NYC Serious Chowhound visiting Dallas please help with the best of the best
I am a native New Yorker visiting Dallas for the first time. Please help with some great must haves for dining in the Dallas area. all cuisines BBQ,Seafood (if Possible) Italian Mexican please include. all price ranges and all areas.
Your help would be greatly appreciated and reciprocated if you come to NYC.
Thanks and Ciao-
Since I had such a great time in NYC this past year I would be glad to help. First of all I need to know several bits of information and I am asking only to give specific recommendations to you.
1. Where will you be staying? (A city or close major intersection will help)
2. What can you NOT stand or eat? (These are dietary restrictions, religious reasons, just don't like, etc)
3. Will you have a rental car, if so how far are you willing to drive for a meal?
I know right off that Dallas has much better Vietnamese and Thai, Chinese is debatable. We also have some great Mexican places but I know out in Queens there are some great places too.
Unitl fairly recently, Dallas has been a wasteland of serious Italian cooking. Fortunately, there are now two serious Italian restaurants in town -- Lucia and Nonna.
They are both very good. Nonna has a bit of Cal-Italian influence and Lucia seems a bit more purely Italian with an emphasis on salumi. Frankly, I think Lucia is the better of the two, but they are both good enough that there is room for honest disagreement depending on which dishes you order on a given evening. But both are worth a visit.
For classic French-style preparation with local ingredients, there is none better than Bijoux in my opinion.
Scott Gottlich is perhaps the best chef working in Dallas. Just amazingly talented. The restaurant is a bit more formal than I would prefer were I designing it from scratch, but not so much so that you can't enjoy it.
Finally, I almost hesitate to mention this last restaurant since you are coming from New York. But Dallas' best deal on a good wine list is at Charlie Palmer at the Joule. (Yes, Charlie Palmer as in Aureole.) Very good food,. but no mark up on their very nice wine list. But you may well decide that it's too similar to what you can get at home.
Dallas/Fort Worth has several really good high-end places where you can get excellent food and service. But a lot of those places aren't really going to give you any insight into the local culture.
Chicken fried steak is not high end but it is delicious and it's very much who we are. Any of the Babe's Chicken Dinner House locations can provide a great authentic CFS. For more variety but still homey, Celebration on Lovers Lane can't be beat. They have wonderful food and always great service. For great steaks, try Bonnell's or Tim Love's Lonesome Dove Bistro, both in Fort Worth.
Our Mexican food is it's own thing! Mariano's in Arlington or Dallas is really good Tex-Mex. And Mariano Martinez invented the frozen margarita machine... so it's worth going just to pay homage!
All of these places are great and will give you a true taste of Texas!
Oak Cliff is a nice food destination within Dallas.
I'd suggest Lockhart Smokehouse in the Bishop Arts District of Oak Cliff. It's as close to true South Texas BBQ and the best you'll get in Dallas. Smoke in Oak Cliff is also something unique to Dallas/Texas. It’s a little more upscale than your typical BBQ joint, and has some great food and drinks. If you have trouble fitting it all in, check out Smoke for breakfast, very good brisket hash.
For Mexican or Tex-Mex, I like Gonzalez on Jefferson Ave. when the line isn’t too long. You can almost always get a quick table at El Ranchito (an institution in Oak Cliff) or Calle Doce (the huachinango is usually quite good). The Veracruz Cafe, also in the Bishop Arts District, has some credible interior Mexican.
Further to Oak Cliff. Mesa (Authentic, true Mexican) just opened on Jefferson Avenue.
They are the same people that had the wonderful, La Palapa Veracruzana a while back. According to the local Dallas food blogs, the food is supposed to be fantastic! I'm really looking forward to trying it myself. Their Mole's as well as everything else is made from scratch from old family recipes.
Second the Smoke recommendation (don't worry about saving room for dessert--as far as I can tell, there is no pastry chef).
I'd recommend Local in Deep Ellum and Tei-An in the arts district. (The DMA has what looks to be a good exhibit right now.) If you go to Bishop Arts, be sure to check out Dude, Sweet Chocolate.
For French, Cadot can be quite good ... but sometimes the chef is mingling when he is needed in the kitchen. Some of the wait staff is not very food savvy, so if you get one of those & are ordering in any non-standard way, be sure to be extremely clear (even if you've discussed your order with the chef).
18111 Preston Rd # 120, Dallas, TX 75252
1722 Routh St, Dallas, TX 75201