News You Can Eat

Secret menus make this Dallas restaurant news roundup extra spooky

Secret menus make this Dallas restaurant news roundup extra spooky

East Hampton Sandwich Co.
Emerald kale with quinoa and sliced avocado. Photo courtesy of EHSC

Secret menus are the big news in Dallas restaurants, with at least three places crowing about not revealing menu items to their guests. Making it harder for people to find things to order seems like a risky idea? But wiser heads in the food & beverage industry apparently prevail.

There is also new steak, new brunch, and new menus for fall.

Here's what's happening in Dallas restaurant news:

Bonnie Ruth's Bistro at Watters Creek is closing. The homey restaurant had been there for more than seven years, opening in January 2011. There's a tentative plan to open another location in Plano, but a company representative said, "That's not going to happen for months." They're still open at their location in Frisco.

Tacos Mariachi, the taqueria featured on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, is opening a second location in East Dallas, at 2020 Greenville Ave., in the space previously occupied by Crisp Salad Co. Owner Jesus Carmona tells the Dallas Morning News that business surged after his visit from Guy Fieri, and the line is through the door whenever the episode is re-run.

Knife, chef John Tesar's renowned steakhouse, is open at The Shops at Willow Bend in Plano. The 7,000-square-foot steakhouse offers the same reinvention of the dining experience that Dallas diners have come to know and love, with the addition of a Knife Butcher Shop and Knife Burger, and an expanded dry-aging meat box with 240-day dry-aged steak. Over the past 5 years, Tesar has become known for his unique approach to dry-aging, utilizing a white mold method, rather than the traditional black mold to age his meat. Menu highlights include 44 Farms beef tartare, bacon tasting, surf & turf beef tartare with oysters and egg, bacon jam sloppy joe sliders, a 45-day dry-aged Creekside bone-in ribeye, a 90-day dry-aged Heartbrand akaushi ribeye, a 120-day dry-aged 44 Farms bone-in sirloin, a 150-day dry-aged 44 Farms 107 bone-in ribeye, and a 240-day dry-aged 44 Farms 107 bone-in ribeye.

BlackBall, an international dessert chain from Taiwan, has made its DFW debut. A location has opened in Plano at 100 Legacy Dr., in the same shopping center as Mitsuwa Marketplace. BlackBall was founded in Taiwan in 2006 and prides itself on being one of the biggest dessert chains in Taiwan, with more than 100 outlets and kiosks worldwide. The menu is a walk on the wild side with dessert "soups" served hot or warm, and seven crushed ices in flavors such as cranberry and taro. You can choose from 18 toppings such as rice balls and kidney beans to add to your dessert. The signature is "grass jelly," or leaf jelly, a dark, sweet Jell-O like item with a slight, though not unpleasant, bitter edge.Their many shaved ice options include a matcha-themed delight with matcha shaved ice, matcha jelly, and matcha syrup as a pourover, with a side of two matcha-filled mochi. Say matcha.

Shayna's Place Cafe, a family-owned and -operated cafe dedicated to providing employment opportunities for people with special needs, celebrates its grand opening at Sylvan | Thirty on November 2. Located next to CiboDivino Marketplace, Shayna’s Place is open daily for breakfast, lunch, and dinner from 7 am–9 pm. The menu consists of an assortment of sandwiches, salads, juices, smoothies, and Oak Cliff coffee.

Merchant House, the newish Apheleia Restaurant Group restaurant at 4040 Maple Ave., has introduced weekend brunch Saturday-Sunday from 11 am-3 pm. Like lunch and dinner, the brunch menu includes such items as a "billionaire's" bacon tasting, powdered sugar dougnuts, ramen, and a biscuit sandwich, along with lunch and dinner favorites like French onion dumplings, crab dip, and avocado toast. Merchant House offers daily dinner service, happy hour, and will soon be launching breakfast. All the meals.

Fine China, the Asian-influenced gastropub inside The Statler, has new dishes at lunch and dinner. New for lunch are bowls: chicken rice bowl with Brussels sprouts, Vietnamese shrimp noodle bowl, pork belly and egg rice bowl, and Wagyu beef rice bowl. For dinner there is steamed sea bass, chicken lettuce wraps, vegetable fried rice, chicken fried rice, shrimp fried rice, and pork fried rice. All the fried rice.

