News You Can Eat

This special-edition roundup of Dallas restaurant news takes the cake

This special-edition roundup of Dallas restaurant news takes the cake

rainbow cake
It's the famous "rainbow cake" from Cake Boss Buddy Valastro. Photo courtesy of TGIF

This round of Dallas restaurant news reflects a transitional time, with a few new autumn menus coming in on the tail end of the season, and some early holiday offerings leading the charge on the front end of that season. There's also news of brunch, patios, and a splendiferous limited-edition cake.

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

Cafe Momentum, the Dallas restaurant concept that trains juvenile offenders in the food & beverage industry, has teamed up with the Stand Together Foundation to take the concept nationwide. Founder Chad Houser will work with chefs and community organizations in other cities to start restaurants like Cafe Momentum, while the Stand Together Foundation will secure funding and donors.

Mercat Bistro, the Parisian-inspired bistro nestled in the Harwood District, is now offering weekend brunch Saturday-Sunday from 10 am-3 pm. The menu by executive chef Taylor Kearney includes many classics such as braised escargot, Lyonnaise salad, strawberries Romanoff crepes with crème Chantilly and strawberry compote, Scottish salmon with lentils, French dip with prime rib eye, and Parisian gnocchi with pâte à choux dumpling, pickled shallots, carrot, and beurre blanc. Kearney has also created new menus for breakfast, served Monday-Friday 8-11 am, with croissants, pain au chocolat, muffins, cinnamon rolls, breakfast sandwiches, Croque Madame, and quiche Florentine. Provençal omelet has egg whites, peppers, spinach, goat cheese, and crisp potatoes; breakfast baguette has fried egg, brie, duck confit, orange marmalade, and crisp potatoes.

Lunch is served Monday-Friday 11 am-2:30 pm featuring Tartare de Boeuf with tenderloin, Dijon, cornichon, brioche; Moulles Frites with mussels, shellfish-saffron broth, rouille, grilled bread, and pommes frites; Chicken Paillard with butter lettuce, cress, radish, chèvre, and lemon vinaigrette; and Mercat burger, a brisket short rib blend on a brioche with gruyere, aioli, caramelized onion, bibb lettuce, and frites.

Al Biernat's Oak Lawn has introduced something new — a PATIO. Ta-da! Guests can now dine outside for both lunch and dinner on a spacious, airy patio that was just completed. The  restaurant experienced a big jump in requests to be seated outside and responded by creating a larger outdoor dining space. In prototypical Al Biernat form, the space is tastefully done, with pale canvas umbrellas, a stone fountain, and lots of plants including flowers as well as leafy greens and other produce the restaurant can use on the menu. This is available only at the original Oak Lawn location; to make a reservation, call 214-219-2201.

Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar has a new fall menu that includes smoked salmon dip with house kettle chips; steak & quinoa bowl with sweet potatoes, zucchini, tomatoes, broccolini, and sorghum in piri piri dressing; browned butter-cauliflower soup; No Meat Sloppy Joe with Beyond Beef, gochujang sauce, veggie slaw, and ginger dressing on a milk bun; spit-roasted half chicken with Brussels sprouts, celery root mash, and mustard vinaigrette; short rib with mushroom pappardelle and creamy pan jus; garlic ribeye with spicy potato and broccolini casserole; and duck breast with cauliflower, sweet potatoes, and carrot-rutabaga mash.

Bellagreen, the American bistro, has an autumn menu for dine-in, to-go, and delivery directly from bellagreen.com that includes vegetarian two bean chili with bell peppers, tomatoes, black and pinto beans, corn, quinoa, carrots, celery, and onions; Harvest Salad with butternut squash, beets, baby carrots with greens, maple-infused ricotta cheese, and crushed pistachios; seared salmon with sweet potato-butternut squash hash, and caramelized pears and onions; and caramel pumpkin cheesecake with a gluten-free crust.

TGI Fridays has an exciting new item available for a limited time: the Rainbow Cake from TV Cake Boss star Buddy Valastro, founder of Carlo's Bakery and recent victim in a grisly accident involving an at-home bowling lane. This cake is an Instagram darling, with its six layers of rainbow-colored vanilla cake that has generated many a knockoff. At TGIF, you can get it by the slice for dining-in or takeout, or else order an entire cake to go. A slice goes for $9.69 and is, gulp, 980 calories. Although to be fair, it's served with a scoop of vanilla ice cream. Maybe the ice cream is like 800 calories and the cake is 180. That could happen, right? A whole cake has 12 slices and is $75. Fridays is the only restaurant to partner on this cake with Valastro.

