On the Dallas-Fort Worth restaurant scene, the news remains good, with openings, new chefs and new specials for the winter. Meanwhile, RIP to a veteran chef whose tenure in Dallas dated back to the early days of Southwestern cuisine.
Oso Food & Wine, the creation of veteran restaurateur Michael Cox, is open at the northeast corner of Preston Road and Forest Lane. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 5-10 pm, and Friday-Saturday, 5-11 pm. Chef is Kelly Hightower, and dishes such as the mezze platter with falafel or chicken liver fra diavlo on polenta with honey-glazed bacon look fabulous.
Neighborhood Services in Addison is open with new additions to the menu such as grilled avocado and pineapple-teriyaki glazed spareribs. A "butcher's burger" with cheddar is $15, but here's something unique: a Himalayan sea salt room where steaks are dry-aged.
Mesero is the new name for Mesero Miguel, the second branch of Mico Rodriguez's Mr. Mesero Mexican restaurant concept, located on Henderson Avenue. Diners wanted the more simplified menu served at the original on McKinney Avenue.
Perry's Steakhouse & Grille opened a second branch in the Dallas area at Stonebriar Centre in Frisco; it's the 12th in the Houston-based chain. In addition to an open-concept kitchen, it has a wine wall, island bar and four private dining rooms. Signatures include meat carved tableside and flaming desserts ignited tableside. In addition to steak, Perry's also does a gargantuan pork chop described as seven fingers tall, dried, cured and roasted, then caramelized and topped with herb-garlic butter.
Pho Kitchen is open in the food court at NorthPark Center. It comes from Tuyet Davis, who was previously at the now-closed Lemongrass in Deep Ellum. The mostly Vietnamese menu includes chicken or beef pho, noodle bowls, banh mi sandwiches, spring rolls, chicken curry, and lemongrass chicken, as well as spinach pasta with chicken and vegetables.
Austin-based Snap Kitchen is bringing more to-go food in plastic containers with a new location at 4146 N. Central Expwy., off Fitzhugh. The food is described as "flavorful, handcrafted and supporting a commitment to local, organic ingredients and healthy cooking." Snap Kitchen has six locations in Austin, seven in Houston and three in Dallas, with more coming.
New York pizzeria concept Coal Vines didn't survive in North Dallas, but that's not stopping it from opening elsewhere. First a branch at the Omni Dallas hotel and then at CityLine, the mixed-use project in Richardson, where it's scheduled to open in summer 2015. Creator Joseph Palladino, who also owns Nick & Sam's Steakhouse, will introduce not only a Coal Vines neighborhood bistro there, but also an attached Coal Vines Market, with fresh, daily foods such as individual pizzas, salads, pasta, and several whole wheat and gluten-free options.
A new restaurant featuring Indian Ocean coastal cuisine called Samudraa will open in Plano in December from owner Karthik Thambidurai. The chef is Vijay Sadhu, formerly of Pepper Smash, Sutra, Samar, Clay Pit and Bukhara Grille. Thambidurai also owns Chennai Cafe, which has moved to Frisco.
Cajun seafood joint The Shell Shack is opening a second branch in Plano at Park Boulevard and the Dallas North Tollway in spring 2015. The original branch opened on McKinney Avenue in Uptown in 2013 where it does crawfish, crab legs, shrimp, oysters and gumbo.
India West in Addison has closed after five years. Owner Ross Duggal, the son of Kebab 'N Kurry owner AJ Duggal, decided not to renew the lease. Instead he's looking to open a French-American restaurant "with Indian flair" in downtown Dallas in mid-2015.
Carnival Barker's Ice Cream will open a second branch on Jefferson Boulevard, as part of a project with Small Brewpub, Cultivar Coffee and Gonzales restaurant, plus a convenience store, clothing store, mercado, barber shop and jeweler.
Design District restaurant Oak has a new fixed-price lunch menu, with three courses for $25 or four courses for $32. Choices include openers, salads/soups, sandwiches, mains and desserts. Smoked salmon, deviled eggs and red lentil dip can be followed by soup or a baby greens salad with Manchego, almond, caper and golden raisin vinaigrette. Sandwiches and mains include mushroom quiche; pappardelle with confit chicken; or eggplant trio with masala, peanut, okra and yogurt. Desserts include the smoked pecan bar with crisp apple and butter pecan ice cream.
Shinsei has new winter specials, including branzino with roasted Japanese pumpkin, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, spiced apple dashi, and an Asian pear and watercress salad, as well as crispy panko chicken thighs with cauliflower puree, roasted cauliflower and sweet hoisin broth.
Meddlesome Moth has a new executive chef, Robbie Lewis, who replaces Joe Synatschk; chef David McMillan is still involved with the Moth in addition to Bird Cafe. A new fall menu features squab; trotter; asparagus and butter lettuce salad; "Pig & Fig" Texas field pea mash with fig barbecue and blue cheese; wurst plate with Syracuse sauerkraut and potato salad; Broccolini with braised tomatoes, Grana Padano and toasted almonds; and Brussels sprouts with pancetta and shallots.
Dallas chef Russell Hodges passed away on November 26; he was 59. A graduate of University of North Texas, Hodges was a well-regarded chef who worked at a number of restaurants in Dallas, including the legendary Routh Street Cafe, as well as Americana, Suze, Iris, J. Pinnell's, Juniper and Crescent Court. He was also an instructor at AIMS Academy as well as a jazz musician who played trombone in UNT's Lab Band.