Fall is officially here. We’ve had rain, full weeks below 80 degrees and an influx of gourds and pomegranates in our grocery stores. Restaurants all over Dallas are embracing autumn by whipping up seasonal dishes, with winter squash starring in many special menu items. If you love all things pumpkin (or butternut, acorn or kabocha), here’s 10 establishments where you can get your seasonal squash groove on.
1. Village Baking Co.
This French-style bakery is big on using seasonal ingredients for their pastries. Their pumpkin spice pastry is layers of flaky, buttery pastry dough, cut festively into a pumpkin shape and filled with pumpkin spice cream. Stop in at their shop on University Drive for this autumn treat.
FT33, known for only using the freshest seasonal ingredients, is currently offering an appetizer and a main with bites of fall gourds. Start your meal off with charred octopus, aguachile, herb flowers and whatever winter squash is best that day. For your main, try the scallops served on a bed of fermented kale, acorn squash and maitake mushrooms.
Abacus agrees that seafood and winter squash go well together. This Rathbun concept is serving up seared scallops over spiced pumpkin risotto and Scottish salmon paired with acorn squash purée and red wine mushroom ragout.
4. Sushi Bayashi
Sushi Bayashi creates an unusual dish using Japanese pumpkin, or kabocha squash. After roasting it, they cover it in a salty-sweet soy-based sauce and top it with ground chicken and green onions. This dish is perfect if you want hearty, large chunks of squashy goodness.
5. Nazca Kitchen
Roasted chicken and butternut soup or a butternut squash side is available at Nazca Kitchen for dinner, but if you’re a hardcore squash junkie and need your fix in the morning, this Latin-inspired restaurant delivers. During brunch on Saturday and Sunday, Nazca Kitchen is offering butternut stuffed with spinach and eggs. Served with a side of fried zucchini and another egg, this dish will battle your hangover and indulge your fall fever all at once.
6. The Grape
This longtime Dallas favorite just celebrated its 43rd anniversary, and the Luschers are once again putting on a splendid menu for fall. The maple-glazed butternut squash salad stands out with ingredients including candied walnuts, dried figs and scamorza, an Italian cow’s milk cheese similar to mozzarella. The porcini-crusted quail entrée is a must-try, surprisingly juicy and packed with flavor. The quail is stuffed with pear, faro, porcini mushrooms and pumpkin, and served over a bed of braised collard greens.
7. Seasons 52
This national chain is dishing out squash everything. Start with a butternut soup topped with shiitake mushrooms and chives, then decide between the flat-iron steak salad with butternut squash or the caramelized scallops, butternut risotto and broccolini for your main. Roasted acorn squash with maple brown butter can be ordered as a side. Still not enough fall flavor for you? Order a pumpkin pisco sour, made by adding pumpkin spice vodka and bitters to the traditional pisco base.
8. Civello’s Raviolismo
You’re not in the mood to eat out, you’re not in the mood to cook, you still want squash — whatever shall you do? Head to Civello’s Raviolismo and pick up some freshly made butternut or pumpkin ravioli. Take it home and boil it up for a fast, delicious meal.
You’ve had your fill of soups, roasted squash salads, risottos and purées. You want something different. Head over to Carbone’s and investigate their butternut sformatino, served as the appetizer on their four-course Sunday dinner. Derived from the word for “unmolding,” sformato has the texture of a dense soufflé. This particular item mixes mild earthiness with the savory flavors of balsamic vinegar and parmesan.
10. Rise No. 1
Finally, dessert! Skip the pumpkin pie and head over to Rise, where you can indulge in their pumpkin soufflé. With an aroma of nutmeg and subtle sweetness, this airy dessert is a welcome break from the dense treats the holidays bring. It will be served through the end of the year, so make sure to stop by and enjoy one while you can.