Chefs will always tell you that they don't have enough time to go out to dinner, but even professionals need a break from cooking. And if anyone has a right to say that he's too busy to eat out, it's John Tesar. He's still working six nights a week at his spanking-new steakhouse, Knife, which is a tall order even for someone who's been in the business 35 years.
Most of his dining choices have to be made around his crazy schedule, he says, but in our recent interview with him, he name-checked these four Dallas staples as places you might spot him and his misplaced glasses.
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1. Velvet Taco This Henderson Avenue gringo taco joint is just down Central from Hotel Palomar, making it easy for Tesar to stop in and chill after a long shift in the kitchen. "I'll get an oyster taco, some creamed corn, a beer after work," he says. "It's a good place to unwind and still be social. And watch the next generation ramble around drunk."
2. Smoke Tim Byres' modern barbecue restaurant is a food critic favorite, and Tesar also adds his stamp of approval: "I think what Tim is doing down there is really cool, and I've had a lot of solid dishes there." Tesar didn't dish on his favorite, but our own food critic was a big fan of Byres' inspired twist on the tamale, the cabrito and masa.
3. Tei-An According to Tesar, "Teach," or as the rest of us know him, Chef Teiichi Sakurai, has been cooking some of the best Japanese food in Dallas for at least 20 years. When The Commissary was open in One Arts Plaza, you could often find Tesar at the bar enjoying sake and some of Sakurai's top-notch sushi and soba.
4. Boulevardier Tesar says that he doesn't have the time to make the drive down to Bishop Arts that often, but he wishes that he had time to try more of the area's restaurants. When he does visit, he heads to Boulevardier for "just about anything" on the menu. If you need a little more direction than that, you can't go wrong with the charcuterie or crawfish beignets.