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Jan 26, 2012 07:23 AM

Upcoming trip...decisions, decisions

Im coming from NYC to Dallas for three full days and I've generated a list of possible eats. I'll probably rent a car. I'm open to suggestions. In particular I'm looking to narrow down my dinner options. I'm thinking Tei-An and Smoke for two of the three nights. The third I was thinking a fine dining choice. Here's the list:

Stephan Pyles
The Mansion Restaurant
The French Room

Nammi food truck
Nam Hua
Taqueria El Si Hay

Bread Winners Uptown

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  1. Tei-An and Smoke are both excellent choices. You've obviously done your homework.

    Smoke is also known for their great brunch. As is also, (not previously mentioned) Hattie's in Bishops Arts in Oak Cliff. Have the shrimp 'n grits with tabasco sauce. No heat. Just great flavor! Or, just go for dinner.

    Of your dinner list, Lucia would be IMO, number one. But, you better make your reservation ASAP! It's the hardest restaurant in town to get a reservation.

    As for the rest of the list, after Lucia I'd go with (IMO):
    1 - The Mansion.
    2 - Stephen Pyles.
    3 - Samar.
    4 - Nonna.
    5 - Teppo.
    6 - Fearings.
    Or, any of these fine restaurants in no particular order.

    I love the tacos at El Si Hay but, instead of standing up eating outside, (unless you're used to and enjoy doing that at Nathan's in Coney Island) I'd suggest El Tizoncito at their Oak Cliff location on West Illiinois. The meat for their "tacos al pastor" is cut from a trompo as in Mexico City. My favorite is the "Pastor con Queso Alambres"

    Personally, I'm not a great fan of Breadwinners. Try the Dream Cafe instead (The Uptown location in the Quadrangle).

    12 Replies
    1. re: twinwillow

      Actually I meant to list El Tizoncito as well. Thanks for your suggestions. Also I should mention I will be there on a Mon-Tues-Wed.

      1. re: prcentauri

        If you do head to Oak Cliff, a stop at Lockhart BBQ in the Bishop Arts district is in order, even if it's just for a 1/4-lb of brisket and a small order of smoked jalapeño deviled eggs. Pretty much the equal of the Central TX legends.

        1. re: GroovinGourmet

          Or better still, Pecan Lodge in Shed #2 at Dallas' downtown farmers market. A bunch of us are headed there for lunch today.

          1. re: twinwillow

            Had lunch again at Pecan Lodge on Friday. Their fatty brisket is amazing. Smoky, moist, and unbelievably tender with a peppery crust.
            They also offer Wagyu brisket which I have not tried yet.

      2. re: twinwillow

        Wow thanks for the heads up on Lucia. I just called and they are booked through the end of February. I put my name on a waitlist for the Wednesday in February that I'll be in Dallas. Ouch. Well then again I can always find an excellent Italian meal in NYC.

        1. re: prcentauri

          You can also call the same day and see if they can get you in, people cancel all the time. Or show up and try your chances at sitting at the bar overlooking the kitchen - that's how I've done just about all my meals there.

          I'm not sure if you have access to Veracruzan food, so you might wanna look at Mesa as well.

        2. re: twinwillow

          Glad to see that this is a currently active thread. I hope that I can piggy-back on this discussion since I will be in D from this coming Wednesday afternoon through Sunday morning. Unlike prceantauri, I will NOT have a car. I will be staying in what I think is called the Historic District and it would be nice to know places that I can get to on foot or are a short hop on public transportation (whatever form that takes in Dallas). Fancy, doesn't interest me, per se. Great anything does. The best taco cart or ethnic dive is what gets me excited, though I am happy to lay out decent $ if it is something out of the ordinary. I will be coming down from NYC, so regional cuisine would be a plus, though the region could be adjusted to anywhere if it is done right.


          1. re: punto


            Unfortunately, the "Historic District", Dallas' West End is a very touristy part of town and great ethnic or "regional" food is not it's strong point.

            What's there that represents "regional" food is somewhat commercial, I'm afraid.

            Coming from NY, I hope you won't be terribly disappointed.

            Hopefully others here can point you in the right direction with suggestions about places unknown to me.

            If all else fails, there's always The Palm. The only place in the West End I would personally consider.

            1. re: twinwillow

              Thanks. I kind of assumed that any "historical" area would be likely tourist-trodden and chain-friendly. I haves seen exceptions, like Portland, ME, but not many (even NY has its depressing historical/touristy/theme park areas).

              I hope that I didn't give the impression that I wasn't willing to range away from the hotel. I actually enjoy the idea of walking a couple of miles in a city new to me and, after riding NYC Transit for over 50 years, I probably could figure out whatever public transportation system is in effect in Dallas. Close is nice, but not make or break, especially if it has late night hours.

