The 2013 rendition of Dallas-Fort Worth's Restaurant Week begins August 12, with 116 restaurants participating (not counting duplicate branches). Some have said this year's event lacks some of the bigger names in our local dining scene. Actually, that was us; we said that. But with more than 100 participants, there's plenty of options for a hungry diner.
Or are there? Curious about what's being served, we combed through the menus being offered, analyzing each course, dish by dish. We put those menus under the microscope, conducting a Madame Curie-like analysis. And we came up with some conclusions. Among them: If you like corn soup, gazpacho or Caesar salad, you're in luck.
Putting aside predictable staples such as house salad, salmon, pork and steak, we studied the menus meticulously to see if we could find some trends. These are some of the recurring items we noted:
- Corn soup
- Melon soup or melon salad
- Peach salad
- Steak tartare
- Caesars and wedges
- Hanger and flat-iron steak
It should be said that Restaurant Week is a fundraising event that helps fill restaurants during the slow month of August. With a few years under its belt, it's not going to be the most creative culinary event.
Below is a full list with each restaurant's menu, summarized succinctly. If you click on the restaurant name, it will take you to a link of its Restaurant Week menu.
We bolded the restaurants whose menus we found most interesting or expansive. We focused only on courses No. 1 (before the semi-colon) and No. 2 (after the semi-colon), skipping the dessert course unless there was something notable beyond the typical bread pudding or creme brûlée.
Some menus were not available online, including Fearing's, Hibiscus, Del Frisco's, Kenichi, Kenny's, Kirby's, Morton's, Nonna, Ruth's Chris, Stampede 66 and Suze.
To the menus!
III Forks takes a basic steakhouse approach: 1. salad, wedge or crab soup; 2. filet, trout or pork chop.
Abacus has one of the broader menus with 1. pot stickers, ravioli, scallop, calamari, gazpacho, wedge or baby greens salad; 2. cod, salmon, pork chop, duck breast, hanger steak or beef tenderloin.
Al Biernat's has a pretty good selection with 1. gazpacho, Caesar, arugula, escargot or steak tartare; 2. Wagyu steak, rigatoni with chicken and sausage, beef tenderloin, pork chop, redfish, short ribs or chicken.
Arcodoro feels fresh with 1. carpaccio salad, fried ravioli or bruschetta; 2. spaghetti with wild boar, polenta with sausage, risotto with mussels or chicken.
Arthur's has an old-school vibe with 1. soup, salad or crab cake; 2. snapper, salmon, pork chop, pasta primavera, rib-eye or tenderloin.
Asador has some key rends with 1. gazpacho, peach salad or tartare; 2. cobia, BBQ ribs, or veal cheek with pasta.
Belly & Trumpet has some foodie treats including 1. scallop, lamb carpaccio or eggplant; 2. hanger steak, halibut cheek or vegetable plate. Extra points for vegetarian option.
Bijoux has nice starters with 1. corn soup, arugula salad, butter lettuce wedge; 2. salmon, steak or risotto. Extra points for vegetarian option.
Bonnell's has limited choices with 1. salad or Caesar; 2. pork, quail or scallops.
Cadot travels to the beat of a different drum with 1. watermelon salad, escargot or Bibb lettuce; 2. chicken, tilapia, seafood crepes or flat-iron steak.
Cafe Pacific has some notably thoughtful items with 1. chilled zucchini soup (like gazpacho!), salad or baked goat cheese; 2. flat-iron steak, barramundi or scallops. Desserts include a black plum tart.
Canary By Gorji has a unique touch with 1. feta and pomegranates, scallops or escargot; 2. filet, lamb or Arctic char and shrimp. Desserts include a date and Turkish kefir butterfly.
Capital Grille goes classic steakhouse with 1. Caesar, field greens or clam chowder; 2. filet, sirloin, chicken, salmon or steak tournedos.
Central 214 has an abbreviated version of its regular menu with 1. Scotch egg, arugula salad, kale salad, melon salad or steak tartare; 2. pasta, redfish, chicken, hanger steak salad, bavette steak or goat ribs.
Chamberlain's Fish adds a dash of intrigue with 1. chowder, peach salad or sushi rolls; 2. filet mignon, shrimp, trout or pork chops.
Chamberlain's Steakhouse has intrigue, too, with 1. cantaloupe soup, tuna tacos, duck spring roll or a grilled romaine salad; 2. prime rib, flounder, pork chop or filet mignon. Desserts include a salted caramel chocolate lava cake.
Cook Hall has an unusual grazing menu with deviled eggs, snap peas or nachos; gnocchi, spicy shrimp or a duck taco; cauliflower, potato, or pimiento mac and cheese.
Culpepper Steakhouse surprises in a good way with 1. corn soup, brisket quesadilla or tomato salad; 2. filet mignon, pork loin, mahi mahi or smoked chicken leg. Desserts include a butterscotch pudding parfait.
