Best new restaurants in Dallas-Fort Worth square off in Tastemaker challenge
For our first-ever CultureMap Dallas Tastemaker Awards, we are celebrating the talent in the local food and drink community. Our editors selected the nominees, and a panel of experts chose winners in nine categories — which will be revealed at our big event on May 6.
In the coming weeks, we will continue to introduce you to the deserving nominees, but right now we need your help: You get to choose the winner for Best New Restaurant.
This is no ordinary poll. It's a big field, with 16 nominees listed in alphabetical order below that get matched up, bracket-style, in this competition. You pick your favorite in each matchup, and the winners go on to the next round, until one winner finally emerges.
You can vote once a day for the duration. Round one runs from April 17-22. Round two spans April 23-28. The finals round takes place April 29-May 2. Winner is announced May 6.
In the meantime, read all about the competitors:
AF+B, which stands for American Food and Beverage, is a chic, comfortable tavern in Fort Worth's West 7th district from Consilient Hospitality. Reflecting the finicky focus of Consilient's Tristan Simon, every element speaks of precision, from the meticulously trimmed cut-outs on the menu to the golden crispness of the French fries to the accompanying house-made ketchup, better than Heinz. The menu changes often; chef Jeff Harris has been observing seasonal cooking longer than most.
Amberjax Fish Market Grille
Family-run seafood restaurant at Trinity Groves feels like an upscale shanty with large, prominently positioned chalkboards displaying the fish of the day. The menu leans toward Louisiana with oysters, po' boys, gumbo, and red beans and rice. Owners Karen and Larry Williams give the place a personal, hospitable cheerfulness.
Brothers Patrick and Michael Halbert tapped chef Tim Love for menu consultation and direction for their new concept in the Private Social space. With chef Andrew Dilda behind the wheel, Barter skews younger than its predecessor with an emphasis on snacks; pick-up items like tacos; and a fun, kitschy, tiki-themed Sunday brunch.
Fort Worth cousin to Meddlesome Moth has same menu overseen by chef David McMillan, including signature ricotta cheese "moth balls," fish and chips, and meaty pot pies. Beer selection is broad, as is the case at every Shannon Wynne-owned restaurant. Spacious patio overlooks beautifully renovated Sundance Square.
Bite City Grill
Former Pakpao chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin headed west to Montgomery Plaza in Fort Worth to open his own place. The menu is divided into "Big Bites" and "Small Bites" and includes short ribs, burgers, lamb meatballs and flatbreads, with influences from Asia, America and Europe. Cocktails have a unique theme: They're inspired by the signs of the Zodiac.
Matt Tobin and Josh Yingling, owners of Goodfriend Beer Garden & Burger House, took over the old Service Bar space and opened a meat-centric restaurant. The menu features sausage, pastrami and corned beef made by chef Oliver Sitrin. Dedication to craft beer extends to 20 taps, including not just Texas and American beers but also European. Beer is also sold by liter and half-liter.
Glorified chicken wings with what passes for cosmopolitan elan for the under-30 foodie. Menu options are few: wings, drumsticks or boneless strips, which you can get with a choice of spicy hot or soy garlic sauce. A side of coleslaw bolstered with kimchi is highly recommended. Although most come for the chicken, there are a few Korean dishes such as bibimbap, rice served in a hot pot topped with vegetables and meat.
Casa Rubia has emerged as the shining star of Trinity Groves, with lots of critical raves for its modern tapas and dark, trendy atmosphere. Menu from chef Omar Flores includes charcuterie, as well as many seafood options such as mussels and octopus. Paella is the signature dish; it changes daily. Drinks are unique: There's a long Spanish wine list, plus sherries and beers from Spain and South America.
Located at The Joule hotel, CBD Provisions is an American brasserie developed and operated by Consilient Restaurants serving American comfort food with an artisanal sensibility. Menu items range from coddled eggs with house-baked bacon bread for breakfast to seasonal salads for lunch to pan-fried organic chicken for dinner. CBD is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day of the week. It serves Sunday brunch and a complete menu until midnight on the weekends.
Trinity Groves restaurant fuses Chinese and Latin cuisines. Owners Adrian Verdin and Uno Immanivong were inspired by "barrio Chinos," which translates to "Chinatown" in Latin American cities. Their menu includes lamb tacos, sea bass with a Thai chili glaze, and a banh mi sandwich with steak. For dessert, there's a pina colada upside down cake and a Mexican chocolate cake with coconut ice cream and mole ganache.
Bright, colorful and fun, CrushCraft serves spicy Thai "street food" from drunken noodles to the comforting curry noodle dish called khao soi. The level of execution is high, reflecting the four-star experience of chef Paul Singhapong, who has worked at the French Room, Beau Nash, Melrose Hotel and Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. CrushCraft might be the perfect restaurant: It stays open late, and prices are incredibly low.
Seasonal American restaurant comes from husband-and-wife California transplants Stephen Rogers and Allison Yoder. Rogers is a native of Dallas; both worked at Napa Valley restaurant Press. Notable wine program includes boutique labels and a glass-enclosed wine refrigerator that keeps both whites and reds at the proper temperature.
The team behind Bowl & Barrel and Mutts Cantina partnered with singer-songwriter Pat Green and local businessman Brian Manion to open a full-service restaurant and bar with a Texas theme. Dishes are mostly down-home, with a few foodie flourishes, prepared using farm-fresh and local ingredients. Think chorizo empanadas, burgers and Gulf crab melt. Not surprisingly, it's a great live music venue too.
Klyde Warren Park's main restaurant is a breathtakingly designed modern gastropub. Chef John Coleman's menu includes shared plates plus pub fare, such as deviled eggs, cheese board, flatbreads, crab cakes, shrimp and grits, and flat-iron steak. Desserts come in whimsical mini-versions and range from German chocolate cake and caramel ice cream sandwich to yuzu tart and chocolate peanut butter pretzel bite.
Souk is a sibling to Medina in Victory Park and Baboush in West Village, all owned by restaurateur Yaser Khalaf. At Trinity Groves, he's created a bistro and bazaar with the street food flavors of Morocco, with influences from the Mediterranean, Middle East and Western Europe.
Dallas finally got the ramen restaurant it longed for, in hip Deep Ellum, from Wicked Po'Boys owners Joey and Chi Le. Ramen comes in many options, from the classic tonkotsu to an all-vegetable ramen with mushrooms. There are also dumplings, steamed buns and, from the bar, a sake sampler. Menu has been a work in progress; new items such as the okonomiyaki fries – French fries topped with bonito flakes, tonkatsu sauce and Japanese mayo – rotate in and out.
Come celebrate the Tastemakers with us on Tuesday, May 6, at Seven for Parties in the Dallas Design District. To learn more about the event, including information about our beneficiaries, judges, participating restaurants and ticket sales, visit our Tastemakers website.