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May 14, 2009 08:12 AM

10 best things to eat in Dallas

I stole this from another board where it was stolen from another.

Not 10 best places-just the 10 best individual things to eat.

Cuban sandwich at Jimmy's Food Store
Filet de Cantinflas at Javiers
Cake by the slice at Dallas Affairs (when available)
Cheese fries (loaded) at Snuffers
Grilled cheese at Highland Park Pharmacy
Supreme pizza from Marco's
Cheeseburger from the Dairyette
Fried shrimp at S&D Oyster Co.

What are some of the best "off the menu" items in town?

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    1. Chile Relleno at Matts
      Pizza at Louis
      Cheeseburger and Fries at the Angry Dog
      Fried Chicken at Babes/Bubbas
      Tres Leches at La Duni
      Salad Burger at Goffs
      Fried Catfish at Aw Shucks
      Burger at Wingfields
      Fried Green Tomatoes at Hatties

      11 Replies
      1. re: J.R.

        We must run into eachother all over town because a few of these came to mind when Imade my list but I couldn't put 2 pizza or 2 burgers or 2 cakes on my list. i

        Nice list. I'm a fan

        1. re: J.R.

          The tres leches or cuatro leches cake at La Duni has been listed on this "10 Best Things to Eat in Dallas" probably as much or more than any other item so I had to try it when I was in Dallas briefly recently. I was pretty disappointed. It was as if they'd take an OK but not great cake and ruined it completely by soaking it in a liquid which I assume is one of the 3 or 4 milks. Cake is OK moist but wet cake? C'mon, get real. Wet cake can't be one of the best things to eat in Dallas or anywhere else. (Of course, I don't even like ice cream and cake on the same plate so ....)

          1. re: djschryver

            that style of cake is supposed to be soaked in milk. that's the authentic presentation.

            1. re: djschryver

              As Jon says, Tres Leches cake is basically a vanilla/white/yellow cake with evaporated milk, cream, and sweetened condensed milk poured over it. I forget where La Duni gets the 4th.

              My experience with this cake wasn't that great for the opposite reason. The slice was moist/wet in the center but the edges were dry and the cake wasn't good enough to stand on it's own as a dense, dry cake. Was expecting more care for the price. I enjoy my homemade version much better and it's a rather simple cake to make yourself.

              La Duni Cafe
              4620 McKinney Ave, Dallas, TX 75205

              1. re: amokscience

                from city of ate's top 100 things to eat in dallas (great list BTW):

                The "quatro" in the "Quatro Leches" is a drizzle of Colombian Arequipe, or dulce de leche.

                1. re: djschryver

                  djschryver: I think your ice cream comment pretty much responds to your own post.

                  1. re: bhoward

                    I just had the Quatro Leches cakes yesterday at lunch and it was pretty darn good. I thought the dense rather hardy cake was a nice foil for the very moist rich icing. Not sure it's a Best in Dallas, but justly famous.

                  1. re: J.R.

                    Wow, JR is my long lost foodie twin. Our taste is eerily similar! Here's a few more I'm sure you love.
                    Smoked Bob - Matt's (not on the menu and off the charts)
                    Baby Back Ribs w/spicy BBQ - Peggy Sue's (as my friend coined it in his first trip 'game changer')
                    Lavender Vanilla Bean - Henry's Ice Cream
                    Chicken Pad Thai - Bangcock City
                    Iltalchos - Terreli's (pizza nachos, absurd)
                    Ahi Tower - Blue Fish (the OG tuna tower)
                    Lobster Shooters - Abacus (best rest top to bottom in Dallas)
                    Sea Bass Ceviche - Stephen Pyles
                    ANYTHING at Local (now you know, shhhh)
                    Lobster Bacon Mac & Cheese - Hibiscus

                    1. re: graysonwafford

                      I think the lobster mac & cheese at Capital Grille rules (and it's the reason I go back), but now that you've told me about it, I'll have to try the one at Hibiscus ...

