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Aug 15, 2013 11:21 AM

Parents in town for a week...

Ok, troops... So, another not-so-straightforward question...

My parents are coming to visit me in Dallas. They've never been here. They LOVE to eat (just not the way I love to eat). They're in their 70's, very old-fashioned when it comes to food. My mom loves a great eggplant parm and spaghetti dish and my dad, well, wherever he gets a big dish for a good "deal"! They don't care about fancy atmosphere (to my mom, a crowd means it's a good restaurant) and wouldn't know what molecular gastronomy is. They certainly won't touch sweetbreads or anything crazy but they also like authentic...

Having said all that, where are some good, down to earth, basic great food places?? I am definitely taking them to Pecan for lunch and was thinking maybe Smoke one night and La Banqueta. Maybe El Fenix.

I know- another foodie but not so foodie question... :)

PS- my husband was sick the night of his test so we didn't end up using our resies at SP or Abacus... We'll try again soon...

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  1. We'll also be in Fort Worth for a night... Any spots tourist love with the western feel that still has decent food??

    Sorry, hardcore foodies- I know this is a tough one...! :)

    6 Replies
    1. re: jmarx

      If you happen to be in Fort Worth during the week (Tuesday through Friday) you might want to try Nonna Tata. It's a good example of pretty straightforward "red sauce italian". Cool place, and good quality.

      In Dallas, how about Neighborhood Services? The food is really good and very approachable without being either boring or pretentious. And, certainly at the Lover's location, there's always a crowd. (in fact, you might have to wait for a table... worth considering).

      Pecan Lodge - I assume you're aware of the long lines. Are your parents up for a 2 hour wait? If not, you could consider Slow Bone or Lockhart as alternatives. Similarly, with Banqueta - I haven't actually been to the current location, but I'm under the impression that there's not much in the way of seating.

      1. re: gavlist


        Yes, fully aware of the lines... That's part of what gets my mom excited! It must be "the BEST" with lines like that! LOL

        1. re: jmarx

          also... if you want something more "western" feeling in Ft. Worth, you could try Lonesome Dove or Reatta. I found Reatta to be a bit meh... but it did have a western (but upscaleish) feel. Haven't tried Lonesome Dove.

          I've also had some pretty tasty stuff at Woodshed Smokehouse. Not everything was great but there were definitely some good dishes. Others here (Lewisvillehounder, for instance) have cited poor experiences... so opinions vary.

        2. re: gavlist

          I second nonna tata, everything is made from scratch, pastas, breads, sauces, desserts, salad dressings, ect...Can't go wrong there. Even the simple dishes are amazing.

          But honestly I'd go for Bonnell's or Lomesome dove for a Texas experience in cuisine.

          1. re: burntcremebrulee

            I was about to suggest Lonesome Dove. You can get straight-up food there, as well as more interesting things. Rodeo Goat is a great burger place in FW ... take a look at the menu & see what you think. Decor is fun.

            Bonnell's has a lot of game and other exotica on the menu. I have found that less adventurous eaters can get freaked out by that menu. The cornbread is great, as is the caramelized banana sundae. They do sous vide, but don't mention it on the menu.

            You can make dinner reservations at Smoke, as you probably know.

            I think Babe's is a great idea.

        3. As for your barbecue places I would probably but two alternate places on the list, The Slow Bone and Work in Deep Ellum. These are good backups for both Pecan Lodge (line might be crazy) and Smoke (might not want to wait).

          I have yet to be blown away by any dish at Smoke and I have been for lunch and brunch so I have had a mix of both menus. I will be honest I have yet to go to Work but it has been high on my list over the past few weeks. From the looks of their FB page it looks like they do the brisket and ribs very good justice. I have been three times to The Slow Bone and have been pleased with the brisket each time. The sides are also very good!

          I would take them to Hopdoddy (better beef flavor and great fries) or Haystack (great char and good size portion) for a great burger and a chance to sample local beers (if they are into that). The special burgers at Hopdoddy are usually a win too. I had an awesome smoked quail burger. Yes both of these are worth going.

          How long are they going to be in town? What kind of ethnic food do they eat if any? What part of the metroplex do you want to stay in?

          2 Replies
          1. re: LewisvilleHounder

            Agreed on Smoke's dinner menu. Incredibly overrated. I like their lunch a lot.

            I would recommend Babe's per your requirements.

            1. re: LewisvilleHounder

              I liked Work, but felt they're charging too much and could go to Lockhart or Pecan Lodge instead. Still have yet to have a good experience at Slow Bone by the way.

            2. It's a chain, but you might want to check out Texas de Brazil (Dallas or Fort Worth, though I like the Fort worth one better) also. Endless meats with a decent salad bar. My favorite cut there is the Picanha.

              Also check out Salsa Fuego(Fort Worth) for a great unique Tex-mex experience, you wont regret it. Everything there is good.



              1. I'd suggest the weekend brunch buffet at Blue Mesa. Lots of food (and some of it is pretty decent) and there's usually a crowd.

                They may appreciate dinner at a classic steakhouse more than dinner at Smoke.

                You might think about stopping by Jimmy's for lunch. They have great meatball subs and I've heard their eggplant parm subs are good as well. It's a perfect spot to pick up ingredients for a special but easy pasta dinner at home as well. (Put a cooler in your car)

                1. Since you are thinking about Mexican, what about Mesa? I think the atmosphere is down to earth, can't ask for a better corn tortilla, and of course there's the mole ... if they're up for that, it doesn't get better. Believe they do it with a choice of chicken or duck now.

                  Went for a late brunch recently & they weren't at all busy, plied us with free drinks (OK, it was also my birthday--or the weekend before--I believe in a 12 days of Christmas kinda celebration ;)