Love on a Budget: 8 Classy But Affordable Date-Night Dinners in Dallas
A sweet apple swan caps off a meal at Hon Sushi.
Elegance without the crowds: Hon Sushi
1902 E. Belt Line Road, Carrollton
Apples carved into wide-winged swans. Sushi rolls presented in pastoral landscapes under palm trees carved out of cucumbers. Wasabi molded into the shape of a hot pepper. Blocks of ice with parsley sprigs frozen inside. The sushi chefs at Hon Sushi are true artists, with a flair for the visual that matches their honest craftsmanship. In downtown Dallas, Hon Sushi might be prohibitively expensive and filled with suits, but it’s improbably housed in a Carrollton strip mall, where the foodie masses still haven’t found it. I can vouch for this one: I went on a second date here 14 months ago (for this review), and she hasn’t dumped me yet.
The Grape's martini has olives stuffed with Boursin cheese.
A timeless Dallas classic: The Grape
2808 Greenville Ave. (Lower Greenville)
The Grape has been a Dallas legend — and a first choice for date nights — for 45 years. The restaurant is still getting it right, with impeccable service and seasonally rotating menus. Still, as much as the menu changes with the harvest, at least one friend of mine is addicted to the mushroom soup and gets a $4 cup every time. The Sunday brunch is peerless without being pricey, especially if your date doesn’t mind burger grease running down your fingers. May we also recommend a special-occasion splurge on the monthly “Come As You Are” dinner, with three specially chosen courses and wine pairings for $54 per person?
Arrive at Boulevardier before 6:30 p.m. on a Friday, and the good bottles of bubbly are 50 percent off.
Friday night escape: Boulevardier
408 N. Bishop Ave. (Bishop Arts)
Here is an essential bit of knowledge: Happy hour at Boulevardier means discounted oysters. Here is another essential bit of knowledge: Arrive at Boulevardier before 6:30 p.m. on a Friday, and the good bottles of bubbly are 50 percent off. In other words, if you and your date find yourselves leaving work early on a Friday, there’s no better place to go. Oysters are allegedly an aphrodisiac, if you believe in that sort of thing. If you don’t, well, Champagne gets you drunk.
Carmelizing the foam of the Flip Side cocktail
The Sylvan Thirty Date Night Crawl: Whisk Crepes or CiboDivino, Jettison, Betty Ringer Ice Cream
1818 Sylvan Ave. (West Dallas)
The Sylvan Thirty development has done a fantastic job building a little date crawl. Start with a light bite for dinner at Whisk Crepes, the cozy Parisian café that somehow escaped and moved to Dallas, or CiboDivino, the Italian market with delightful pasta and pizza. At Whisk, split a big bottle of traditional French cider; at CiboDivino, opt for craft beers or Italian wine. But don’t party too hard because you’ve still got to stop by one of the city’s most sophisticated cocktail bars, Jettison, where the refinement of the drinks is matched only by the friendliness of the staff. If you can ever bring yourself to leave, swing by new Betty Ringer for a scoop of an ice cream flavor like Oaxacan chocolate, horchata or roasted banana pudding.
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