If you’ve ever spent any time with me, it’s well known that I take food and wine very seriously. Just about every time I travel people ask for places they should visit. The only thing I read about more than food, is digital marketing.
With the great state of search in town, it would be a travesty if I didn’t put a few recommendations together for places to visit. I’ve tried to mention places that are open Monday and Tuesday, as lots of places do take off Monday.
Steak and Wine = Success
If you think want to have some of the best beef-centric experiences in dallas I have two recommendations. If you want the best overall experience head to SER at the hilton anatole. They do both “new school” and classic steaks and prepare them perfectly. However what really sets them apart is the overall scene of the restaurant. It sits atop the Anatole with a fantastic view of Dallas’ neon skyline. The combination of superb beef, great service and one of the best views in town is hard to beat.
For meat purists, however, it’s hard to beat Knife. Chef John Tesar overlooks a very impressive meat aging cellar and produces some of the most amazing steaks I’ve sampled. They have several versions of steak tartar alone. There’s a bacon tasting available. The bad news, or good news depending on your perspective is that the best steaks are so large they are best shared between two. They’ll cut it to keep the awkwardness to a minimum if you’re not there with a date. They don’t settle battles over if the split of the meat is fair, so watch for flying forks.
Knife also has one of the more interesting wine lists in the area. While they carry the heavy Cabernet Sauvignon that’s steak houses need, they deviate into more unusual labels and buffet it with some alternative varietals. It’s a great place to get some advice from the sommelier and find something quite new to experience.
Too Cool for School
A new and very hot entrant to the dining scene is STIRR. Yes those are two Rs. STIRR is the kind of place that works to get every detail to the poshest level. They have a fantastic burger with brisket and bacon ground together, a mixed drink menu that is super impressive and a cleverly designed dining room that looks modern and approachable. The killer feature is a rooftop bar that’s far too cool for a frumpy 40-something like myself. It’s worth checking out for the view and the atmosphere.
One of the names best associated with elevating Dallas dining is Stephan Pyles. He’s had restaurants come and go over the years, but whatever he does, he does with a finesse that’s hard to deny. His eponymous restaurant recently closed, to give way to Flora Street Cafe. His other restaurant in town, Stampede 66, is not one to be forgotten for the new one. Stampede specializes in taking southwest foods to new heights. The restaurant is adorned with a 50 foot or so long rattlesnake sculpture and a wall of some large ranch brands.
The food at Stampede is outstanding. I’m a fan of the Wild Boar Tamales which add a depth of flavor and slight gaminess to the familiar pork tamale formula. The short ribs are beyond tender with rich beefy character that’s quite memorable. Not much misses here, no matter if you want tacos or a huge ribeye.
New Southern is fantastic
A trio of restaurants have recently opened in the area with a focus on taking southern classics in new directions. I’ll not describe Ida Clare more than it’s fantastic name, because it’s fairly far from downtown, but I can’t ignore the two gems that are Filament and Wayward Sons
Filament is the brainchild of Matt McCallister, whose first restaurant FT33, I consider one of Dallas finest. Filament is far more approachable and familiar in its flavors. Items like Shrimp and Grits and grilled chicken at first blush might seem almost pedestrian. In McCallister’s deft hands they become far more, however, with a sharpness in execution and fresh presentations that jump off the plate. While no longer on the menu, a chicken thigh sandwich on a fresh biscuit was an extraordinary dish. A crisp crust on the chicken made the rich juicy thigh seem velvety. Every flavor was just dialed in.
Wayward Sons is Graham Dodds foray into farm to table and new southern. Start off a meal with bundt batter bread and fresh jam that’s as rich and decadent as can be. The mains like smoked lamb brisket take familiar techniques to new meats. The flavor here isn’t over smoked, but balances out the lamb’s rich flavor nicely without covering it up. A personal favorite is the blackened redfish. It has a red pepper jelly that sweetens up the slight bitterness of the coating spices.