Lunch in Uptown
Since we don't usually eat in Uptown, I am coming to the experts. Where would be a good place to eat lunch with a new acquaintance in this area? I am looking for some place that is mid-priced but has a little bit of a "wow -- this is really good" factor. So focus is more on the actual food and much less on the surroundings (other than ease of parking -- we are in Texas). We are very familiar with Oishii but there might be something new.
Lewisville Hounder, in particular, what do you suggest?
I scoured, combed, wrote and rewrote this post over 10 times. It is trying to squueze something out of nothing. Ethnic food in Uptown is just not that good (sometimes dreadful). These are some places I could honestly recommend:
Escondidos – Literally a hole in the wall…if it is cold I wouldn’t suggest sitting close to a wall and the cold breeze will cut right through this place. I know Scott on DallasFood.org did a great job on his tacos dorados feature but I really like the fried tacos at Escondido. They are not the healthiest but all the dishes are pretty solid. For a different dish try the Enchiladas Mexicanas with three cheese the chile cascabel and achiote sauce on them. Bill Addison and I went back and forth on which was better #1 the Escondido combo (Bill’s favorite) and #2 Jaquin Jack’s (my favorite). It has been around for a good number of years (over 30) and still serves good food and no feature on DD&D (just saw that fact about Avila’s)
Good consistent food has been failing in Uptown so Availas while good, seems to be having some problems, probably from popularity.
La Hechizera – 5611 Maple – This place has a great variety of tortas! Actually to tell you the truth I am not sure if they do have anything else on the menu. You and your friend could probably split one torta and get two drinks and both be satisfied. If you are a ravenous eater then try to tackle one on your own.
I used to hit La Paisanita (before Irving really blossomed) in high school for tacos and such. It has been several years but if they are part of the La Paisanita/El Paisano mini chain we have around town I would say it is probably still solid. Get the tacos al pastor (flour will be less greasy)
Antone’s Po Boy – 4234 Harry Hines - So you won’t find Gambino’s bread, freshly fried seafood, or any of that great roast beef with gravy (debris). What you will find is Sam Ayoub, his wife and his other faithful employee there every day. All three of them have been there ever since I have been going since 2001, my dad was going even before that. Sam is proud of his shop and proud of his regulars, as a few will more than likely come in while you are there. Regulars range from clergymen, lawyers, doctors to the lay person. They have limited sandwich varieties but there is something about that neon orange chow chow that make these sandwiches great in my eyes. I am a simple man and sometime a simple sandwich without gobs of sprouts, lettuce and veggies makes a better sandwich. You can customize your sandwich no problem (customer service is what they strive for). No toasting; the other places do that.
Scardello – Okay so the parking is really a hassel (in other words do not park right on top of Oak Lawn and Lemmon) park around back or across from Lucky’s. Rich has the best selection of cheese in Dallas, as far as his focus on artisan cheeses. Sample a few, take some cheese home with you, and order a great artisan cheese Panini.
I will agree with Webra on every aspect on the Asian food in Uptown. There really isn’t that much great Asian food, Webra listed the best. Do your friend a favor and take them elsewhere for Asian food.
It is hard for me to justify driving to Uptown (even if I had friends) for Asian food when I know it is better in Richardson, Garland, Irving, Carrollton, or Plano. I would convince them to leave the area and try the better food.
Sorry for not having much
Checking the address, Antone's is in the same spot on Harry Hines that several of us used to go for lunch back in the 70's when we worked off of (the now renamed) Motor St. However, back then it was Antoine's with an "I". Don't know if this indicates a change in ownership/quasi-name change or not, but the sandwiches back then were as good as what LH implies them to be today - although back then, there were no bars on the door and windows.
I don't believe it has changed owners. It might have split though with the famous Houston chain of sandwich shops under the same/similar name. Changing the spelling might have indicated that Sam and his wife took the leap to be on their own but still serving the exact same style of po-boy.
I will ask next time I am in!
LH, you a very correct. I live in town, but office in E. Richardson. Good ethnic is basically non-existent in town. Most all of it is modified for the western Chili's palate. However, there are many small, indenpendent resto's that do a great job. Also, less chains in town which is a plus.
I've been to Farnatchi twice this week. Excellent thin crust (dough made in house) pizza's, salads and Italian food. Desserts are all made in house with the exception of the Paciugo gelato. Very inexpensive and, BYOB, too!
On the West side of the North Central service road just South of Knox.
I live near Uptown, and unfortunately there aren't too many mom and pop ethnic places to choose from that have that "wow" factor. I'm no LH, but I'll try to sum up the best ethnic bets around here...
For Vietnamese, there's Green Papaya. The grilled pork/shrimp Papaya salad is really good here. The grilled meat vermicelli bowls are better here than at Oishii. Avoid the Pho - Oishii is much better. From what I understand, Lumi only serves Pho on weekends, so during the week they just have a few Vietnamese dishes that are good quality, but honestly a little bland for me. I'd probably just stick to their empanadas and dumplings.
