Chef Michael Ehlert is a pretty simple guy. Even though the food he's cooking at Front Room Tavern is rapidly becoming some of the most refined in the city, that doesn't mean he's dining on foie gras and steaks every night. Even chefs occasionally need a break from all that rich, fancy stuff.
He's also damn busy. Outside of running his newly-opened, four-star restaurant in Highland Park's Hotel Lumen, Ehlert became a father about six months ago, and that can seriously cramp your dining-out style. When he does find the time to eat out, you can find him at these eight Dallas restaurants.
Crushcraft Thai This extremely popular Uptown Thai spot has gotten kudos from critics and diners alike, and Ehlert adds to the chorus. His pick is the #5, a green chicken curry served withe whole baby eggplants. According to Ehlert, this particular dish is "pretty rad," but you can't go wrong at the fast-casual Thai joint.
New York Sub "I love sandwiches," says Ehlert. "If someone gave me $300,000, I would open up a sandwich shop tomorrow." Although the funding hasn't come through yet, Ehlert still has dreams of one day owning his very own sandwich shop. In the meantime, he gets his fix at New York Sub, a hidden gem that's just a short walk from his Highland Park restaurant.
Meddlesome Moth & Lark on the Park Ehlert is a pretty big fan of the Shannon Wynne concepts, particularly Meddlesome Moth and Lark on the Park. "Every time you go, the food is always good and the drinks are on point," says Ehlert. He didn't dish on his favorite meal at either spot, but these restaurants are regarded as two of the best in Dallas.
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Teppo We've officially banned Tei-An from our lists of chefs' favorite places to eat, because they'd say it every time if we gave them the chance. And who could blame them? Teiichi Sakurai is one of the best chefs in the city, Japanese or otherwise. Teppo, the yakitori and sushi bar on Lower Grenville, is still fair game -- thought it was formerly owned by Sakurai. Ehlert frequents the spot for plates of grilled chicken hearts.
Gloria's When Ehlert is looking for a crowd pleaser, he heads to Gloria's for comfortable and approachable Salvadoran fare. "My parents were just in town, and we always go to Gloria's," he says. "They love it every time, and so do I." There are more adventurous places in Dallas for a plate of Latin American food, but Ehlert's right -- this is exactly the kind of place that you take your mom to when she's visiting.
Lockhart Smokehouse When it comes to barbecue, Michael Ehlert has a pretty hot take. Many of the chefs we've surveyed have included Pecan Lodge on their list of favorites, but Ehlert actually prefers the brisket and sausage from Lockhart Smokehouse. "I wouldn't say that it's better than Pecan Lodge -- they're both super solid and done properly," he says. "I just prefer Lockhart."
Il Cane Rosso Now that Michael Ehlert and his wife have a baby, Cane Rosso is the perfect dinner spot. The food is excellent, there's a great patio for late-afternoon relaxation sessions, and the staff is good-natured about the presence of children, which is relatively rare in Dallas.