Summer is here, and if there's one thing nobody wants, it's the same old, same old.
Forget our usual (though thoroughly credible and fastidiously sourced) 10-hottest-new-restaurants-in-town. The occasion calls for a departure from tradition.
This July edition of our monthly Where To Eat spotlights not just new but different. These restaurants are not your average eatery. Whether by location, hours, menu, or theme, these all come with a novel twist.
Here's our list of where to eat in Dallas right now:
This festive taqueria by Dallas Love Field has been a smash since it opened in May. They do Mexico City-style tacos, which they make with top-quality ingredients, and they don't skimp: Whatever your choice of filling, their tacos come piled high. Their salsas are fresh, with their guacamole salsa, made with mashed avocado, being a standout. Tortillas made in house are earning raves, with their slightly thick, pliable texture. Their little something-extra that sets them apart from their peers: Their La Costra signature taco, which is like a grilled cheese version of a taco — "costra" means "crust" — with fajita beef, bacon, and avocado on a toasted flour tortilla. Crunchy, cheesy, delicious.
You don't exactly expect to find a Chinese restaurant in Prosper boasting a chef from the West Coast who has worked at James Beard-nominated Betelnut restaurant in San Francisco and was also head R&D Chef for PF Chang's. That's a twist. But maybe Prosper has more going on than you realize. Why you judge Prosper? Chef Bob Tam, who also co-owns a restaurant in Phoenix called Bitter & Twisted, and his partners have big plans for Chinese Neighbor, and have settled on Prosper as their flagship location in North Texas. Their goal is to redefine the idea of Asian fast-casual with a fresh, light-hearted menu and fine-dining quality at a lower price point, with the convenience of counter service. Their "modern Chinese" dishes include Dumpling Burger, Rice-Rocket Salad, and Cheeseburger Egg Rolls.
State Fair repeat winner Abel Gonzales has a new restaurant that's his spin on a New York-style Italian joint located at 7101 Harry Hines Blvd. It's off the beaten path, and it's open for lunch only, so that's a little different than usual. He's doing pastas, salads, and sandwiches, mostly under $10. Salads include a chef's salad, Caesar, and an Italian salad with mixed greens, mortadella, soppressata, capacollo, and provolone. Pasta is customizable: You pick your noodle from spaghetti, penne, fettuccine, or bow tie; sauce from marinara, alfredo, butter garlic, or rose (marinara and alfredo combined); and meaty topper, such as meat sauce, sausage, meatball, or chicken parmesan. Sandwiches include sausage & pepper, Caprese with tomato & mozzarella. No pizza, but he's doing a "pizza" sandwich with pepperoni, Italian sausage, and mozzarella cheese.
Ferah Tex-Med Kitchen
Newly opened Mediterranean restaurant has landed in Garland's Firewheel Town Center with a Texas twist. Owner Burak Özcan is a native of Turkey with 15-plus years of experience in gourmet kitchens around the world, including a stint as sous chef at Samar By Stephan Pyles. He's combined the food of his native country with the flavors of Texas. The "chef's sampler" is a good example, combining falafel with a crab cake, fried goat cheese, hummus, and arancini, a fried rice ball with corn, black bean, and peas. Or there's his fusion quinoa & hummus tostada, topping the traditional Mexican toasted corn tortilla with hummus, avocado, red onion, tomato, and poblano aioli.
Prototypical Korean BBQ restaurant featuring table-side grilling has opened at Cypress at Trinity Groves. A Korean BBQ restaurant opening in Koreatown is expected. But in the first mixed-use project in the West Dallas development, across Singleton Boulevard from the Trinity Groves restaurant incubator? What a twist. K's House strives for authenticity, with many ingredients imported from Korea and family recipes from owner Sammantha Kang, passed down for generations. You grill your own meats at your table, and the meal comes with banchan, aka Korean side dishes, which rotate daily and might include kimchi with cabbage flown in from Korea, cucumber, fish cakes, and Korean-style potatoes. Other Korean specialties prepared by the kitchen include bibimbap, hot stone bibimbap, beef, pork short ribs, and soft tofu soup.
Punch Bowl Social
New Deep Ellum location of this Denver chain is part of the bowling-plus-food trend. In that realm, Dallas already has Scout at the Statler, Pinstack, Bowl & Barrel, Bowlounge, and Pinstripes, so one might say this is not exactly a huge twist, but it is a twist from a regular restaurant. Punch Bowl combines food and beverage with games and social activities, including ping-pong, darts, board games, classic video games, bowling, and private karaoke rooms. The menu includes falafel burger with tzatziki; shrimp burger; onion-mushroom cream cheese dip with potato chips and celery; and a super food grain bowl with crispy farro, quinoa, kale, radishes, sprouts, shiitake mushrooms, and poached egg.