Closing The Book: Some 2008's Best (And Most Lamented) Restaurants

Two days off, one day at work, then a weekend to recover...

For our purposes the new year begins on Monday, when we resume the normal City of Ate schedule of columns, dubious wine pairings and other bits of inspired banality. Today, we close out 2008 with a list of the sorry year's top openings and closings.

Perhaps we should start with the closings, as that seems to have been the most prominent theme. According to the Greater Dallas Restaurant Association, well over 60 kitchens shut down over the course of 2008. The new year even kicked off with another failure, as Pescabar--Alberto Lombardi's paean to mediocrity and Uptown affectations--locked its doors...although, come to think of it, that's probably for the best.

Now, my perspective on the year was a bit curtailed. I returned to Dallas at the end of September, so I missed out on Scene, Bice, The Club and some of the other notables that opened (and closed) in my absence.

With that in mind, here are my Top 5 Restaurant Death's In 2008:

1. 62 Main. Chef David McMillan's faraway was a showcase for his culinary talent.
2. Nove Italiano. The Victory Park centerpiece earned a decent reputation, but shut down before I could try it out.
3. Arc-en-Ciel. Was a reason to venture into Garland.
4. Il Sole. For some reason I always appreciated their half-price wine happy hours.
5. Brothers Fried Chicken. Hate to see such places go.

OK, now the good news. The Top 5 New Restaurant's (That I've Managed To Visit Since My Return...So No Nonna, Rise No. 1 Or Neighborhood Services)

1. Tei An. See review.
2. Bolsa. See review.
3. Dali Wine Bar. Chef Joel Harloff has always been one of the city's most underhyped stars.
4. Soley! See review. And note that somewhere along the line "Mexican" was switched to "Italian."
5. Charlie Palmer. Creativity from a Dallas steakhouse kitchen. Nice.

--Dave Faries

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