BEST BRUNCH 2013 | Bread Winners | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer
Alex Scott

A good brunch is a balancing act that has to take a variety of things into account. There’s more involved than just sweet and savory, though these elements are of the highest importance. A good brunch has to cure a hangover while keeping things a little fruity and wholesome. It also has to appeal to the church crowd while being rich and fiery. Bread Winners can straddle all of those at the same time — for example, with the Tabasco hollandaise on the Southern Benedict or the hot sauce and maple syrup on the fried chicken and waffles. Or the Carmen’s French Toast — cinnamon raisin bread topped with fruit — with an added side of jalapeño bacon. Bread Winners has the balance you need in a successful Sunday brunch: the healthy and nutritious parts of breakfast with all the lingering sinfulness from the night before.


Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo

It is an unlikely place for an eatery of any sort, but if you were going to pick a restaurant to open up on this little strand at the end of Lake June Road, it would probably be a taco place. Lucky for you, Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo isn't just any taco restaurant, but a really good one. They likely make the best barbacoa in all of Dallas, and they pack it into handmade tortillas. Owner Raymundo Sanchez roasts lamb down to shreds on the weekends for breakfast and lunch. During the week his restaurant is closed. That's just as well because the food here was designed to destroy your worst hangover. The lamb roasts in a special oven, suspended over a bed of chickpeas. What collects in a pan at the bottom is the most restorative soup you'll ever encounter. Come with friends and say goodbye to last night's margarita haze. Everything is all right now.

The term "mom and pop" is as overused as the word "hipster." It's heaped on every restaurant that's not a Chili's or a Cheesecake Factory. Mom and pop should indicate an actual set of parents is at the heart of the business. It should be reserved for family-owned restaurants, like Los Torres Taquería in Oak Cliff, where Ramiro Torres, wife Irene and her sister Evangelina wait to deliver bliss tucked in a tortilla. Even their children are there, more often then not. And you wish you grew up with cooking like this. There is succulent goat spiced with cloves and cinnamon and rich barbacoa made not just with beef, but pork too. And if you request it, they'll make your tortillas by hand, to order. Step up to the salsa bar and choose your ammunition. Your hunger never stood a chance.

Wits Steakhouse/Kathy Tran

This upscale Design District restaurant isn't new to winning awards or earning "best" nods for its cuisine in these pages or in other publications. Last year, Oak walked away with Best New Restaurant and Best Chef awards from us, and for good reason. We've yet to be let down when dining there. The menu at Oak is constantly changing, especially since its recent chef transition, but throughout the turmoil one thing has remained: the Ligurian Caesar salad. Oak takes the on-every-menu salad and turns it into a refreshing, modern nosh. The Caesar comes served with a hunk of hand-torn crouton, Parmigiano-Reggiano and mint pesto, and once that crouton soaks up some of the dressing, it's ever so heavenly.

Chances are that while sifting through the bar menu at Truluck's (which is half off during happy hour) you'll feel like a kid in an alcoholic version of a candy shop. The menu is filled with drinks ranging from savory to sweet, among them the tiramisu martini made with Vincent Van Gogh double espresso vodka and walnut liqueur, the Red Door with vodka, St. Germaine and fresh raspberries or the Dinner Martini made with Belvedere Intense vodka and served with a few blue-cheese-stuffed olives. While picking one can be hard, there's one cocktail in particular that stands out: the lychee martini. The sweet and perfume-like taste of the lychee pairs perfectly with vanilla-flavored vodka and Chambord. We've ordered the Asian fruit cocktail all over Dallas, but haven't been able to find anywhere that shakes and pours it up better than Truluck's.

Catherine Downes

The restaurant formerly known as Thai Express received an upgrade of sorts when it moved from its strip-shopping-center location on Inwood Road to the new spot on Oak Lawn Avenue (underneath the offices at 3300 Oak Lawn Ave.) and re-branded itself as "Si Lom Thai Asian Fusion" in late 2012. While the menu offers a variety of scrumptious options, from curries, salads and noodles to the amazing pineapple fried rice and Thai classics like pad Thai, it's the tom kha soup that keeps us coming back time and time again. Si Lom's take on the lemon grass soup is made with coconut milk, cilantro, green onions, juicy hunks of tomato, straw mushrooms and a choice of chicken or shrimp. It comes served in individual portions or as huge, sharable platters, and diners are given a heat index to choose from. We recommend ordering the large and asking for it "hot."

Sundown at Granada

Do yourself a series of favors. First, go to brunch at Sundown. After you've pounded your requisite (and delicious) mimosas and bloody marys, take a look around. You'll see the same dish ferried to most every table: Sundown's insanely delicious, heavenly choir-inspiring eggs Benedict. You will want to order them. Quickly. They'll come with Shiner brisket for the meat eaters, sautéed spinach and mushrooms for the herbivores, barbecue hollandaise and sweet-potato hash for everybody. They taste like drunk sunshine. The sight of that perfect golden yolk running across the plate is enough to inspire goodwill toward your fellow man, always important when you're at brunch surrounded by 200 people drinking just as many mimosas as you are.

Tacos Y Mas gets most things right. Every taco offered there is delicious, naturally, as are the queso, the guacamole and the chips, all of which they turn out from a tiny kitchen wedged between a car wash and a Walgreens. But the bombero salsa is, truly, their crowning achievement. The adobe-brown concoction is house-made, never watery and goddamn hot. It’s also got just the right hint of tomato and onion to make it flavorful, without overdoing them so much that it turns into some gringo-ish salsa fresca bullshit. Enjoy the sweet sounds of some dude blasting his stereo as he soaps his 1992 Camry and get yours.

Five years into the tradition, The Libertine Bar's annual July 4 celebration of gluttony, excess and cheap processed meat — all the things that make America great — is getting better and better without changing a thing. The prizes are fairly lucrative by local eating-contest standards, offering gift certificates of $100 and $50 for first and second place and $25 in quarters to third. That's enough to lure in professional gurgitator "Nasty" Nate Biller, who easily won in 2013 with 26 corn dogs downed in 20 minutes. But the real draw is the crowd of drunken smartasses on both sides of the contest table, shouting hilariously as men and women do their best not to reverse, all soundtracked by over-the-top patriotic jams played at top volume. For those seeking masticating glory, it's the longest and best 20 minutes of the year.

Few things can make us drive north of the George Bush Turnpike other than a trek to H Mart. This Asian-inspired grocery store opened its first location in Queens in the early 1980s and has since expanded across North America and even opened a location in Carrollton. According to its website, H Mart is short for "Han Ah Reum" or "One Arm Full of Groceries," but chances are you'll leave the department-store-sized Carrollton location (the spot used to house a Mervyn's) with a cart full of loot. H Mart is home to some of the freshest (and reasonably priced) fresh produce in town, a meat market section stocked with meats you would expect at a typical grocer, and tanks filled with live seafood we'd never seen outside of the Discovery Channel or Food Network. The market also offers some less conventional fare, from kimchi and seaweed to quail eggs and dragon fruit. There's also a section of household appliances and gadgets and the most impressive sake selection in town.

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