Best Baby Back Ribs 2014 | Peggy Sue BBQ | Best of Dallas® 2020 | Best Restaurants, Bars, Clubs, Music and Stores in Dallas | Dallas Observer

Peggy Sue BBQ has a wall covered in denim and some passable brisket. Another thing it has, though, is the finest, most tender, most delectable and juicy baby back ribs in a 200-mile radius. If your idea of barbecue is that ribs are king, then you should a) leave Texas and b) go past Peggy Sue's on your way, because the potentially fictional lady knows her ribs.

Sushi can be intimidating for novices, even for those who are open-minded and have no qualms about chowing down on uncooked fish. The menu cards often have dozens and dozens of items, most of which have names that have no meaning to the uninitiated non-Japanese speaker. And then there's the fear of ordering an expensive roll expecting it to be worthy of a meal only to get a few bites out of it. The Deep Sushi Dinner takes the guesswork out of it, offering an affordable meal with an interesting selection of seafood. It's all tasty and fresh, and lets you enjoy your pre-dinner drinks talking to your date or friends rather than Googling the names of the rolls. And now that you know the names of a few items, you'll be more confident next time.

Catherine Downes

It's rare you'll encounter a chicken-fried steak that's as interesting as the one served at Tom's Burgers & Grill. It starts out with the breading, which replaces everyday seasoned flour with crushed potato chips that pack a serious crunch. There are flecks of herbs strewn about and the whole thing is fried until it's a deep, rich brown. Ask for your gravy to be served on the side to preserve the crispy texture and then get to dipping until heart palpitations tell you it's time to quit. Chicken-fried steak has a whole new lease on life at Tom's, and so will you while you're eating it.

Steakhouses are a dime a dozen here in Dallas, but none of them will let you get out of door for loose change. Knife is no different, but it can be significantly more affordable if you know how to navigate the menu. Look for the section of affordable bistro cuts that can be had for $25 each. You might not recognize names like tri-tip, culotte and chuck flap but you'll recognize the flavor as big and beefy. Each is cooked sous-vide and then finished over an oak fire. Pair yours with any of the sides such as creamed spinach and super crunchy onion rings and you'll have a steakhouse meal for well under 50 bucks.

Normally you expect to eat fried chicken at an outdoor table made of pine or maybe on a picnic blanket, not at an elegant marble bar at some hoity-toity Henderson Avenue restaurant. But the bar stools at Sissy's turn out to be the perfect chicken perch. Order a cocktail, or maybe a glass of bubbles, and request an entire bucket, even if you're alone because fried chicken served cold the next day is one of the greatest things you can eat for lunch. It's better that you bring a friend or two, though, if only for help with the sides. Don't skip the deviled eggs and if you can spare the room, the chocolate cake before you're done. Some say it's better than ...

Ten Bells makes marvelous pub grub, so it stands to reason that their take on wings, the ultimate bar food, would be great. They're also quite a departure from the pedestrian Frank's-slathered slabs of gristle served with a ramekin of Kraft blue cheese dressing and a scattering of limp celery. These instead are big and tender, crispy and coated with a tangy spin on barbecue sauce that's just spicy enough, with a bowl of dank, musky "blue cheese fondue" in place of the usual dressing. You'll still need plenty of napkins, though, no matter how upscale these wings may be.

It's 8 a.m., you're late for a meeting, you're hungry and last night you had a steak and creamed spinach for dinner. You need breakfast, you need it fast and you need it not to suck. That's why you're in line at the drive-thru at Start, perusing a menu of whole wheat breads and tortillas, baked goods and fresh fruits. You can get a smoothie if you need some extra nutrients, and the coffee is black and strong. There's oatmeal if you're inclined, and if that steak dinner doesn't have you too far down, plenty of sunny scrambled eggs and bacon. Don't feel bad about it — bacon makes everything better. And at Start it's just one of many ingredients that are responsibly sourced and carefully handled.

Customers know they're somewhere interesting as soon as they walk through the door. The diners are nearly all Chinese, payment is accepted only in cash, and there aren't any egg rolls on the menu. There are marinated pork intestine and beef tendon and dried squid. First Chinese offers up Cantonese-style cooking, but don't think everything here is blood and guts. Roast duck with crispy skin is a go-to order, as are a number of stir-fried noodle dishes from crispy noodles to lo-mein. And the best part of the restaurant is BYOB, which combined with some rock-bottom menu prices adds up to a really cheap night.

Catherine Downes

When you walk into a Mexican restaurant with fajitas and nachos on the menu, you might be inclined to indulge in your standbys. You can do that at Palapas, too, and you'll leave with a great impression of the restaurant. But where this Greenville Avenue newcomer really excels is with ingredients that hail from the sea, in ceviches and grilled fish dishes that absolutely sing. Get the shrimp ceviche served on a crunchy tostada for a textural contrast, or a mixed seafood ceviche served in a young coconut. And if you have a hangover you might consider the camarón in agua chili, which features shrimp quickly cooked in lime juice and served in a freshly blended sauce of cilantro, more lime juice and shrimp stock. You certainly don't need a hangover to enjoy the dish, but if you had too much tequila the night before it can be a godsend.

Easy Slider was one of the first trucks to have a real presence on the Dallas food truck scene, and years later they are easily still the best. Whenever you see their teal, stars-and-stripes-themed vehicle parked around town and you're feeling hungry, you'd do well to change your dining plans. At times, some of the flavor combinations sound like they'd be too much, especially when you're dealing with toppings like strawberry jam and goat cheese, but each of the wacky creations works as well as the next, and their diminutive size means you can try two at a time, or maybe three.

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