Readers' Choice: Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen, Various locations
Tucked into Dallas' design district, Kay Agnew's Margaux's is a breath of fresh lunch munch fueled by hot licks of Creole and Cajun brashness artfully designed to kick you out of your luncheon ennui. Red beans and rice with andouille sausage? Oh-so-supple firm beans poured over fluffy separate rice grains with flecks of scallion. Soft shell crab is littered with pecan debris and spit-bathed in a rich lemon beurre blanc. And who can say nyet to popcorn crawdads? What's odd is all of this lusty Cajun sweat is dressed in high-class contemporary design threads, which means white (walls and ceiling beams) and black (table cloths and napkins) plus a vase of sticks welded to a mirror here and there. Very haute but very un-Cajun.