When David Uygur isn't hand-crafting pasta, making desserts out of pork's blood, and generally dazzling the palates of Dallas diners, the man has to eat. The chef behind Lucia doesn't make it out much thanks to his busy restaurant, but not even a chef can survive on staff family meals and kitchen scraps.
Fortunately, it isn't as difficult to score a reservation at the restaurants that Uygur frequents as it is to dine at Lucia. When he's not serving up food for other people to eat, he hits these six Dallas spots, only one of which is even remotely Italian.
Yutaka (above) Uygur has been dining at Yutaka since the days of their small izakaya in the front of the restaurant, but he'll take whatever the sushi chefs are cooking up. Uygur is a particular fan of the Uptown sushi spot's ankimo. "Whenever he does the monkfish liver, it is so awesome," says Uygur. Even if you don't see the ankimo on the menu, you can be assured that the fish here is fresh and well-prepared.
Jimmy's Food Store
Even though Uygur doesn't make it out much for Italian food, Jimmy's Food Store in East Dallas is a frequent stop for sandwiches. Uygur's pick is Jimmy's "Philly," which looks nothing like the traditional cheesesteak that you're used to. Instead, it's made with deli-style porketta, a funky aged provolone, broccoli rabe, and pickled peppers.
Kuby's Dallas' oldest sausage house has plenty of fans, and Uygur is happy to join the chorus. Just about anything that you order at Kuby's Sausage House is guaranteed to be good, especially the hand-cranked sausages that the Kuby family has been making for generations. There are also plenty of schnitzels, Reubens, and other old-world German classics if weiners and wursts aren't your thing.
Tienda La Campena This small restaurant/market has some of the best Salvadorean pupusas in Dallas, which is why you'll often find Uygur's wife Jennifer stopping in to bring a hot meal back to her husband and their kitchen staff. Pupusas are a little more difficult to find than tacos in Dallas, but these soft, pork-filled pies are certainly worth a drive to Bishop Arts.
Taqueria Los Torres When he craves tacos, you won't find David Uygur at Fuel City. The lesser-known Taqueria Los Torres, located at the intersection of Clarendon and Edgefield, is where the chef goes to get his fix, largely because they make their own tortillas. Knowing Uygur and his penchant for offal, he's probably filling those freshly made tortillas with tongue, tripe and god-knows-what-else.
Royal Sichuan Richardson's Royal Sichuan has made the list of a few of our interviewed chefs, including Uygur, lending further credence to the theory that you have to drive out of Dallas to get good, authentic Asian food. Uygur also frequents Jeng Chi, a dumpling shop located in the same shopping plaza as Royal Sichuan.
JUST KIDDING. David Uygur has never actually been to Pecan Lodge. "I know, I know, I need to make it over there," he says in response to my look of awe and horror, "but my first restaurant job was in a barbecue joint." Smoke smell notwithstanding, we can guarantee that the smoked meats at Pecan Lodge far exceed the 'cue that Uygur was serving up at Bodacious BBQ in his hometown of Longview, Texas.