December is turning out to be a pretty busy month in the dining world, with plenty of openings and new menus to whet your appetite. Here's the latest in Dallas restaurant news:
Zatar Restaurant is open in Deep Ellum, with a Lebanese twist on Middle Eastern cuisine. Novel dishes include upside-down lamb pilaf; a kafta "skillet" with kafta, tomato, potato, and onion; and a grilled-chicken brochette marinated in Lebanese spices served with fries, house garlic cream, and pickles. There are also wraps including one with falafel, and even a burger topped with a fried egg.
Mesa Grapevine is at long last open. The acclaimed Oak Cliff mom-and-pop restaurant from Raul and Olga Reyes, with incomparably authentic Mexican food, has now officially expanded to the suburbs. Huzzah.
Smoky Rose, the barbecue restaurant located on a conspicuous corner on Garland Road, across from the Dallas Arboretum, has its opening date penciled in: December 22. The menu from chef David "Spoon" Gauthier — really, he goes by Spoon?— is inspired by its custom smokehouse, with meat sold by the pound. But worry not, you vegetarian people, as there are salads with pickled beet and goat cheese, kale and butternut squash, and spinach with apple. There's also airline chicken breast with cauliflower puree, and salmon with leek risotto. Lunch will offer most of the same starters, salads, and sides as the dinner menu but will also feature sandwiches from the smokehouse.
Yolk, the breakfast and lunch chain, has opened a branch in Preston Center. This is the third location in DFW, following one in One Arts Plaza and another in Fort Worth. In case you've forgotten, the menu includes red velvet French toast, with red velvet cake and swirls of cream cheese, and the triple-decker club sandwich with turkey, ham, bacon, avocado, tomato, and cheddar.
Starbucks is opening a new branch at 10181 E. Northwest Hwy., at the corner of Ferndale Road, in northeast Dallas. It'll go into the old Backus Shell space which some feel nostalgic about, since it was there for 50 years before it was shuttered and sold to developers in March 2015.
French Toast, the independently owned breakfast and lunch spot in Far North Dallas has closed. Owners Courtney and Lisa Kellogg opened in September with a vow to serve some of the best breakfast and brunch in Dallas-Fort Worth, specializing in Lisa's trademark French toast. But they shut 'er down on December 11.
Alamo Drafthouse has some limited-edition dishes to celebrate the release of Star Wars movie Rogue One. The specials are inspired by a location introduced in the film, the sunny beaches of the planet Scarif. Tropical flavors abound in entrées like the island salad, jerked sweet potatoes with black beans, and shrimp and avocado toast. All can be found for a limited time on a specially designed commemorative menu, a die-cut schematic of the Death Star that Rebels can take back to their home base.
V-Eats, the vegan restaurant at Trinity Groves, is now open for lunch on Saturdays from 11 am-3 pm, and brunch on Sundays from 10 am-3 pm. Dishes include chicken and waffles, chicken-fried steak, biscuits and gravy, migas, a BLTA sandwich, pancakes, and cheese grits.
Cook Hall, in the W Dallas Victory Hotel, has new lunch and dinner items, as follows: grilled cheese and jam with sour toast; grilled quail in mole sauce; Mediterranean mezza plate with hummus, olives, and naan bread; quinoa salad; vegetable panzanella salad; truffle mac and cheese; guajillo lime fries; and an apple and pecan sticky bun.
Princi Italia, the North Dallas Italian restaurant, is having an alba white truffle festival through December 24. There is four-cheese ravioli with alba white truffles; an alba white truffle chanterelle pizza; and saffron fettucini with shrimp, peas, basil, and shaved alba white truffles. Everything is truffles.
Stonedeck Pizza Pub in Deep Ellum has a specialty pizza called the chili mac, with Texas red chili and four-cheese mac and cheese, baked on Stonedeck's thin crust, then finished with queso and red bell pepper.
Del Frisco’s Grille has new menu items including quinoa tacos, chicken-avocado salad wrap, and a shaved steak sandwich. Wednesday’s "daily dish" will now be pork pot roast. New to the brunch menu is a crab cake Benedict with Cajun lobster sauce. The dinner menu now has Parmesan lemon sole with an arugula crab salad and sun-dried tomatoes.
CiboDivino Marketplace has a new menu of seven Italian pastas including tortellini with leeks, mushrooms, gorgonzola, arugula, and toasted walnuts for $17; and gnocchi with prosciutto, peas, and mushrooms in creamy gorgonzola sauce, also $17. The pastas will be available Wednesday through Saturday evenings.
Super Chix, the chicken-sandwich joint, now has peppermint-stick frozen custard, a Tahitian vanilla custard with peppermint crumbles. It's available through December 19 at the two branches in Dallas and Richardson.