Dakota's has a small menu with 1. field greens, Caesar or soup; 2. scallops, tenderloin or pork chop. Desserts include a butterscotch crème brûlée.
Dallas Chop House has at least two trends including 1. melon soup, steak tartare, Bibb lettuce or lobster agnolotti; 2. rib eye, surf and turf, sea bass or chicken.
Dallas Fish Market has some novelty with 1. Thai mussel soup, tuna carpaccio, frog legs or Caesar; 2. striped bass, halibut, hake or duck leg.
Del Frisco's Grille has an offbeat lineup with 1. tomato bisque, salad or wedge; 2. chicken schnitzel, veal meatloaf, sole or NY strip.
Dish has an abbreviated menu with 1. shishito peppers, lamb lollipops or crab dip; 2. skirt steak, scallops or chicken. Desserts include a salted caramel pudding.
Dragonfly shows its trendy savvy with 1. corn soup, Caesar or Asian green salad; 2. tenderloin, salmon, chicken or shrimp.
Eddie V's is simple and good with 1. wedge, Caesar or chowder; 2. sole, scallops or swordfish. No beef whatsoever! Desserts include butterscotch panna cotta.
Ferrari's has brisk action in the starters with 1. Caprese salad, Caesar, lamb ragu and burrata; 2. scallops, pasta with sausage, filet mignon and sea bass.
Five Sixty is exotic with 1. corn soup, lamb samosa, prawn dumplings or pork pot stickers; 2. salmon, pork kontaksu, short rib tagine or quail.
French Room combines trendiness with classicism with 1. corn soup, smoked salmon, pork belly or crab cake; 2. salmon, snapper, chicken or beef tenderloin. Desserts include Manjari chocolate dome.
Grace goes short and sweet with 1. fried oysters, tomato soup or peach salad; 2. filet mignon or branzini.
The Grape has basically its menu: mushroom soup, fried green tomatoes, charcuterie sampler and more. No burger though.
Grill on the Alley is right in line with the trends, with 1. a choice of gazpacho or wedge; 2. filet mignon, pork chop or salmon.
The Grotto has signatures including 1. potato soup or tomato salad; 2. lamb osso buco, strip steak or salmon.
Hannah's Off the Square is admirably edgy with 1. arugula salad, crab toast or soup; 2. scallops, duck or polenta with truffled cauliflower and fried eggplant Napoleon.
India West is definitely not run-of-the-mill with 1. lamb, tandoori bacon prawns or spinach chaat; and 2. chicken tikka masala, leg of lamb, or eggplant stuffed with cheese.
Jasper's has a whole bunch of shtuff to choose from: 1. crab cake, pork belly, corn soup (called "masa" soup), Caesar or greens; 2. trout, salmon, pork, chicken, ribs, flat-iron steak or filet.
Javier's has 1. a sampler, black bean soup, salad or cheese panela; 2. beef tenderloin, snapper or chicken.
Komali's goes understated with 1. soup, salad or croquettes; 2. chicken, flank steak or salmon.
Lawry's relies on its signatures including 1. spinning salad or tomato basil soup; 2. prime rib, salmon or pork ribs.
Lazaranda Mexican Kitchen has hefty options including 1. ceviche, osso buco or shrimp; 2. snapper, beef tenderloin or sea bass. Desserts include corn flan and chocolate-mango souffle.
Lonesome Dove has some standouts including 1. vegetable salad or peach salad; 2. duck, beef tenderloin or baked cod.
The Mansion on Turtle Creek has class with 1. gazpacho, sturgeon or tomato and eggplant; 2. chicken, Arctic char or pork shoulder.
Max's Wine Dive has an abbreviated version of its regular menu with many options, including its signature mac and cheese, chicken, oysters, and more.
Media Bar at the Anatole has 1. tomato salad, wedge or soup; 2. short ribs, chicken, or catch of the day.
Melting Pot has no choices, just a fixed-price menu with Caesar and a surf-and-turf fondue.
Meso Maya wins hearts with an extra pre-course of guacamole or queso poblano, then 1. a salad; 2. is carne asada, chicken mole, salmon or pork chop.
Mercury Chophouse has 1. three salads including Caesar; 2. NY strip, beef tips, chicken, salmon and pork chop.
Mi Piaci has for 1. most of its appetizers; for 2. there is salmon, osso buco, chicken, tortellini and veal.
Nobu has 1. tomato ceviche, spinach salad or tempura; and 2. chicken, squid or sea bass. Dessert menu includes rhubarb brown butter yuzu cake.
Nick & Sam's limits the choices to 1. watermelon salad or soup; 2. salmon or filet.
Nosh has gazpacho, meatballs, Mother's Salad or watermelon salad; shrimp, short ribs, mushroom pasta, or fish of the day.
