To prepare for this fall's Best of Dallas® 2012 issue, we're counting down (in no particular order) our 100 Favorite Dishes. If there's a dish you think we need to try, leave it in the comments, or email me.
I had no clue what I wanted to order till I watched the old guy tending the grill grab one of them. Sitting at the bar at Tei Tei Robota grants diners intimate access to the kitchen. The bronzini were on display on a snow drift of ice drift behind the bar and had lightly clouded eyes but otherwise looked good. After he cut deep cross hatches in its flesh he threaded the fish onto two long metal skewers that were thin but sturdy, and salted the cavity and the skin. Then he grabbed an extra pinch just for the tail, which he coated with a blanket of sodium.
I had to order one, even though I was dining alone. And I watched as he balanced the two skewers on the grill over newly added coals that spit angry, amber fireflies like crackling flint. The juices began to boil and drip from the flesh that slowly blistered and blackened. When he finally handed my plate, the fish's head hissed as I squeezed one of the two lemon wedges down the length of the fish.
I ate everything from one side of the fish before I lifted the tail, head and all the bones in between in one piece, and then started on the bottom half after another shower of lemon juice. The meat was lean and juicy near the bones, and fatty and flavorful near the belly. It was a well-grilled delicious fish seasoned with nothing but salt and lemon, served with a pickled onion laced with ginger on the side.
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No. 100: The Cleaver and Block Burger at NHS Tavern No. 99: The Bone Marrow at the Meddlesome Moth No. 98: Arepas at Zaguan Latin Cafe No. 97: Jalapeno Poppers at City Tavern No. 96: Elotes: Everywhere No. 95: Dan-Dan Noodles at Royal China No. 94: Smoked Ham Mac and Cheese at The Porch No. 93: Chicken and Waffles at Jonathon's Oak Cliff No. 92: Regina Margherita At Cane Rosso No. 91: Devils On Horseback At The Chesterfield No. 90: Ginger Soy Baby Back Ribs at Tei Tei Robata No. 89: Croissants From Rush Patisserie No. 88: The Reuben At The Cock & Bull No. 87: The Brisket at Pecan Lodge No. 86: The Roast Chicken At Bolsa No. 85: Chicken-Fried Egg at Union Bear No. 84: Brisket Tacos At Manny's No. 83: The Blueberry Ricotta Pancakes at Smoke No. 82: The Oxtail Ragout at Central 214 No. 81: The Italian Beef At Jimmy's No. 80: Pulled Whole Hog BBQ Eggs Benedict at Smoke No. 79: Veal Cheeks At Bijoux No. 78: Sweet Shrimp At Yutaka No. 77: Pho At Lemongrass No. 76: Shanghai Buns at Jeng Chi Dumpling House No. 75: Pepper Bomb At Goodfriend No. 74:Veracruz Cafe's Sopa de Atlahua No. 73: Fish and Chips at the Londoner No. 72: Italian Combo At Carbone's No. 71: Breakfast Schnitzel At Crossroads Diner No. 70: Berkshire Pork Belly Buns at Howard Wang's Uptown No. 69: Bolognese At Princi Italia No. 68: Cabrito a la Parrilla at El Ranchito No. 67: Kimchee French Fries At sSahm Food Truck No. 66: Just About Any Burger At Off Site Kitchen No. 65: St. Pete's Chili Dog No. 64: Mesa's Enmoladas No. 63: Pork and Octopus at Oak No. 62: Spicy Crispy Wings At Malai No. 61: Spicy Fish Soup At Korea House No. 60: Deviled Eggs At R&D Kitchen No. 59: Falafel At Fadia Bakery No. 58: Bistec Con Queso At El Tizoncito No. 57: The Burger At Local No. 56: Patty Melt At NHS No. 55: Guisado Verde Tacos At La Nueva Fresh And Hot No. 54: CFS At All Good Cafe No. 53: Ramen At Tei-An No. 52: Fried Chicken At Sissy's No. 51: Sampler Plate With Samoon at Judi Bakery No. 50: Dolmas At Pera Turkish Kitchen No. 49: The Sloppy Taco At Off Site Kitchen No. 48: The Fried Bologna Sandwich At Maple And Motor No. 47: Sour Cream Enchiladas At Mia's No. 46: Pork Banh Mi At Nammi No. 45: White Clam Pizza At Nonna No. 44: Banh Mi From Nammi No. 43: Pastor Tacos At La Banqueta No. 42: The Brunch Burger At The Grape No. 41: The Scotch Egg At Central 214 No. 40: The Nooner At Jonathon's Oak Cliff No. 39: The Large Tabouleh at Ali Baba No. 38: The Chile Relleno At Avila's No. 37: The Brussels Sprouts Fritters At Snack No. 36: Loukoumathes At Greek Fest No. 35: Coffee and Doughnuts At Rosemont No. 34: DIY Fried Chicken Taco at Pollo Campero No. 33: International Bakery Cuban Dulceria's Cubano No. 32: The Pork Chop At Acme F&B No. 31: The Crispy Duck At Bangkok City No. 30: Panamericana Torta At Tortas la Hechizera No. 29: Tom Kha Gai At Bambu No. 28: Hummus and Super Bread at Pepper Smash No. 27: The Fried Chicken Sandwich At Union Bear No. 26: The Jerk Chicken At Island Spot