Planning on visiting my brother in a couple weeks and wanted to see what's in Dallas these days. My bro is fairly adventerous but needs a little guidence on the ways of the world. He lives by Greenville and Mockingbird. Looking for good cheap food in that area or within 10-15 minutes. Will try anything.
I will also scan the older posts but am putting this up out of uter laziness.
1. Ali Baba. I believe it's closed Sundays. Owned by Syrians. As good as some places I've eaten in the Middle East.
My favorite dishes: Start with a mazza or mixed appetizer salads, plus a plate of falafel balls, plus hot sauce on the side. Ask them for extra pita as soon as they bring the first batch of pita. Also get a side order of fava beans, as these are tasty and not often found on the menu.
Main course: Either roast chicken, which comes with a fabulous garlic puree and rice. Or, lamb (or beef) kabab, also with rice.
Oh, this is a great place to eat.
2. Baker's Ribs. Well regarded. Haven't eaten there enough to say.
3. Texas Hamburger. Nobody writes about this place. It's near Industrial Boulevard, which is just west of downtown. Cheesy warehouse-type district. I think on Market Center Blvd. Go Mon to Fri, lunchtime. Get there just before or just after lunch, as it gets busy. Dishes to get are the burgers and the fries. Onion rings are good too. But the trick is to get a burger (or cheeseburger) that's right off the grill. So order it medium rare ( or rare, if you like rare). That way they'll cook it to order, instead of giving you one that was reheated. Grilled onions on top are nice, too. The fries will be great if they are hot. If not, ask them for hot ones.
4. Treebeard's downtown, but that's in Houston, too.
5. I've never eaten at Vietnamese places that compare to the ones in Houston.
I've said it before and I'll say it again. Mai's at Fitzhugh and Bryan for Viet Namese. BYOB. Inexpensive and delicious. Try the Clay Pot dishes, or really anything. Across the street, get some porchetta and provolone from Jimmy's Grocery to take home for sandwiches. I was disappointed in their bread though. The ciabbattini from Whole Foods are best for these sandwiches. No mayo.
Back on Greenville, Ali Baba is good for Middle Eastern and cheaper than Izmir. Maybe not as good though, I have not been to Izmir. And the rice at Ali Baba is hella salty so be advised. The gyros is good and the mashwi shish is good. The grilled veggies are delicious although not exotic at all. People rave about the roast chicken too.
Also on Greenville you will find Gloria's. It's a little tiny chain of three or four units (the original is in Oak Cliff) and it acts a little like a chain but not much. The food is Salvadoran/Tex Mex and good, and a good value. The tamal has a delicate, puddinglike masa that you just don't see every day. And it's right next door to Starbucks!
Snuffer's is a Dallas institution for burgers. I don't see what the big deal is. John's Cafe is another institution. I almost went there last night and that's how I know that they close at five on weekdays. They have an okay counter-service breakfast that is way cheap. Another cheap breakfast is the Gold Rush Cafe on Skillman. The John Wayne is pretty good. A lot of musicians and such hipsters eat there but if you get up in the morning you can beat that rush.
re: john clark
I second Mai's and Ali Baba. Ali Baba's gyros are great. Also, for more Chowhoundish exploration, be sure to stop by the Mediterranean grocery store next door and the English food store up the block. I defy anyone in town to find Egyptian hookah tobacco and black pudding sold in such close proximity!
By the way, John Scar, are you a dad yet?
