Most chefs will lie to you and tell you that they never go out to dinner. Maybe they're telling the truth, and they really do spend too much time cooking for other people to go out to dinner from time to time. When they do, they're always at some fancy-ass restaurant that you can't afford, probably because their chef friends hook them up with free food. It's an unfair fact of life, but there have to be some benefits to spending twelve hours in a kitchen every day with a bunch of sweaty dudes and meat.
For Chef Eric Shelton, getting out doesn't happen that often, and he definitely isn't going to Taco Bell. When he does dine out, he heads to these five Dallas establishments, all of which are (mostly) affordable.
20 Feet Seafood Joint This Lakewood seafood spot is a favorite of many chefs, and Shelton is no exception. According to Shelton, Chef Mark Cassel makes those "bangin' ass green room mussels there," and we can attest to the fact that the fried clams also stand up to Shelton's own standards of dope food. When you're finished, you can wander over to Goodfriend and get drunk as hell on good beer.
Pho Is For Lovers Pho junkies generally have a favorite spot to get their fix, and Shelton's isn't exactly one you'd guess. Instead of hitting up Mot Hai Ba for a fancy bowl or Mai's for something super authentic, Shelton is hitting up Pho Is For Lovers. "Believe it or not, their broth is pretty flavorful," says Shelton. Your hangover probably won't care whether there's a good balance of anise and cinnamon in the broth.
Hibiscus Graham Dodds has been getting a lot of props lately in Dallas and beyond for his fancy farm-to-table cuisine, and Shelton happily joins the chorus. Dodds' rabbit agnolotti is Shelton's go-to, and he says that just about anything you can order from the charcuterie program is, and we quote, "off the chain."
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Stock & Barrel Chef Jon Stevens' Bishop Arts eatery is the "newest" restaurant that Shelton has put in his rotation. It's not that new. Apparently, having kids and running a restaurant that is also a nonprofit keeps a guy busy. Who knew?
El Si Hay In what may be Shelton's most controversial pick on this list, when he's feeling tacos, it's El Si Hay. Many people might say that this taqueria is a little overrated, but you're a fool if you can't enjoy those warm tortillas and insanely good barbacoa at least a little bit.