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Visiting DFW... Need some Recs.

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I'm kinda new to this, but figured having read a lot about the food and what's supposedly good, I'd ask the folks on here to comment on where I was thinking of going.

Will be in town (mainly for work) for a week (M-F) and looking to eat out the whole time. Money's not really an issue (but no crazy expensive places).

I've already been to Nana, Abacus, Bob's, Nobu, Reata, and places like that and am not looking for French or Sushi dishes. I'm probably more into upscale Mexican and Southwestern cuisine and something a bit different.

From what I remember of the area (and what I've been told), I'm looking at the following places which I've not been to in Dallas.

Nonna
Fearings
Shinsei
Craft
Aurora
Catalina Room
Hibiscus
Luna De Noche
Stephen Pyles
Lanny's (in FW)
Hector's on Henderson
Trece
Javier's
Fireside Pizza

I know, it's a mixed bag and I'll have to split it between lunch and dinner, but are there any not worth going to (where for example there have been chef/ owner changes and standards have slipped).

I know most these are sort of high end, but I'm not opposed to anything really. It's just the big ones, I want to "fix" and work everything else around them.

Looking forward to what ya'll have to say about my shortlist.

Bob

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  1. i wouldn't worry about hitting fireside pies, but you definitely need to get York St. on that list imo.

    1 Reply
    1. re: luniz

      Thanks luniz. Guess it must be a quiet chow day.

    2. Bob,

      Here are my recs and why. I don't know if you will have others with you or not. I travel alot on business and frequently look for the great dinning at bar oppts.

      Fearings - Southwes/Southern/Texas Cuisine done up right with a rightly good scene. Buffalo Tederloin is outstanding. You have choice of 3 distinct dinning spaces. Open kitchen bar dining which cool.

      Stephan Pyles - I would say the cuisine Southwestern/Central/South American. It is definately a cuising done at a level that you can't get alot of other places. They have a Tapas Bar and Dining Room seating. Word of note. I've been 5 times over a year ago, but have not been totally blown away any of the times. They may have worked out the kinks.

      Nonna - It's only open for dinner, but for many of us Dallas Hounders, it is one of the best additions in a long time. We only a have a few "real" Italian places, but it is by far the best IMO. Everything is homemade, from Salumi, Pasta, Gnocci. They use only the ingredients that are at optimum freshness. Been probably 10 times in the last year and have yet to have anything that wasn't outstanding.

      Javiers may be good option since you are honing in on Mex and Southwest. It is Mex-Mex, Cuidad D.F. style. Good bar scene. They seem to turn tables quickly.

      The places I would avoid on your list are:

      Trece - Has morphed more into a tequila bar with Tarts abounding
      Luna De Noce - You can do alot better for Tex-Mex
      Fireside Pies - It's ok, but depending on where you are from, you can likely do better also.

      Lastly - Aurora is good,but crazy prices and you mentioned you were not up for that.

      Hope it helps.

      1 Reply
      1. re: J.R.

        Will likely be on my own for most of these so maybe the open kithcen/ bar thing would be the way to go. Re Fireside Pies, I'm not looking for NY pizza, but that looked like a casual place.

      2. Here are the places that I can definitely recommend from your list....Fearings, Shinsea, Craft, Hibiscus ( a favorite), Luna De Noche, Stephen Pyles, Hectors ( a favorite especially when Hector sings...I think Thurs and Fri...great guy), and Fireside Pies....Now, you are missing one of my very favorites, and that would be La Duni on Oaklawn....My favorite as well...There is also a new place that is quite good, called the Screen Door...upscale Southern Food, as is Hectors....Bon Appetite!

        9 Replies
        1. re: jinet12

          Any particular menu recs at La Duni or Screen Door?

          1. re: visitingdfw

            La Duni: brunch & the quatro leches cake (find somebody to share it with though, it's a freaking gut buster)

            For casual I'd try maybe El Ranchito (I haven't been), Cuquita's (decent but not exceptional), Cafe San Miguel (maybe more trendy than casual), Avila's, something like that. Or maybe even Taqueria El Paisano for good freshly made corn tortillas. Or Gran Machu Picchu for authentic Peruvian ceviche. Tei An @ One Arts Plaza takes an interesting, fairly authentic approach to Japanese food/service albeit more upscale than you'd expect for soba.

