Text + Photos by Joey Stewart
It’s a strange year to try and make any sort of “best of” list. We made it out several times before lockdown, then supported the scene by ordering take-out, and finally were able to venture out to a few patios when the weather would hold up. While there are dozens of options that we sadly missed, here are some favorites from our limited ventures out. (Or in).
Duck Frites at Gemma – Perfect mid rare duck breast with crispy skin and green peppercorn sauce. Allison Yoder and Stephen Rogers continue to impress here and at Sachet.
Lobster Ravioli at Nonna – It really doesn’t matter what year it is, Julian Barsotti’s dish is always on the menu and always on our list. Delicate handmade pasta with chunks of fresh Maine lobster in a light sauce.
Uni (Sea Urchin) four ways at Edoko Omakase – Chef Keunsik Lee and owner Sara Nam opened one of the most exciting new Japanese restaurants in DFW in May. We love their sashimi and nigiri omakase platters, but this sea urchin dish had us salivating. Uni Shooter, Uni Handroll, Tempura Uni and Uni Taco.
Cheese tasting online classes at Scardello. During the thick of lockdown, it was great to be able to interact with owner/cheesemonger Rich Rogers and sommelier Marco Villegas as they discussed various cheeses paired with wines from all over the world.
Crispy Mash at Georgie. We never could muster up the dinero to order the $200 strip from Australia, but this potato dish won us over. Buttery soft mash with a crispy skin top. Think of it as an inverted twice baked potato.
Crab Fritters at Homewood. To quote Chef Matt McCallister with which we agree, “These are good AF!” Crab, corn and pickled jalapeño with smoked corn aioli. Any of Matt’s daily pasta specials (Ravioli pictured at the top) could have made the list too.
Combo Nachos at Mariano’s. Tender marinated chunks of chicken breast and fajita meat, a thin spread of beans, cheddar and jack cheeses, guac, sour cream, and pickled carrots, onions and jalapeños. Our guilty pleasure and possibly the best nachos in Dallas.
Italian sausage and mushroom risotto at Urbano Cafe. We loved this risotto loaded with sausage from Jimmy’s Food Store, mushrooms, San Marzano tomatoes and leeks. BYOB or order a bottle from owner Mitch’s ever changing wine list.
Toro tartare, ikura (salmon roe) and snow crab handroll at Sushi De Handroll. Since opening in February of 2019, owner Mai Takase has been adding exciting new specials as well as hiring a top chef, formerly of Tei Tei, to handle these creations.
“Long Walk” Crispy chicken sandwich at Hillside Tavern. Hot chicken spots are having a moment this year. We dig this one made with crispy chicken thighs, which are fattier, juicier and more flavorful than breasts. The Anderson brothers’ newest venture is a hotspot for residents of Lake Highlands and Lakewood.
Brie Burger and Frites at RM1220 Bistro. We didn’t make it to Rodeo Goat or Knife for the “Ozersky” this year, but we discovered a gem of a burger at Erin Willis’ two-year-old French restaurant in Lake Highlands. Made with ground beef, short rib and brisket, this half pound version is loaded up with a thick slice of Brie, caramelized onions and arugula and served on a brioche bun from Empire Baking Co. On Wednesdays they run a special when you can get it for nine bucks.
Butter Chicken Pizza at Far East Pizza. Owner and Chef Nidhi Mittal partnered with Troy Garnder to create dishes for North Texas’ first Asian inspired pizzeria serving pizzas, pastas, and sandwiches. This Indian-fusion pizza is bursting with spices and layered with roasted chicken, creamy yellow sauce, mozzarella and Thai basil. Photo courtesy of Far East Pizza.
Joey Stewart has been a contributor to CraveDFW almost since the beginning. He is president of the Dallas chapter of International Wine & Food Society and a film-maker when not checking out some of the better sushi haunts of Dallas.