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We could have given Bolsa tons of awards. Best flatbread. Best mussels. Best bartender. Best bartender with muscles. You get the picture. But it's really all those other bests that make it simply the best place to take a date because when you're on a date, you want the best of everything, right? After absorbing the ultra-cool ambiance created by the inspired renovation of a former auto garage, we recommend sitting at the bar for your meal, where "Lucky" the bartender's use of fresh fruit while making drinks is exhilarating to both observe and consume. Bolsa's food menu is all about freshness too, so it changes daily depending on what's available. Look, the best way to ensure that your after-dinner plans go smoothly is to eat someplace where you know the dinner will be a home run every time, and Bolsa's combination of food, drinks, atmosphere and service always clears the fence.
If you're in the mood for something out of the ordinary, Victor Tango's aims to please with a menu that includes surprisingly scrumptious roasted bone marrow. It tastes like the fat from a juicy rib-eye steak, which might not sound very appealing either, but trust us on this one, if there ever was a time to pull the trigger on the unconventional choice, this is it. Served with toasted brioche and onion confit—sweet caramelized onions seasoned with herbs and balsamic vinegar—three large bones are split down the middle, exposing gelatinous marrow. It's not for everyone, but for 10 bucks, you'd be hard-pressed to find something as adventurous and affordable.
When Avila's closed for several months following a nasty family spat that resulted in a dramatic court case and a new splinter restaurant across town (Ricardo Avila's Mextopia), we at the Dallas Observer openly wept. Whether it was the Number One Enchilada Special—seriously, these are the best cheese enchiladas in town—the Anna Maria Plate (one soft cheese taco, one cheese enchilada and one beef taco), the brisket tacos or the vegetarian-friendly black bean enchiladas, we all mourned our standing orders, remarking constantly that our other lunch destinations just didn't hold up. So when Avila's finally reopened their doors again, we were like little kids on Christmas morning, heading straight down the street to order our favorites and munch on some of the best chips and salsa in town. And since they took the downtime to remodel the interior, the bathroom's not even in the kitchen anymore. Though honestly, with Tex-Mex as good as this, we never seemed to mind.
Hattie's is one of Oak Cliff's best restaurants, with a clean, inviting interior and a menu full of delicious, upscale Southern comfort food. But it's their occasional brunch special, the chicken and waffles, that keeps us coming back. The giant buttermilk fried chicken breast dozing on the plate-sized Belgian waffle will bring tears to any true Southerner's eye, and the red chile-flecked maple syrup that accompanies it makes the experience even more decadent. So cancel all your Sunday afternoon plans, head on over to Hattie's and enjoy the inevitable five hour nap you will take as a result of this ultimate brunch dish.
Before you Chipotle Mexican Grill lovers claim that Freebirds stole the concept of made-to-order burritos from Chipotle, we'll kindly point out that Freebirds was born in 1987 in California—six years before the first Chipotle opened in Colorado. Not only was Freebirds first with the idea, they do it best by offering better ingredients and more of them. Start out with your choice of burrito—roasted carnitas (pork), grilled steak, grilled chicken or veggie—and the combinations are nearly endless once you start picking a tortilla, cheese, beans and greens. And just when you thought your job was done, Freebirds offers seven different sauces, including lime juice, bad-ass barbecue and its death sauce, which somehow ranks below habenero on the hotness scale.