            Where are you from, what can you not get there, that you should try in Dallas?

            1. re: luniz

              NYC so most things you can get. Have been to Dallas several times and some of these places are new or have received good reviews/ recs from people. That's why I said more Southwestern and Mexican as we lack that here.

              1. re: visitingdfw

                try a Cajun place too then. I think Alligator Cafe is popular, but I can't really say too much about them. For whatever reason, nobody but me likes Pappadeux's, it's pricey for Cajun, but at least it's not a terrible disappointment. My favorite is up in Plano, probably too far for you. You should be able to get a good gumbo this time of year.

                1. re: luniz

                  You know, Pappadeux's was on my list but I didn't put it down on here as I know a lot CH's are dead against chains. It's not bad though.

                  1. re: luniz

                    I'm from Louisiana, and in my opinion, Pappadeaux's isbetter than most cajun restaurants in this area...it reminds me of the type of food i get at home.

                    1. re: iluvtennis

                      Dodi's on Greenville Ave. is also an awesome cajun place. The only gumbo I've ever had that is better than my Aunt Ruth's...

              2. re: visitingdfw

                I second the quatro leches cake (or any of their other cakes/hot chocolates for that matter). Not sure if you're a drinker but the drinks are strong and made with fresh fruit juices.

                Their berros con picanha salad is usually enough of a meal for me (watercress salad, grilled steak medallions, bacon, tomato, queso blanco, and some potato fritters) but really you can't go wrong with any of their dishes. The sandwiches are huge, so if you go that route, be careful - the thing to remember about La Duni is to SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT.

                seriously.

                1. re: visitingdfw

                  La Duni...you will go for lunch or dinner, as brunch is served only on Sat and Sunday..The Oak Lawn one is my favorite, but some prefer the one on McKinney...Both are excellent, just different atmospheres.....I am partial to the sandwiches that have either the beef or the one with the grilled sausage...the bread itself is divine....For dinner I like to get the carne asada plate...delicious and visually interesting as well...Dessert is a MUST....All the cakes are wonderful, and I would say that the Limon, Nutella, or the Caramel Pecan Sticky Roll ones are our favorites...Hint...Do go for dinner if possible, if you enjoy wonderful cocktails...as their versions of a Margarita ( they call it a margarina, I think) and their Mojitos are worth writing home about..I have never had any of their drinks that were not superb...As far as the Screen Door, I am dining there next week with friends, but have other friends that have already been, and they loved everything they had...Check it out...It's "gourmet" southern...www.screendoordallas.com
                  Personally, if a restaurant offers anything with fried green tomatoes I gravitate towards it...Hey in New York, B Smith's does a good version with that dish...Speaking of New York, I love Mesa Grill in Flatiron, but it does not come close to what Stephen Pyles can do at his restaurant...just bring a fat wallet, and to get the full menu opportunity, you need reservations ahead of time...The bar at the front offers Southwestern ceviches and tapas only...though very good, you should order from the actual menu....Okay, so here goes....If you love a big great steak, you can't go wrong with his giant sized Ribeye smothered in tiny onion ring slivers with a wonderful Southwestern sauce on top...Personally I find that there is no better place to eat than in New York...Having said that, you do not have Tex-Mex, so it would be a shame to leave without a big dose of that...Try Avila's in Oak Lawn, Rafa's on Lovers Lane, The oldest and "bestest" El Fenix which is Downtown (God I hope it is still there! LOL) I found Cafe San Miguel, though tasty, to be more "mexican" than "tex-mex"....Tex Mex is what you are looking for.( and yes, yes, avoid Javiers)...Order the flautitas and queso for an appetizer, and do cheese enchiladas and chicken sour cream enchiladas with jalapenos, refried beans, rice, corn tortillas with butter,, and Margaritas, and then either take a Tums or go take a nap or both...but you will have wonderful dreams!!!!!Now you must let us know where you went and what you tried...Have a wonderful time in our city...If you know where to go, we really have some great restaurants here....

              3. Don't waste your money at Javier's - it's so overrated.

                I'd throw in Tillman's Roadhouse for a local experience - ribs, mac and cheese, trio of fries, all awesome. I wrote a review a few months ago (also included Shinsei). http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/532115

                1. Recs depends on where you're from. If you're not Texan, then I suggest you go to Traildust for some square dancin' and a cowboy steak. Then, I suggest you mosey on down to Big Al's Smokehouse for some good ol' boy barbecue.

