The playing field for delicious dining in Dallas is an ever increasing venture. This is a good thing for all of us who appreciate both fine dining or simply anything that makes us squeal with delight. Today I woke up particularly hungry for a few items, and I want to share those with you.
A few years ago I did a story about the best fish and chips in Dallas. I had decided that Old Monk had the very best, and that still holds true even today. For that story I contacted a random Brit I dialed up from Peterborough, England. It was a purely random dial up, but it took about a dozen calls to get anyone to speak frankly about their favorite fish and chip memories.
“We would always have our fish and chips from the Chippy, and would soak the fish in salt and vinegar until the paper was sodden, the fish would stick to the paper but we didn’t care. It was too good,” he said. “Then Elf ‘n Safety decided that it was unhealthy to be eating off other peoples old newspapers that they had been reading the day before, more than likely reading it on the toilet.”
The chap was of course referring to the Health and Safety, which would be equal to our Health Department. Seems they banned the old tradition of newsprint wrapped fish for the more modern waxed paper. But he still enjoys his meal served Ruby Murray and with mushy peas. Ruby Murray is cockney rhyming slang for the curry sauce that is also offered at many of the Chippy’s.
The Fish and Chips at Old Monk are reminiscent of the recipe of old, served straight from the fryer street side, steaming and delicious. Monk’s version is made with Atlantic cod, and enveloped lightly in a Smithwicks Ale batter. The crust is airy and crisp, and ever so delicious.
Most anything you order at the Richardson outpost of this iconic Chinese restaurant is stunning. The menu is a bit precarious, with most descriptions almost identical to one another. The least confusing way to order is the look and point system. This is where you stare down your neighboring tables and point to what looks best. There are a few well spoken people on the waitstaff, and they can be a huge help.
The restaurant is BYOB (bonus), and you might with to bring along a few well chosen pints of beer, or bottles of wine. Choose something that will pair with one of the freshly prepared ducks that hang in wait as you walk in the door. They are true beauties.
Just a few months back I dined at one of the more popular old school San Antonio restaurants where the puffy taco is king. San Antonio is the home of the puffy taco, the superbly crisp filled taco shell that is ever bit as much a salad as it is a taco. They are awkward to eat, but tasty enough to make it worth the effort. El Mirador is our favorite version in San Antonio.
In Dallas we look to Tupinamba which recently moved its digs to a brighter location not far from its old digs. Open since 1947, Eddie Dominguez moved his restaurant to the corner of 75 and Walnut where it is much more accessible and to spot from the freeway. You will find a full slate of Tex Mex at Tupy’s, but willw ant the puffy tacos, but start with the shrimp nachos. So good.
I do crave me the white seaweed from Tei An. The dish is deftly flavored and has a slight al dente bite. It is the perfect start to any meal at the One Arts Plaza restaurant. But you will no doubt want a small selection of sushi, and the soba sampler with is flavored with four sauces including Traditional, Black Sesame, Texas Pecan, Walnut.
The Tonkotsu Ramen is inexpensive (under ten dollars) and is clean and flavorful.
Well, anything at Carbone’s is masterful, but the Sunday gravy is spectacular. This wonderful sauce is made in a huge pot of tomato sauce that’s been used to turn tough, cheap meat into a tender delicious dinner, and that has, in exchange, been made richer and deeper by all the commingled simmering. The owner of Carbone’s knows a thing or two about Italian cookery. He also owns Nonna which is a mile or two down the road from Carbones.
The smallish market on Oak Lawn has a kitchen where they crank out some very special pasta, and a heavenly Sunday Gravy. It is a place to sit casually and sup with friends, enjoy wine and laugh about nothing particular. It is about the Sunday Gravy, though.
Barsotti has the goods for sale either fresh or frozen. You can also enjoy a fairly spectacular meatball at Carbone’s. You will also definitely want to sample the lasagna, it is pretty special.