Readers' Choice: Al Biernat's 4217 Oak Lawn Ave. 214-219-2201
Despite its title, there is very little French in the French Room—save for the furiousness of its kitchen technique. It's more of an Italian-New York mash deliciously henpecked with Asian pinches and California thumbprints. The glory of it, aside from the paunchy flushed cherubs romping among the ceiling clouds and the gilded arches and explosive floral formations teasing the chandeliers and the greenish marble floor, is how the plates launch the senses into transcendence. Steam coiling and licking from the plate is enough to make you drool. Every thin smear of coulis or gastrique, every smudge of gelee, every emulsion stain, is of the perfect texture and temperature. Every protein—fish, scallop, fowl, meat and the decadent-and-soon-to-be-banned-at-a-PC-automaton-restaurant-near-you foie gras is as impeccable and ample as the cherub love handles in the cloud puffs. So you know the service will knock you dead. But you're in heaven. So it's OK.