Where to Eat
Where To Eat

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 cool new restaurants for February

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 cool new restaurants for February

Mockingbird Diner
Get your fork and knife into this CFS. Photo by Marc Lee

If you haven't already blown your monthly dining-out budget on Valentine's Day or other distractions, these 10 restaurants represent some cool new openings around Dallas. There is Italian, Vietnamese, Tex-Mex, and tapas.

Here's where to eat in February:

Cris and John Vietnamese Street Food
Cute Vietnamese restaurant in Richardson comes from Cristina Mendez and John Pham, a young married couple and pair of foodies who drew from Pham's first-hand knowledge of Vietnamese street food. Menu includes the phorrito, in which all the ingredients of pho — minus the broth — are wrapped up like a burrito. Seared steak, fried shallots, basil, cilantro, bean sprouts, jalapenos, onion, rice noodles, hoison, and Sriracha sauce are wrapped in a flour tortilla. There's also the phorrito's identical cousin, the ramenrrito, with grilled chicken, ramen, kimchi, fried shallots, cilantro, and house sauce wrapped in a flour tortilla. There are french fries topped with kimchi, and three sandwich options: buns, tacos, or banh mi.

El Corazon de Tejas
If you're craving Tex-Mex from the restaurant that was once in Oak Cliff, then a field trip to McKinney is in order. El Corazon has opened at 1222 N. Central Expy., just up US-75 from their Cuellars' Fajita Ranch in Plano. El Corazon takes over a former El Chico's which they've decorated with some of the fixtures from the Oak Cliff store, including its signature mural. The menu includes nachos, cheese and onion enchiladas topped with chili, beef tacos, bean layer dip, fajita taquitos, and excellent margaritas.

Mamoun's Falafel
Concept from New York's Greenwich Village uses authentic Syrian recipes, in a menu starring the namesake falafel, plus shawarma, hummus, baba ganouj, and baklava. Founded by Mamoun Chater in 1971, the concept is now carried on by his four sons, who have continued to uphold their reputation for having the most authentic, flavorful falafel. They've expanded the concept to New Jersey, Connecticut, Chicago, Atlanta, Northern California — and now Dallas, where it has opened at 3839 McKinney Ave., in Dallas' West Village.

Mockingbird Diner
Collaboration between restaurateur Jack Perkins (Maple & Motor), and chef Jeana Johnson (Mot Hai Ba, Good 2 Go Taco) aims to become the quintessential Dallas restaurant, serving Texas standards such as chicken-fried steak that they've elevated via careful preparation. The menu includes home-cooking favorites like fried chicken, meat loaf, Frito pie, pork chops, and ham steak with the bone in. A "fryday" basket has fried shrimp, catfish, and salmon croquettes. Located across the street from Dallas Love Field at 3130 W. Mockingbird Ln., the Diner welcomes locals, airport workers, travelers, hotel guests, and diners of all kinds.

Restaurant specializing in contemporary Asian fusion cuisine has opened at the Hall Arts complex in Dallas' Arts District, bringing sushi, Asian entrees made with French techniques, and a comprehensive selection of sake. Musumé comes from some of the same folks who previously owned Kenichi in Victory Park, and you can see some similarities on the menu and in the massive selection of sakes. Dishes include grilled lamb lollipops, five-spice duck leg confit, steamed buns, and vegetarian items including vegan sushi rolls.

Sallio Itallio
A spin-off of Sallio Bistro, the Mediterranean restaurant at Preston Road and Forest Lane, Sallio Itallio is an Italian restaurant with a soft spot for seafood. Crab cakes and lemon sole share the menu with rigatoni bolognese and eggplant parmesan. There are chops like the 14-ounce New York strip steak with mashed potatoes and green beans, and a bone-in pork chop topped with bacon jam. Italian dishes include house-made pastas, pizzas, and calzones. Weekend brunch on Saturdays and Sundays includes seafood crepes, Italian sausage benedict, and mushroom-spinach ricotta frittatas.

Tapas Castile
Spanish tapas bar takes over the space at Trinity Groves vacated by former tapas bar Casa Rubia, where it offers a modern take on the traditional Spanish tapas bar. The menu has meats, cheeses, and boards with meat and cheese. There are meatballs, ham croquettes, cheese croquettes, mussels, fried eggplant, olives, and almonds. Three entree-style dishes include whole fish and a paella that feeds four. Owner-partners are Jessica Kate-Martinez and Kendra Valentine, who both worked at Design District restaurant FT33. Kate-Martinez, whose mother hails from Spain, manages the front of the house; Valentine serves as executive chef. The wine list has an extensive collection of exclusively Spanish wine.

Top Round Roast Beef
Los Angeles-based chain claims to bring a "chef-driven approach" to fast food by roasting their roast beef slowly and cutting their french fries by hand. How very chefly. Sandwiches include beef & cheese, beef with horseradish and mushrooms, and beef with lettuce, tomato, avocado, and ranch. There are fried chicken sandwiches and their fries are fried in beef fat, and can be ordered curly, cheesy, "dirty," or with gravy. Vegetarian options include grilled cheese, kale slaw, and a big salad. They do frozen custard desserts, such as shakes, floats, sundaes, and concretes.

3Eleven Kitchen & Cocktails
Fine new restaurant from the owner of RJ's Mexican Cuisine is now open in the the former Hoffbrau Steaks space in the West End where it serves modern American, with a from-scratch kitchen and craft cocktails. The menu is an appealing mix of familiar dishes like calamari, deviled eggs, and crab cakes, along with innovative items such as quinoa and hummus fritters. Hummus dip is made from spiced black beans, and served with naan bread. Four flatbreads include one with steak and cheese, and another with spinach and wild mushroom. Salads include a Caesar with Gulf shrimp, a steak salad, and a refreshing Thai peanut salad.

New restaurant on top of Uchi Dallas picks up where the former Top Knot left off. Familiar menu items from Uchi appear on the Uchiba menu, as well as Top Knot favorites such as the fried chicken on a biscuit. There is edamame-jalapeño hummus, which yes was on the Top Knot menu; and chicken thigh which yes was on the Top Knot menu. But come on, it's completely different now, updated with a sushi bar and yakitori grill. Totally not the same.