Where to Eat
Like William Hurt says in the 80s noir film Body Heat, we'll have to agree not to talk about the heat. Instead, let's focus on cool things. Cool dark rooms. Restaurants that overdo the AC. Restaurants that feel like caves.
For this unseasonably warm June edition of Where to Eat, we seek out 10 not-hottest restaurants in Dallas:
Small, cool Asian restaurant in near East Dallas comes from a group that's behind High Fives, The Whipper Snapper, and Tiny Victories in Oak Cliff. The menu consists of pan-Asian shared plates, with dishes such as shumai dumplings, spring rolls, and bao, the irresistible steamed bun from China filled with meats or vegetables that's become very trendy.
It doesn't get any darker than the original location on Mockingbird Lane of this old-time Dallas Italian mini-chain. You probably don't want to ponder the pizza too carefully, or else come to grips with canned olives and an undistinguished crackery crust that sent Dallas veering in the wrong direction, pizza-wise, for decades. The wine's cheap, and if you want a bat cave, this is your place.
The Cedars Social
Southside restaurant has always had a super-cool vibe and now it's doubled down with a new team that has revamped the place, consisting of chef Anastacia Quinones, restaurateur Monica Greene, and bar manager Leann Berry. They're throwing down chef-driven Mexican fare such as duck leg confit with Oaxaca cheese-mushroom tamale and spinach con crema.
Green House Market
This sleek, casual restaurant features a refreshing and healthy menu of dishes such as a salmon burger, wedge salad, and an "Eastern rice bowl" with yams, edamame, broccoli, and a sunny-side egg. But for our purposes right now, it's located at NorthPark Center, where the AC maintains a gloriously chill temperature 24-7.
Lovers Seafood and Market
This seafood restaurant spinoff of the equally cool Shinsei is celebrating its one-year anniversary of serving fresh seafood and chilled glasses of wine. Look for menu items such as linguine and clams, lobster rolls, and oysters on the half shell. Adding to the chill atmosphere is a sophisticated decor with lighting done in hues of blue.
Perle on Maple
The only location that beats a mall for a thrilling blast of AC is a swanky hotel — such as the historic Stoneleigh, which recently underwent a renovation. That included not only their air-conditioning system but the in-house restaurant, now known as Perle on Maple. The menu, executed by chef Wade Burch, a winner on Food Network's Chopped, is French with a Texas twist.
Scout at The Statler
Historic downtown Dallas hotel has a variety of eateries and that includes this upscale sports bar on the ground floor, with bowling, foosball, ping pong — yes, ping pong! — and fried chicken. Chef Graham Dodds oversees a menu that includes everything from ceviche to sliders, from white bean hummus with zucca chips to chili cheese fries.
Veteran Asian restaurant off Oak Lawn Avenue was a trailblazer of cool and remains a great place to get sushi, cocktails, and their signature Vietnamese shaken beef - wok sautéed beef tenderloin with onions and chef's special sauce. The restaurant's subterranean feel lowers the temperature by a few degrees.
This Ferguson Avenue spot is half bar and half restaurant, and as a half-bar, it is by nature dark. (Any bar could make this list.) But Whistling Pig has a way better than average menu for a bar-restaurant, even with an arugula salad. Arugula being the gourmet gateway ingredient. Bonus: Their pours on wine by the glass are extra generous.
Chic Deep Ellum restaurant does an excellent Lebanese rendition of middle-Eastern food that includes cold and hot mezze such as hummus, grape leaves, and lentil croquettes. All very cooling. Creative cocktails, Lebanese wines, great happy hours, and a subtly-lit dining room make you feel even cooler.