100 Favorite Dishes

100 Favorite Dishes, No. 86: The Brisket Grilled Cheese at Ivy Tavern

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.

Down at Pecan Lodge, putting cheese on top of brisket is heresy. But put them together in a sandwich, and the result is true-blue Texan comfort food — that smoky, fatty meat, that molten cheese goo, the sandwich grilled in a bit of butter until golden brown and verging ever-so-slightly towards burnt.

The Ivy Tavern’s brisket grilled cheese sandwich is one of the best bar meals in the whole city, period. They keep it simple and every element is exactly right: flavorful shredded brisket, a bubbling blanket of melting pimento cheese, sourdough toast just a little charred. Barbecue sauce or ranch dressing will appear on the side, should they be necessary, but they aren’t. And then there’s the pile of French fries, another bar staple Ivy Tavern has mastered, with crisp bubbly edges and plenty of salt. Few meals in Dallas are as well-suited to a couple pints of beer and the guilty triumph of quitting a diet.
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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