For those who like to eat out at restaurants and keep up with the dining scene, those activities possess a bit of the sporting element. Following the careers of Dallas chefs can feel like tracking athletes, as they move from appointment to appointment, jockeying for better positions with every move. All we need are baseball cards.
This summer, the theme is chefs on the move, which we tally up in this edition of where to eat.
Deep Ellum Brewing Co.
Witnessing an increasing interest in onsite grub, Dallas' pioneering brewery built a kitchen and opened a cafe in the spring. Its menu has cheese boards, salads, sandwiches, pizzas, tacos, and a category you won't find anywhere else: tots. In addition to plain tater tots, you can get them "loaded" like a baked potato, with sour cream, bacon, green onion, and a special extra of mac and cheese. Or get the Frito pie version, topped with chili and crumbled Fritos. Or the elotes tots: topped with cotija, Parmesan, mayo, corn, cayenne, chili powder, and lime, and for $3 extra, pulled pork.
Carrollton sushi place is a hidden gem starring "Chef Charlie," aka Charlie Yun, who was previously head chef at Little Katana Blackship in the Omni Dallas hotel downtown, and who was previously in northern California, where he owned a couple of sushi spots. While the location isn't much to speak of, Yun's dedication to quality extends to touches such as making soy sauce in-house and offering telltale little carvings that give a clue to his carving skills. Sushi rolls are a high point, served in generous quantity and at a low price.
After a prosperous debut, this French-Mexican restaurant — which was a finalist for Best New Restaurant in the 2016 CultureMap Tastemaker Awards — has new chef David Fingerman replacing Julio Peraza, who left to spend time with his family. Fingerman was most previously executive chef at Graham Elliot Bistro in Chicago and was at one time a production assistant for The Rachel Ray Show. Celebrity! His new menu items include pork chop with potato puree, tomatillo relish, and housemade pasilla bordelaise; and a yummy-sounding dessert, horchata pot-au-crème with rice milk, toasted almonds, and piloncillo.
Milk + Cream
New Greenville Avenue shop makes a different kind of sandwich: a "milk and cream bun," where ice cream is stuffed into the middle of a large, dense doughnut-like bun, which is then pressed in a machine that heats the outside but keeps the ice cream cold. Milk n' Cream will also sell ice cream by the scoop, without the bun if that's the way you want it. There'll be seasonal and holiday flavors, and non-dairy ice cream options, as well. If all goes according to plan, they'll open August 13.
Oak Cliff coffee spot has netted the talented Anastacia Quinones of Kitchen LTO, Alma, and Cafe Momentum fame to ramp up its dinner menu and expand the dessert program. Some of the new dishes she's introduced include warm spinach salad with peaches, candied pepitas, and poached egg; and a pretty Texas watermelon and heirloom tomato salad with Pachi Pachi goat cheese and pecan pesto. Desserts include blueberry bread pudding and strawberry-basil semifreddo with lemon shortbread, like an upscale ice cream sandwich.
Pyramid Restaurant & Bar
Restaurant at the storied Fairmont Hotel has a new chef de cuisine in Brandon Drew, most recently sous chef at the Four Seasons' Cafe on the Green, where he'd worked since 2009. Drew will carry on the hotel's emphasis on local, which includes the 3,000-square-foot herb and vegetable garden on the rooftop terrace. His menu includes cantaloupe gazpacho, rabbit rillettes, pork and apples, shrimp and grits, squash pasta, bone-in rib-eye, and beef filet.
New Vietnamese restaurant replaces downtown Dallas restaurant Pho Colonial, which closed in June. There will still be pho, in regular and vegetarian versions, as well as bubble tea and banh mi sandwiches at lunch. But chef Long Nguyen has expanded the menu with Vietnamese regional favorites such as grilled pork with pickled young mango. For now, the game plan is to open August 12, with late-night hours: until midnight Sunday through Wednesday, and until 3 am on the weekends.
Stephan Pyles' Texana restaurant has chef action with the hire of Kevin Watson as sous chef. Watson has local ties: He attended El Centro Community College and worked at Belo Mansion, Wolfgang Puck Catering, Kent Rathbun's Blue Plate Kitchen, Abacus, Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck, and Neighborhood Services, plus he did three years at the Omni Amelia Island Plantation in Florida. He'll not only cover Stampede 66's menu but also four signature dishes from Stephan Pyles' eponymous restaurant, which closed in April: bone-in cowboy rib-eye with onion rings, tamale tart with garlic custard and peekytoe crab, Caesar salad with jalapeño polenta croutons, and heaven and hell cake.
Whisk Crepes Cafe
Sylvan Thirty crepe shop encourages you to not only do crepes in the morning but to return and do crepes in the evening, accompanied by a glass of rosé. The rosé list from owner Julien Eelsen includes a pick from his parents' home of St. Tropez. Wednesdays are the night to do it, as rosé options are half-off. Rosé pairs with crepes savory or sweet, be it a crepe with prosciutto, fig, Parmesan, hazelnuts, arugula, honey, and balsamic; or one with cinnamon apples drizzled with house-made caramel and toasted pecans.
With former executive chef David McMillan having flown the coop — moved to Virginia with his lady love, he did — Bird Cafe has a new executive chef in Scott Curtis, who has been sous chef since the Fort Worth spot opened in Sundance Square in 2013. A graduate of the Art Institute of Colorado in culinary arts, he also worked at Meddlesome Moth, plus a number of Four Seasons properties in Denver, Vail, Seattle, Whistler, and Vancouver. His influence can be seen on the summer menu, in dishes that include chicken-fried sweetbreads, grilled quail, branzini, and bone-in pork chop.