Leading up to our annual Best of Dallas® issue, we're counting down the 50 most interesting restaurants in Dallas. These spots bring something unique or compelling to the city's dining scene, feeding both your appetite and soul. Find more interesting places on our all-new Best Of app for iTunes or Android.
There's nothing wrong with the old guard. Dean Fearing, Bruno Davaillon and Stephan Pyles have built a stable of safe bets for diners looking for decadent cooking and polished service. Their restaurants can be relied on and they've shaped the culinary history of Dallas.
But they'll do nothing to shape the dining scene as it moves forward. To continue to evolve, Dallas needs a collection of new chefs -- ones that are willing to follow in the steps of Matt McCallister and cut a new path all on their own.
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FT33 is an important restaurant because it's the first to open in some time that truly brings something new to the table. McCallister's cooking has a unique way of combining new techniques with time-tested approaches to produce dishes that challenge a diner without getting too abstract. When a plate of mushrooms and potatoes lands on your table your immediate reaction is, "oh, this is food." And then you come to realize how beautiful and satisfying is it.
This isn't to say new chefs should set themselves up to open an FT34, 35 and 36. Instead they should engage this creative spirit, and find a new way to do something diners will recognize but also get excited by in a lasting way. That's why McCallister's cooking resonates with his customers so well. His food is rooted in the past and familiarity, but it's not afraid to look forward and excite.
No. 50: Joyce and Gigi's No. 49: East Hampton Sandwich Co. No. 48: 20 Feet Seafood Joint No. 47: Taj Chaat House No. 46: Mot Hai Ba No. 45: La Nueva Fresh and Hot No. 44: Pera Turkish Kitchen No. 43: Tom's Burgers and Grill No. 42: Mughlai No. 41: Russian Banya No. 40: Off-Site Kitchen No. 39: Bachman Lake Taqueria No. 38: Carbone's No. 37: Babe's No. 36: Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo No. 35: Zaguan No. 34: Royal Sichuan No. 33: Spoon No. 32: Bambu No. 31: Pecan Lodge