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Jul 30, 2013 09:28 AM

Foodie FUN birthday

We just moved to Dallas from NJ and are living in uptown in the State and Thomas neighborhood. My husband's 33rd birthday is coming up this weekend. We LOVE to eat good food but he also loves a people-watching bar scene. Suggestions would be appreciated for a fun but delicious birthday dinner. Any neighborhood is fine and any type of food and cost. I was looking at Lucia, Nonna, Driftwood, Spoon, etc. but want something with a cool, trendy, fun vibe as well as good food (we don't get out much so this will be our big night out! Lol).

Also, if anyone has suggestions on good anytime dinners in my area, I'd love to hear about them. I've read some of the posts about Private Social, the tapas restaurant in the S+T neighborhood, pizza places. But would love more!!


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  1. Lucia is would need reservations especially for a weekend.

    Driftwood would be a good option but I am not sure how the people watching would be. I usually hit up early evening and such as my wife and I have a small child. The food and service is very good.

    I have yet to go to Spoon but it is high on my list. Not so sure about the bar scene at Spoon but Preston Center is making a come back as a destination dinner spot (Hopdoddy, Spoon and Blue Plate Kitchen). It would not be as lively as Greenville Ave, Park Lane, or Uptown/Lakewood.

    I would say on of the Neighborhood Services would be a good bet on pretty straightforward cuisine but also have good people watching.

    I am not sure how the food is at Nosh since they recently had a chef change, not sure if Avner went back into the kitchen?

    Fearings would be another spot with lively bar scene and great food. I am not really into Dean Fearing's cuisine but someone new to the city might enjoy it. I went for dessert and rank it below the desserts that Omar Flores is making at Driftwood.

    I tend to shy away from the crowds and focus on the food and service only.

    I would opt for going all out at, say Royal Sichuan (Sichuan style Chinese) or La Me/Nam Hua (Vietnamese) for an inexpensive but delicious meal and be gorged maybe even have some leftovers. I would then hit up one of the cocktail bars or beer bars (not sure which you are into). If would opt for awesome drinks and food and not make any comprimises on both since you don't get out much.

    Will you have means of transportation?

    4 Replies
    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

      Yep pretty much dead on. Any of the Neighborhood Services or a place like Central 214/Bolsa/Nosh/FT33 (in other words a restaurant with an open kitchen) would be good to consider. Outside of American food, you should also look at Tei Tei on Knox/Henderson.

        1. re: LewisvilleHounder

          I meant to say I disagreed with somebody else. Your review I think is spot on except Fearings is good but not worth recommending. I am doing this at work while boss is not looking

          1. re: LewisvilleHounder

            Is Royal Sichuan the best "chinese" food in your opinion?
            I don't know chinese food in Dallas so I need the help.

          2. Lucia, Nonna, Driftwood, Spoon all have great food, but I'd say they tend to have an older, less trendy crowd.

            I agree on FT33, Neighborhood services, and Fearings.

            I'd add:
            Lark on the Park
            Cedars Social
            Pak Pao

            FYI - Private Social is no longer in business.

            I've really enjoyed Si Tapas the most out of all the ones in the area (food wise, not people watching).

            3 Replies
            1. re: Webra1

              Fearings is great but it's everyday dining for a foodie.

              1. re: neilmcginnis

                But someone coming from say NJ might enjoy Fearings. Yes, you might think it is everyday food just like high end Italian in NJ is everyday food for them.

                1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                  Personally I believe good taste is universal and is not prejudiced to your place of origin. : )
                  Keep in mind this person declared themselves a FOODIE and that is the basis for my recommendations. As a foodie i was bored with Fearings, despite the fact that the food was good, and this is why I call it everyday dining, it had nothing to do with the type of food served or the area of the country in which I live.

            2. Thank you all so much for the suggestions! I agree with you all about good food and caring less about atmosphere usually... This is just a different type of evening! Yes, we have a car so can travel anywhere! I will look into all these places and let you know where we ended up.

              1. The Meddlesome Moth is the most interesting "bar" that I have seen so far in Dallas that you can still relax at. Try the fried sweetbreads and also the bacon lollipop. I normally eat light but this is so good you will be thanking me. They also make drinks almost worthy of a master mixologist.

                Spoon Bar & Kitchen \
                If you order the right dish then the food is amazing. I have dined in Dallas' finest restaurants and the truffle dishes here rival any I have had. I almost did not go here based on one persons review and i would have missed out on a few perfect plates. The place is very expensive but I do not regret going at all.
                Order the Truffle and Oyster soup it was FLAWLESS. Truffled penne pasta was surprisingly wonderful. Hudson Valley Foie Gras very good but much better at "Abacus". My mother had the seared fish and we agreed it was very boring. Beet salad was great and beautiful but it's a little healthy for me : )

                1. I respectfully disagree with all of LewisvilleHounders suggestions.. lol. Central 214 is WAY overpriced and not as good as Abacus. Bolsa looks cute but not for a birthday. If you want something Amazing try the seared foie gras at Abacus.

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: neilmcginnis

                    FYI I did not recommend Central 214 or Bolsa. Is there any other dishes you would recommend at Abacus besides foie gras?

                    1. re: LewisvilleHounder

                      Yea sorry i got you confused with someone else. The Black truffle risotto is amazing... But yea honestly I would go for the foie gras alone since it's as good as it gets. Full disclosure it has been like 2 years since I have been but i can see they are still doing the foie gras.