If you stay on top of your Dallas-Fort Worth dining trends, you already have the big one memorized: fried chicken. But the thing about trends is that they're always changing. Fried chicken is already losing its crispness.
For that reason, we bring you the 10 newest trends we're watching, and the restaurant that embodies them best.
It seems like only yesterday we were predicting the 2017 poke trend. Since January 1, DFW has seen nearly a dozen restaurants dedicated to this Hawaiian raw fish dish served in a bowl with rice, fruit, and various sauces. It's like a froyo flashback. Leading the pack is Pok the Raw Bar, the West Village spot, which has both a central location and a former Nobu chef to give it an edge.
The Italian trend is still in its early stages. In fact, it's so nascent that it will surely merit a roundup in fall 2017, once Zoli's NY Pizza Tavern finally re-opens. But everyone's getting in on this, from big concepts such as Fox Restaurant Concepts' North Italia to indie spots such as Fachini, the Highland Park Village restaurant from chef Julian Barsotta. For now the uncontested winner is Sassetta, newly opened in the Design District from mogul Tim Headington, and one of the hottest restaurants in Dallas right now.
Henry's Majestic, the McKinney Avenue gastropub, was the pacesetter here when it opened a secret bar called Atwater Alley back in 2015. High & Tight Barbershop in Deep Ellum followed suit. The newbie is Prohibition Chicken, a restaurant-bar in Lewisville which serves a family-style menu of comfort food with Prohibition-era cocktails. Its speakeasy is located at the rear of the restaurant with access through a hidden door that is made to look like an old phone booth.
Skipping animals on your plate has been called one of the biggest national trends of 2017 and Dallas is in the swing of things, with locally-grown concepts like the pioneering Spiral Diner, El Palote Panaderia (home of the city's best vegan tacos), and V-Eats at Trinity Groves. But the place with the mojo right now is Flower Child, the Fox Restaurants Concepts' entry located at Inwood Village, whose mix-and-match bowls are having their magical effect on vegans and omnis alike.
Everyone's into wine these days. You see new wine bars like Orno, coming soon to Cedar Springs, and Detour, opening at the Legacy Food Hall in Plano. You see wine on tap, also a thing, at restaurants such as Savor at Klyde Warren Park and Pie Tap Pizza + Workshop, the new pizzeria chain. It's hard to top Sixty Vines, the spacious pizzeria in Plano from FrontBurner Restaurants, which has dozens of wines on tap, which you can order in a sip, a glass, or a bottle; and cool flights of all kinds.
This is where you order one insanely high-priced entree and split it for the table. Knife Dallas, the John Tesar steakhouse at the Highland Dallas hotel, blazed this trail, and it's in the game plan for Orno, the wine bar coming to Cedar Springs. The restaurant currently at the pinnacle of this trend is Town Hearth, Nick Badovinus' new eatery, where you can order a 45-ounce bistecca for $145, and everyone gets a slice.
We're not talking about patios; that's a whole 'nother listicle. These are the Austin-style sprawling backyard places like the Truck Yard on Greenville Avenue, where eating is but a side note to sitting around, having a beer, and getting all chill. Chicken Scratch/The Foundry started it, but the top dog has to be Dot's Hop House & Cocktails in Deep Ellum, which has masterfully transformed a couple of old buildings into a crazy outdoor space, with a chandelier to boot. It is one scene.
Beyond sushi, Dallas' quota of Japanese restaurants is unjustly low, aside from chef Teiichi Sakurai's One Arts Plaza noodle temple Tei An. But there are new restaurants bringing quirky and authentic concepts. Ikigai Udon is a Japanese noodle shop opening in Plano. Yayoi is an international chain serving Japanese fried chicken and comfort food. Sumo Shack, the sister restaurant to Wabi House, is now open in the former Banh Shop space, serving Katsu corndogs, Sumo fries, Japanese hot dogs, and steamed buns.
Quirky ice cream
A traditional scoop of ice cream is so dull, is it not? Ice cream surely needs a little something extra: to be pumped up with liquid nitrogen (see Creamery) or wedged inside a doughnut (see Milk Cream) or be a funny color (see Sweet Daze) or be soft (see Cow Tipping Creamery). The clear-cut winner in this category: Chills 360, the Deep Ellum ice cream shop which not only does its ice cream Thai-style, curled into rolls, but also does a version in black.
To be honest, toast is just here to make fun of. They're part of a bigger, lazy trend where people eat food they could easily make at home; it was pioneered by Remedy, the Greenville Avenue restaurant, now closed. That should be a lesson! Toasts on a menu are a red flag, telling you that you need to order something else, and that the restaurant is making a killing. Latest example: the avocado toast at Al Biernat's, which in true steakhouse style, they top with smoked salmon. Et tu, Al?