Ocean Prime has just a few classics: 1. salad or lobster bisque; 2. chicken, sirloin or striped bass.
The Oceanaire Seafood Room has grandeur with 1. clam chowder, seafood gumbo, Bibb salad or Caesar salad; 2. and sole salmon, barramundi, or filet mignon.
The Palm has grandeur, too, with 1. lobster bisque or one of three salads: beet and goat cheese, tomato or Caesar; 2. and chicken Parmigiana, crab cakes, filet mignon, veal chop or salmon.
Pappas Bros Steakhouse goes basic steakhouse with 1. house salad or Caesar; 3. shrimp, lobster, NY strip or salmon.
Perry's goes basic, too, with 1. wedge or Caesar; 2. filet, pork chop or chicken Oscar.
Place at Perry's has a little flair with 1. wedge, Caesar, house, tomato bisque or tortilla soup; 2. filet, rib-eye, pork chop, salmon or chicken.
Pyramid has an inventive and extensive menu with 1. beet and goat cheese salad, soup, chicken liver mousse, or crab cakes; 2. beef shank, salmon and shrimp, chicken breast stuffed with baby back ribs or crispy caraway potato, and summer squash roll. Wild!
Queenie's has personality with 1. romaine salad, butter lettuce salad, or the excellent bucatini with sausage; 2. beef tenderloin, chicken thigh or shrimp.
The Ranch at Las Colinas has distinctive items including 1. house salad, romaine wedge or crab dip; 3. meatloaf, flat-iron steak, chicken-fried steak or crawfish fettuccine.
Randy's Steakhouse has good choices with 1. soup or salad; 2, filet, chicken marsala or crab cakes.
Blue Plate Kitchen goes hearty with 1. gazpacho, tomato salad or greens; 2. bone-in steak, fried chicken, pork loin, or fish of the day.
Ray's Steakhouse steps outside the box with 1. Caesar, chopped or arugula salad; 2. salmon, scallops, surf and turf, or chicken cordon bleu.
Reata goes extra-simple, with 1. a green salad for a starter and 2. choice of tenderloin, pork shank or redfish.
Salum has much to choose from with 1. field greens, melon gazpacho (two trends in one!), tomato salad or baked goat cheese; 2. mahi, chicken breast, pork porterhouse or squid ink fettuccine with clams, mussels and shrimp.
Sambuca has a humble vibe with 1. tortilla soup, house salad or Gorgonzola salad; 2. pork chop, shrimp, flat-iron steak, Mediterranean lasagna and chicken.
Second Floor has some aspirations with 1. tomato salad, crab bisque, deviled eggs; 2. pork chop, salmon and smoked chicken.
Ser at the Anatole has a small menu with 1. wedge salad or mushroom bisque; 2. chicken, filet or pork chop.
Silver Fox has the expected 1. house salad, wedge or asparagus soup; 2. filet, salmon or pork chop.
Sissy's has a set meal for the table, with deviled eggs, fried oysters and crab cakes; fried chicken with mac and cheese and fried okra.
St. Martin's Bistro has an extensive selection of dishes from its regular menu.
Steel has neat choices including 1. a shrimp roll, pot sticker or crab shu mai; 2. mussels, roast duck, beef or salmon.
Stephan Pyles has lots of appeal with 1. corn soup, melon salad (two trends in a row!) or a carnitas tamale; 2. salmon, beef short rib or chicken.
Steve Field's does it up big with 1. Caesar, wedge, spinach salad, or crab-corn chowder (two trends in one); 2. filet, sea bass, salmon, prime rib, crab cake, pork chop or lobster tail.
Tei An has lots of noodles with 1. edamame, seaweed salad, shishito peppers or enoki mushroom; 2. short green soba, soba with spicy shrimp and scallop, ramen, or pressed sushi.
Texas has a limited menu with 1. sweet potato soup, house salad, and 2. choice of filet or salmon.
Truluck's has surprises including 1. green salad or Caesar; 2. churrasco beef, crab mac and cheese, striped bass, or cioppino.
Tillman's Roadhouse has a different take with 1. lobster bisque or greens; 2. scallops, pork or corn gnocchi, which is novel.
Wild Mushroom has style with 1. French onion soup, roasted pear with blue cheese, or porcini flan with crab; 2. salmon, beef tournedos or coq au vin.
Wild Salsa has a big ambitious spread with 1. beef tartare, coconut shrimp ceviche or stuffed gordita; 2. chile relleno, swordfish with a shrimp tamale, or vegetable tasting: black-eyed pea and Oaxaca cheese tamale with rainbow chard tostada, grilled mushroom medley and goat cheese.
Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse has few nifty sounding items including 1. corn and sweet potato chowder, oysters, prosciutto-wrapped scallops or house salad; 2. chicken fried lobster, elk tenderloin, rib-eye, buffalo filet mignon, salmon or filet mignon.
The full list of restaurants is here.