The last time I was in Oak Cliff and writing about bar food, it was in response to the meals I'd had while reviewing Ten Bells Tavern. I was impressed that the owners of what seemed like just-another-pub took the time and spent the resources to bring on a serious chef into their kitchen.
That's not the case with most bars, which instead hire a cook, fill a menu with the standard burger, wings and nachos playbook, and then mostly forget about things. So many bars operate this way, when you encounter one that puts a little thought into its menu, the bar food stands out quick.
Like Local Oak, which I reviewed this week. I stopped in on a random weeknight, had their Spam snackwiches known as Texas Surfers and made it a point to come back. When I did, I found enchiladas that crush what is served at most Tex-Mex restaurants, the Frito pie you see pictured above, which easily bests what's offered at the State Fair, and a burger that's worth a few extra hours at the gym.
Eat here too often and you're going to be disappointed when you return to your just-another-pub, have a drink or two and then get hungry. With any luck, though, more bar owners will see what's going on at Local Oak, Ten Bells Tavern and a few other spots around town (here are 10 to start) and follow suit. When they do we're all going to need a new pair of pants.
Keep the Dallas Observer Free... Since we started the Dallas Observer, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Dallas, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Dallas with no paywalls.