Need one recommendation for Dallas based on these criteria
I don't need to have ALL of these elements, but if I'm looking for one dinner in the Dallas area, what comes to mind based on these criteria of what I enjoy:
- chef's counter for solo dining
- offal (totally omnivorous/adventurous)
- bold ingredient combinations
- ethnic influences
- use of pickling/fermentation
- desserts with savory elements
- non-pretentious (even a hole-in-the-wall would work)
For fine (but non-pretentious) dining, I'd suggest Lucia or FT33, both of which incorporate flavor and ingredient combinations that I'd classify as bold/interesting/adventurous - at least, as much as you see anywhere in Dallas. Although FT33 doesn't have a chef's counter, the bar is good for solo dining. Both do some pickling and charcuterie, and occasionally (but not always) offer offal-based dishes. Both incorporate savory elements into their desserts (more prominently at FT33). And I guess Italian (Lucia) is an ethnicity...
Tei An is another excellent option - in fact, it might fit more of your criteria than the other two places.
Tei An would fit all of these. The vibe is really nice, but it's not pretentious at all. You can walk in there wearing casual attire with no issue.
Sounds like a great premise for a new restaurant in Dallas.
I would agree with Gavlist and Air....Lucia, FT33 and Tei-An would all fit these requirements.
Oak is not the best match for the qualities you specified. It's a little more fancy/pretentious than the other places I mentioned. Maybe you'll see some sweetbreads there, but nothing crazy. I haven't been there in a while, but when they opened there definitely weren't any house-made pickles or charcuterie. And the desserts are good, but were mostly standard sweet-stuff (although I see now that they have a dessert that contains blue cheese -- so maybe?). They do have a bar, where you could dine solo - and you could argue that the octopus & pork jowl dish was pretty bold, but aside from that, I didn't find the flavors terribly adventurous.
I'd say Teppo is a great place for some of the things you're looking for. Their specialty is yakitory and they got beef tongue, meat balls dipped in raw quail egg, and many other things.
I haven't been to Lucia yet but disagree about FT33. I just had dinner there a couple of weeks ago and the food, while good, wasn't imaginative nor interesting. It was boring at best.
Nonna has an amazing pasta with a ragu made out of beef tongue. It is really amazing.
For offals and other non-traditional meats, you might also want to try the Chinese restaurant next to the 99 Ranch Market in Allen. They got everything from pig ears to intestines, chicken feet, etc. However, you might want to go with someone who speaks mandarin or Cantonese as menu was only in chinese last time I was there.
99 Ranch in Plano off Spring Creek? Which side was this Chinese restaurant on left or right?
I believe you might be referencing Sichuanese, the second newer and better location. And yes they do have offal, pickles, bold ingredient combos and ethnic influences but they do not have a chef's counter nor savory desserts.
I believe the poster might be looking for a Roberta's/Blanca type place but not sure.
If he/she is looking for a ethnic place that serves up offal/pickles in the area that encompasses a good majority of the requests then I could post a few more options.
Thanks for these initial ideas. I already had Tei-An on the list, so glad to see that reaffirmed. Will look at Lucia. I'm coming from a place with a lot of small Chinese restaurants and izakayas, so I'm glad to know there are places in Dallas, but looking for something different.