Where to Eat Now
Where to eat in Dallas right now: 10 restaurants that tease with hard-to-get specials
We love restaurants that give us everything we want, whenever we want it. But sometimes the value of something increases when we can't have it all the time.
Thus explains the mystique of the limited edition. Limited-edition items are on their timetable, not ours. They make us stop what we're doing, cancel our regular appointments and hew to their agenda. They remind us we are not masters of the universe. They give us a tiny dose of humility, which we can all use.
Mark your calendars and get in line for these 10 special-case offerings:
Best Thai Signature
Vegan buffet first Sunday of every month. This small, loosely connected chain of family-owned Thai restaurants embraces innovation, from its addition of a bubble-tea outlet to its comprehensive buffet restaurant in northeast Dallas. But the hot ticket is on the first Sunday of every month when Best Thai Signature, the branch in Addison, unfurls a mega-buffet with an array of all-vegan dishes: spring rolls, pad Thai, barbecue "beef," vegetable stir-fries, crunchy fritters and more.
Bisous Bisous Patisserie
Fruit croissant on Saturdays and Sundays. This new West Village bakery has received much attention for its "cruffin," a croissant formed into a muffin-like shape that sells out quickly. But the official limited-edition item is its fruit croissant: A plain croissant is cut in half and served open-faced with almond cream, sliced strawberries and house-made streusel. It's probably a good thing that it's available only on Saturdays and Sundays; otherwise it could do serious damage to your weekdays.
Pecan Lodge pizza on Tuesdays. The Deep Ellum branch of this Neapolitan pizzeria chain is a big supporter of local ingredients — local as in, two blocks away. Every Tuesday night, Cane Rosso does a special pizza using one of the smoked meats from renowned barbecue restaurant Pecan Lodge. It could be a pizza topped with shredded brisket, crumbled sausage or pulled pork. One recent example: brisket with mozzarella, salsa verde, cilantro and cotija cheese.
Quail with pain perdu on Saturday mornings. Charming restaurant just-transplanted from Cedar Hill to McKinney from chef Aaron Thomas is family-run, with his mom helping him in the kitchen on luscious desserts and his father running the front of the house. The contemporary American menu incorporates influences from Greece, Italy and the family's hometown of New Orleans. But its roots are French, and you can spot that in its special weekend brunch dish of buttermilk-fried quail with pain perdu.
Lobster fajitas on Fridays. It should be noted that the lobster fajitas at El Bolero are served every day for lunch and dinner. These are not your standard fajitas; sorry, no sizzling plate. We're talking about a 6- to 7-ounce lobster tail whose shell is filled with Mexican rice, then topped with the tail meat and a lemon-citrus sauce, served with puréed black beans and house-made tortillas. The special part is that on Fridays, the fajitas are $15 from 11 am-3 pm, as opposed to the usual market price.
Vegan doughnut days. The gourmet doughnut shop offers vegan versions, but on a limited basis. Doesn't that make you want them more? At the Dallas branch, they're available only on Mondays and Tuesdays; at the new Denton outlet, they're available on Mondays and Wednesdays. But they do offer at least three to four flavors such as chocolate-coconut and cinnamon sugar.
Lockhart Smokehouse Plano
Wagyu beef belly on Fridays. It's become kind of a thing for barbecue restaurants to offer special items, and Lockhart Smokehouse is no stranger to the trend, with Beef Ribs Wednesdays and Burnt Ends Thursdays. The latest offering is available only at the Plano branch and only on Fridays: smoked Wagyu beef belly, cut into thick slices and served by the pound. Owner Jill Bergus calls it the "love child of fatty brisket and beef rib."
Luscher's Red Hots
Corn dogs on Mondays. Amid the sandwiches, hot dogs, gyros, French fries and onion rings, chef Brian Luscher's sausage-themed restaurant in Deep Ellum does one special every day such as fried smelt on Fridays and beef-tallow fries on Tuesdays. But none celebrates the restaurant's fun, casual spirit better than his Monday corn dog special, with a Red Hot sausage fried up in a thick, satisfying cornmeal crust.
Mama's Daughter's Diner
"Blue plate" daily specials are part and parcel of home-cooking places like Mama's Daughter's Diner, Dixie House, Original Market Diner and Norma's Cafe. But if there's a day to visit, it's Thursday, when everyone rolls out versions of smothered chicken. Mama's Daughter's and Norma's do chicken tetrazzini with diced chicken in a creamy sauce, served on spaghetti. At Dixie House, it's chicken and dumplings. Original Market Diner is the exception; they do chicken and dumplings on Wednesdays.
Fried cod taco on Fridays. The small local taqueria chain was among the first to bring the Austin taco mindset to Dallas, with a special affinity for breakfast, including tacos and burritos. They do many spontaneous specials, depending on the whim of the branch (there are four) and the kitchen. But there is one taco you can only get on Friday and no other day of the week: battered fried cod.