For Thai, The Mint on Oak Lawn is probably the best bet. Just avoid their soups and expect Pad Thai to be VERY sweet. I love their Crab Fried Rice - just get it with the way too sweet orange sauce on the side. Lumi has this dish also, but it's not as good. Next suggestions would be Toy's on Lemmon and then Thai Lotus on Cedar Springs. Both have very nice owners and are cheap, but the food is nothing too special. Again, I'd avoid the soups at both places. Wai Wai kitchen on Lemmon is good if you're in a hurry. Food is fast, hot and cheap, taste - eh.
For El Salvadorian/Tex Mex there is both Gloria's and Mario Sabino's. Both these places can be hit or miss. I like the Salvadorian Sampler plate at either place. They are different, so it's worth it to try both.
For Tex-Mex, I'd have to go with Manny's over Mia's, but I'm sure others would choose the opposite. Manny's is a bit more expensive, but I like the quality better. I'd also pick Avila's on Maple over Mia's. Further on Maple are quite a few Taquerias like La Paisanita that are worth trying.
For Indian, it's tough out this way. There's Bengal Coast which is fusion, so don't expect anything to taste like you'd expect it to. This can be good or bad depending on what you like. I really like the Mumbai Street Chaat Salad. I'd probably stay away from their currys and try some of the more nontraditional dishes they have. If you MUST have Indian buffet, there's Taj Express. There's also Roti Grill, but it's hard to recommend since I've only had their Biryani and it was way too bland.
For Korean, there's Gui on McKinney Ave. They have just a few Korean dishes and mostly sushi. I've only had their Hot Stone Rice bowl, which I liked since they do get their rice nice and crispy on the bottom.
For sushi, If you're willing to spend a bit, go with Yutaka. I've heard mixed reviews about their Bento boxes, so maybe keep it to sushi.
Seeing Avila's mentioned...... I was in there with 2 friends a couple of weeks ago and was looking forward to it as I've been intending to stop in for a while now.
Anyway, the order consisted of guac and queso as apps, entrees of pazole, chili relleno, and the 3 enchilada dinner. I found the guac pretty tasteless (I had read elsewhere that store bought was suspect, but thought I'd see for myself) as was the queso.
We all thought our entrees were very tasty, but in each case, they were pretty much room temp even though they were served very quickly; ie - it's not like they were sitting around waiting to be delivered and went cold. Pretty disappointing.
We were there around 4 pm on a Sat. and there were only 2 or 3 other tables occupied. Not sure what their problem was..... or maybe they just serve food at tepid temps??? I've read that their service can be hit or miss, but on this day, our service was as good as I'd expect. Has anyone else had problems with cold food?
I agree, their Guacamole isn't that great. I always get the chili relleno, my husband likes their tacos dorados.
I haven't had an issue with the food not being hot, but It does seem sometimes that they just don't add enough salt to the dishes.
Another thing we noticed - for a small hole in the wall place, their margaritas are surprisingly uptown priced.
Priced high indeed @ $7/ea and that's not top shelf. But to their credit, they do pack a small punch unlike the equally high priced Rita with a crappy pour across the street at Ojeda's.
I may give them another try at some point. As I said, the food was "good". I can only imagine what a little heat would do for the flavor enhancing characteristics - particularly for the aromatics that come with the pazole.
Yes, LH, what do you like in Uptown. ;)
Dallas Alice, not Uptown per se, but Samar is now open for lunch as well as dinner. You will find many great exaltations on the place, and in all fairness a few not so good remarks. I have always been pleased personally, and the place is ever so reasonable.
I also love Craft for brunch and lunch. So simple and so good. Located in Victory at the W.
Arcodoro and Pomodoro for exquisite Italian. For lunch I like the wild mushroom risotto as well as the fig and quail risotto. The trout is perfect for lunch.
Salum is very much worth a consideration, too. I enjoy the fish, including the flounder and snapper. Very fresh and breezy place. Well run.
Lumi Empanada and Dumpling is very different and unique. Who doesn't love a dumpling?
I love mussels, and Toulouse on Knox serves them five ways, and you can add pommes frites. The Nicoise is also very wonderful for a nice luncheon.
Charlie Palmers at the Joule has a very nice selection on the prix fixe menu for lunch (28 dollars).
I could go on for a while, but will yield the floor to my esteemed collegues. The LH remark was because LH has made a point to state that he doesn't enjoy the Uptown area of Dallas. But would love to see any rec he has. Brilliant man, for sure.
Grimaldi's, Coal Vines and Campania are all in uptown and are very good pizza places. If you'd be interested in having brunch, I suggest Dream Cafe. Manny's is also there, and they're always being pit against Mia's as the best place in town for brisket tacos. Gloria's on Lemmon is also good for Mexican and Salvadorian.