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Dallas visit

dacfood Oct 20, 2012 11:00 AM

I was just in Dallas a week ago and I'm going back this coming week. I didn't post to ask where to eat but I gathered great information from postings on the Dallas board and wanted to thank the group for all the available info.

For my first week I ended up at Fearings, Lucia, Cane Rosso, and Stephan Pyles. There were problems with my flight going out so I got to spend an extra night (amongst the Texas and OK fans who were all a very friendly bunch, at least on Friday night :) so I went back to Fearings.

There were some posts I read that said Fearings was overrated but I found the food and service to be outstanding. It was certainly expensive but, for this and all my other meals, I was lucky enough to be on per diem which I considered a discount rather than a limit. My first visit I had the tortilla soup, buffalo tenderloin, and banana pudding. All were perfect and had complexity that didn't overwhelm. The second time I went back I regretfully skipped dessert but did have the lobster coconut bisque and the antelope. Once again very well prepared and amazing service that was super attentive but without feeling like someone was on top of me.

The second night I, since I was by myself, I decided to try and grab one of the open seats at Lucia. All of the bar seats were taken but I was able to sit at one of the two sidewalk tables. I started off with the small plate of antipasti which was excellent. It seems like curing your own meats is a new trend and this was a real treat. For the first course I had the gnocchi. For the second I had the duck breast with huckleberries. For dessert I had the Pistachio and chocolate semifreddo which was outstanding. The service here was excellent even though I was sitting outside.

I had a small irritating problem at Cane Rosso. None of the reviews, posts, or the web site mentioned that all of the parking in the area was metered (maybe I missed that fact). I had no change and went in and asked the hostess if I could get a table and some quarters for the meter. She referred me to the bartender who told me she had given out all her quarters. I find this pretty hard to believe. I went back out thinking I'd go someplace else and I noticed there was a big lot there with numbered spots and a metal box where you could slip bills into it to pay. I had the mushroom and sausage pizza. This was also as good as advertised though the parking issue put a slight mar on my impression.

The last night (or what turned out to be the next to last night) I went to Stephan Pyles. This also lived up to the reputation. I had the tamale tarte for an appetizer. This was one of the best things I had all week. For the main course I had the halibut with grilled octopus, beans, etc. It was cooked perfectly. For dessert I had the Heaven and Hell cake. This was also excellent except it was enough for two people (I did my best and regretfully could not finish).

Fearings, Lucia, and Stephan Pyles were all excellent meals and I'd gladly go back and recommend them all to anyone in Dallas. For my next trip I'll probably go back to Fearings just because everything I had there on both visits was flawless and the service had the Ritz Carlton edge of perfection without being over done. I'd welcome comments on my remaining list for this upcoming week or any additions anyone has. Some of these are clearly cheaper but from what I've heard should have excellent food as well.

Tei-an
Five-sixty
Fuel City Tacos
Nonna
Angry Dog (which I know is down the street from CR so I'll bring quarters :))

I need to pick 3 off that list. The one that seems most definite is Fuel City Tacos which has been recommended by just about everyone.

David

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  1. g
    gavlist Oct 20, 2012 02:13 PM

    actually, the one I'd take off the list is Fuel City. There are a number of better taquerias around, like La Banqueta or El Si Hay. Fuel City's appeal, in my opinion, comes mostly at 2 am after a night out drinking. Otherwise I wouldn't say that it's terribly destination worthy.

    Tei-an is a fantastic restaurant. I would definitely recommend that, unless you're coming from another city (like NY or LA) that already has world-class Japanese. I love Angry Dog burgers too, so if you're in the mood for low key food it's a good spot. Nonna is great - not as good as Lucia, I think, but still solid. I have only eaten at Five-sixty ones, and it was good, but not enough to make me want to go back.

    you might want to consider adding Driftwood, Boulevardier or FT33 to your list. These are all excellent restaurants that have opened fairly recently.

    3 Replies
    1. re: gavlist
      twinwillow Oct 20, 2012 02:21 PM

      I second gavlist's recs.

      1. re: twinwillow
        Dallas Alice Oct 22, 2012 01:53 PM

        I agree with gavlist and twinwillow.

      2. re: gavlist
        dacfood Oct 20, 2012 04:05 PM

        Thanks for the recommendations! I was leaning toward Tei-an, Nonna, and Angry Dog. I talked with people waiting outside at Lucia and they recommended Boulevardier and said it is a good choice as it hadn't been reviewed yet. I think I saw a pretty positive review come out this past week so it's not completely undiscovered anymore. I'm coming from the DC area which has come pretty good Japanese places but Tei-an seems like a widely recommended place. I had never been to Dallas before and I was really impressed with the places I went to as well as the very friendly people I met - even the Cowboys fans. :)

      3. twinwillow Oct 20, 2012 02:16 PM

        Both Tei-An and Nonna are great! They are the only ones on your list I would go to.

        Of course you wouldn't have known but, there is a FREE lot across the street from Angry Dog and Cane Rosso. It's the lot next to the pay lot on the north side of Commerce. It's the lot with the "mural" on the wall.
        You can park FREE there and no one will bother you!

