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Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 best restaurants for breakups

Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 best restaurants for breakups

Tacos at Woodshed Smokehouse in Fort Worth
Woodshed Smokehouse makes breakups seem fun. Woodshed Smokehouse/Facebook
Neighborhood Services, Grill, Gastropub, Pub, Restaurant
Neighborhood Services' food is big but so is the crowd. Neighborhood Services/Facebook
Tortilla soup, Fearing's, Ritz Carlton
Fearing's tortilla soup makes the pain go away. Fearing's, Ritz Carlton
Chef Matt McCallister
FT33 has an artist at work in chef Matt McCallister. Photo by Jenna Rosier
Monkey King noodles
Monkey King noodles, thick and chewy. Monkey King
Tacos at Woodshed Smokehouse in Fort Worth
Neighborhood Services, Grill, Gastropub, Pub, Restaurant
Tortilla soup, Fearing's, Ritz Carlton
Chef Matt McCallister
Monkey King noodles

So it comes to this. It's not like we haven't tried. Lord knows we've tried. And we're the first to admit it: We've made mistakes. February's cheap-date idea was a misstep. It seemed visionary at the time, but who knew "cheap" was such a bad word?

We hoped we could make up for it in March with our big splurge theme. If you can't win them over by dropping a bundle, what's left?

Nothing, that's what. It's time to move on. To bring this thing to an end. And a restaurant is where you'll do it. Here are our top 10 picks for restaurants to stage a breakup.

If you're going to call it quits, might as well do it in style. Fearing's is one of Dallas' best restaurants, with superb food, decor and service. The menu, rustic and upscale, has a nurturing personality, almost like a "there-there" for your broken heart. A bowl of tortilla soup, profoundly complex with its long simmered stock and bouquet of Southwestern spices, obliterates all pain. And a "How you-all doing" from charismatic chef Dean Fearing will have you convinced that breaking up was absolutely the right thing to do.

Critically acclaimed restaurant in the Design District is known for thoughtful conception and precious presentation, with each delicate nasturtium flower and dot of chile-spiked Kewpie mayonnaise applied with exacting precision. There is an artist at work here, and that's chef Matt McCallister. Nothing else matters; definitely not you, silly. In the presence of such a culinary tour de force, you and your self-absorbed relationship problems pale by comparison.

Kona Grill
Asian chain with a branch at NorthPark has likable food including shared appetizers such as the smoked Gouda fondue with pretzel bites that can give you a momentary jolt of nostalgia for the days when you could share something with your ex-loved one without every single thing you do getting picked apart to bits. But Kona Grill is really about two words: happy hour, twice a day on weeknights, from 3-7 pm and 9-11 pm. On Wednesday nights, wine by the bottle is half price. We're not promoting alcohol consumption but under these circumstances, a few glasses can't hurt any worse than the difficult speech you're about to make.

Monkey King Noodle Co.
Outdoor noodle spot in Deep Ellum features small but smart assortment of soups with hand-made noodles spun behind a glass window display while you wait. Breaking up while eating excellent food is a thoughtful farewell, and all the better here when it takes such a small toll on your wallet, since nothing on the menu is over $9. You care, but not enough to spend a lot. The noodles are thick, so the ideal time to drop the bomb is right when they take a bite; chewing will give them time to process.

Neighborhood Services
The food by chef Nick Badovinus has a big, robust personality, sufficient to soothe over any emotional trauma. And you'll probably want to do the deed here on a Saturday night, just so you can order Saturday's special, Angry Lobster & Grits. When you're breaking up with someone, it feels right to order a dish called Angry something. But the big plus at NH is the crowd. It's loaded with beautiful people. Once the ax comes down, you and your ex can survey the field and instantly see where to pounce next.

Old Chicago Pizza
First of all, you've been wanting to see how the deep dish pizza measures up at this chain. Two birds, one stone, see what I'm saying. Old Chicago hasn't gotten great reviews. But in a way, that's a plus. You wouldn't want to ruin a "good" restaurant with bad memories. Meanwhile, second of all, this place has a DART Rail stop. If the breakup goes down poorly and you can't stomach the idea of driving home together, one (preferably not you) can stomp off and take the train home instead.

On Rotation
Mom-and-pop brewpub in White Rock area has 40 beers on tap, and their lineup is top notch. But what's good (and bad) about the place, thanks to its plenitude of hard surfaces, is how very deafening it can be. Even if you're sitting directly across from your soon-to-be former lover, you can barely hear a word they're saying. Breaking up here isn't hard to do because they might not actually realize they're getting handed an emotional pink slip. "What's that?" they'll respond, and then with an uncomprehending expression resulting from the din, "yeah, I totally agree."

Truluck's Dallas
Truthfully, the best setting for a breakup is a chain restaurant in the suburbs. It gets you into a public place where you can contain the hysterics, and it has the generic atmosphere and lack of specialness appropriate for a cold-blooded coup. But going to a real chain restaurant and/or the suburbs represents a level of eeuuu too hard to suppress. The newly remodeled Truluck's in Uptown has all the suburban-style front-mounted parking lot and mega-square footage you desire, but in a central location. Plus: crab claws and a gargantuan chocolate cake for dessert, made more flavorful by drops of salty tears.

Woodshed Smokehouse
Tim Love's homage to the glorious cookery of meat preceded newcomer Smoke Plano, whose hearth in the kitchen seems tame by comparison. At Woodshed, the first thing you see at the entrance, menacing behind a window into the kitchen, is an animal rotating on a spit. We don't want to get all Silence of the Lambs here, but an arched eyebrow in that direction speaks volumes to your imminently unbetrothed. "There but for the grace of God goes you." Woodshed's menu includes snacks such as smoked Texas peanuts so it's easy in, easy out, and the festive outdoor patio is sufficiently rambunctious that a skirmish might go unnoticed.

Crushcraft Thai delivered via Favor
When you get down to it, the benefit of doing things face-to-face is often so overrated. This isn't cowardice on your part. You're thinking about their needs. Isn't it really much kinder to have one of Crushcraft's Thai tower satay salads arrive at their door, paid for and ready to eat? Grilled chicken skewers with peanut sauce over a bed of field greens, carrots, cabbage, jicama and tomatoes make parting such sweet sorrow. Plus you're not there should they decide to seek vengeance with the skewers. Hey, it's better than a text.