                  2. Enmoladas at La Palapa Veracruzana
                    Mango Paleta w/ Chimayo at Paletas Frutitas
                    Pate Banh Mi at La Me
                    Banh Xeo at Nam Hua
                    Chicken Sekuwa at Temptations
                    Mysore Masala Dosa at Taj Chaat House
                    Dwejigogi Soondubu at Tofu Korean Restaurant (To Dam Gol)
                    Pita and Baklava at Afrah (if I can get it home made baklava)
                    Spicy Sour Coconut Shoot Soup w/ Catfish at Jasmine
                    Grilled Giant Prawns w/ Fresh Thai Dipping Sauce at Jasmine
                    One of the fresh seasonal dishes on the white board at Little Sichuan

                    That is 11 but hard to choose a top 10.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                      Hounder...what is Mango Paleta? I love Chimayo. I'll have to try it. I bet it's by my house, close to Jefferson?

                      1. re: jindomommy

                        Well typically it is a ice cream bar with mango but they have a version on Jefferson at Lewellen (NEC) that is all mango and a bit of water so it freezes solid and melts much like a popsicle. The have a chile mixture in the bottom and cover it with a Chimayo sauce before you leave. I believe they are $0.75


                      2. re: LewisvilleHounder

                        The second one is actually called a Mangonada

                      3. I started a list like this, but can't find it now. Hope I did not violate a CH posting rule. Here I go...
                        Lucky Layla Passion Fruit Yogurt Drink
                        CM Butter Tortillas
                        Jimmy's Sausage and Meatballs
                        Henry's Vanilla Ice Cream
                        Zander House Buon Cuon
                        Buffalo Mozzarella from Mozarella Company
                        Afrah's Chicken Tawook and Baklava
                        La Me Coconut Tapioca
                        Mia's Brisket Taco's
                        Zaguan Guava and Cheese Pastelleis
                        Empire Baking Company Chicken Salad Sandwich
                        Wingfield's Burger
                        Can I include Doughmonkey's? If so, everything they use to carry.
                        I know...that's more than 10.

                        16 Replies
                        1. re: jindomommy

                          Mia's brisket taco's-good one. Me like-y. I need to get out and try some of these places.

                          1. re: jindomommy

                            Nope no can do on is gone and will be missed.

                            Have you tried Banh Cuon Thang Long inside Saigon Mall? If so how does it compare with Zanders?


                            1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                              Zander's tastes almost exactly the way my mom would make it...with lots of stuffing and the perfect steamed rice crepe. It's pricier than most places, but just really good. Even Little Saigon in SoCal did not have Banh Cuon (I spelled it wrong...I too was thinking about maybe putting one of La Me's sandwich on the list). Thang Long tastes more like what you would find in restaurants/street food. This dish can be found all over Vietnam, cooked in people's garages. LOL! It's quick street food and the Zander's version is really the way a mom would do least my mom and she was known for her cha gio (fried spring rolls) and Banh Cuon. For me it boils down to the perfect proportions...a ravioli like Banh Cuon or something a little more noodle like. 99% of all Banh Cuons you will find anywhere will have Thang Long's proportion of noodle to meat.

                            2. re: jindomommy

                              jindomommy: unfortunately this board has a couple unwritten rules...

                              My list:
                              Henry's Ice Cream: Cinnamon Apple Ice Cream
                              Natsumi: Nutella gelato
                              Natsumi: Green tea frozen yogurt
                              Natsumi: Pink guava frozen yogurt
                              La Duni: Cuatro Leches Cake
                              King's Noodle: Za Jiang Mein
                              Mr. Wok: Peking duck
                              Zander's House: Bun Thit Nuong Cha Gio (vermicelli with grilled pork and egg roll). Yes, despite having a ton of Vietnamese options in Houston, I really like their take on my favorite Vietnamese dish!

                              1. re: air

                                I love Zander's too. I'm surprised it hasn't been chatted up more on this site. Wow Air...5/10 picks were sweets!

                                1. re: jindomommy

                                  Zander's was hot on this board when it opened in 2006, but then some people said the quality of the food went downhill since. My partner loves their Mango Catfish. The best dishes aren't on the menu (which changed over the last 3 yrs).


                                  1. re: jindomommy

                                    It's kinda in a weird location and frankly it's a bit pricey. I've had some good stuff there but for whatever reason it's one of those places that I think "oh I need to go back there sometimes" and then never do.

                                    1. re: luniz

                                      Same here. They don't have anything addictive like Nam Hua's crepe.
                                      But we've never had Buon Cuon at Zander's so we'll try that next time.

                                      1. re: kuidaore

                                        When are we going to see a top 10 list from you Kuidaore?

                                        1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                                          I was waiting for the EveilTwin's list.

