Dallas may have been largely snubbed in this year's James Beard Foundation Awards, but we fared pretty well in Texas Monthly's list of the 2018 Best New Restaurants in Texas.
Houston took the most slots in this year's list, but a few solid Dallas contenders showed up, too. Sachet (from the Gemma team) came in at number three — behind Xochi in Houston and Austin's Kemuri Tatsu-Ya — with Bullion at number five and Piattello Italian Kitchen in Fort Worth taking the last slot. Two other Dallas restaurants got honorable mentions: Mirador and Town Hearth.
The fact that a vegetable-forward Mediterranean mezze restaurant and a French brasserie beat out a Dallas steakhouse shows the continued evolution of Dallas dining.
"Think small. That’s the motto at Sachet, where superlative snacks set a casual tone," Texas Monthly food critic Patricia Sharpe writes. "The Mediterranean-style menu of 48-year-old chef-owner Stephen Rogers produces such delights as field peas with grilled scallions, punched up with a hazelnut-spice mix, and grilled baby carrots set off by pumpkin seeds and a spunky parsley-and-cilantro toss. But when serious hunger strikes, the kitchen is ready with lamb chops cooked in the wood-burning oven and crispy pork with porcini mushrooms on bouncy farrotto."
It's a testament to Sachet's cachet that they took a slot higher than Bullion, the downtown Dallas restaurant that seems to have made gaining national attention one of its biggest goals. Sharpe describes Bullion as "a gleaming, gold-hued restaurant" where "every design detail is perfect."
"[Chef Bruno Davaillon is] stupendous with seafood offerings, like ethereal fish-mousse dumplings and silken seared scallops in an Ibérico ham broth," Sharpe writes. "But because the mood is surprisingly low-key and the music hypnotic, the room feels less like a gourmet palace than a cozy supper club."
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Perhaps the biggest surprise on this list was Fort Worth's Piattello.
"I’m shocked — shocked — that the arancini here have not been designated a controlled substance," Sharpe writes. "You can tell by looking at people’s faces that these oozy fontina-filled risotto balls are addictive."
"All kidding aside," Sharpe continues, "Piattello’s chef and owner, Marcus Paslay, age 35, obviously knows what people like. His menu ranges from jet-black squid-ink bucatini crowned with lightly sautéed Gulf shrimp (for the pasta snobs) to Roman-style pizzas, their crusts toasty from the wood oven (for everybody)."
Looks like a trip to Fort Worth is in order.