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Alison McLean

Pangea Restaurant & Bar

Chef Kevin Ashade calls himself “globally trained,” and that education shows itself on a menu that hops across the world, with flavors of France, Jamaica, Asia, West Africa and the American South. Ashade became a champion on Beat Bobby Flay by topping the celebrity chef’s recipe for coq au vin, and Pangea’s recreation of that reality TV moment is a terrific order. But so are crab cakes with almost no filler, Nigerian grilled suya and Jamaican-style beef patty pastries. This restaurant in Garland takes advantage of that suburb’s ample extra space, with two patios and a fabulous bar.

Top pick: Ashade is a master of carbohydrates. At one point, this author managed to have mashed potatoes, grits, risotto, cornbread and macaroni and cheese all at a table occupied by two diners. The champ? Five-cheese jalapeño grits, with the risotto — a twist on African jollof rice — coming in at an honorable second place.

The downside: Well, it’s on the far side of Garland. Of course, for suburbanites tired of driving to downtown Dallas for an upscale experience, that’s a huge advantage.

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