Dallas' restaurant scene has managed to shove its way into the national conversation this year: First, FT-33 and Smyth got attention in multiple national magazines, and now Esquire is giving Dallas a one-two punch of feel-good. Stephan Pyle's Stampede 66, and John Tesar's Spoon have been recognized in a list of this year's best new restaurants. Los Angeles and New York are the only other cities to get multiple mentions.
Crunchy honey-fried chicken and barbecued beef brisket, along with a slew of desserts, are listed among dishes that make the "hugely entertaining" Stampede 66 worth a visit. It's hard to imagine Stephan Pyles doing a back flip. He's so used to years of national accolades that he probably yawned before tipping his cowboy hat back to Esquire and firing up another chicken-fried steak.
Spoon's mention, on the other hand, must feel like a significant validation for Tesar. After tough times at The Mansion, and the subsequent closure of The Commissary, Tesar was looking to prove he was still a relevant chef. He signed a long-term lease in a quirky location filled with shoe stores and chain restaurants before he hunkered down and cooked his heart out.
Now, after a slew of local positive local reviews, national glossy magazines are raining praise. Bon Appetit, and multiple Conde Nast publications have mentioned Tesar, and now Esquire is endorsing Spoon as the most exciting new seafood restaurant in America since New York's Marea (Best New Restaurants 2009) opened four years ago.
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Suddenly a long-term lease in a shopping center is looking like a successful value play. And Singapore-style chile lobster on Texas toast is looking like what you'll have for dinner.