Sneaking out of the office to enjoy an extended meal with a glass or two of good wine or beer is one of life's great pleasures. Especially when you're eating in a fine dining restaurant. I love a good lunch. And when I can get in and out of a polished place for 20 bucks, give or take, I feel like I'm getting a real deal. The service is better, the ingredients are top-notch, and you walk out of the restaurant with a grin on your face and heavy, smiling eyes, ready for a nap.
The best part is many of the menus at places you associate with $50 oyster plates and truffled risotto are actually quite casual when the sun is still up. This is where you find some of Dallas' best sandwiches or delve into a multi-course tasting menu that's less than half the cost of an evening meal. Here are some of my favorite places to break out that starched shirt for lunch.
Charlie Palmer (Pictured above) Look at that sandwich! The menu claims that meat is 21-day-cured pastrami, lovingly prepared in house. The bread is sturdy and holds up to the hot beef, and there's plenty of whole grain mustard. I wish it didn't cost $15 or I'd eat one a week. It's a great sandwich.
Fearing's You know there's more to eat here than the soup, right? I followed this bowl up with some small barbecue sliders that smacked of sweet sauce. Fearing's was quiet during my visit, with only a few lunch dates mingling and a loner at the bar. Consider this a good spot to enjoy some solitude.
Samar Don't forget to order the freshly baked pita for whatever sandwich you order. The service at this Stephan Pyles restaurant is as good as it gets, and they'll happily make the substitution. It's a shame they don't offer the sandwiches cooked on the better bread already.
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Stephan Pyles While Stampede 66 gets attention for its recent lunch menu, his namesake restaurant has been turning out fancy lunches for years. The execution here is tight, and the menu is a lot of fun. A burger, torta and burrito were screaming at me, but I was in dire need of some omega-3's so I went with the salmon instead. Pyles, you can call that a jalepeño relleno all you want, but it's a popper to me. And with the smooth, creamy cheese you have tucked inside, it's a damn fine one, too.
Tei-An You knew this was coming. I've written about Tei-An's ramen before. I'm not as impressed with the sushi specials for lunch here, but the soups are a great deal. Meals during the day are quiet and almost reverent, here. Tei-An puts on a great lunch.