NYer coming to Dallas for the first time.
Having been to NYC I would say Mexican, Vietnamese, BBQ and maybe Thai were under represented in NYC.
I would probably go with La Me or Nam Hua for an excellent authentic meal.
La Me I would go for more of the grileld items such as bun cha Ha Noi (grilled pork three ways with noodles), any of the bun dishes (bun ga nuong cha gio - grill chicken with fried spring roll), Bun Bo Hue (spicy beef noodle soup)
Nam Hua is where you will find more interesting dishes like banana flower salad, lotus root salad (which would be my choice - tell them no fish mint (diep Ca) or vietnamese coriander (rau ram) without trying it first), banh xeo - vietnamese crepe
I would recommend a stop at Bambu and order solely from the blackboard. You can call them and tell them you will be in town and they just might make you something special, not on any menu. I rpvoded pictures of Miang Kam - a street snack of wild betel leaves, palm sugar paste, peanuts and dried shrimp, Issan grilled sausage, and Nam Tod (fermeted sausage salad)
Mexican I would either go to Mesa, Komali, Tortilleria La Nueva Fresh and Hot or Taqueria La Banqueta.
BBQ I would just go to The Slow Bone for brisket and sides.
If it were me, I would want to focus on items that are better in Dallas compared to NY. With that in mind, I'd suggest the following:
Tex-Mex - Specifically I always like Mia's for their brisket tacos. Others disagree. Either way, you should get tex-mex as Rosa Mexicana and Dos Caminos are horrible.
Mexican - Go get tacos. Taqueria Banqueta is exceptional, especially the suadero.
BBQ - Pecan Lodge (brisket specifically) is amazing. Only lunch through. People are getting excited about Slow Bone though I haven't been. You could also consider Lockhart BBQ in Bishop Arts.
Vietnamese - Garland and Carrollton (two suburbs) have the best Vietnamese food. Pho Bang is one of the better places for Pho. Saigon Block for Viet style catfish. La Me for most non-pho soups.
Cajun - Not sure when you're coming but if it's in the next couple weeks you'll catch the tail (pun intended) end of crawfish season. Boiling Crab is the best but prepare to wait a couple hours.
Ethiopian - Ibex is great as is lallibela. I just tried a new place, Gojo, which was pretty good and it had chechebsa which is hard to find.
re: Jon G
Jon G is right on. Mesa is a "must do"!
Owned and operated by the wonderful Reyes family. Serving the delicious foods of Veracruz, Mexico.
Great drinks too. Have the ceviche & duck mole' if you go.
And, I'm an old ex-New Yorker as well.