Feb 12 and 13 in Ft. Worth, Plano & maybe lunch in Dallas
We'll be in Ft. Worth and Plano on February 12 and 13, respectively, and have lunch and dinner gaps for Mexican food and for fresh grilled or blackened seafood (not fired), and also a breakfast place in each. I have barbecue places mapped out. And we may have dinner in downtown Dallas, probably near the museums or book depository (or suggest a fun area with a good place to eat. I've read here that the food at Joe T. Garcia's is not that great but that it is really a lot of fun. What makes it fun? I ask because strolling musicians are not usually my idea of fun, although the jazz trio at Arnaud's in New Orleans were a lot of fun.
Quite a few people have recommended Sea Breeze in Plano (it is on Preston just south of Spring Creek). I haven't personally been, but I see your timeframe is quite short, so I thought you might like the recommendation. Just remember that this weekend there is a lot of extra people with the NBA All-Star game, so it may be really busy in downtown. Suggestions for dinner downtown would be either Samar by Stephen Pyles or The Screen Porch. I wouldn't describe Joe T's as "fun". Maybe it is just one of those things if you grew up going there as a kid, with your family, perhaps there is some nostalgia as an adult. As someone who moved to Dallas a decade ago, on my three visits (two were for wedding rehearsal dinners), I don't think the atmosphere, food, or service made it fun.
Would definitely recommend you go to Samar. If you go to Sea Breeze, avoid the lobster roll, it's no longer as good as other items on the menu. Their seafood always seems fresh, and grilled shrimp are yummy. However, IMO they aren't mind-blowing like they were when they first opened.
Joe T Garcias is close to downtown Fort Worth, not Dallas. That being said I would go with either Samar if you are looking for the Middle Eastern, Indian or Spanish cusines. I prefer the Indian dishes over all. I have some pics of the meal I had which had a highlight from each cuisine.
First Pic (moving left to right)
Fried Spiced Pumpkin Kofte with Peekytoe Crab Salad and Paddlefish Caviar
South Indian Coconut Fish Curry
Delicate fish with a delicately spiced cocount sauce. This was my favorite of the Indian dishes
Mejillones en Escabeche
Mussels Escabeche with Pears, Sherry and Cream
The best dish of the night. The sauce a perfect balance of savory and acid from the broth and Sherry vinegar. The mussel was perfect not overcooked, rubbery nor any grit.
Mumbai ka Badi Jhinga
Tiger Prawn “Bombay Style” with Crispy Okra Salad and Spiced Pear Chutney
In Plano you open yourself up to a lot of ethnic restaurants. My picks are below.
Jasmine Thai would probably be my top choice. Ask for Paul and order off the wooden Thai menu. You will need Paul to translate. I would go with the grilled (you can get them fried also) "giant" prawns with a Thai style dipping sauce, the Keang Leang (Southern Thai Yellow Curry, basically a light broth with lime juice, tumeric, bamboo shoots and catfish), Yum Nuea (salad with a small portion of lime cured beef and herbs), Jungle Curry if you are in the mood for a very spicy curry, and finally the Thai Herbal Chicken. I could go on and on about Jasmine. Word of caution the owner is Muslim so there will be no pork dishes. If you have a favorite that is made with pork I suggest trying it with beef, chicken or shrimp. All the meats I believe are halal if not zabihah(a more stringent meat processing).
Little Sichuan lately can be hit or miss. But ask for Jean Gao (the waitress) and ask for something of their special whiteboard. Also get an order of the cold cucumbers.
First Chinese BBQ
Everyone really like First Chinese BBQ and there is one in Plano. People rave about this place. I think it is good but not as good as they are claiming. First Chinese has the best version of the BBQ roast duck in the area and it is equally good at all locations. Make sure you ask for the salty ginger sauce if you want something other than the pan sauce they typically serve. I like ordering dishes that I make up from others on the menu. The Chinese broccoli with Black mushroom is a good substitute for just the rather drab Chinese broccoli dish they have on the menu. The crispy tofu is another dish that I don’t believe is on the menu but listed on the wall (have your waiter translate). Lemongrass pork chop is another not on the menu Lemongrass rib is on the Chef’s Special, they don’t mind the substitution. The noodle dishes are good but nothing to rave about. I really like the Crispy Shrimp as it reminds me of a dish at Golden Joy BBQ in Richardson. If you want a light and not very greasy dish I would suggest the Fish Filet Steamed over Tofu with Ginger on the Chef’s Special menu, I always ask for more ginger. I haven’t seen the additional dishes that are listed on the website (perhaps the Austin location?). Last time I went they were not on the menu at the one in Richardson. There are several I would like to try.
Jorg's Cafe Vienna
I think Jorg's is quite excllent on their preparations of Schnitzels, especially the creme schnitzels. I like Mutti's Jager Schnitzel the best. He also has some excellent red cababge!
SeaBreeze gets a nod from me and I still like their fresh fish specials. I really like the house smoked salmon club sandwich.
Chitos is a great place for a Mexican style taqueria. Ask for the tortillas de maiz hecho a mano (corn tortillas made by hand). Anything from the huraches (small masa boats filled with the taco meat of your choice and dressed) to the tacos are good.
Stick to BBQ places in Tarrant county only they are much better. I believe you posted earlier in the year, but if you have not gotten the link below from anyone it is what the media sources are using as their source on BBQ in the area.
The snow played havoc with our plans, esp. re Plano and seafood. Here's what I found: first, the DFW area may be the snowman capital of the world. They were everywhere and very inventive. Hats off!
Also, Joe T. Garcia's really is fun, and the food is pretty good. The salsa was very good -- I ate way too much. The enchiladas really needed some onions or green chiles.
Angelo's barbecue was a disappointment -- dry, and pretty deperate for sauce. The cole slaw and the beans were better than the barbecue. (Potato salad was -- eh) Off the Bone barbecue was much better. The brisket was very good. It did not really need sauce, which was good, since the sauce was just ok. Good green beans, fried okra was a touch too greasy.
I had never been to Ft Worth and was very impressed. The Kimball art museum is sensational.