Kate Weiser Chocolates will open two seasonal stores at NorthPark Center. In addition to the usual kiosk, Weiser will also open a temporary store in the former Sugarfina candy shop, with her trademark Carl the Snowman hot chocolate mix, as well as chocolate ornaments, seasonal treats such as peppermint bark trees, and gift boxes featuring hand-painted bonbons. The store will run through December 24.

Torchy's Tacos has a new taco creation for November’s Taco of the Month: The Chili Wagon features New Mexico red chile stewed chicken with a fried poblano pepper strip, onions, avocado sauce, cilantro, and lime on a corn tortilla for $5.75.

Steak ‘n Shake is bringing back the Egg Nog Shake and the Peppermint Chocolate Chip Shake for a limited time. Egg Nog Shake has egg nog syrup. The Peppermint Chocolate Chip Shake has peppermint syrup, pieces of chocolate and peppermint candy. During Happy Hour Monday-Friday from 2-5 pm, get any shake or drink at half price.

Taco Cabana has introduced a new green chile brisket featuring brisket in a delicious new way. Smoked brisket is cooked in a green chile sauce made with jalapenos and tomatillos, and can be ordered in breakfast tacos ($2.29), tortas ($5.99), tacos ($3.49), and Cabana Bowls ($7.69), for a limited time. This follows the recent launch of Enchilada Fest and the addition of Taco Cabana’s seasonal margaritas and Caramel Apple Empanadas.

Burger King and Coca-Cola are offering Coke Homegating Bundle meals, featuring delivery of Coca-Cola + Burger King specialties, every weekend during November. The Bundle includes 4 small Coke beverages, 2 Whoppers, 2 Double Cheeseburgers, 2 Original Chicken Sandwiches, 2 Ten Piece Chicken Nuggets, and 4 Small Fries. Dates available are Nov 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, and 27-29, at participating Burger King restaurants on the BK App. See bk.com/offer-terms.

Kung Fu Tea, America's largest bubble tea chain, has partnered with Seven Knights - Time Wanderer for a limited edition drink, called the Time Wanderer Latte, which is a Pumpkin Spice Latte, available until November 21.

Yogurtland has relaunched its Plant-Based Salted Chocolate Soufflé, available at participating locations throughout December. Yogurtland last offered the flavor in January and it sold out in less than two weeks. It takes the decadence of a chocolate soufflé mixed with a touch of salt and a 100 percent vegan recipe with coconut milk. Order in-store or through delivery via DoorDash, Postmates, UberEats, and Grubhub.

Rose Gold wine has just issued its 2019 vintage. It's a classic dry Provence rosé, grown and bottled in the South of France, from Texas-owned Rose Gold, which launched in 2018. It's available at 250 restaurants and stores throughout Texas, and can be found at some Tom Thumb grocers, POGOs fine wine, Goody Goody, and Royal Blue.

Blue Norther is a new Austin-based hard seltzer expanding to Dallas/Fort Worth, joining Austin, San Antonio, and Houston. Hey, that's all the cities where CultureMap is. Good thinking. Brewed in Austin, it's available in three  flavors: Wild Blackberry, Agave Lime, and Prickly Pear. Dallas-Fort Worth retailers include H-E-B, Total Wine & More, Whole Foods, and Spec’s.

On Deck Concepts is a new entity launched by restaurateur Brent Tipps to house his three concepts, plus a new R+D support center in Bedford. BoomerJack's Grill is his most widely known concept with 15 locations. Bedford Ice House was created in 2015, and Sidecar Social, an innovative "eatertainment" concept in Addison, debuted in 2019.

Indoggo is a new gin now available in Dallas, developed by Snoop Dogg with seven premium botanicals infused with all-natural strawberry flavor. Indoggo was developed by the author of the song Gin & Juice with friend and spirits veteran, Keenan Towns of Trusted Spirits, a beverage supplier that develops celebrity brands, and importer Prestige Beverage Group.