Best Ribs 2001 | Peggy Sue BBQ | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Much ado is made of barbecue in Dallas, and it's true that a lot of places roll out a tasty rib platter, but none comes close to the culinary sensations being served up at Peggy Sue BBQ. The spareribs, rubbed in spine-shivering spices and cooked to tender perfection, are a good choice. However, the showstopper is the baby backs, which are cooked in an oh-my-God-this-is-so-sweet-I-have-it-on-my-ears-and-I-don't-care sauce made of maple and brown sugar. Combined with the salty taste of the meat, which falls from the bone, these ribs are as good as it gets.

The hamburgers are perfect, throwbacks to the burgers we once bought at a family-run drive-in where everything was made to order--and to a real human being's exacting standards of quality, not a corporate entity that simply ships frozen goodies to a franchisee and its careless staff of teen-agers. But that's not all Culver's, a Wisconsin-based chain, has to offer. There's creamy, freshly made frozen custard, a Midwestern mainstay, available in several flavors (try the peach) and with a couple of dozen toppings, including blueberry, raspberry, blackberry and peanut butter (better than it sounds). The fish and chips ($6.79) tops what you'd get in most sit-down establishments, and Culver's also offers fried Norwegian cod fillets, fried chicken and several sandwiches. Culver's is a little more expensive than your average fast-food joint, but the difference in quality is remarkable.

One of our fave joints in the "window to weight gain" category. (Simpson's joke. Sorry. We're weak.) A neighborhood treasure near Southern Methodist University, Bubba's serves fowl that is by no means foul. (We can't stop with the puns, though!) When we attended SMU, we used to go there to watch the co-eds pound down the meaty chicken, the huge rolls and the accompanying gravy, then wonder how many years it would be before that all showed up in their thighs. All our guesses proved wrong. Liposuction, you know. But we digress. This excellent chicken joint is the place to go when burgers get dull. The side veggies don't always stand up to the winged bird they serve, but if it's chicken you're after, Bubba's does it right.
No, we're not talking about the icky-sweet stuff in iridescent colors that we pulled from wooden crates at the family reunion when we were kids. This is the adult version of cherry soda: not too sweet, just the right amount of carbonation, sold in real bottles, with a luscious, deep-purple hue and flavor that bears some resemblance to an actual fruit. Though IBC, better known for its root beer, has its roots in St. Louis, its sodas are now bottled right here in Plano, and IBC black cherry flavor is so much better than the mass-market brands' cherry concoctions. If you haven't had cherry soda since you were 6, it's time to reacquaint your taste buds.
Back in the day, before we had spouses and 'sponsibility, the Metro was our home-away-from; we gave out its number as our own, the way old New York journos in the '50s passed off a bar's digits whenever they needed to be found in the wee small hours of the morning...or midafternoon. We lived beneath the dim flicker of the Metro's fluorescents; we puffed upon our coffin nails and choked down our caffeine while the jukebox murmured the bruised blues of Muddy Waters and Howlin' Wolf. We scarfed down our scrambled eggs and toast and crisp bacon and hash browns at 3 p.m., usually at 3 a.m. We watched our colleagues and friends and absolute strangers (they who live at the counter, propping up their weary frames after a likely trundle over from nearby Baylor) dine upon grilled-cheese sandwiches or pecan waffles or chicken-fried delights. We read, we wrote, mostly we all just talked till the cigarettes ran out or the coffee pot went dry. That was before the redo a few years ago, before they cleaned up the joint--which, as far as we're concerned, is like polishing the Hope diamond. We may be more settled (or maybe some of us just settled), but still the Metro beckons. We may not go as late or as often, but we go when we can--during that witching hour, usually, when the sky looks overcast even on a cloudless day. We'll be against one of the windows, smoking and drinking coffee and dipping biscuits into running eggs as we watch the world hustle to a crawl. Join us, yes, but leave us alone. We shall return the favor. It's the Metro's way.
Yeah, it's a chain, but the brothers have bagels down. Besides having a wide assortment of bagels made the way a bagel should be made (not dried out and airy, but moist and chewy), they also sell great breakfast and other bagel sandwiches. Our fave on a Sunday morning: an "everything" bagel loaded with cream cheese. Salty goodness along with strong coffee and a fat Sunday newspaper. Suh-weet.

It's hot, clean and fresh. And it doesn't taste like blowtorched linoleum. Or start with an "S."
The help may not always be the friendliest, but why should they have to be? The food is so good they don't need to be nice. It's worth a trip to Ali Baba just if it's to find out what real hummus is supposed to look and taste like. Every other dish is authentic Lebanese with plenty of distinctive Middle Eastern spices. Servings are plentiful, but what may seem like tons of leftovers (that made your car stink like garlic while you went drinking in Lower Greenville) probably will be devoured before dawn.
With their name, you'd think the oysters had better be tasty, and they are. Oysters are shucked at the bar and served on the half-shell atop a tray of crushed ice. The oysters are fresh, which means they don't taste too fishy as they slide down your throat. The oysters come with fresh lemon, horseradish, cocktail sauce and lemon for $6.50 a dozen regularly and $3.90 a dozen all day Tuesdays. The best deal is happy hour, which is from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. On Wednesday certain draft beers are $1 all day.
It's considered a delicacy in Vietnam where it is often accompanied by cognac. But at Steel, it's served on a narrow platter heaped with flesh and shreds of mint, a Vietnamese herb called rau om, slivers of lemon peel, fried onion and chopped peanuts. This mound effectively veils the ruddy meat. Only the folded edges of the thin, succulent prime rib eye sheets are visible, like loins covered in a grass skirt. It's delicate and flush with fragrance and alive with refreshing piquancy. Plus, it hits the spot.

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