Brothers', Baker's Ribs, Angelo's, and Vern's.

        4 Replies
        1. re: ratatosk

          Babe's and/or Brother's get my vote.

          1. re: ratatosk

            I will look into those for sure. Those are the kind of suggestions I was definitely looking for, although it is also my birthday that weekend, so I think there will be one fancy-schmancy dinner included as well. But I do want to check out some things that I can't get in Boston. Thanks!

            1. re: ebone

              FYI, if you go to Babe's you get 1/2 chicken or they have other options for the meat and I think they offer a fish choice, but the sides are all you can eat. I think Brothers has fried chicken livers, if you are in to that. Good to keep your mind open--I am NY born and raised and when I visit Dallas, I like something I can't get at home as well, though it is fun to "clean up" and enjoy some fine dining...

              1. re: Shayna Madel

                Oh, BOY, do they ever have livers! It's drive through, but while most fried chicken doesn't suffer one bit from sitting around a while, the livers should be eaten as soon as they won't burn your mouth (or slightly sooner). A liver or two wrapped in a piece of white bread, drizzled with jalapeno juice, maybe a pickle slice thrown in there... HEAVEN!

          2. 1. Abacus- Renowned for the head chef who was a contestant on Top Chef. Food is amazing, service is excellent, and it is located in a great part of town.
            2. Craft- At the W Hotel so very shishi. Located in the heart of the American Airlines center area so always a lot going on at night.
            3. Capitale Grill- Located in the Crescent Hotel. Go to get a very nice steak. The crowd is a bit older at this restaurant than the others but it is known for being one of the best restaurants in Dallas.

            4 Replies
            1. re: lmhamilt

              If you want unique tastes to Dallas, I would encourage avoiding both Capital Grill and Craft. These are both chains, one of which is in Boston, that have nothing unique to Dallas (except Craft purvey's its meats/produce from local sources).

              I would echo what others have said. For unique, upscale cuisine either Stephen Pyles or Fearing's are your best bets. Abacus is a very good restaurant with a nationally known chef/owner but the cuisine is not all that unique to Dallas. I think you can find restaurants in Boston that serve similar cuisine that is as good or better.

              1. re: Bhutani

                Yeah, been to Capital Grill many times. I won't be going there.

                So, if you had to chose between Stephen Pyles and Fearings, what would you go with? Personally.

                1. re: ebone

                  To be honest, I haven't yet been to Fearing's as it only opened in the last 6 weeks or so. Dean Fearing is an amazing chef and I have eaten his food on a few occasions when he was at the Mansion at Turtle Creek. I am basing that recommendation purely based on others' reviews plus his reputation.

                  All that being said, I would lean towards Fearing's (that is if you can get a reservation). I do like Stephen Pyles but the restaurant's food has more of a South American (especially Peruvian) slant. He does have some menu mainstays (like the Cowboy Ribeye) but overall the food does not blow me away. One major flaw at Stephen Pyles is that they seem to be consistently heavy handed with the salt. While the the restaurant is probably the nicest interior of any in Dallas, I think the food, based on my previous dining experiences at the Mansion, would be better at Fearing's

                  1. re: Bhutani

                    I totally agree with both of the prior posts from Bhutani.

                    I had lunch at Fearings this week and it was very good. By the way, it does not feel like hotel dining.

                    I am a big fan of Stephen Pyles' ceviche and it is quite close to your hotel. Perhaps you can stop in for ceviche and a martini during your stay. But were you to choose only one I would go to Fearings. Here is why:

                    - Its new which means that the people watching is very good and you are likely to have a tableside visit from Dean (as we did at lunch).
                    - Dean used to be the chef at the Mansion, long regarded as Dallas' finest restaurant so you will be sort of getting a "2-fer."
                    -You can order the tortilla soup which is a Dallas thing, and Dean is quite well known for his, thus satisfying both your nice dinner and local requirements
                    -the Ritz is uptown - meaning, a more active area at night.

