When I dreamed up the idea to write about late-night eats, I thought the project would be an easy one. All I'd have to do is take in a show, go to an art exhibit or sit on my couch and listen to records till 10:30 p.m., then find a restaurant that's open, eat something delicious and write about it. Dallas doesn't have a lot of late-night dining options though, and the self-imposed assignment is actually harder than I thought.
After spending an evening in the Arts District, I found a restaurant scene that was dead. Commissary and Screen Door had been closed for weeks, and the new restaurants that will replace them had yet to open. Tei-An had some customers, but the kitchen was shutting down. I decided to shoot across town and hit up Monica's new patio. Bust. That kitchen was closed too.
I was about to call it quits and grab a simple late night taco, when the distant throb of dance music called me to the other end of the Ilume plaza. Dish was open for business. And they were having a party.
DIFFA was responsible for the bass drops, the crowd and the orange and purple balloons with ribbons that hung down from the ceiling like jellyfish tentacles. The dining room was only half-full, but the patio was packed, and the host was amenable. When I asked how late the kitchen was open the question was shrugged off. The kitchen would stay open as long as people were eating, and I was famished. (Dish officially closes the kitchen at 10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and midnight Friday-Saturday)
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An order of deviled eggs were bland and weighed down with oily truffles, but a chicken liver pate was full of earthy flavor and generously heaped onto baguette slices. Craving more cholesterol, I ordered a burger, rare, and watched party staffers wrestle with balloons that got caught in the chandeliers as the party dwindled down.
The W.D.'s Umami Beach Burger is named for the illustrious Wiley Dufresne, known for his mad scientist cooking at WD-50. The cheddar cheese and bacon jam were worthy burger additions, but the kelp is what really made this meat patty shine, boosting umami, the fifth sense of taste, clear into the stratosphere.
The burger is just a phantom, unfortunately, to be removed from the menu at the end of tomorrow's service, but other late night snacks will take its place in a never ending procession of late-evening eats. Poutine is on the way, with pork gravy and curds from Paula's Mozzarella Company in Deep Ellum and other specials will come and go every week.