Texas may lead the nation in job growth, but it also leads in stereotypes: We've got plenty of guns, Bibles, cowboy boots, trucks and now (sigh) a reality TV show about how Dallas women allegedly behave. While all are debatable but mostly true, one stereotype we've turned into a caricature of itself is our love for fried food. Thanks in part to the State Fair of Texas, every year vendors try to out-sizzle one another while tempting crowds to inhale the weirdest fried food. We’ve devoured everything from fried Twinkies and Snickers bars to beer and margaritas, and just when our curiosity level has reached an unhealthy cholesterol level, we fry butter. We’re utter believers in the notion that an already good food item will probably taste even better fried.
When it comes to this breakfast-lunch fad in Dallas, we see takes on fried chicken or fried crab cake on every menu, as if there's a hushed mantra — if it once lived, fry it. Recently a rumor swirled about an overlooked restaurant serving chicken-fried lobster Benedicts for brunch. The proprietor: the swanky Dragonfly restaurant in the swankier Hotel ZaZa.
A spiced bloody mary found its way to my small, round table overlooking the pool and soon after, succulent pigs in a snuggie from the appetizer section did, too. These handmade mini chicken sausages came lovingly wrapped in tempura-style breading, lounging in a pool of poblano gravy. The angelic dish really sang with the ultimate dipping experience: a warm ramekin of maple syrup.
After the second bloody mary landed on that cloudy Saturday, a crunchy ray of sunshine appeared. The chicken-fried lobster breading was not too thick and not too flaky. The fried-ness numbed any overbearing ocean flavor from the lobster, yielding a delightfully simple taste. Most never forget a first kiss, their first car or a first pet, and this first bite made it on that same sentimental list. On the side: poached eggs and wilted spinach baptized in hollandaise, along with a fried leek potato cake with a layer of sharp Gruyere cheese. The eggs were cooked immaculately; yoke flowed effortlessly with a simple poke of the fork, and the spinach was silky smooth.
By all means, go indulge the gluttonous mutiny of your heart by diving mouth-first into Dragonfly’s sensationally Southern chicken-fried lobster Benedict.
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Dragonfly at Hotel ZaZa, 2332 Leonard St.