                    One more thing - Javiers has a great cigar bar and good atmosphere but it is mex-mex not tex-mex.

                    Have a great visit and let us know what you ate!

            2. First, let me apologize in advance for the thrashing our cowboys will give your Pats. Okay, on to the food.

              State Fair is fun for a few hours. Make sure you get a Fletcher's Corny Dog while you're there. It's a must.

              Stephan Pyles is a no brainer. It's walkable from the Fairmont and is upscale southwestern/global cuisine. Ceviche is unbelievable. www.stephanpyles.com

              Abacus is widely considered one of the very best in town. Global with Asian influences. www.abacus-restaurant.com.

              If you want a steak, the absolute best is Bob's on Lemmon Avenue. Make sure you go to this location (the original and only one still owned by Bob) instead of one of the outposts. www.bobs-steakandchop.com

              For Mexican, check out Javier's or Cafe San Miguel. Javier's is a little fancier and good people watching and CSM is a little more authentic. So it depends what you're looking for. www.javiers.net and www.pomerita.com

              For Tex-Mex, my favorites close to downtown are Avila's and Mattito's.

              Enjoy the food, b/c the game is going to break your heart!!!

              1. Ahh, October 14 - the one day of the year I'll be rooting for the Pats. Actually, I'll probably be rooting for the stadium to implode, but that's for another message board.

                There are lots of good recs here but as someone who moved here from boston six years ago, I'd say that you should really consider going to Cafe San Miguel. There are tons of great restaurants here, but CSM is pretty unique and you can't get much like it in Boston.

                If you eat meat, you should also get some BBQ for lunch, but since I don't, I can't tell you where is the best for that.

                I wouldn't waste more than 45 minutes at the state fair, but it looks like I'm in the minority on that one.

                1. Made a reservation for Fearings, we're gonna hit the Fair on saturday morning, and the rest is up in the air. I would like to work some tex-mex in there possibly. I will report back on how it goes at some point after the Patriots beat the Cowboys. Sorry, couldn't resist.

                  6 Replies
                  1. re: ebone

                    If you will be anywhere near Richardson, try Casa Milagro for tex-mex with a twist. They have a lot of the usual things, but have varied some things to make them a bit different.

                    1. re: Shayna Madel

                      Casa Milagro is the kind of place Zagat really likes. Very nice and clean, the food is well prepared but bland and safe. It's a good introduction to tex-mex if that's what you're after. OTOH El Fuego is just around the corner and more authentic (and plenty cheaper).

                    2. re: ebone

                      Go to El Ranchito at 610 W Jefferson. It is awesome - I guarantee you will find NOTHING like it within 1000 miles of Boston.

                      Plan on getting sh*tcanned on Margaritas and shots. Bring a bunch of Ones for the Mariachi band.

                      Even though I hate your allegiance to the Cheatriots, I don't mind pushing that to the side to help out a fellow food lover.

                      RomoCop is going to crush your pathetic little Defense!

                      (I recommended Avila's in an earlier post - it's great, but not nearly as much fun as El Ranchito)

                      1. re: Epicurious Esquire

                        Okay, El Ranchito sounds interesting, but do I need an armful of tattoos and a bazooka to get into this place?

                        1. re: Scagnetti

                          Nope perfectly safe, in fact one of my friends hubby is their security guard on the weekends.

                      2. re: ebone

                        ebone, check out this audio/picture review of some of the fair's menu items:

                        http://www.guidelive.com/sharedconten...

                        ...how about that wes welker, huh?

                      3. Good choice on Fearings.

                        I would also suggest Lola, especially if you are really into wines. Very short cab ride (2 -3 min. from your hotel). Excellent food, without quite as much regional influence as Fearings. Stunningly good and amazingly priced wine list. List is probably thirty pages long with forty to fifty wines per page. Lots of older vintages at ridiculously low prices. The owner, Van Roberts, knows his list, too. You can easily find wines on this list at $150 that would be $300 or $350 on others, etc. Service is polished and professional without being stuffy.

