100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes, No. 10: Beef Roulade at Laili

Leading up to September's Best of Dallas® 2016 issue, we're sharing (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes, the Dallas entrées, appetizers and desserts that really stuck with us this year.

We don’t often think about how foods sound, rather than smell or taste; maybe there aren’t too many great food sounds out there. But the best ones are unforgettable: the whooshing slurp of spaghetti or soup, the crack of a potato chip, the cacophony of a whole table of hungry eaters digging in to crawfish and corn-on-the-cob.

One of the simplest pleasures of Mediterranean food is the sound of a bite into a freshly-layered phyllo dough pastry. Whether a savory turnover or a slice of baklava, a good phyllo pastry makes a delightful light crackle between the teeth, each paper-thin layer snapping in turn. At Laili, a brilliant stall at the Dallas Farmer’s Market which recently opened its second location in Plano, pastry chef Nevin Kaya makes her phyllo dough from scratch, then uses it in desserts like baklava and appetizers like the beef roulade.

The turnover couldn’t be simpler: ground beef and Middle Eastern spices rolled up in pastry dough, then topped with sesame and nigella seeds. Sometimes the simplest foods can be the best. Order a beef roulade, dig in — and listen.
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Brian Reinhart has been the Dallas Observer's food critic since spring 2016. In addition, he writes baseball analysis for the Hardball Times and covers classical music for the Observer and MusicWeb International.
Contact: Brian Reinhart