The savvy, veteran diner knows to put a big red circle around the months of September and October. That's because this time of the year is ideal for his favorite sport: restaurant openings. The summer is over and everyone's back on track. Restaurants want to be up and running so that they're in gear for the real dining season: the holidays.
It's the rare month when we have too many places from which to choose. But that's how it is this October. Here are the hottest new picks.
Exciting new concept takes over the second floor of what used to be Marquee Grill, in the Highland Park Village Theatre complex. Cuisine is Asian and features sushi made by Daniel Chau, formerly of Steel. Dishes include strip steak with wafu sauce and watercress slaw, salmon with carrot and yuzu, compressed watermelon tuna with chimichurri sauce, and snapper with Thai coconut water and dragon fruit dice. Veteran barman Andrew Lotstetter will oversee the cocktail program.
New restaurant opening on October 10 at The Joule from Dallas restaurateur Tristan Simon is an American brasserie combining 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. Décor incorporates brick walls, wood beam ceilings, marble tables, leather banquettes, end grain wood floors and salvaged antique mirrors.
Klyde Warren Park's main restaurant is a modern gastropub with a menu that combines shared plates with pub fare, such as deviled eggs, cheese board, flatbreads, crab cakes, shrimp and grits, and flat-iron steak. Desserts come in mini versions and include German chocolate cake, caramel ice cream sandwich, salted caramel pudding, a “Pop Tart,” banana split, yuzu tart, pumpkin trifle, crème brûlée and chocolate peanut butter pretzel bite.
Urban Orchard Market/Bar None Cafe
New market-cafe, located on the ground floor of the Mercantile Place building in downtown Dallas, comes from three plucky idealists who want to bring something good to the central business district. They're stocking organic produce, artisan items like Becerra's salsas and dinners to-go. The adjoining Bar None Cafe is doing trendy grub like sushi rolls and Korean BBQ.
Tanoshii Ramen/Monkey King
Deep Ellum is suddenly besieged by noodles. Finally satisfaction comes to those who longed for ramen, every young foodie's lust object. Monkey King is from a trio of entrepreneurs, but Tanoshii is the looker: It comes from veteran restaurateurs Joey and Chi Le, who also own the newbie Wicked Po' Boys chain. They're offering numerous ramen options plus accompanying treats such as pork belly steamed buns.
Dallas gets a slice of Austin with its first food truck yard-slash-backyard hangout, hidden right under our noses off Greenville Avenue. The styling is Hollywood-caliber, with strings of lights, picnic benches, rocking chairs and rusted-out trucks. The culinary anchor is Steak Out, chef Jason Boso's cheesesteak joint. That's supplemented by a rotating cast of food trucks. But it's mostly a place to sit outside and drink beer.
This is the bigger-in-every-way version of Mr Mesero, the Mexican restaurant comeback of Mi Cocina founder Mico Rodriguez, located in the old Cuba Libre spot. Rodriguez consulted with chef Jon Stevens on the menu, which buttresses Mr Mesero's Mexican fare with dishes such as seared scallops, warm coconut and prickly pear broth, halibut, and New York strip.
Samson's Gourmet Hot Dogs
Many have tried hot dog joints, and few have succeeded. But chef-owner Troy Gardner seems to actually have a shot, thanks to an encouraging blend of experience (he worked at Zubar and owned Expo Park Cafe, now home to Pizza Lounge) and location on Oak Lawn Avenue. His dog lineup includes a German-style frank, a smoked brat and a veggie dog made in-house — all on Empire Baking buns.
All your Ital-American classics are here: garlic bread with pepperoni, sauteed mushrooms, chicken Parmigiana, eggplant Parmigiana, Italian sausage, meatballs and calamari. It is true that Dallas already has more than its share of Ital-American restaurants when it could really use more restaurants with authentic Italian recipes. But Roman Cucina comes from California, and they almost always do things better.
Fort Worth chef Felipe Armenta continues our seafood trend with this casual-chic restaurant on University Drive. The food is fancy without being fussy: miso salmon and sticky rice, oysters on the half-shell, sushi rolls, po' boy sandwiches and beautifully composed salads. There's steak if you must, and a selection of novel sides such as grilled Brussels sprouts and rosemary fries.
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