Handsy Waiters, Bad Fish and Taco Nerds: This Week In Dallas Dining

Are you ready for BrewFest? Of course you are. But first we have some food news to wrap up.

The more I think about it, the pending arrival of BonChon is probably the biggest food news of the week. Their chicken is addictive, and it's the sort of place you can hang out and have a beer or three, which will only lead to your consumption of more chicken. I'm predicting a mini Korean Fried Chicken euphoria when this place opens.

This week I reviewed Pakpao, the Design District darling that's drawing big crowds with its boldly spicy dishes and inventive cooking. Both lunch and dinner crowds are sizable, and they don't take reservations so there can be a wait for a table. Across all of my visits that wait was minimal, though.

Elsewhere on CoA, we had two big discussions regarding restaurant service. The first was about restaurant staff and their "handling" of customers and drew heated comments from both sides of the camp. We also took a look at restaurant surcharges. Restaurateurs take note: Dallas customers do not like being charged for a few extra tortillas.

Meanwhile there were some glazed doughnut issues in Deep Ellum, a sandwich with a lot of pig and cow, and an interview with the guys behind Mutts, Bowl and Barrel and the upcoming Rustic.

When Leslie Brenner published her article covering dining on the bubble last year, she wasn't impressed with much of anything, let alone Cafe Pacific. Brenner described rubbery bay scallops, unidentifiable bits of crustacean, pallid, out-of-season diced tomato, lemon sole in a scary amount of butter, terrible halibut, wrong wine vintages, cheap stemware and an apple crisp with no structural integrity at the Highland Park Village restaurant. It was a lot of meh for one of the Park Cities most loved institutions.

A year later the DMN takes a second look and despite new chef Chad Kelley, who was hired shortly after Brenner's article was published, Kim Pierce notices the same "lemon sole amandine, drenched in lemon butter" in her review. Despite dishes that resemble cafeteria food, she focuses on good service and awards three stars.

Over on Side Dish, Nancy Nichols was not impressed by Peak and Elm Cocina. It's hard swoon over cold food and an empty dining room, though.

And the Taco Trail has an interview with Jeffrey Pilcher, the food historian with a serious taco addiction. Pilcher's books will take you way down the taco rabbit hole.

That's all I see this week. Next week, we're getting in touch with French food on CoA, while also continuing to look at Dallas' most interesting restaurants. See you Monday.

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