Normally we roll out a Top 10 list in this space. But, quite honestly, we stalled somewhere around number six.
Yet bathrooms are surprisingly important. A clean, bright and polished space reassures guests of the entire operation's standards while a smudged, rusty room with splash marks all over the floor is enough to drive many people away.
There's no real need for anything fancy. On the other hand, some restaurateurs know the value when patrons return to their tables, flushed with excitement, and say to their friends "you won't believe the bathrooms in this place."
But, like I said, our list dribbled to a stop after we'd awarded sixth spot to Cowboy Chow, for their unisex space. The French Room and Charlie Palmer are impressive. Fuse and Rise No. 1 (how appropriate) are worthy of note. There there's...well, just too many nice but otherwise indistinguishable bathrooms to really shake out a full Top 10.
There are, however, five truly impressive Dallas restaurant bathrooms:
The approach is key here. The W was designed to give visitors a real, thriving, cool, urban experience--however contrived. So as you walk up to the clear glass entry to each bathroom, you're bathed in colored light and escorted by the thump of back beat from their ground floor bar.
4. Cafe San Miguel (women's)
I can't say why this makes the list, other than every woman I've ever dined with at San Miguel or spoken to about the Henderson Ave. restaurant raves about their restroom. And that's enough. (The men's room, by the way, is nothing special).
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3. Stephan Pyles
This would rank with the French Rooms of the toilet trade, if not for some secret viewing holes placed in the frosted glass dividing the men's washing up area from the women's. Shaped like little stars, they allow you to peer through and view all the H1N1 scrubbing.
1. Neighborhood Services
And then there's chef/owner Nick Badovinus' decidedly low tech, throwback bathrooms: old jeans hanging to dry, half-squeezed toothpaste tubes tossed by the sink, other accoutrements of daily use pushed here and there. And there's old time radio playing in the background--in our case, a recording of Vincent Price discussing recipes. That never gets old.