My recommendations based on Mockingbird/Greenville area:
Mexican Food: Nuevo Leon on Greenville
BBQ: Baker's Ribs on Greenville, Peggy Sue's (near SMU) or Holy Smokes (on Hillcrest)
Thai: Royal Thai (on Greenville)
Breakfast: Cafe Brazil (on Central Expwy or on Abrams) or John's Table (Greenville Ave)
Middle Eastern: Cafe Izmir (on Greenville)
Bar Food: Greenville Ave Bar & Grill
I would also give strong consideration to La Duni (on McKinney Ave) for good food and good value. It is a combination of different latin cuisines. If you decide that you want upscale dining, Abacus, Lola and York Street are all within the 10-15 minutes that you mention. Enjoy your visit. Also, if you like Krispy Kreme donuts, there is one on Greenville pretty close to where you will be.
re: Dave R
Great list, Dave. I might add the deli at Whole Foods on Greenville, which has great, inexpensive lunch entrees. And Daddy Jack's, a little farther south (?) on Greenville, has great seafood. (Definitely DON'T go to Daddy Jack's on the North Tollway, but that's grist for another post someday.)
Of course, if you want to cross over Central Expressway and explore McKinney Ave. and the Knox/Henderson area, there are many, many more places to try. But you would need a couple of weeks to do that.
Been to Baker Ribs and Cafe Brazil like both. Have plenty of Krispy Kremes and Whole Foods in Houston. been to Daddy Jacks twice and had one good meal and another bad meal.
Might have to give Nueva Leon and La Duni a try.
Kirk what is real good on other side of freeway/Mckinney? I was under the impression I could get there in 15 minutes? Either way I am interested. I've been to a few of the places over there, anything exciting? Remember cheap is what we are looking for.
re: John Scar
Yes, you can get over to the other side of Central very easily.
Try Hola!, a Spanish tapas place on McKinney at Monticello. The tapas are very good, quite authentic, and pretty inexpensive ($4 - $7 each). They have a decent selection of wine by the glass, too, and bottles under $30. (I'll disclose that I am friends with the owner, but I became friends with him after eating enough of his tapas to know that this guy likes food and wine as much as I do.)
Further afield, The Original Market Diner at Harry Hines and Lucas is the traditional mom-and-pop eatery brought very close to perfection. It draws an ecclectic clientele -- surgeons from Parkland Hospital, symphony musicians on rehearsal break, guys from Al's Plumbing, retirees, Greek friends of the Greek owners. Pies, cakes and soups are made on the premises. A couple Greek and TexMex items on the menu, but it's the basics that draw customers -- fried steak, pot roast, breakfasts, and a killer cinamon roll.
Agree with Mia's for Mexican food in Dallas, on Lemmon Ave. There's a dish I think they call Sunset fajitas. It's their Sunset sauce. Cheesy and hot peppers. If the jalapenos or whatever peppers they put in there are running especially hot, it's firey and good.
Also, near SMU on Hillcrest Ave., is Bubba's. Counter service, for Southern breakfasts or fried chicken. Nearby, in the Snider Plaza shopping center, is Kuby's, a German retail (food) and restaurant. They make a lot of their own sausage and I remember it being very good. If you like fried chicken, Bubba's has a restaurant in Garland...I think called Babe's fried chicken. I don't think any of these places are open on Sunday.
re: Dave R
Great list Dave R. I'd add one for the Vegans out there or merely adventuresome. Just had dinner at Cosmic Cafe. They offer a nice variety of Indian-inspired dishes. Tonight: Hummus, Samosa Pappadam & Nan (Sufi Special). Cup of Tomato Dream soup. Mango Lassi.
The Tomato soup was excellent. Great, rich, deep tomato flavors with a strong (but not over-powering) rush of ginger, and delicate basil. It was piping hot, which is the only way soup should be served (except for the chilled variety). The Hummus was creamy with a hint of spice. And the Samosa lightly deep-fried with plenty of potato and peas to soak up the mint and tamarind chutney.
Finally, the Lassi was just slightly cooler than room temperature... not stark enough to conflict with the hot soup and just right to cool off the spices.
When you want a real change of dining pace in Dallas head here (on Oak Lawn). The decor is purposefully "colorful and cosmic". Upstairs there are dedicated meditation rooms.
2912 Oak Lawn Ave, Dallas, TX 75219