By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Eric Nicholson
"I don't think people want to drop $150 in this city," Matt McAllister says. "A lot of other cities seem to support more freestanding fine-dining restaurants."
Reminded that he successfully charged $125 for the prix-fixe meal at Fuego, the molecular experience he helped create at Stephan Pyles, McAllister says, "Yeah, but it's four seats. As an enterprise, that makes no sense."
Tim Byres, a former executive chef for Stephan Pyles who's now exploring smoking and pickling at Smoke, currently the city's most interesting restaurant, shares McAllister's belief that Dallas has plenty of talent and a number of young chefs itching to innovate. What they need, he says, is customer support.
"We're a very 'it's hot or it's not' kind of city," he says. "One of the hardest things on Dallas restaurants is it's a very critical environment, and it's critical early. You can't plant a seed and expect it to be a tree. It's a gradual growth."
And, in the meantime, there's always fried beer.