In the lengthy and sometimes stressful process of opening his Bishop Arts restaurant Stock and Barrel, Chef Jon Stevens spent a lot of time eating out at Dallas restaurants. Ever the chef, Stevens tends to frequent places that most of us would consider a foodie splurge, even if they aren't all that expensive.
Stevens has been working in Dallas for years, and anyone with a culinary background like his is bound to offer up some good recommendations for dinner. Dine like Chef Jon at these eight Dallas restaurants.
Casa Rubia has gotten a lot of attention from national and local food critics, so it isn't much of a surprise that Stevens is among Chef Omar Flores' biggest fans. Even if you don't know much about Spanish food or tapas, you can play it safe with one of Flores' inventive paella dishes. According to Stevens, they're always "on point."
Apparently, any restaurant owned or formerly owned by Teiichi Sakurai is like bait for chefs. "Everything [Sakurai] touches turns to gold, and we eat at Tei Tei and Tei-An quite a bit," Stevens admits. He's also looking forward to Sakurai's forthcoming ramen spot, Ten, which is slated to open this fall.
Hibiscus certainly isn't new to Dallas, but Chef Graham Dodds has been working hard to breathe new life into one of Stevens' favorite places in the city. According to him, the staff is always "super-knowledgable," the space is comfortable, and Dodds is "rocking it out" in the kitchen. "This is the best I've ever had Graham's food,"says Stevens, which is high praise for a guy that has worked in fine kitchens all over the world.
For little bites on a casual night, it's Si Tapas in Uptown for Stevens and his friends. As a bonus, it's one of the more casual places in town where you can find a number of well-composed tapas plates, which are essential for a Spanish food junkie like Stevens. If it's your first visit, try a mix of the cold and hot tapas for the full Spanish snack experience.
Authentic Chinese noodles are relatively rare in Dallas, but Monkey King Noodle Co. in Deep Ellum arguably has the best. Stevens didn't dish on whether he prefers the fresh-pulled, pillowy noodles in Monkey King's spicy beef broth or the more mellow chicken soup, but it's safe to say you're going to be happy with either.
This Henderson Ave haunt also continues to be a favorite of local chefs, likely because it's open really late and right off of a major highway. Stevens argues that Velvet Taco is one of the city's better "jump-in, dive type places," and he may be right considering the unusual mix of patrons you can see there on any given night.
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Jay Jerrier's Neopolitan pizza joint Il Cane Rosso may get most of the credit for making Dallas' pizza scene better, but Stevens joins the chorus of people who just prefer Zoli's. Everyone enjoys the saggy-tip authenticity of Cane Rosso's fire-blackened pies, but there's nothing better than a crispy slice of New York-style pizza that's been topped with sopressata. Take it from Stevens if you don't believe me - if you haven't had the sopressata pizza, you need to.