It was an exciting finish, but, in the end, Mot Hai Ba heroically seized the title of best new restaurant in Dallas 2013, according to our discriminating CultureMap readers.
This critically acclaimed East Dallas Vietnamese restaurant from chefs Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare raked in 35 percent of the votes. Savor came in second, capturing 21 percent. Plucky pizzeria Zoli's NY Tavern rounded out the top three, earning 10 percent of the votes.
The news broke in March that Johnson and O'Hare would take over the old York Street space to bring Dallas diners authentic dishes from North Vietnam as well as trendy banh mi and pho. Said our dining editor Teresa Gubbins back in May:
Foodies are flocking to this new Vietnamese restaurant in East Dallas. The banh mi sandwich, with choice of omelet, paté, grilled pork, grilled beef or tofu, is as good as it gets. Banana flower salad is spicy and complex. Pork belly and meatball with vermicelli — aw, you know what? Everything's good.
Savor is Dallas' mini-version of Tavern on the Green. The food's good, but even if it weren't, the atmosphere is magical, with its glitzy chrome columns, white vinyl banquettes and walls of glass that overlook the park. The menu is broad yet light, with sandwiches, salads and shareable appetizers such as the flatbread topped with duck, butternut squash, walnuts and Brussels sprouts leaves. Desserts come in mini-sizes for $3 each. At that price you can afford to try them all.
Other new restaurants in the running were Belly & Trumpet, CBD Provisions, Lark on the Park, Little Red Wasp, Pacific Table, Pakpao (which recently parted ways with its opening chef), Peak & Elm, Pepe's Ranch and Slow Bone.