              1. re: punto

                You're not terribly far away (and within walking distance) from two excellent restaurants on Ross Avenue owned by Dallas' own eminent chef, Stephen Pyles.

                1-Stephen Pyles.

                Both are unique to Dallas and you can expect excellent food in either. And unlike NY, both are casually elegant.

                I'm afraid you'll need a car to venture into the neighborhoods for true Mexico City style taquerias.

                If you don't mind a 10-15 minute taxi ride, you should go to Mesa (call and book a table or eat at the bar) on Jefferson Avenue in Oak Cliff. It's definitely worth the ride. The food is fantastic and you won't get it in NYC! They'll be happy to call you a taxi to get back.This is Dallas. We're friendly here!

                1. re: twinwillow

                  One more thing. If you do go to Samar, request a seat at the kitchen Bar.

                  1. re: twinwillow

                    If you're willing, just another 10 minute taxi ride from downtown is, Smoke. You won't get what they serve in NY, either. You'll love it! The food is fantastic here as well.
                    Have the "Big Rib". The drinks are great, too!

          2. I think I should add Scardello as a possible lunch option. Their sandwiches sound good and I'm always up for browsing a cheese shop.

            6 Replies
            1. re: prcentauri

              After Lucia, Nonna would be your next best bet for the best Italian food in Dallas. They also make their own salumi.
              Speaking as an ex New Yorker, I love Nonna. And, I think you would too.

              I second your own suggestion of Scardello. They're without a doubt, the very best cheese shop in Dallas. If you do go there, be sure to try their artisanal selection of Texas cheeses. You'll be amazed how good Texas cheeses are. Some are, "world class quality".

              1. re: prcentauri

                Having been to Murrays and the small cheese shop in Celsea Market I would say that Scardello is a must if you a cheese lover. Ask for Rick (the owner), Ali, Austin or Lance....all very knowldgeable. Let me know if you need specific recommendations for the shop....both Beer and Cheese.

                I think Rick, Ali and Lance can compare/contrast Saxelby's to their store as they know Anne personally.

                1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                  Do u have any sandwich recommendations from there?

                  1. re: prcentauri

                    I would forgo the sandwich and go for the salumi/pate board with some cheese pairings....maybe some wine or beer (my personal choice).

                    Looking at the menu.....The Mountaineer would be a great choice as I am sure they use some of the Rolf Beeler cheese, which are excellent examples of moutain style cheeses. Toss up between the TOHM and The Pickled Rueben would be the second choices.

                    To me I stick to basic sandwiches that would not include seasonal vegetables/fruit because that can make or break a sandwich for me.

                    Oh and I made a mistake. The owners name is Rich, not Rick. I got my owners of my favorite stores mixed up.

                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                      I concur regarding the salumi/pate' board instead of sandwiches.

                      1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                        Oh nice. The Rolf Beeler appenzeller is excellent.

                2. so far been to smoke for dinner, the food trucks over by the museum of art, lucia for dinner. was thinking pho colonial for lunch since i'm close to that or trekking over to scardello. tonight i have reservations at the mansion. i'm outta here tomorrow morning.

                  1. Lucia would be my first choice, too. Assuming that you don't get in there, I'd think that Nonna would be a pretty good substitute. I eat at both pretty regularly and they are both excellent and compare favorably with the better Italian restaurants in NYC.

                    After that, the choices aren't as clear cut. I prefer Fearing's to Stephen Pyles. Local is a decent choice. I think I'd put those two at the top of the list of the rest. You might also want to look at Bijoux. I think it competes with any restaurant that you've listed.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: Mike C. Miller

                      Yea. We went to Smoke the first night. Everything was very good. We particularly enjoyed "The Big Rib" and the key lime pie was refreshing. We got a walk in spot at the bar at Lucia last night. Also a great meal. In my opinion the highlight was the gnudi. I went to Scardello today and had some cheeses. Tonight I have reservations at The Mansion but I'm having second thoughts.

                      1. re: prcentauri

                        The "Big Rib" at Smoke is my favorite dish on the menu.

                    2. Thanks for the recommendations in this list, it has helped me eat some good food the past week or so. The one place I would add though (for future readers) is Mesa. I ate there last night and it was amazing. The building is rather unassuming, but the food is top notch. It might just be the best meal I have eaten so far.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: smkit

                        Yep, Mesa is amazing. Close to being my favorite restaurant in Dallas.

                        1. re: smkit

                          Unassuming is right ;) I'm a sucker for a great housemade tortilla, and theirs are really impressive. Gotta get back there ...