        2 Replies
        1. re: twinwillow
          dacfood Oct 20, 2012 03:56 PM

          You'd think they could have told me at Cane Rosso. Thanks for the info. It looks like Angry Dog is a high possibility.

          1. re: dacfood
            twinwillow Oct 20, 2012 06:53 PM

            They should have mentioned it! A lot of folks want to keep it quiet because it is a fairly small lot.

        2. j
          Jon G Oct 21, 2012 09:19 AM

          Fuel City is overrated, but my out-of-town guests get a kick out of seeing the longhorn cattle just behind the parking lot, with downtown Dallas for a back drop. And, although not traditional to these parts, their burritos are pretty durn tasty. Tons of better options for tacos.

          La Nueva Fresh and Hot makes their own tortillas, which you can watching being made on their old school machine. Real good taco meat, too, if you stick to barbacoa and other stew-type meats. Pretty much a stand up or eat-in-your car kinda place, although last time I was there they pulled out a couple of chairs for me and the bro-in-law.

          http://blogs.dallasobserver.com/cityofate/2012/07/la_nueva_fresh_and_hot_come_fo.php

          Tei-An is great. Tei Tei Robata, too.

          http://www.teiteirobata.com

          1 Reply
          1. re: Jon G
            twinwillow Oct 21, 2012 10:23 AM

            Yes, there are much, much better tacos in Dallas than Fuel City. But, as Jon G said, Fuel City is great for bringing your out-of-town guests when they come to Dallas for their (first) visit.

            After that, you want to go to Tacos El Banqueta (formally, Tacos El Guero) on Bryan Street.
            That part of Bryan Street is somewhat "sketchy" but, safe enough. Be sure to tell them it's your first visit. You'll be given a free taco suadero (their best taco, IMHO) Be sure to pour on plenty of their incredible home made green hot sauce.
            They have to keep the caps off so people won't "walk off" with the bottle!

            Tacos El Banqueta also has a safer, much more comfortable location attached to a Fina gas station on Gaston in Lakewood. Same food in a more "gringo friendly" setting. And, you can actually sit down at this location!

            http://www.yelp.com/biz/tacos-la-banqueta-dallas

            http://www.yelp.com/biz/tacos-el-guer...

          2. d
            demigodh Oct 22, 2012 10:27 AM

            I'm guessing from your post history that you live in the DC area. I lived there for four years. While Angry Dog is my favorite burger in Dallas, I do not consider it destination worthy. You can find plenty of equally good or better burgers in DC.

            My additions to your list are based on what's better here compared to D.C. First I would suggest you go too Mia's or Manny's for brisket tacos. It's very Tex-Mex (I'd like to say brisket tacos are especially good in Dallas but I'm not 100%), amazing, and you can't find anything even comparable up there (and yes, i've been to Rosa Mexicano which sucks and Jaleo which is a different beast completely).

            Also, I would recommend Pecan Lodge for their brisket. Only open on weekend mornings, it is by far the best bbq in town and again something you can't get remotely close to in DC. Hope you enjoy your time down here, look forward to your next report.

            6 Replies
            1. re: demigodh
              twinwillow Oct 22, 2012 10:27 AM

              A big second for Pecan Lodge. 11:00am-3:00pm Thur-Sun.

              1. re: demigodh
                dacfood Oct 24, 2012 04:40 PM

                I picked Angry Dog because it looks interesting and I was planning for a quick bite to eat before going to see Todd Snider at House of Blues Thursday. Yes, I'm from the DC area and I'm not looking for a burger that can beat my favorite ones from DC. Every time I find a clue for a bbq place in the DC area I find that it recently burned down. The risk you take when using real wood. :) Unfortunately I am working long days this trip and cannot make it to Pecan Lodge. Maybe next time.

                I'll report on everything when I wrap up my trip. Thanks to everyone for the info!

                1. re: dacfood
                  twinwillow Oct 24, 2012 04:51 PM

                  Did you find the free parking lot across the street?

                  1. re: dacfood
                    d
                    demigodh Oct 25, 2012 08:47 AM

                    In that case you'll be very happy with Angry Dog. It's a very good burger. And if you're in the area, La Banqueta Taqueria is only a 5 minute drive away, and has some of the better tacos in the city. That might be a good pre-burger appetizer.

                    1. re: demigodh
                      twinwillow Oct 25, 2012 09:47 AM

                      Second both suggestions. Especially Tacos la Banqueta (formally Tacos El Guero), have the Tacos Suadero (best in Dallas) . Ask them to add onions and cilantro. Then, pour on about two tablespoons of their incredible green sauce from the bottles on the counter.
                      Actually, if you tell them it's your first time there, they'll give a suadero taco free!

                    2. re: dacfood
                      monkeyrotica Oct 25, 2012 09:54 AM

                      Fellow DCer. When I was in Dallas, I ate at Stephen Pyles, Nobu, Nick & Sam's, and a half-dozen other eateries, including Fuel City. The only meal that sticks out in my mind was getting a to-go order at Fuel City and eating them on a bench in Dealy Plaza. I'm sure there are a lot better tacos in Dallas, but it's touristy and fun.

