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Visiting Dallas From NYC For 3 Days - What should I not miss?

I'm visiting from NYC so am less inclined to explore the fine dining scene, but rather some of the more neighborhood / cutting-edge DFW restaurants. That said, I'm booked at Fearing's but don't plan to do any more fine dining / corporate / hotel type places. I've read that York Street, Stephan Pyles and Lonesome Dove are worth a try. I'd also like to include some of the places that local DFW residents frequent. Specifically, Mexican, Tex-Mex, BBQ and any other ethnic foods that are well-represented in the area. If there's a standout steakhouse I'd be open to that as well.

As an aside, I'm staying at the Gaylord Hotel but will have a car and would prefer to venture outside of the grounds for dining. Thanks very much in advance for your suggestions.

- chewbie

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Stephan Pyles
1807 Ross Suite 200, Dallas, TX 75201

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  1. Obviously a few searches for the cuisines you listed will get you the best results but here are my suggestions based on the time I lived in NY and what, from my experience, is significantly better down here.

    Mexican not tacos: Cuquitas, Taqueria Pedrito

    Tacos: search the boards, too many to recommend

    Tex-Mex: Gonzalez's, Pappasitos, Mia's

    Cajun: Big Easy

    Vietnamese: Pho Pasteur, La Me, Bistro B

    Southern food: Hatties, Babe's

    BBQ: Meshacks

    Ethiopian: Lalibela

    Taiwanese: Umeko, May's Ice Cream, Kings Noodle

    All of the above suggestions are, in my opinion, better than their counterpart in NYC.

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    May's Ice Cream
    400 N Greenville Ave Ste 15, Richardson, TX 75081

    Pho Pasteur
    8251 N Belt Line Rd, Irving, TX 75063

    Bistro B
    9780 Walnut St, Dallas, TX 75243

    Big Easy
    1915 N Central Expy, Plano, TX 75075

    Taqueria Pedritos
    321 E Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75203

    1. Fearing's is a good place to start.
      Then, try some of our true Mexican taco joints. Some of my personal (non-gringo) favorites: (you won't get this in NYC)
      El Tizoncito in Oak Cliff. Clean and bright. Incredible tacos al pastor carved from the roasting tower of pork. Check their website for details.
      Restaurant Gonzalez in Oak Cliff. Family oriented. Incredible pork stew and fresh handmade flour tortillas like mama (only wished she) made. Important: Be sure to ask for the SALSA FRESCA with your chips. They won't bring it unless you ask for it. otherwise, you get gringo salsa. Check their website.
      And also, El Si Hay in Oak Cliff. Free standing walk up true Mexican street tacos.
      As a matter of fact, just stay in Oak Cliff and visit Hattie's in Bishop's Arts for true (low country) Southern food. The shrimp 'n grits are a must!!! Check their website.
      Also: Smoke. Also in Oak Cliff at the Belmont hotel.
      Bolsa. Same owners as Smoke.
      Arguably, the very best Tex-Mex in Dallas: Casa Milagro on Campbell at Plano Road in Richardson. Clean, comfortable, great food and service. Fabulous Margaritas. Check their website.
      Another great taqueria around the corner from Casa Milagro is Taqueria El Fuego. Lunch only. Hand made corn tortillas made while you watch. Check their website.
      Very hot now: Neighborhood Services. Two locations. One on W. Lovers Lane and the newest one on Henderson Avenue.
      Again, check the websites.
      Eat, drink and have a great time!

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      Neighborhood Services
      5027 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX

      Bolsa
      614 W Davis St, Dallas, TX

      El Fuego
      1891 N Plano Rd, Richardson, TX 75081

      Casa Milagro
      1403 E Campbell Rd Ste 110, Richardson, TX 75081

      6 Replies
      1. re: twinwillow

        And one more thing. Do not eat BBQ in Dallas! Except at, Smoke. Despite what others recommend.
        However, although I've never been to Meshacks, a lot of people here say very good things about it. However, I believe it's take out only.
        If you MUST have BBQ, go to Baker's Ribs (Greenville Ave. location only!) Their pork ribs are terrific. If you want brisket, ask them to cut from the fatty end, only! You won't regret it. Blah, sides.
        Their pulled pork is very good, too.

        1. re: twinwillow

          This is great. Thank you very much.

          1. re: twinwillow

            You absolutely must get BBQ while you're in Dallas, assuming you don't spend much time in other good BBQ cities. While Dallas 'cue pales in comparison to the rest of Texas, it is leaps and bounds better than NY and that's true even of Dickey's (a local chain).

