The State of Dallas Dining, As Told By Its Chefs

Starring Stephan Pyles, John Tesar, Katherine Clapner, Kent Rathbun, Teiichi Sakurai and a dozen other local chefs.

Brent Hammer: One thing I didn't like about working in Las Vegas a few years ago was that we had a lot of restaurants with a lot of flash and no substance. I think the restaurants here have substance. Some are bordering on or have reached iconic status, and it just needs to keep going.

Jeff Harris, 35, Bolsa: It's definitely evolved in the four years I've been here. There's the older guard — Stephan, Dean and Kent — those guys are still doing amazing stuff and they keep pushing. Then there's also a group of younger chefs, like David at Lucia, Tim at Smoke, Tiffany, Jay and a lot of people that are introducing different things. It's a very exciting time for the city.


Bring it On: What does Dallas need to make it a more interesting place to eat?

David Uygur: I believe that any good food city has a great variety of small, unique freestanding restaurants and less emphasis on big chains. It would be great to have more focused restaurants as well (Tei-An and their focus on making soba noodles and Il Cane Rosso making great Neapolitan pizza both being good examples). It would be great to have a deli where they prepare all their own meats and breads. Some quality ramen noodle houses would be cool, too. I certainly don't think that Dallas needs another steakhouse.

Matt McCallister: More detail, less food. Do you really need to eat that much?

Dean Fearing: Camaraderie. If we want Dallas to move forward and become a great food city, we all have to work together. And with that, a humble attitude goes a long ways. I learned at an early age that you should be very happy about the success you have and you should also always strive to be better and move forward. If we want to become a great restaurant town, then it's going to take all of us to make that happen. Every place has to be good.

Jay Jerrier: I would love to see some more communication and interaction among the independent restaurants in Dallas. Like with artisanal pizzerias — it shouldn't be cut-throat. Dallas is big enough to support good pizza. We should all be working together, like a rising tide lifts all boats. A good example is our Monday Industry Night; it has been so surreal having all these big-time chefs making pizzas and it's fun for the staff and for the customer. We all need to lighten up a little bit. I love Jimmy's Food Store. We get a lot of our stuff there, but we could sure use some more Italian markets. Growing up in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, it was unusual if your convenience store wasn't an Italian market with insane grinders.   We could use a D'Nics or Tony Luke's here for sure.

Braden Wages: Bakeries and restaurants offering cheese and charcuterie.

Stephan Pyles: More offals, entrails, charcuterie, house-baked breads. There's currently (and oddly) a dearth of quality but casual Texas-inspired chef-driven restaurants. I hope to add one in the summer. Just as New Orleans has a certain Creole style that says "NOLA," Dallas should have that same flavor but in a more Western/Southwestern manner. More chiles please.

Kent Rathbun: It could use more innovative food concepts in a more casual setting. Seems like the trend for restaurants is a fun, casual atmosphere with awesome menu options.

John Tesar: Dallas needs more small, chef-driven restaurants that understand foodies.

Teiichi Sakurai: I would like to see some high-end Chinese restaurants. They don't have to be expensive, but authentic with homegrown cooking and really selective produce.

Brady Williams: I'd love to see some traditional Japanese fare other than sushi, like ramen. Dallas needs more ramen. I'd also like to see more offal.

Brent Hammer: In terms of food trends, it all kind of comes and goes. People stay the course when they're focused just on good food, like The Grape; the food is simple but it's awesome.

Tiffany Derry, 29, Private | Social: Singaporean food needs some representation in the Dallas food scene.

Katherine Clapner: Good Chinese. I'd be happy with that. Or Indian food south of 635. I love the Oriental grocery store out on Old Denton Highway and wish there was something closer. More local growers and a better farmers market.

Interviews were condensed and edited for space and clarity. Some were conducted as part of a weekly interview series, Three-Course Meal, on our food blog, City of Ate.
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13 comments
OCfoodie
OCfoodie

Why is Brady Williams included in this panel? He is not the chef at Oddfellows...never has been. The Chef's name is Josh Childress.

Preppy6917
Preppy6917

I fully concur with Brian Luschner's comment of less elitist food snobbery and smoke and mirrors. Having moved here from New Orleans a year ago, Dallas dining seems to be more about the brands and status symbols (i.e. Kobe beef or Silver Oak wine) that can be associated with the meal as opposed to the true processes and ingredients that go into your meal preparation.

teresa
teresa

Wow. Real class act, singling out and chastising a customer publicly, in the Observer. You might want to remember who keeps those doors of yours open, Matt McAllister. Your menu isn't online, but my guess is she probably spent a lot of money on that dinner and it probably wasn't so big. I don't believe the customer is always right, but saying something like that publicly just comes off as petty and whiny. Chefs and their egos......

norahedward
norahedward

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G_David
G_David

I don't know what Jose thinks about Jay Jerrier's taste in tacos, but I for one find it to be borderline tragic (with the exception of Torchy's). He needs to venture about 3 miles east of his restaurant and see what a taco is supposed to be.

Kasey Thompson
Kasey Thompson

Great, now all I can think about is the hamburgers and onion rings at Maple & Motor. Mmmm...yummy burger with an egg on top...Mmmm. This is not good for my diet!

Matilda of Tuscany
Matilda of Tuscany

Great article--keep supporting the local growers and they will be able to support more growing!

OCfoodie
OCfoodie

Did you know that Oddfellows pre-cooks their fried chicken, hamburgers, and fish then simply warms it up before serving it to their customers.

Preppy6917
Preppy6917

Not only was it unprofessional to call out that customer, but to make a blanket statement that hushpuppies suck? It sounds like this "chef", and not his diners, is the poseur.

rubbercow
rubbercow

If your main concern while eating at a restaurant is the quantity of food per dollar, you have no business eating in a fine restaurant. Go to a buffet for christ's sakes.

Larry
Larry

I think DFW eaters and especially the contributors to this article are being incredibly myopic. The diversity of great and good food in the metroplex is incredible, from elegant Mexican and enchiladas to simply great chilli to great barbecue to elegant fine dining, to Jon Bunnell's exceptional Texas cuisine, to Mr. Pyle's and Fearing's talents; the list could go on and on. Be thankful Dallas and Fort Worth. You have the best of the best.

Chef
Chef

Tastes like it.

 
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