For the past few months we've been nibbling like rabbits on vegetables while visions of ourselves in bathing suits flicker on the projector screen in our brains. But now there's a snap in the air, and skimpy clothes and frail fabrics will slowly take the back seat to wardrobes with bulk. You could hide a lot underneath your old, favorite sweater -- two or three cassoulets-worth.
So dig your coat out of the back of you closet and abandon all shame. Here's where to eat in Dallas, now:
Proof + Pantry (pictured above) Forget the hype surrounding the tension between owner Michael Martensen and Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner. All you care about is eating well, and it turns out that it is reasonably easy to eat very well here. Bring friends and work your way though the "bulk" plates that feature large servings meant for sharing, or look to the rest of the menu for plates you can finish on your own. And don't sleep on the specials.
Gemma This little Henderson Avenue gem is still going strong, and now that it's fall the oysters they serve so proudly will really come into their own. Sit at the bar, get a glass of something bubbly and eat all the bivalves you can afford before you go wherever the menu takes you. Just save room for dessert. Always save room for dessert when dining at Gemma.
Boulevardier You had to know this one was coming as soon as we mentioned cassoulet. The French dish that combines hearty duck confit with a rich bean stew is a quintessential cold weather dish. As a bonus, the oyster selection is top notch here as well, and the dining room is always lively. (Read: reservations, please.)
Blind Butcher Think you've gotten to know The Butcher? You may want to revisit that notion, as some recent menu updates have given the place a new spin. There's tripe, now, which is already gaining quite a buzz, and Shepherd's pie. Don't worry, your favorite sausages remain, but the Blind Butcher you once knew just got a whole lot more well-rounded.
Casa Rubia If there's one good reason to go to Trinity Groves it's Casa Rubia. The restaurant is coming up on its first anniversary and if anything it looks like chef Omar Flores is gaining momentum. Don't miss the octopus, or the charcuterie board, or the roast chicken breast. Actually, make sure you bring enough friends so you can really explore and do your best to put a solid dent in this menu.
FT33 A meal at FT-33 speaks for itself. This was arguably the hottest reservation in Dallas the last time we published this list, and it still is now. Vegetarians rejoice: Matt McCallister's treatment of produce can sway even the most devout of carnivores, and summer's bounty is here. Not looking to spend a big wad of cash on any given evening? Grab a seat at the bar and have just one dish and a drink. You can always pad your evening out somewhere else on the cheap, but this will be the plate you remember for the night and long into the weekend.
Knife It's hard to get excited for another steakhouse in Dallas, unless it's a steakhouse designed to saw through common steak house conceptions. John Tesar's latest restaurant offers affordable steaks for $25 a cut, and there's an affordable burger on the menu too. If you've got some company plastic, there's a locker full of dry-aged steaks in various stages of funk. Some will cost you $80 an inch. Bonus: Esquire just named the new restaurant one of the best in the nation.
Monkey King Noodle Co. This Deep Ellum takeout has customers buzzing about every time I drive by it. Customers stand at the window ordering food, and the stand on the street slurping from cups of noodles. If you have a canine friend, you might bring it along with you. Soup bones have been handed out in the past, and dogs deserve to eat well, too.
San Salvaje Expectations were high for Stephan Pyles' new downtown restaurant, San Salvaje, as it required him to close a fan favorite Samar. Samar focused on cuisines from the spice belt, and fresh-baked loaves emerged from a fiery tandoor oven. It seemed impossible to top. San Salvaje is off to a great start, through, with flavors borrowed from nearly every country in Central and South America. You can get tacos and arepas and a number of ceviches and get lost in a menu filled with at least a handful of dishes you've likely never seen.
¡C. Señor! If you're a fan of Cuban sandwiches, this is where you want to be. Melted Swiss cheese is the glue that holds together ham and pulled pork with pickles and mustard between two slices of pressed, toasted bread. If that's not your thing you can always try the Cuban burger. When chorizo and beef mingle intimately, it's always a good thing.
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