A true bowl of Texas red is near and dear to me, and I am always willing to order a bowl if found on any menu I stumble across. I am pleased to report that there are more chili offerings this year than last, and many have upped the ante in developing a perfect bowl. With temperatures dipping into freezing ranges in the coming month, what a perfect opportunity to go out and taste a bowl for yourself.
We have written about the history of chili, and Dallas is definitely a large part of that. The original Tolbert’s downtown served some of the best chili that could be found on the planet. Also the original Chilis’, the chain that can be found just about anywhere, opened over 40 years ago by Larry Lavine at the now-defunct Greenville Avenue and Meadow location served fantastic chili back in the day, with a recipe inspired by the first chili cook-off in Terlingua.
Dallas chef Graham Dodds at Wayward Sons makes an excellent bowl of chili, however, his new recipe subs out meat for beets. We do love this recipe, it is quite good but doesn’t qualify as a true bowl of red. Although the beets make it very red.
Today we bring you some of the most interesting bowls of chili and a few additional chili-laden entrees.
Stampede 66 Stephan Pyles makes great chili, and it stands to reason that this West Texas raised knows a thing or two about a perfect bowl of red. You can enjoy the Stampede chili solo, served straight from his can that looks suspiciously like Wolf Brand, or as Frito Pie. Actually, it is “Freeto” pie since he makes his own corn chips in house.
Katy Trail Ice House With two locations in Dallas and Plano, the Katy Trail version is definitely rich and meaty. This chili also makes for a great side dish on the weekends when they serve some pretty terrific barbecue.
CBD Provisions One of our favorite restaurants in Dallas offering such illustrious fare such as a pig face (oh so good) CBD is definitely one of the top go to restaurants currently in Dallas. They also make an awesome bowl of chili. This chili is very thick with tender meat topped with an egg, and a bit on the caustic side of heat . Delicious with a side of chicharones.
Ellen’s Southern Kitchen Try hunting down chili on the menu at Ellen’s and you might have a difficult time. This item is actually found on the breakfast side and is served with a few eggs for good measure. This chili is a bit on the sweeter side, but packed with meat and a rich chili gravy. While at Ellen’s, try the BLTEA, which is a kicked up BLT with thick cut Texas hickory smoked bacon, crispy lettuce, tomatoes, a fried egg and avocado on multi-grain toast. This pairs very well with chili. Also, the bowl has an egg option.
AllGood Cafe All Good is as the name suggests, all very good. This is home to our favorite chicken fried steak in Dallas, and they also make a fantastic bowl of chili. You can order this as a straight bowl of red, Frito pie, or as a powerful omelet ingredient.
Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House Home to some very delicious burgers, beer and, of course, chili. Pull up a bar stool, apply the napkin and dig into this brick red bowl of delicious beefy chili.
Rodeo Goat Rodeo Goat prides itself on making outrageous burgers that include the Whiskey Burger hat is topped with Irish Whiskey Cheddar, Bourbon Candied Bacon, and a Blackberry Compote. But they also make this wonderful chili that makes it all worth the drive. Try the Terlingia burger that is made with brisket chili. Or order a solo bowl topped with cheddar and onion. We do not need much motivation to enjoy Rodeo Goat. Dallas and Fort Worth locations.
Holy Grail is owned by Brian and Christi Rudolph. Besides having one amazing beer program, they can cook. The chili they offer is pretty straight forward and very good. But you may also order the ghost pepper version, which is the one we recommend. The ghost peppers in this chili are tempered down quite a bit, but you still get a little of that “bite of a rattlesnake” numbness on your tongue, but it is not searingly hot where you cannot enjoy the bowl. And ghost peppers have an extraordinary flavor.
Haystack Burger This is a bit of a cheat since Haystack does not officially have chili on the menu in bowl form, but you may still order the burger topping that is house made and quite good. They tell us a bowl can be ordered, but off menu.
The Ranch at Las Colinas makes Texas fare right. Thgeir chicken fried steaqk is one of the finest around, if not a bit fancy. They also take chili to another level with their venison steeped chili that boasts ingredients such as herbs, spices, onions, garlic, jalapeños, molasses, Brazos Valley cheddar and Shiner Bock. Well worth the trip, plus cigars, live music and top-notch whiskeys.
Fred’s Texas Cafe in Fort Worth has their own brand of chili that graces the menu when the temps drop in Texas. Look for this sirloin-based bowl to give off some heat solo, or as a topping for their fries and burgers.
White Elephant Saloon in Fort Worth is home now to Tim Love’s chili parlor. Chef Love is a bit on the wily side, and knows his Texas cuisine. His restaurants serve everything from burgers, to ribs and even rattlesnake. This bowl is superb.