                  If you are a Texan, then skip the touristy stuff and check out my holy trinity of dining. If I were rich, I'd eat at these three establishments for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Use the search function on this website to find my reviews on the Mercury Grill and Fearing's. Also, Nana has become a really BAD restaurant: search for my review. Abacus is still a good restaurant, but the quality has fallen a smidge. If you're here on business for many days, go to Abacus on the first day. Return if they've returned to their prior splendor, but don't if they're not. If they have improved, then please do write a review so we'll know to return. Here is the holy Trinity;

                  1. Lawry's - I go there for lunch all the time because it is the same juicy, melt in your mouth prime rib as dinner, but at half the price. The prime rib comes with 2 side dishes and unlimited salad bar.

                  2. Fearing's - I go there for brunch all the time because it is a good deal. The prices are half of the dinner prices, but for the same food.

                  3. Mercury Grill - I go there for dinner all the time because they have fantastic homemade liver pate that is as smooth as butter. They have a great steak, smoky and juicy, topped with lobster chunks. Sort of like surf with turf.

                  1. Best off your list:
                    Hibiscus
                    Javiers

                    Add:
                    Al Berneits
                    Mia's for the best Mexican, but a casual lunch

                    1. Okay well it's looking like the following:

                      Dinner:

                      Fearings
                      Nonna
                      Stephen Pyles
                      Craft
                      Hibiscus

                      Lunch:

                      Al Biernat's
                      La Duni
                      Mia's
                      Pappadeaux
                      Hector's

                      But of course, thisis all subject to chage (if I don't get reservations, or plans change.

                      No, about breakfast . . . (not looking to have hotel breakfast so what's good?)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: visitingdfw

                        Hector's is only open for dinner

                      2. You mentioned that you wanted something different so I'd skip Al Biernat's. Nothing exciting there. Just the Steaks, seafood (pre-frozen) sort of food. But seems to be just a steady local 'go to' and 'see and be seen' place.

                        1. Hey visiting! To add to the confusion.... I would lose Pappadeaux. It's nothing but a successful local TX chain out of Houston whose success is founded in the massive quantites that they serve - IMO. It's odd that you'd be in the middle of Texas and look for a seafood restaurant, but A MUCH better replacement would be S&D Oyster Co on McKinney Ave. It is a small, yet VERY successful gulf seafood restaurant that's been around since the mid-70's (I've been going that long - hate to admit it). The menu is perhaps a little limited, but what they do, they do better than well.

                          I'd suggest beginning by sharing oysters on the half shell, followed with a cup of wonderful Lousiana gumbo (rich and dark). For the entree, both the fried shrimp and oysters are great. They're mostly meat with minimal breading, but I'd go for the broiled snapper or flounder - I think they also can bake it. Then, if you have room, either the bread pudding OR the lemon pie is a must, but honestly, it would probably put you right over the edge if you plan to return to work!

                          http://www.sdoyster.com/dnn/

                          Whatever you decide, I hope it works for you!

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: CocoaNut

                            Thanks for that Cocoa Nut. I really wasn't looking for seafood. I'd been to Pappadeux before and so figured, time permitting, it'd be on the list.

                            Will look at S&D. So many places, so little time. Might have to split meals and do cocktails and one place, dinner at another, desserts at a third, etc . . . La Duni for dessert it looks like.

                            1. re: CocoaNut

                              Been going to S & D for years...Still absolutely wonderful

                            2. Okay, been to town, ate, and came back. Went to (in no particular order) the following places either because people took me there or that's what I wanted. Will post reviews shortly.

                              Dinner

                              Fireside Pies
                              P. F Chang's
                              Nonna
                              Stephen Pyles
                              Fearing’s

                              Lunch

                              Fuzzy's Taco Shop
                              Pappadeux
                              Coalvines Pizza
                              MiCocina
                              La Duni

                              Drinks / Snacks

                              The Vault
                              Primo's
                              Victor Tango’s
                              Dragonfly
                              W Hotel
                              The Porch
                              Sambuca
                              Hibiscus

                              Not bad for a week's worth of eating. A bit eclectic and heavy on the Tex-Mex (which is what I wanted). Some standout dishes and some less so.