Words fail at Bijoux. Eat. Let little bites speak to you. Let thoughts go where they may. Observe how you feel, how your face sometimes vibrates and your toes curl. Notice how a gastrique tangos the sex out of foie gras. Revel in the caramelized surface of a seared scallop, how it is like leather if leather could be shaved into sheer lingerie. Mark how sweet and tender is the skate wing. Make note of the lush and rich pan-seared fillet and the chewy Kobe short rib marinated in wine and herbs and braised until it frays into silky fibers. Bijoux is the dream weave of chef Scott Gotlich, who composes these short concertos within the context of an eight-course tasting menu, a three-course prix fixe or in à la carte fragments from the menu. He does so with such garish impeccability, you go mute from the force of it. Don't speak. Eat.
Flavors From Afar
Unleash your inner gourmet with a trip to Flavors From Afar, an "interactive" food boutique where you'll learn from owners Gary and Nancy Krabill the arcane and complex art of making balsamic vinegar and quality olive oils. Did you know balsam has nothing to do with this incredible vinegar ("black gold") from Modena, Italy? The Krabills will lead you through a tasting of balsamics from the skinny 7-year-old variety to the thick and luscious 30-year-old vinegar that tastes heavenly enough to drizzle on ice cream. They'll show you how to anoint your pulse points with samples of olive oils from Tuscany, Portugal, Sicily and Napa Valley, and breathe in the aroma. Then toss back a tiny cup of the stuff and roll it around in your mouth. Hack! Hack! Astringent, a true two-cough oil. The store also stocks Italian ceramics, specialty pasta, bread dippers, pestos and grilling sauces. Don't leave before you check out the "salt bar," with smoky sea salt, Hawaiian pink, Bulgarian black and French fleur de sel. Go condiment crazy! Schedule your own tasting party. But be careful. The Krabills will tell you about their most unusual offering: a September food and wine trip to Tuscany, where you can eat and drink and harvest olives, returning home with oil made from your own efforts. That'll set you back a few bucks.
Lee Harvey's
The best onion rings achieve a perfect harmony of onion, batter, grease and sauce, filling your mouth with the sweet, sweet flavor of short-order cook tears. It's almost as if you can taste the chef's hopes and dreams, and at Lee Harvey's, we taste the tears of a giver. Served thick and crunchy with a side of zesty chipotle aioli, these rings are top-notch grub, and most important, the batter holds fast to the onion, so you never end up slurping translucent cellulose and wondering what might have been. Hell, in a pinch, we'd even propose with one.
Carmona's Tex-Mex Cantina
So you find yourself in Terrell. Maybe you're on your way back from First Mondays in Canton, or maybe you're on the long haul between El Paso and Longview. Either way, you're hungry and you don't want fast food. So sit down and cool your leadfoot at Carmona's Tex-Mex Cantina, right next to the Tanger Outlets. This place is famous among Terrell residents, and who doesn't want to eat where the locals eat? And there are good reasons they keep coming back: fast, friendly service; frequently replenished chips and salsa; solid Tex-Mex entrees and warm sopapillas dripping with honey.
Primo Brothers Pizza
These guys definitely have it down for pizza that's just oily and rich enough to taste great without turning into tomato soup on a tortilla. Crusts here are done the Old World way—tossed and flopped and smushed around the way dough ought to be done. It used to be called just "Brothers Pizza," but they added the "Primo" after a bunch of other brothers decided to go into the biz at various locations. Nothing against the other brothers, some of whom are pretty good too, but Primo—well, they were the first brothers. Try their calzone and stromboli too. Very delicious.