            1. re: demigodh

              Funny you mention Dickey's. A client that I visit in the DFW area usually has that ordered in for lunch. And yes, it is WORLDS better than any BBQ I've had in NY. Our BBQ and Mexican food are severely lacking.

          2. re: twinwillow

            Twin,

            Don't forget Neighborhood Services Bar and Grill at Preston and Royal!

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            Neighborhood Services
            5027 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX

            1. re: DarnellErwinFletcher

              Oh yeah, I forgot about that one. It's gotta be as good as the others.
              Thanks.

          3. I think the Vietnamese in Dallas was better than what I had in NYC. I'd pick Pho Bang, Pho Bac, or Nam Hua.

            BBQ: On a good day some places can shine but overall it's not so great in DFW (which might still be better than NYC). I'll throwout Meshack's, Big Al's, Railhead, Angelo's as places I've had good BBQ.

            For Mexican I eat at El Fuego or El Torito.

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            Pho Bang Restaurant
            3565 W Walnut St Ste A, Garland, TX 75042

            Pho Bac Restaurant
            153 N Plano Rd, Richardson, TX 75081

            El Fuego
            1891 N Plano Rd, Richardson, TX 75081

            4 Replies
            1. re: amokscience

              I'd add, Le Me and Bistro B for Vietnamese in Dallas (Garland).

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              Bistro B
              9780 Walnut St, Dallas, TX 75243

              1. re: twinwillow

                The last time I was at La Me, it was disappointing. I think they may be under new management. I prefer Zander's House, Saigon Block, and Nam Hua for Vietnamese.

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                Zander's House
                2300 N Central Expy, Plano, TX

                1. re: Dallas Alice

                  chewbie, you're definitely gonna be driving outside the Gaylord for most of what you're seeking.

                  Also... La Me did change management but that was over a year ago (for reference: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6162... ) and it seemed like the changes were for the better. What went wrong?

                  1. re: Dallas Alice

                    I've heard very good reports about Saigon Block. Their food is "French influenced" and, BYOB.

              2. Fearings is a great place to start! They also have a wonderful brunch.

                Gourmet Mexican food in Dallas: Javier's. The steak filled with cheese is mouth watering, I forgot what it is actually called.

                BBQ in Fort Worth: Railhead.

                My favorite steak in DFW is Del Friscos in Fort Worth. I have been to Del Friscos in NYC, Houston, Dallas and this one is by far the best. Eddie V's in Fort Worth has a comparable seak.

                Lonesome Dove is incredible. Tim Love also has a fun burger place in FW called the Love Shack.

                1 Reply
                1. re: CricketTX

                  The cheese filled steak at Javier's is the "filete Cantinflas".
                  The best dish on the menu!

                2. Thanks again everyone. I really do appreciate all of the input and will be sure to report back on what I tried. Take care.

                  3 Replies
                  1. re: chewbie

                    Before I weigh in what part of NYC are you from. If from Queens that changes some of the ethnic recommendations I might suggest but if from Manhattan I will go ahead with them.

                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                      Live in Brooklyn. Grew up in Queens. Work in Manhattan. Jamaican/Chinese ancestry. I'm pretty much open to all kinds of food so please feel free to offer up your recommendations.

                      1. re: chewbie

                        You could swing by the Farmer's Market and check out the Pecan Lodge or whatever that has BBQ and some other Texas-y stuff. Not sure if it's all that exciting, but if you have a lot of time then it's kind of two birds with one stone. I'd try some Mexican at either Nuevo Leon in Farmer's Branch, El Ranchito in Oak Cliff, or Cafe San Miguel on Henderson. Other people like Gonzalez, I haven't been there. demigodh's suggestions are all pretty good imo.

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                        Cafe San Miguel
                        1907 N Henderson Ave, Dallas, TX 75206

                        El Ranchito Restaurant
                        502 N Scott Ave, Keller, TX 76248

                  2. Personally, I think Fearings is way overrated. If you have a ton of time and have money to burn on a $20 shrimp taco appetizer...go for it. Tim Love's Lonsome Dove Bistro would be my white table cloth pick. I just think Fearing was much more relevant and cutting edge in the 90's. Being from NYC, you must go to a BBQ place. Meshacks is king of out of the way...it's in Garland(?). Baker's is downtown and really good and personally, I like Sonny Bryans on Inwood. Fearing uses their bbq sauce. I used to take all out of towners to Mia's and they loved it.. Gonzalez is tasty, but El Ranchito has more atmosphere. Out of towners love their sister restaurant El Calle Doce on 12th St. Great courtyard. Zander's is great. The family originally owned a restaurant in Tribeca. Bon appetite just named Neighborhood Services and Ellerbe Fine Foods as two of the top new restaurants in the U.S. I like Alligator Cafe best for Cajun. I'm also going to throw in Hattie's because it's quaint and they do a mean catfish. Don't do Chinese. Dallas cannot compete with NYC. My brother lived in Soho and I would save miles just to fly to NYC for Chinese food. same goes for Italian.