                        And while it's not the best example of Texas style Bar-B-Que in the State, you ought to go ahead and eat lunch at Sonny Bryan's Bar-B-Que on Inwood on Satruday. Texas Bar-B-Que is a unique style and Sonny's does it above average, which is not bad at all. Nice authentic BBQ atmosphere, too. I'd get an early lunch there, eat some during the afternoon at the fair (overrated once you've had a corn dog or two), and then quit eating mid afternoon to prepare for a late dinner at Fearings. Service is still a bit uneven there, but the food is quite good, and the wine list nice. The wine director was very knowledgeable about his list there, too. So if you need help, don't be afraid to ask. He seemed especially proud of some unique and good wines at lower price points.

                        1. Last request...Any recommendations of a bar or bars to check out to get a good Dallas feel? We are trying to experience Dallas as much as possible, so if there are any local bars that will represent that for us we are interested. Suggestions? Recommendations? Places NOT to go?

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: ebone

                            Places NOT to go...West End and Deep Ellum. Visit the uptown area and you will get a great feel for "pretentious dallas" The Loon is a must stop for a great stiff drink. Lower Greenville area is a place to bar hop in the "eclectic side" of Dallas. A younger suburban crowd fills the streets of Lower Greenville. The cart that sells spicy sausages and hot dogs by the Taco Cabana is pretty good at 2 am. Another area of interest would be Knox/Henerson area with a few bars that have a great beer selection and bar menu. The Old Monk is a place you will want to drop in. Across the street is Tei-Tei Sushi, if the mood for raw fish strikes.

                            1. re: ebone

                              I find the place obnoxious, but I think Primo's (which is technically quite a good Tex-Mex restaurant when it's not crammed full of loft-dwelling young up-and-comers) pretty accurately captures what I would consider the Dallas Bar Scene. The Ginger Man is one of my favorite bars in the area, and certainly has a cosmopolitan Texan feel (though I'd say it's more Austin than Dallas). But I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that, if you really want an authentic Dallas experience to remember, you should check out Far West (http://farwestdallas.com/farwest/) or someplace similar.

                              Other possibilities...

                              Maybe Ozona Bar and Grill? The Stoneleigh P?

                              You could see if something is playing at the Sons of Herman Hall or at Adair's Saloon.

                              I think all of these places have a distinctly Dallas feel to them that you'll find noticeably different from bars in Boston, or whichever frozen waste you normally inhabit. Some of them have decent food as well, but you've presumably got that all ironed out. The Ginger Man is the only one I'd objectively consider a really top-notch bar from a CH point of view (they have a very good selection of interesting beers), but they're all pretty good, and it seems like you wanted "Dallas" bars rather than "top-notch CH" bars.

                              1. re: ratatosk

                                Yes, you are right, I was looking for "Dallas" bars, whatever those are.

                                1. re: ebone

                                  If you're thinking about having a country & western experience:

                                  I second Adair's Saloon - http://www.adairssaloon.com/index2.htm

                                  If you've never seen anyone ride a mechanical bull, or want to see two-steppin':

                                  Gilley's Dallas - http://www.gilleysdallas.com/club-ind...

                                  Cowboys Red River - http://www.guidelive.com/portal/page?...

                                  1. re: ebone

                                    As far as bars go, you need to go to Lee Harvey's - no question. It's unlike anything you can get on the east coast and is always a good time.

                              2. Al Biernat's- best steak in town (Bob's does have better atmosphere)
                                Abacus
                                Stephan Pyles
                                Hibiscus
                                The Porch-( looking for a little more casual with phenomenal food)

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cbs2528

                                  I haven't been to this place, but Esquire voted Fearings the best restaurant in country. That may be worth a look. Last year Stephan Piles was voted best chef by Esquire. Since I have been to neither my personal recommendation would be for Craft. I had a delicious foie gras dish there and sipped on a delightful ice wine while enjoying it. Those were harmonious flavors for sure.