by Steven Doyle
Trends are difficult to predict, at best. Soon we will publish a list of food trends that we might expect to see in Dallas for 2013, but today we honor several we enjoyed in 2012. It seems odd at times that many chefs and restaurateurs grab onto the same ideas, but many of the trends we see in Dallas were perhaps hot numbers on either coast several years ago. I suppose we like to play it safe on the third coast.
Oysters! This year we stared down the happy end of many shells in the Dallas area. Recently Jon Alexis opened his second seafood market, the TJ’s located on Oak Lawn, and has since brought on a growing crowd Sunday’s where he offers dollar oysters. These aren’t week old bivalves; Alexis ships in oysters daily along with all of his seafood selections. Instead he likes the idea of throwing a Sunday night industry party that celebrates with half priced fish tacos and a growing selection of really awesome oysters for a buck each.
Boulevardier has a similar evening where they pitch oysters at a great discount. There are always plenty to select from on Wednesdays where they mark East and West coast oysters half price, or choose Gulf for a buck.
There are others getting in on the game, including the new Bowl and Barrel which opened up last week. Look for The Establishment to open possibly in January, they claim they will serve up to 14 different varieties of oysters. Great trend, indeed.
Hot Dogs are popping up like mad across the city. It was probably once we saw that Bob Sambol was getting in the game, selling hotdogs wholesale and later announcing the company he is working for was to open Hofmann Hot Dogs all over Dallas, starting with the new Trinity Groves area. Look for Hofmann’s to open any day now. Jerry’s Wood-Fire opened in in 2012 and has plans for another location soon. These are amazing dogs.
Not to be left out of the game, several noted chefs are making their own hot dogs. Look at the Grape’s Bryan Luschers who makes his own red hots and sells them at the White Rock Market each month; or Sharon Hage who created the menu at Bowl and Barrel with her tremendous homage to the dog. This trend still has legs and you will see even more in Dallas during 2013.
Fried Chicken was super-hot and made a splash in Dallas during 2012 in a big way. Most noted is Sissy’s owned by Lisa Garza who makes a superb version of the yard bird, and does a fantastic job with her sides. The people at Smoke made an attempt at fried chicken, but missed the mark a bit as far as we are concerned. We still love our Babe’s, which certainly can’t be beat and their locations are smattered across the county.
The Farm-to-Table movement is still moving full steam. Perhaps we can stop talking about locally grown produce and meats as if it was some wacky trend that chefs are dabbling in, and just accept this as a standard operating procedure. Great examples of farm-to-table cookery is Graham Dodds at Central 214 and Jeff Harris at Bolsa in Oak Cliff. I would be remiss not to mention the fact that Tiffany Derry fries her chicken in duck fat at her fun restaurant, Private Social. This is a must try.
Craft Beer has made major strides as we predicted last year. It didn’t take a quatrain from Nostradamus to predict that Dallas loves its beer, and many breweries popped up this year, including the amazing Peticolas and Lakewood breweries. If you haven’t tried these beers, jump over to a local brew pub like Goodfriend in east Dallas, or Union Bear in the West Village. Both of these beautiful stops opened in 2012.
Look for our predictions for 2013 soon, but enjoy the great strides we took in 2012 with all the new restaurants for us to support. Dallas is becoming a fabulous food city.