                    You should also plan a few hours to go see Central Market. It makes Dean and Deluca look like 7Eleven.

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                    Neighborhood Services
                    5027 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX

                    El Ranchito
                    610 W Jefferson Blvd, Dallas, TX 75208

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: jindomommy

                      Yes, do go to Baker's Ribs. But, NOT downtown! (Commerce Street in Deep Ellum).
                      Only go to Baker's Rib's on Greenville Avenue just south of Lovers Lane. Same owner. Different "pit master". Makes all the difference in the world.
                      IMHO, The only good thing about Sonny Bryans now is the sauce.

                    2. You're staying at the Gaylord? and "...would prefer to venture outside of the grounds for dining." Have you consulted a map? You're so far out in the boonies it might be best to just order room service.
                      Sorry to be a buzzkill, but... ehh.

                      1. Irving/Valley Ranch/Carrollton (all fairly close to the airport)

                        Royal Sweets is tops in my book off MacArthur and Valley Ranch Pkwy. It is all vegetarian Indian cuisine. They now have I believe 3 thali (sampler platter of sorts). The dosas are huge and definitely big enough for two. The Hot Kachori Chaat is a samosa (I believe) smothered in curried garbanzos (Choley). Another dish is just fried naan with curried garbanzo beans (Choley Batura). The dosa are split do the middle for me...I like curried potatoes my wife hates them so I like the Mysore Masala Dosa and she likes the Paneer Dosa with onions (Indian name slips my mind at the moment). They also have the metroplex's largest array of sweets. The snacks (nimco) are my favorite though...black pepper (mari) plantain chips.
                        http://www.royalsweets.net/index.asp

                        If I were in the mood for Thai I would make the special trip over to the Irving Mall area for Bangkok Orchid. Yes it is that good and it is worth the drive. I drive all the way from Lewisville (north of Dallas) to eat there. Their version of Pad Cha is the best of only two versions that I have ever seen. All the dishes are great but order more off the Authentic Thai menu to make the meal more memorable. Ask a bunch of questions to make substitutions to a dish if you would like. The staff is very friendly.
                        http://www.bangkokorchidtx.com/aboutu...

                        For a chain I really like Sweet Tomato if you like a good salad bar. They usually have at least 1 or 2 good soups also. Plus just about every week they have a bogo coupon if you sign up.
                        http://www.souplantation.com/

                        If you are feeling really adventurous there is Namoo over off Royal Lane for Korean.
                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/namoo-dallas

                        If you like couscous and mint tea then Kasbah Grill off Esters and Rochelle is by far the best on both. The waiter is not bad to talk to (usually the place is pretty quiet after dark). If you have questions about Islam (one of the largest mosques in Dallas is next door), Morrocan food, etc the waiter can help answer most of your questions. I also really like the bastilla if you can get one.
                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/kasbah-grill-...

                        Kerala Style Indian
                        Kerala Kitchen - in the Texaco at Huffines Blvd (Exit before Hebron) and 121 in Carrollton. I like the kerala plate. The fish curry has always been bad but the avial, thoran and beef curry are great. I would skip the paratha.
                        http://keralakitchenonline.com/

                        Pakistani
                        Al Markaz - Service road of 190 between Dickinson and Old Denton in Carrollton
                        Three choices for lunch $7.95. Service is minimal (make sure you grab you utensils and pitcher of water) but the food makes up for it. I am not sure how they actually make any money. Solid choices are haleem, kahari chicken, and dal palak (lentils with spinach). Their naan is also really good. I have also liked meat patty (beef samosa), nihari, and their biryani but not as well as the three above.
                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/al-markaz-car...

                        Korean
                        To Dam Gol - Old Denton Next to Super H Mart. Best tofu stew you will probably have. I like the pork myself (dwejigogi soondubu) and the stone fired rice bowl with veggies and meat (dolsot bi bim bap). You might call me wierd but I actually love allt he panchan (small plates of refillable veggies) here. It is not the most comprehensive pnachan ever but it has always been good.
                        http://www.yelp.com/biz/to-dam-gol-to...

