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Feb 23, 2012 07:52 AM

Dinner by American Airlines Center

Hi! My husband and I will be visiting Dallas for a concert at the American Airlines Center and are looking for a place to grab dinner. We are staying at the Marriott City Center. We have reservations at Craft but would like to go somewhere a little more casual. Would love any suggestions.

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  1. Depends on what you meant "more casual." You will be welcome at Craft dressed just as you would for any concert I know about. It's a very accepting place. Folks in ties, and folks in bluejeans and T-Shirts, especially before concerts. That's one of the things that I like about it. I go all the time in blue jeans and just a collared shirt. No problem.

    Other options relatively close include with comparable food are Fearings, and Stephen Pyles, Both much like Craft, in atmosphere with Pyles being perhaps a bit more upscale (so probably not of interest to you). Pyles, on the other hand, if anything varies a bit more than craft. The average level of dress is a bit higher, but you can see folks in shorts and T-shirts at times as he literally has no dress code (a real pet peeve of his with an interesting history behind it). I've been there when guy in a bathrobe and house shoes was eating. The treated him just like he was the King of Siam. Nobu at the Cressent isn't any more casusal. Same with the multiple steak places in the area. Charlie Palmer downtown is at least as formal as Craft, although the wine program (at least for now before it's converted into a steak place) is great.

    Food that's not quite as good, but nearby:

    Coal Vines Pizza: Corner of Maple & Oak Lawn. Decent little place. Food is better than it has a right to be, but it's frankly not special. OK wine list.
    S&D Oyster Company. Good to real good gulf style fried seafood if you're fond of that.
    Truluck's on McKinney: Haven't eaten there in ages. Only so so food last time I was there, but lots of folks must like it as it always seems crowded.

    That's what comes to mind (and this is real close to my neighborhood) unless you're willing to go to the Knox/Henderson area or Deep Ellum. Then the choices expand somewhat.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Mike C. Miller

      I thought I had read it was Dean Fearing who abhorred dress "codes" and did away with them after leaving The Mason. Did I read wrong or am I remembering incorrectly?

      Meddlesome Moth is worth your look. ( good menu with extensive beer and ale selection).

      1. re: CocoaNut

        You are correct about Fearing and dress codes--I was confused too but think Fearing's is the restaurant Mike is referring to with his casual dress code comment.

        1. re: CocoaNut

          Yep. Sorry. Dean abolished dress codes. It's was Fearing's were I saw the guy in the bathrobe and house shoes. We asked the waiter. The guy lives in the condos attached to the hotel, apparently.

        2. re: Mike C. Miller

          PLEASE, go enjoy the greatness of Craft, My wife and I have been dining there regularly forthe past five years. We have come to know the staff and their food well. In our opinion, it is the best all around dining experience in Dallas. We are regulars at Lucia, fearing's, Cedars Social, and close friends and drinking buddys with K from Kiiechi in Denton(a long drive but truly worth his awesome food). You dont have to dress up for Craft, jeans and a button up shirt serves me wel everytime we go.

        3. Naga is a Thai place walking distance from the AAC. Try a glass of Mekong thai whiskey on the rocks before dinner. Also, Neo is a pizza restaurants just a few steps further from the AAC.

          1. Thanks everyone for the suggestions! I really appreciate it. We went to Stephen Pyles the last time we had a night free in Dallas and really wanted to try Craft. I feel better knowing that we can wear jeans and not feel awkward. Now I don't know if I am more excited for Craft or Radiohead!

            2 Replies
            1. re: ndgirl

              I agree with namnamyum about Craft. I haven't eaten there in over a year but have dined there many times and can honestly say that I have never had a bad bite served at my table. It is, in my opinion, the most underrated restaurant in Dallas.

              1. re: ndgirl

                If I've ever darkened the door at Craft while wearing anything other than jeans and a plain collared shirt, I'd be shocked. If it was cool, but not cold I might have thrown a sports coat. They've never made me feel anything other than welcome.