Where to Eat Now
Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 hot restaurants with female chefs
Women are a growing force in the food and beverage industry, and Dallas has never had a shortage, thanks to chefs such as Sharon Hage and Joanne Bondy and entrepreneurs such as Mozzarella Co.'s Paula Lambert and Empire Baking Co.'s Meaders Ozarow.
For this edition of Where to Eat, we'd like to give a nod to some of the restaurants around Dallas-Fort Worth that've opened recently or are emerging, featuring female chefs. At the bottom, we include a list of some of the veterans who've been diligently sticking to their tasks and putting out good food day after day.
Sarah Snow first made a name for herself at Common Table before taking over the spot at The Grape vacated by Danyele McPherson. She's executing signature dishes such as the award-winning Sunday brunch burger and mushroom soup, but she is also rolling out nightly specials, including her favorite, hand-made pastas.
Chef Roe Dileo gained fame as a contestant on Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen. Now, in this restaurant in the old Acme F+B space, she's collaborating with the Bread Winners team on a menu that features charcuterie, rotisserie chicken, meatballs, burgers and pho, as well as a brunch with Bread Winners-style dishes such as black cherry French toast. (And while we're on Hell's Kitchen, let's not forget Dileo's fellow contestant Kalen Morgenstern at Tillman's in Fort Worth.)
Joyce & GiGi's
This East Dallas restaurant stars mother-daughter team Joyce Stenvall and Gigliola Aguilera, whose resume includes Fearing's, Five Sixty and the Stoneleigh. The menu has a global perspective with classic techniques on impeccable dishes such as empanadas, mussels over polenta and Brazilian feijoada.
Blythe Beck returned to Dallas to take a temporary assignment at Kitchen LTO, the rotating restaurant concept at Trinity Groves. But wouldn't you know it, the "naughty" chef has seized the kitchen for another term, with a "Keep Blythe" campaign that earned enough likes on Facebook to guarantee an extension. That means more chicken-fried rib-eye and other rustic Southern-style dishes.
Mot Hai Ba
MHB has not one but two female chefs: Jeana Johnson and Colleen O'Hare, both with epic resumes, both with refined palates. Their authentic Vietnamese restaurant in the old York Street space delivers a stellar dining experience, featuring dishes you've possibly never had before. Their daily "Hanoi lunch" features specials like caramel pork, or else there's pho at lunch and Tuesday through Thursday at dinner.
Tuyet Davis, previously of La Pagode, East Wind and Lemongrass Asian Bistro in Deep Ellum, has landed at NorthPark Center where she's doing a minimal menu with Vietnamese classics, including two kinds of pho (chicken or beef), plus banh mi sandwiches, noodle bowls, and sweet rich iced coffee and iced tea.
This new soda shop from Elias Pope (HG Sply Co.) just opened on Greenville Avenue, starring chef and one-time Top Chef contestant Danyele McPherson. Her menu of American basics — fish sandwiches, burgers and BLTs — is inspired by her mom's cooking. Desserts include pies and ice cream sundaes.
Chef Andrea Maricich gets instant bonus points for having worked at the great Kirby Lane Cafe in Austin. Trained at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, she's worked in New York and San Francisco and owned restaurants in Idaho. She's skilled at fusing cultural influences into traditional cuisine.
Chef Misti Norris is putting some of the things she learned at FT33 to good use at this new Oak Cliff brewpub, where she's curing and pickling up a storm. Consider 8-month-old red wattle pancetta rubbed with Oak Cliff coffee or chicken feet from Windy Meadows farms with sweet potato and collard greens.
This tiny East Dallas family-run restaurant has a vegan-Asian menu that pops with bright flavors. Matriarch Katie Chan is a formally trained chef who cooked at top hotels in China. Her curry rolls, crispy "ham" sandwich and her Thai red curry "beef" are so spicy and richly satisfying, you'd never know they were vegan.
Other notable ladies in the kitchen: Michelle Carpenter at Zen Sushi; Tracy Miller at Local; Kirstyn Brewer at Victor Tango; Melody Bishop at Lark on the Park; Janice Provost at Parigi; Shelby Schafer at the Kimbell Art Museum in Fort Worth; Nikky Phinyawatana at Asian Mint; Dena Peterson at Cafe Modern in Fort Worth; and pastry chefs such as Laurel Wimberg at AF+B, Jill Bates at Fearing's and Dunia Borga at La Duni.