Best Place to Eat Till You Explode

Maxim's

Maxim's Chinese Restaurant
Why is it that even long-timers here don't know about Chinatown, just north of Dallas off Main Street and Greenville Avenue? Sure, it's a strip mall, but it boasts the best Asian grocery store in town, some of the best Chinese food in three states (you ain't lived till you've soaked up the garlicky, greasy goodies at Mandarin Garden, which, alas, we hear isn't as good as it used to be) and a huge row of bubble tea dispensaries. But we come up here, thanks to the advice of Royal China's owner Kai-Chi Kao, for one specific reason: the dim sum at Maxim's, which is served seven days a week—rare enough, as most Chinese restaurants bust out the dumpling, noodle and soup carts only on weekends. Do yourself a favor and make sure you order the Pu-Erh tea, which cuts the grease and keeps you from feeling a little bloated, sage advice for those who, like us, can't get enough of the shrimp-and-scallion dumplings, easily the best thing on the menu for those who like their Chinese food a little less risky. For those who do, there's the thousand-year-old-egg soup; tried it once—not bad, but never could go back for seconds. Eat, eat and eat—then wonder how your bill's only $49 for six people what with all that food.
St. Martin's Wine Bistro
One week a month, St. Martin's Wine Bistro, an East Dallas staple, offers a four-course dinner paired with wine for $39.95 per person. Chef Georges DuBoeuf dreams up a perfect meal: for a starter, seafood Newberg, paired with a Côtes-du-Rhône white wine. The second course: country French with herbs and apple-wood smoked bacon-infused corn cake on mixed greens, accompanied by a nice Pinot Noir. And for the entrée: tournedos of beef à la bourguignonne, au gratin potatoes and haricots verts, washed down with a Côtes-du-Rhône red; and finally, for dessert, French chocolate mousse paired with Champagne framboise. You don't have to think, just eat, which is good planning after that second glass of wine.
Here's a swell parlor game: try pairing a nice full-bodied red wine with The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. Notice how the tannins complement the evil darkness enshrouding the land of Hyrule; revel in how the rich ripe cassis notes harmonize with the young farm boy Link as he awakens his hero and rabid inner animal. Also, don't the subtle acids and nice long finish complement a frontal charge on the dungeon boss as you pound him with clenched fists and open-palm blows? This is just one of the culinary escapades you and your family can enjoy at Bin 555: a post-modern entertainment centaur that is half wine bar, half video smorgasbord. While you savor sips of Byron Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley, in between bites of rustic Italian asparagus Milanese—as dangerous as Zelda since asparagus murders red wine—your kids can savor Xbox 360, Wii and Playstation amusements in the "Kids' Lounge," or the wired play space with Net Nanny-filtered Internet access and ever-changing movie showings. It's a nutritious playground for post-toddler first adopters and midget attention span development. So while you glory in the Bin's rustic Tuscan cuisine on small plates coupled with a wine list featuring 55 bottles for $55, your kids can digest Zelda and Link. Feel the family inner animal stirring?
Ali Baba Mediterrian Grill
Taryn Walker
Ali Baba serves a succulent, melt-from-the-bone golden chicken with a spicy garlic sauce and pita bread, or you can ask for hummus instead of the garlic. If you're like us, you eat too much rotisserie chicken anyway, because you tell yourself it's not as bad as fried chicken, and that's true. And fried chicken is not as bad as fried beef. But no matter what Ali Baba's golden chicken really does for your cholesterol, it's a refreshing break for the palate—a hint of the Middle East, a whiff of barbecue, what could be better? Ali Baba has lunch hours, a midday closing and then evening hours, but it gets a little complicated. Best is to call ahead. Or live large and take a chance.
This classy neighborhood eatery turns out down-home cooking with an upscale flourish, and the menu changes with the seasons. You can count on delicious entrees such as the tender and juicy grilled pork chop, as well as unique sides like smoked Gouda grits and warm blue cheese potato salad. The salads are especially masterful. The 24 Chopped Salad, with tomatoes, shallots, blue cheese and avocado has a delectable fusion of flavors and the perfect amount of poppy-seed vinaigrette, and you can enjoy all of it in a cozy, upscale atmosphere complete with a bright mural of Lakewood on the far wall.

Best Of Dallas®

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