                        The food court aint bad for Korean eats in Super H Mart and pretty inexpensive too

                        Rest of Dallas
                        Mango Paleta w/ Chimayo (aka Mangonada) at Paletas Frutitas in Oak Cliff on Jefferson @Lewellyn
                        Pate Banh Mi at La Me in NE Dallas (Audelia @ Walnut
                        )Banh Xeo at Nam Hua (Belt Line @ Jupiter)
                        Sidenote: You can get Vietnamese Fish Mint with your Banh Xeo if you want it at Nam Hua(just ask for Diếp Cá) or if you are really crazy about it you can ask for Vietnamese Coriander (Rau Răm). I personally like the Rice Patty Mint Herb (Ngổ Ôm) the best. I do not like rau ram or diep ca, but it is a must try if you are fairly new to Vietnamese cuisine.

                        Here is a good source with pictures (that is key) on the Vietnamese herbs, most of which can be found locally in the markets.
                        http://vietherbs.com/

                        Here is the special (non translated menu at Nam Hua) translated.

                        Special Menu
                        Vietnamese - English
                        Vit Nuong Chao - Marinated Roasted Duck Gongee
                        Chem Chep Nuong Bo - Grilled Mussels
                        Goi Ngo Sen Vit/Ga - Lotus Root Salad with Duck/Chicken
                        Chau Ngot Thap Cam - Sweet & Sour Crispy Fish
                        Bo Luc Lac - Shaken Beef
                        Rau Tron Thit Bo - Three Beef Salad
                        Goi Gan Bo/Muc - Beef Jerky Salad/Squid Jerky Salad
                        Goi Da Truong/Bo Thai Lan - Thai Beef Salad
                        Bo Bop Thau/Tai Canh/La Lot - Lime Juice Cured Beef Salad with Star Fruit and Banana Flower/Lemon Juice Cured Beef/Grilled Wild Betel Leaf Wrapped Beef
                        Goi Cung Dinh - Royal Palace Salad
                        Tiet Canh Vit - Congealed Duck's Blood Cake With Herbs
                        Canh Ga Bay Qua Phan Thiet - Phan Tiet Fish Sauce Chicken Wings
                        Hen Xuc Banh Trang - Baby Clam Chip & Dip Appetizer with Seasame Cracker
                        Be Thui - Roast Beef with Ginger Sauce
                        Tom Ruong Me/Muoi - Sauteed Prawns with Tamarind Sauce and Peanuts/Fried Prawns with Salt
                        Heo Rung Hap/Xao Lan - Wild Boar with choice of Lemongrass/Coconut Curry Sauce
                        De Xao Lan/Xa Te - Goat with choice of Lemongrass/Sate Sauce
                        De Nuong Vy - Grilled Lemongrass Goat
                        Ca Nuong (Goi Truoc 2 Tieng) - Sweet & Sour Crispy Fish
                        I am not sure how it will post but let me know if you need any of the particular dishes translated.

                        Here are some other posts that might help a bit
                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6680...

                        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6847...

                        And if in the mood for a light salad, as it still might be hot here. Here are some good Asian options:

                        Vietnamese:
                        Goi Ngo Sen Vit/Ga - Lotus Root Salad with choice of duck or chicken at Nam Hua
                        Goi Bo Thai Lan - a Thai Beef style salad that the Vietnamese make. It was avaiable at New Kien Giang before their demise - Nam Hua
                        Goi Tieng Cling - a spicy salad with shrimp and crunchy vegetables
                        Goi Gan Bo - Beef Jerky Salad - Nam Hua
                        Goi Cung Dihn - Royal Palace Salad - Nam Hua
                        Goi Du Du Kho Bo - Green Papaya Salad with Beef Jerky - Bistro B
                        Goi Mit Ngo Sen - Jackfruit and Lotus Root Salad - Bistro B or Nam Hua

                        Thai:
                        Som Tum I like mine with Crab and Shrimp - Jasmine Thai Plano
                        Yum Neau - I like it spicy - Jasmine Thai - Plano
                        Larb - I would get the beef version - Jasmine Thai or Bangkok Orchid - Plano and Irving respectively
                        Naam Tok - Bangkok Orchid - Irving

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                        Bistro B
                        9780 Walnut St, Dallas, TX 75243

                        Kerala Kitchen
                        3600 Huffines Blvd, Carrollton, TX 75010

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                          'Hounder, you are a walking encyclopedia of restaurant knowledge in the DFW area. I'm sure glad you're here. I ALWAYS refer to your posts for references. You're the best we have!
                          Chewbie, you can depend 100% on what the L'Hounder recommends.

                          1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                            wow. amazing. thank you.