Gumbo Rune

DaZa offers a dash of Creole poetry

But other than that, the dining room is spare, just like the menu. DaZa served breakfast for a time: eggs and bacon, grits, pancakes and breakfast po-boys. But the meal was scuttled.

Yet toast is dispensed with virtually everything as far as we could tell, with varying success. Sometimes the stuff is cold, flaccid and listless, as if it had been toasted, buttered and left to ferment. At other times it was striped with grill marks and was hot and crisp and freshly buttered.

Fried chicken wings and drums are crisp, greaseless, relatively moist and well-herbed. Jambalaya, rice and shrimp covered with a tomato sauce, is pasty and dry, riddled with the same tough shrimp that were strewn across the seafood platter.

There's no tasteful way to say New Orleans' loss was Dallas' gain, but DaZa's food is damn tasty.
Tom Jenkins
There's no tasteful way to say New Orleans' loss was Dallas' gain, but DaZa's food is damn tasty.

Location Info

Map

Daza's New Orleans Soul Food

2931 Commerce St.
Dallas, TX 75226-1610

Category: Restaurant > American

Region: Fair Park

Details

Gumbo (cup) $4.25

Red beans and rice $4.25

Muffuletta $8.25

Seafood platter $14.95

Fried chicken with jambalaya $15.95

Bread pudding $4.95

Closed Location

On a follow-up lunch excursion, we discovered a DaZa trial balloon that had not yet made it onto the menu: muffuletta. Originally created in 1906 at the Central Grocery in New Orleans, the muffuletta is a hero-style sandwich of Sicilian stock, considered one of the great sandwiches of all time. It's constructed on a near pizza-sized circular loaf of crusty Sicilian bread that is split and layered with thick strata of sliced provolone cheese, salami, mortadella and ham with a layer of tapenade-like olive salad (garlic, peppers, onion, etc.) clinging to the underside of the top slice of bread.

At DaZa, pastrami and pepperoni are layered in, and the sandwich is served as a huge half-moon (quarters can also be had). The sandwich is served cold, but I had the kitchen heat it until the thick vein of provolone melted into a hearty goo, clinging to the bread and the bottom layer of ham. It's spicy and filling.

Still if that doesn't fill you up, you can load up the gullet with bread pudding, easily among the best versions you'll find in Dallas. Instead of an odious knot of sticky vague cast-off dough, this is supple and moist with discernible layers.

Yet DaZa's is equally splintered between resounding successes and disappointing failures. So it requires navigational work. But if you stick with certain syllables--red beans and rice, gumbo, bread pudding, muffuletta--you may discover poetry. Or even God. 2931 Commerce St., 214-744-3292. Open 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Monday-Friday and 6 p.m.-10 p.m. Friday & Saturday. Gospel brunch served noon-5 p.m. Sunday. $-$$

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