Ah, Restaurant Week. The time of year when your favorite neighborhood restaurants are flooded with people who only dine out a few times a year. It's a week notorious for bad service, small portions and watered-down menus, but unlike some other cities' versions, DFW's benefits the North Texas Food Bank and the Lena Pope Home. And so we go, ready to eat and spend. We just choose carefully.
There are more than 100 restaurants in the metroplex that participate, and many are great places to dine, despite the throngs of people and stressed out servers. If you're planning on making your reservation (and you should soon; they go pretty fast), consider these five, which are, in our estimation, among those most worth throwing down $35 for.
Mercat This cozy bistro is very French, and very good at food and wine. This is the first year that Mercat has appeared on the Restaurant Week list, so there isn't really a lot of insight into what could be on their menu. What you can expect, though, is well-executed dishes in a European-style setting. And probably some of their much-heralded passion fruit creme brulee and a glass of wine, which is worth the trip alone.
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The Mansion Restaurant For us proletariats, going to the Rosewood Mansion at Turtle Creek is more of a pipe dream than a weekly occurrence. You'll pay a little extra for the Restaurant Week menu here -- $45 for a "premium menu" instead of the standard $35 -- but you can bet that every dollar, and every calorie, will be well spent. Chef Bruno Davaillion has already released this year's menu, and it includes a kurobuta pork short rib and some fancy-sounding dessert called a "chocolate hazelnut composition."
Tei An Chef Teiichi Sakurai's sushi and soba house in One Arts Plaza has received heaps of praise from every food critic in the city, and Restaurant Week is the perfect time to make your first stop or revisit an old favorite. Tei-An's Restaurant Week Menu is also available, and diners can look forward to fried shisito peppers, a rotating daily sashimi selection and Sakurai's famous tonkatsu ramen. At only $45, this menu is a seriously budget-friendly splurge.
San Salvaje It wouldn't be Restaurant Week without an appearance from Stephan Pyles, but this year you should skip his self-named restaurant and make a reservation at San Salvaje. The ceviches are fresh and piquant, the cocktails are inventive, and you can always expect a strong Restaurant Week menu from one of DFW's most successful restaurateurs.
Barter After only being open a few short months, Barter is starting to pick up steam in the Dallas dining scene. The menu, influenced by Chef Tim Love, is full of down home dishes with chef-inspired twists. One can only hope that the restaurant's hearty and satisfying poutine, made with smoked pork and N'duja gravy, will make it onto this year's discounted menu.