Best Of :: Food & Drink
Customers know they're somewhere interesting as soon as they walk through the door. The diners are nearly all Chinese, payment is accepted only in cash, and there aren't any egg rolls on the menu. There are marinated pork intestine and beef tendon and dried squid. First Chinese offers up Cantonese-style cooking, but don't think everything here is blood and guts. Roast duck with crispy skin is a go-to order, as are a number of stir-fried noodle dishes from crispy noodles to lo-mein. And the best part of the restaurant is BYOB, which combined with some rock-bottom menu prices adds up to a really cheap night.
As new chefs and restaurants shape the Dallas dining scene, it's important to celebrate the chefs who keep old traditions alive. Tim Byres' Smoke is often called a barbecue restaurant, and it is, but it's also much more. The kitchen is fueled by wood — a primal heat source that drives bubbling stockpots as much as it sears meats and fish on the grill. This is cooking as it once was, long before immersion circulators and fancy foams took over our finest kitchens. The old-school approach is being used to fashion some of the city's most delicate and simple dishes, and that makes Byres' restaurant all the more special.
Do you want to know how to win any outdoor cookout? Before you say "it's not a competition," we're here to tell you that life is a competition, and with your attitude, you'll never win at it. Think back to your last cookout. Did you bring the best piece of meat? Were you the toast of the party? Of course you weren't. There's that attitude again. So here's how to win. Go to H Mart. Purchase a pound or two of extraordinarily reasonably priced bulgogi pork belly from their convenient cookout section. Take to party. Win the accolades of everyone else there. This is the first day of the rest of your life.
For the past few years, Cane Rosso has reigned as the best pizzeria in all of Dallas. Leave it to owner Jay Jerrier to shoot himself in the flour sack, opening a New York-style pizzeria that would dethrone his very own pizza dynasty. Zoli's is everything a pizzeria should be, and that's forgiving the fact that they don't serve pitchers of beer. You can get cans, though, and you can get crisp-crusted pies that you have to fold in half to get to your face without mucking up your shirt. There's a Sicilian pie if you want something with a little more heft, and a grandma pie if you're looking for square-shaped pizza with a thinner crust. Order by the slice if you must, but Zoli's is the most fun when you bring some friends and work your way through an entire pie.
You can get sushi all over Dallas, but when you start spending a lot of time in one sushi restaurant, you start to realize a whole new sushi experience. Teppo is a great place to plug in for the long haul, and it's not just because their fish and other ingredients are consistently fresh. Teppo is the ultimate neighborhood sushi spot, where the person to your left and right often walked to get there that night, and you're likely to bump into them again and again. Start with the specials, or just ask the people sitting to your side what's good that night. Whatever you do, don't get in a tuna-roll rut. The yakitori grill turns out amazing grilled meats, and the seaweed salad will stay in your memory for a long time.
Attempting to tackle the cuisines of Mexico and farther south all the way to Argentina, seems like a risky undertaking because there are so many ingredients and cooking techniques present in the Central and South Americas. But in tackling so much, veteran chef Stephan Pyles accomplishes the impossible, offering consistently executed dishes across a vast menu that offers almost endless exploration. Where else in the Dallas area can you find a causa limoña, a potato and shrimp terrine that hides a softly cooked quail egg? Where else can you try a fish that looks like Bob Marley — dreadlocks and all?