The 11 Best Bites from the Dallas Observer Iron Fork 2013
Hopefully you made it to Iron Fork last night. Hopefully you dressed lightly. While massive blowers at the front of the venue did their best, the back of the Dallas Contemporary was quite warm. I'm half convinced that Matt McCallister's sweat was the magical ingredient that propelled the young chef to victory, but I'll let Alice tell that tale in another post. What I want to focus on is all the amazing food I devoured at the event. Honestly, there were some really good bites, starting with that mess of sausage in the picture above. See also: The People and The Food of Iron Fork 2013
Kuby's sausage plate may not have been the prettiest presentation at Iron Fork, but it was a serious contender for the most delicious. It almost seems odd that the line to Kuby's table was much longer than other participants given the simplicity of their presentation, but that just goes to show that when you carefully cook great ingredients, great things always happen. With a big spoonful of mustard this little sausage party was a really winner. And it was just the beginning.
Mesa brough a stellar ceviche served in cups with a few sturdy tortilla chips to add crunch and salt to the dish. The fish was fresh and bright with citrus and the salty chips formed the perfect utensil. Chef Raul Reyes was on hand himself handing out these delicious cups of briny seafood.
Every time I write about the Londoner it's to extol the virtues of their fish and chips. At Iron Fork this year, they doled out bowls of warm chicken tikka masala. The only problem? Availability. This shit should be offered up in several locations across Dallas from 2 a.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday-Saturday. Hangovers would be eradicated forever.
Scardello brought some really impressive cheeses. With the volume of attendees, I thought these guys might try to bring a few tubs of Velveeta. Instead they brought a Scharfe Maxx 365 and a Brazos Valley Cheddar among others. They did Iron Fork attendees well.
I'm so sad Carrollton won't let this place cook over wood. I'm quite certain it's just a few pimento branches away from being one of the best jerk chicken dishes in Texas. As it stands now, Island Spot has the best jerk in the area. I was really glad to see them doling out the bird at Iron Fork.
You know this Cubano. It hails from Carrollton too. The owners of International Bakery Cuban Dulceria were on site handing out small pieces of the same sandwiches you can get back at their shop. If you tasted them at Iron Fork, go give the full sized version a shot. If you were not at Iron Fork, go give the full sized version a shot.
Nothing Bundt Cakes didn't reach out and grab me visually for whatever reason, but after so much savory I was dying for something sweet. The nice lady working the booth told me this chocolate version was the most popular, and it was very good, but a lemony version was even better. The cake was light, tender, delicate and moist. It was my favorite sweet of the night.
The Mozzarella Co. in Deep Ellum makes a heck of a lot more than pizza toppings. This Blanca Bianca sported some serious funk.
Mughlai didn't disappoint either, with generous bowls of grilled chicken and lentils over rice with a bright green chutney. I could have spent most of the evening at their booth alone.
Nora has been bringing subtle Afghani flavors to Greenville Avenue for a while now, and they picked two great dishes to showcase their flavors last night. Dumplings filled with meat and dressed with yogurt packed some heat, and the tiny meat balls they doled out were just as good.
Remember Taj Chat House? I reviewed them ages ago while traipsing thought Irving looking for good Indian food. If I were to describe the potatoes, onions tomatoes on these little fried disks you just wouldn't get it. There's something special about the textures and flavors, all held together with a bright and sweet ladle of tamarind chutney. This is street food of the highest order.
If you missed Iron Fork, you should be bummed. But the dishes here point to some of the most interesting restaurants serving the most delicious food you can find in Dallas. Use this list to inspire your own exploration. You will not be disappointed.
Get the Food & Drink Newsletter
Our weekly guide to Dallas dining includes food news and reviews, as well as dining events and interviews with chefs and restaurant owners.