Tell someone you're going to that East Dallas restaurant with plenty of outdoor space where kids roam free, and most likely they’ll know you're talking about the Lot.
The same owners have opened up another establishment next door, offering a calmer, more upscale environment and a more interesting menu: Local Traveler, described by owners as "Casablanca meets Star Wars." The menu, which includes Friday, Saturday and Sunday brunch, was created by chef Ross Demers, whose short-lived On the Lamb in Deep Ellum served up memorably inventive fare. The restaurant also sports a tiki bar on the patio — with classics like the Pain Killer and Bahama Mama — that operates from 6 p.m. to close Tuesday, Friday and Saturday.
The dining room still smells new and has a modern design and waitstaff in trendy half-aprons. We heard the place was bicycle-friendly — and with its logo, you might think that's a thing. But you probably won’t feel comfortable in cycling gear here. Plus, you won't find a bike rack next to the valet stand.
But the food is good — and at this price point, it'd better be. The appetizers range from $9 to $18 while the main courses run from $22 to $32.
The drink list is long, featuring plenty of options in beer and wine. The cocktail list is split into three categories: craft cocktails ($12), cocktails on tap ($10) and barrel-aged cocktails ($14). The White Rock Creek Tea, with Wild Turkey 81 bourbon, honey, lemon and bitters, was perfect for the 105-degree afternoon.
The menu also features "shares" that include a meat and cheese board ($24) and flatbreads. The goat and fig flatbread ($15) might be sharable, but it will go fast between two people. The roasted pear, chevre, figs, arugula and balsamic make this one good enough to be a meal on its own.
Main courses include a shrimp and pappardelle ($27) that sounds tempting, as well as a beef bavette with potato and mushrooms ($32).
There’s also a fancy version of pork and beans: the Berkshire pork shank with bean cassoulet ($26). The bowl makes a beautiful meal, one easily shared between two people.
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The beans had a balanced yet tangy flavor. The pork was close to perfect in some places, but at least 50 percent of the cut was rather dry.
Overall, it's worth another visit. And if you're one of those who avoids the Lot at all costs, this is an alternative that will probably be perfect for you.
Local Traveler, 7522 E. Grand Ave. (East Dallas)