                      And when you get back to DC, try the tacos and sopes at La Mexicana Bakery & Tacqueria.

                  2. LewisvilleHounder Oct 22, 2012 01:19 PM

                    First, sorry about the parking at Il Cane Rosso. I also hate the parking situation down there but I usually go ealry nowadays to take advantage of their free parking lot.

                    Second, I would nix everything except Tei An.

                    I would go with Pecan Lodge if you can get in there.

                    If you have to have a taco which is probably a good idea since there are a severe lack of any in DC or the surrounding area I would go with La Banqueta or La Nueva Fresh and Hot. I am more of a tortilla guy myself so La Nueva is my ideal place, get both of the guiso tacos if you do go.

                    I would say it would be wise to hit up one of the Chinese (Royal Sichuan, North China or Little Sichuan), Vietnamese (La Me or Nam Hua) or even Thai (Bambu). I have posts on just about all of these places.

                    If you want something besides tacos then head for Mesa in Oak Cliff. Nice Veracruz style preparations.

                    I would second the recommendation for Driftwood. Been once but I have been dreaming about it since.

                    If you can afford the hike to north Plano then by all means head to Chennai Cafe. Best southern Indian I have had locally.

                    Let us know if you need the websites!

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder
                      Dallas Alice Oct 22, 2012 02:00 PM

                      Note that Pecan Lodge -- which has the best barbeque in town, most folks agree -- is only open for lunch on Thurs - Sun, from 11:00 - 3:00. It is in Shed 2 at the farmers market downtown. There is always a long line.

                      1. re: Dallas Alice
                        twinwillow Oct 22, 2012 02:38 PM

                        Yeah, thanks to Guy Fieri's Triple D there's always a line now.
                        But it is, the BEST BBQ in Dallas!

                      2. re: LewisvilleHounder
                        twinwillow Oct 22, 2012 02:44 PM

                        Remember, you DO NOT have to feed the parking meters on weekdays during the daytime. Just on weekend days and evenings!

                      3. dacfood Oct 28, 2012 12:33 PM

                        I had another great week of food in Dallas. Thanks to the group for all your suggestions.

                        The first night I went to Nonna. I had the five course pasta tasting menu. Every course was really good and the course sizes were just right so I wasn't stuffed at the end; in fact I had the semifreddo for dessert which was very good. The third course, a ravioli with a sauce that included wagyu short ribs that was fantastic.

                        The second night I went back to Fearings. I had the tortilla soup which was just as good as last time. For a main course I had the tenderloin with "chicken fried lobster" - quite the surf and turf. The beef was cooked perfectly and the lobster was very light and tender. My cousin had the bone in rib eye with the corn bread pudding and asparagus. He said it was all perfect and followed the waiter's suggestion of going easy with the corn bread pudding as it's very rich and overall a lot of food. For dessert I had the chocolate mousse bomb. This was one of the best desserts I've had. Ever. Once again the service was perfect even though we were sitting outside (luckily Dallas hadn't gotten cold yet) and their were two large parties filling up the entire inside of the restaurant.

                        The next night was Tei-An. The menu was extensive and we spent a long time struggling to figure out what to pick among the many great potential choices. In the end we took the easy way out and ordered the smaller omakase. This was supposed to be 4 or 5 courses but ended up as 7. A further nice surprise was the first two courses were ones I would have ordered anyway: the white seaweed salad and the pork shumai. Both were fantastic. The rest of the courses were great as well. Specific standouts were the sashimi, assorted sushi rolls, soba noodles, and slices of wagyu beef that you dipped in a sauce and cooked on a heated flat rock. Service here was also perfect.

                        The last night we kept it simple and went to the Angry Dog for their chili dogs. Not fancy but a really fun place and a great chili dog. I didn't find the free lot but I knew to bring quarters and parked at a meter right around the corner. It was a fun change of pace with plenty of screens to watch Thursday football. The wait staff was fun too and like dogs resembling their owners they resembled the name of the place (though were really welcoming). I'm pretty sure I spent less on the entire meal than I spent on a single glass of wine at Fearings but worth it in both cases. :)

                        We finished up work early on Friday and had plenty of time before the flight out to grab lunch. There was no real question about going back to Fearings. I had the tempura tuna roll for an appetizer - really really good, and the red snapper for main course - very good as well. My coworker had the "street" tacos with avocado fries. He said the tacos were excellent and the avocado fries, which we both thought might be kind of strange, were also excellent. I was struggling over dessert because I was torn between the chocolate mousse again and trying something different; namely the apple dump cake. I asked the server about the apple cake but in the end decided I could not pass up the chocolate. The server said she'd try and bring me a taste of the apple dump cake. The "taste" turned out to be an entire complimentary dessert. Both were really good but, like I said before, the chocolate mousse bomb with the roasted marshmallow ice cream and fried pies is simply the best.

                        I was really happy with all the meals (especially with per diem giving a "discount"). Over the two weeks I found Dallas to be full of great fun places to eat and I look forward to coming back some day.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dacfood
                          twinwillow Oct 28, 2012 01:31 PM

                          Thank you for reporting back with a successful and enjoyable dining visit!

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