Summer is traditionally slow for the restaurant industry, but you wouldn't know that if you've been dining in Dallas this year. A number of high profile of restaurants have opened since our last heat check, and since then we've welcomed a new steakhouse, a restaurant devoted to the entirety of Latin America, and a new Oak Cliff spot where you can get one hell of an update on mom's boring meatloaf. And if you're trying to save some money there's an excellent new taqueria to check out, too.
Here's where to eat, now:
Stock and Barrel (pictured above) Jon Stevens' new Oak Cliff restaurant has the Bishop Arts District buzzing with modern American cooking. Think: burgers, meatloaf and a roast chicken that can take you back to the dinner table of your youth. Of course Stevens' cooking is a bit more pedigreed than the average mom's, so you'll have to become reacquainted, but Stock and Barrel's plates are worth the revisit. Don't miss the octopus ceviche.
CBD Provisions Every time I bring up CBD Provisions in conversation, I'm asked about the pig's head carnitas.
"Is it really that good?"
"Is it just a gimmick dish?"
The carnitas is just as I described in my review: Fatty, tender pork lies beneath that super crispy face that only a porky mother could love. Grab a tortilla and get ready to battle your tablemates for the cheek. It's worth the fight.
Gemma "Lovely" is probably the best word to describe Gemma. The dining room, the staff, and most of the cooking is refined and pleasant. With a focus on fresh, quality ingredients and a pastry chef who knocks dessert out of the park, you can't go wrong with a night here.
Blind Butcher With a young, boisterous crowd, Blind Butcher isn't a place for a quiet meal on a weekend evening. But if you're up for some fun, and you're in love with meat in almost abusive quantities, you have to check this place out. Get a liter of beer at the bar and the bangers and mash to start, then work through the special sausages that constantly rotate, and finish the meal off with charcuterie and cheese plates that pack impressive cuts of spicy sausage and homemade ricotta.
La Banqueta Earlier this summer, the Carroll Avenue location of La Banqueta opened, returning balance to the Dallas taco universe after it had been thrown off-kilter after the unexpected closing of the original location. For months we waited for a replacement to open and for months it seemed like little progress was made, but now that the waiting is over and we're rewarded by a much improved taco restaurant. You had to stand and hold you plate at the old spot, but now there are seats galore and a handful of TVs broadcast Latin American soccer matches. The tacos haven't changed a bit, though.
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.
Monkey King Noodle Co. I have a feeling this Deep Ellum takeout is going to be a focal point this summer. Every time I pass someone is ordering food, and there are always a few chopsticks-wielding noodle fanatics hanging about. Get a few orders of dumplings and make your way up to the roof deck. Consider it your summer routine.
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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.
Palapas Seafood Bar You can't miss this place if you drive by it on Lower Greenville Avenue. Just look for the thatched roof patios that jut out from both sides of the restaurant. The ceviches are the best use of your time. Start with the shrimp served on a tostada shell and a cold beer and see where your night leads.