The opening of Potato Flats, Phil Romano's potato-centric restaurant at Trinity Groves, gives the potato the attention and respect it deserves. It offers potatoes in regular or sweet, baked or fried, with toppings such as vegetables, meat or cheese. A typical special is the "Thanksgiving potato," with turkey, gravy, roasted carrots, peas, corn and cranberry relish.
Every restaurant should make potatoes the center of its world. And Dallas restaurants have been squarely behind that idea, be it Snuffer's cheese fries or Tillman's Roadhouse signature trio of fries. For our July chapter of where to eat, we single out some of the best state-of-the-art potato dishes in Dallas.
Pecan Lodge: Hot Mess
When everyone else was doing sweet potato fries, this top-ranked barbecue spot featured a big baked one instead. The Hot Mess is a jumbo sea salt-crusted sweet potato, topped with shredded brisket, Southwestern seasoning, chipotle cream, cheese, butter and green onions.
Trinity Hall Pub: Shepherd's pie
As an Irish pub, Trinity Hall is almost required to have potatoes on the menu. Its traditional shepherd's pie is a casserole served in a cute one-serving ceramic dish, with ground beef, carrots, peas and gravy capped with a thick layer of mashed potatoes and melted cheese.
Off-Site Kitchen: French fries
Chef Nick Badovinus' casual burger joint boasts some of — if not the best — French fries in Dallas. They're cut to a medium thinness from russet potatoes, with skins still on. They're fried to a golden brown color, crisp but not dried out, and tossed in a seasoned salt laced with just enough garlic to add some mellow depth.
Lucia: Potato gnocchi
The menu at this Bishop Arts jewel changes regularly but almost always has a potato gnocchi of one kind or another. One week it might be tossed with Texas tomato sauce and basil; another week, it might be accompanied by squash and charred radicchio. What it will always be is made in-house to a texture that's gentle yet firm. There is possibly no better way to eat your potatoes.
Maple & Motor: Tater tots
Funky burger joint does a tongue-in-cheek side of tater tots but executes them skillfully with a good crunch on the exterior and tender potato inside. You can also get them loaded, a la Snuffer's, with cheddar cheese, chopped bacon, jalapeños, ketchup and a touch of ranch.
Andalous Mediterranean Grill: Batata salad
Mediterranean cafeteria-style restaurant comes from brothers Sam and Wassim Merched, who are related to the Fadi's chain. Their "batata" salad is a fresh, Middle Eastern twist on potato salad featuring a mix of potatoes, including russets and red jackets, cubed and simmered, then tossed in an olive oil dressing with garlic, green onion, lemon juice and fresh mint.
FT33: Smoked potatoes appetizer
Design District restaurant featuring the culinary ramblings of chef Matt McCallister has become known for, of all things, an appetizer featuring potatoes. McCallister takes fingerling potatoes and smokes them, then combines them with maitake mushrooms and a spicy mayo, with an assembly on the plate that's as pretty to look at as it is to eat.
Max's Wine Dive: Breakfast pizza
Forget the pepperoni; forget the mozzarella cheese. One pizza topping that is criminally under-used is potato. Max's comes to the rescue with its breakfast pizza, featuring Spanish chorizo, habañero-tomato salsa, eggs, cheese and — ta-da — potato. The only problem: It's served at brunch only, Friday through Sunday. Potato on pizza should be served every day and night.
San Salvaje: Causa limeña classico
Chef Stephan Pyles' new Latin restaurant offers a spin on a distinctive potato dish that's a Latin American staple. The causa limeña classico is a creamy tower of potatoes, topped with spicy shrimp and a surprise inside: a soft-cooked quail egg, whose yolk runs when you cut into it.
The Lot: Yuca fries
We're kind of cheating here, because yuca is not a potato. Obviously. But the yuca fries at The Lot are the best non-potato fries you'll find in Dallas. They're cut extra-thick, like logs, and the contrast between their lightly crunchy shell and soft starchy interior is divine.
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