                                          -Banh Xeo at Nam Hua
                                          -Minced Pork w/ Bean Curd & Hot Peppers and Shredded Pork w/ Dry Bean Curd at Umeko(we mix the two dishes)
                                          -(Deep-Fried) Salt & Pepper Squid at Kirin Court and Thai Orchid
                                          -Pork Chop with Salt & Pepper at Maxim's
                                          -Deep-Fried Squid Tentacles at Sushi Robata
                                          -Hummus at Ali Baba
                                          -Baklava at Afrah
                                          -BBQ Pork Banh Mi at Ba Le
                                          -Borani and Oliveh Salad at King Kabob
                                          -Flour Tourtilla Quesadilla at El Fuego
                                          (Red Bean Buns at New York Bakery--the world's best!)

                                          KuidaoreEveilTwin's Top 10
                                          -Banh Xeo at Nam Hua
                                          -Grilled Mussels w/ Cream Cheese at Nam Hua
                                          -Minced Pork w/ Bean Curd & Hot Peppers and Shredded Pork w/ Dry Bean Curd at Umeko (we mix the two dishes)
                                          -Buffet at El Fuego
                                          -Buffet at Mayuri
                                          -Mantoo at Afghan Grill
                                          -Mango Catfish at Zander's House
                                          -Empanadas at Don Panza
                                          -Four Kinds of Cold Dishes at Chef Hsu
                                          -Combination Banh Mi at Ba Le

                                          1. re: kuidaore

                                            That deep fried squid is delicious indeed. Have you gotten to try the niku tofu at Sushi Robata? What do you think of it compared to any other's you've tried? It's really grown on me. I'm working my way through their hot foods menu but it's so hard to resist ordering it whenever i go. I tried out Masami's the other day and I felt like I was going to drown in soy sauce. I didn't like it very much.

                                            I also really wanted to throw in El Fuego's buffet, couldn't decide between that vs. the Zha Jiang Mein. I have got to learn how to make a bowl of that stuff.

                                            I'll have to check out Don Panza. I really like Marini's in Houston and didn't think anything like that existded up in Dallas.

                                            1. re: air

                                              I've never had niku dofu in my life, even in Japan. (I think it's an Eastern Japan dish.) I think it's very similar to sukiyaki in taste. I also love Sushi Robata's grilled mussels (Green Dynamite?), much better than Nam Hua's mussels. (I like my mussels w/ mayo, not cream cheese.)

                                              When I went with some other people, they liked sawara no kasuzuke (can't remember the English name) and deep fried karei (or hirame?)--the whole fish fried like this, only bigger. You can eat the bones.

                                              There's a Korean waitress (who looks like a Filipina) who is very helpful. Her recommendations are good.

                                              You must have missed the Don Panza craze on CH when it opened a couple of yrs ago.

                                              1. re: kuidaore

                                                Forgot to mention that I also really like this one dish there that had bardock root - but I'm not sure what the Japanese name is.

                                                I tend to go every thursday night during happy hour with some friends and we all usually sit in Joanne's section, and she fires the recommendations at me.

                                                1. re: air

                                                  Kimpira gobo? (badrock root = gobo) sweet and hot stir-fried gobo with sesame seeds. You can get a frozen ready-made version at grocery stores.

                                    2. re: jindomommy

                                      Yep. If you ever meet me you'll quickly learn I have quite a sweet tooth!

                                      I've tasted everything at Natsumi's menu as well as other flavors ordered for special occasions, and it was really difficult for me to narrow it down to even two items.

                                      1. re: air

                                        Have you ever tried smoothies at the last vendor in the row (right next to the bakery) in the mall? Their smoothies taste very natural and delicious (not like chemicals).

                                        At Nam Hua, we order most dishes from the Vietnamese menu (the last page of the menu) with no English translation. Banh Xeo is on the English page.

                                2. Shrimp won ton soup at First Chinese BBQ.
                                  BBQ roast duck at Chinese First BBQ.
                                  Clams with ginger and green onion sauce at Chinese First BBQ.
                                  Coconut gelato at Natsumi.
                                  Fried catfish, shrimp, oysters and French fries at Big Shucks.
                                  Tres leches cake at La Duni.
                                  Fried catfish at Celebration.
                                  Crispy pizzas from Taverna
                                  Buffalo cheeseburger with watermelon ice tea from Twisted Root.
                                  Oysters on the half shell from Pappadeaux on Oak Lawn.