East Hampton Sandwich Co., the Northeast-inspired restaurant chain, has a new fall/winter menu with new dishes that include a trio of melts: toasted pimento, ham and cheese, and a white truffle BLT. BLTs are not usually classified as "melts" because neither the B, L, or T stands for cheese, but this has a grilled white truffle steak, bacon, Romaine, tomato jam, and gorgonzola. See, there's your cheese. New sides include mixed berries, curry couscous, citrus quinoa salad, and chilled pesto pasta. New salads include emerald kale quinoa with avocado, a kale Caesar with shaved chicken, and a grilled chicken salad with beets and goat cheese.

Jalisco Norte, Turtle Creek's modern Mexican eatery, has launched a weekday business lunch created with weekday workers in mind. The "comida corrida" menu includes a taco plate, quesadilla plate, chicken flautas plate, and cheese enchilada plate. Tacos include beef, chicken, pork, and fish. they come with rice and beans and are $10.

Sushi Marquee, the Japanese-inspired concept in Frisco, is offering a Monday night special, from 6:30-9 pm, with a 16-ounce ribeye and 16-ounce beer for $25. Select bottles of wine are $20-$25, plus an assortment of side dishes such as sweet & spicy vegetable medley, asparagus, wasabi mashed potatoes, and garlic mashed potatoes, all for $5.

Thirsty Lion Gastropub & Grill has a new fall/winter menu with dishes such as spicy fried cauliflower, maple butternut squash & arugula salad, shrimp & butternut squash risotto, beer steamed shrimp, a lamb burger, black cherry barbecue pork tenderloin, blackened ribeye, and whiskey bing cherry bread pudding.

Perry's Steakhouse & Grille is introducing off-the-menu specials that guests won't see on the menu. This makes total sense because you want to make your menu as mysterious as possible. The secret items include red snapper crudo, 16-ounce bison cowboy chop with chimichurri sauce, whole branzino roasted in salt, butternut squash with bacon and maple syrup, butterscotch budino with salted caramel, and olive oil strawberry shortcake. You won't find these on the menus at all three Perry’s Steakhouse locations: Uptown Dallas, Frisco, and Grapevine.

Oceanaire Seafood Room also has a secret off-the-menu item, this one a seasonal cocktail with a fall/Halloween theme, available until November 30. The Pumpkin Spiced Manhattan is a blend of Revel Stoke Pumpkin Spiced Whisky, B&B Liqueur, Carpano Antica Formula Sweet Vermouth, and Angostura Bitters, garnished with an orange twist and Luxardo cherry for $13.

McDonald's has introduced its first new breakfast item since 2013, which is like five whole years. Called Triple Breakfast Stacks, it comes with American cheese, sausage patties, bacon, and egg, on choice of McMuffin, biscuit, or McGriddles cake, and is available for a limited time. McDonald's devised the item in response to customers' inventions which a release says "have long been known by customers, media, and McDonald’s crew members as the 'Secret Menu.'" First of all, never heard of such a thing, and secondly, what is going on here with secret menus.

Snuffer's Restaurant & Bar, home of the cheese fries, has debuted a bacon jam cheeseburger, topped with bacon marmalade, bacon crumbles, bacon slices, grilled onions, and swiss cheese, on a brioche bun, for $9. It's available through December 31.

Beyond Burger, the increasingly popular veggie burger, has reached a milestone, expanding to more than 13,000 retail stores, most recently launching in Sprouts. The Beyond Burger is also now on the menu at over 12,000 restaurants, stadiums, and college cafeterias, including A&W Canada. To find where it's served, click here.

Dunkin', formerly Dunkin' Donuts, has revamped its espresso experience with new state-of-the-art espresso equipment, a new espresso recipe, extensive training, and new cups. Dunkin’ will serve handcrafted hot and iced espresso beverages -- including lattes and cappuccinos -- featuring a rich, smooth, balanced taste that meets the profile preferred by espresso customers, and in particular younger espresso drinkers. They've installed new equipment in all participating U.S. restaurants that dramatically improves espresso bean extraction for the optimal espresso beverage. No word on whether Dallas locations are on board.

The French Room, the restaurant at the Adolphus Hotel in downtown Dallas, has a new chef, Anthony Dispensa, and a new menu with roast chicken, seared duck, Alaskan halibut, wagyu, and beet risotto.