Yutaka Sushi Bistro
We're a little picky about our sushi 'round the Observer. We know the fish dish has become ubiquitous, available in grocery store refrigerators, convenience stores ... shoot, it's probably free with a fill-up at some gas station somewhere in the city. Uh, thanks, but we'll pass. We're still a little dubious on this whole raw fish thing, and if we're going to eat it, we want it served fresh, cool and clean and preferably not from someone named Mildred slicing meat behind the counter at Tom Thumb. (No offense meant, Mildred.) Yutaka Sushi Bistro has just what we're looking for: sashimi so fresh you can smell the sea in the silken tuna, salmon, octopus and other varieties of ocean fare. It arrives cut precisely, soothingly chilled and silky and arranged so meticulously on wooden plates that it looks fit for a still life. (There are rolls and hot Japanese dishes on the menu too.) The restaurant, black lacquer and bamboo in a vaguely industrial space in a shopping strip, is just as artful and so clean you want to wash up before you enter. Yutaka serves sushi as it was meant to be — an art form created by craftsmen, not something rolled, chopped and shoved under a layer of plastic wrap.
McCormick & Schmick's
We know it's part of a chain and in a mall. Don't tell anyone, because it'll ruin our hipster cred, but we kind of like the mall, we've been known to patronize chain restaurants (especially those imported from California) and we love McCormick & Schmick's. What's not to love? The wide variety of fresh fish flown in from around the globe, prepared to your specifications and served by staff who can tell you what's cooking and how it'll taste? The variety of oysters from Texas, Canada and points northeast served fresh, briny and raw from the oyster bar? The blue crab tower appetizer with mango, avocado and huge lumps of moist crab meat? Listen, you want non-chain authenticity, there are plenty of shacks around town slinging fried catfish and shrimp. If you're like us and occasionally want to treat yourself to the kind of seafood that's usually found in cities with harbors, you can't do better than a trip to the mall. Just wear a hat in case any of your cool friends see you there.
Jay+Jerrier%27s+pizza+oven+did+best+when+producing+simple+pies.
Sara+Kerens
Jay+Jerrier%27s+pizza+oven+did+best+when+producing+simple+pies.
The best pizza in Dallas isn't a pizzeria, but a specific pie. Jay Jerrier's much beloved pizza has won almost unanimous praise from Dallas pizza freaks with only a few complaining about soggy crust. Neapolitan style crust is notoriously delicate and appreciated best when it's not heavily assaulted with sauce and embellishments. Unfortunately, locals prefer heavy-handed pizza topping, resulting in a round which might be better described as Texapolitan pie. Not so with Cane Rosso's Regina Margherita, which places quality above quantity, leveraging mozzerella di bufala instead of the restaurant's regular cow's milk cheese. The buffalo version is richer, more dense and has less water content, which protects from a soggy crust. It's really the best way to let Dallas' top pizza shine.
Campisi's
We know. Taverna, right? No? Nonna, then. Or Daniele Osteria? Oh, right, it's changed hands. Note to self: We should go back. Though, to be honest, we're true believers in making our own, which is why we were going to say Jimmy's Food Store. They've already made the meatballs; the lobster ravioli's in the freezer; the best tomato sauce in the world's sitting on shelves; the cannoli's ready to serve. Just grab the wine and go. The hard part's been ... wait, there is no hard part. But, look, we natives go to Campisi's. That's the way it is. Our grandfather ate here; our dad ate here; we eat here; our kids'll eat here. And we mean the Mockingbird original, incidentally, not one of the suburban spin-offs. Good Italian eateries come and go; this town's littered with the ghosts of Best Italian Restaurant award-winners. But the crab claws and Randy White ravioli live forever. And don't you dare say a friggin' bad word about the pizza. You must be from out of town.
In-N-Out Burger
Before you get all uppity and ask us what the hell we're thinking calling a California-based fast-food burger joint the Best New Restaurant in Dallas, let us refresh your memory: people idling for hours in the drive-through when the first In-N-Out east of Arizona opened this May in Frisco; cops called out to direct traffic; that one woman we found weeping — weeping — tears of joy as she ate her burger; a lane of traffic closed on Central Expressway's service road to accommodate In-N-Out fans. Honestly, we don't get what all the fuss is about either. It's a hamburger, not a cure for baldness, but who are we to argue with The People? Any burger joint that can stir up that kind of mass hysteria deserves some kind of kudos, even if it's not for their food.
The kimchee fries at the SSahm BBQ food truck are everything that food truck food should be: tasty, cheap and fun. The fresh, hand-cut fries smothered in Monterey Jack and cheddar cheeses, cilantro, onion, caramelized kimchee and spicy mayo are a little bit traditional, a little bit blasphemy and a lot delicious. The Korean barbecue tacos sold here are a solid choice too. We're partial to the spicy pork, but all the options are good. With so many new food trucks in Dallas, it's nice to go to a truck that has everything about food truckery figured out. Their food is great, their schedule is easy to find online, their menu is easy to navigate, they have tables and chairs in the shade when they're in the Arts District and they even have a waitress-type equipped with a credit-card-accepting iPhone to make your food purchase quick and painless.
Pepe's & Mito's Mexican Cafe
Pepe & Mito's in Deep Ellum is a great place to go when you have a hankerin' for tacos al pastor or a pork tamale lunch special with a side of people-watching. It's also toddler-going-nuts-on-an-enchilada friendly. And it's the perfect pre-party Tex-Mex carb load for a night of drunkenness in Deep Ellum. The waitstaff always knows just what you need. Walk in with a big group at dinnertime and the waiter will ask, "Margarita?" Walk in with a toddler at lunch and the waiter will ask, "Margarita?" It's like they're inside your brain. Add to that the wonderfully lard-y homemade tortillas; one ridiculous, sombrero-wearing parrot mascot; and blindingly fast service and you have a real winner for classic, trashy-but-not-too-trashy Tex-Mexsteraunt. Whatever you do, don't forget the sopapillas. Never. Forget. The sopapillas.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of