In Dallas, it seems like just as you get used to a restaurant – the menu, the service, the wait on weekends and the specialty cocktails – another enterprising eatery pops up that you simply must try. We may not be the culinary epicenter of the world, or even the continental U.S., but we do just fine, thank you, at supplying the citizens of the Big D with plenty of tantalizing dining choices. For a glimpse at the latest and greatest, keep reading.
Recently unveiled inside the gorgeous Renaissance Hotel, Asador is a modern farm to fire restaurant that epitomizes the multi-faceted culture of the South. Now open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Asador is a Latin and Texan-inspired eatery fueled by the concept of grilling their dishes over an open flame of mesquite wood. Asador, the Spanish word for grill, plays the part aesthetically, featuring bar chairs wrapped in cowhide and an impressive wall of tequila (they offer 100+ kinds of tequila, as well as specialty margaritas with elderflower and agave nectar), as well as a slanted wall made from Austin stone and floors of Brazilian wood.
Inside the Renaissance Hotel, 2222 Stemmons Freeway, (214) 631-2222, http://asadorrestaurant.com/
One could say Dallas needs another Mexican restaurant like we need a hole in the head, and that's fair. But now, located in the old Cuba Libre spot, we have Alma, and it's up there with some of our other fave authentic Mexican eateries. From braised short rib enchiladas to Pollo en Mole Negro and decadent Tres Leches, Alma has it all. Top off your meal of choice with a flavorful margarita, or sip some Sangria on the spacious patio (you remember the one, Cuba Libre fans).
2822 N Henderson Ave, (214) 827-2820, http://www.almadallas.com/
3 La Fiorentina
Inside an expansive, 100 year-old church turned restaurant Uptown lies La Fiorentina, the newest in culinary juggernaut Albero Lombardi’s arsenal. The Tuscan-style steakhouse has already created a ton of buzz here in Dallas, with their extensive menu, specialty cocktail list and quiet, reserved ambiance. Inside La Fiorentina you will find an exhibition kitchen, containing Executive Chef Marcelo Gallegos and his crew of experts hard at work creating tantalizing dishes such as baked Nigerian colossal shrimp (possibly the biggest shrimp you’ll see, served lobster-style in the shells) and Oven Roasted Veal Bone Marrow.
4501 Cole Ave, (972) 528-6170, http://www.lafiorentinadallas.com/
4 Malai Thai
"Healthy living through Southwest Asian influences" is the motto at the West Village's newest eatery, Malai. A combination of Thai and Vietnamese dishes make up the menu, including superb lemongrass mussels in a white wine and coconut broth, grilled Tiger prawns, curries and Shrimp Pad Thai. Save room for the desserts, however. The Mango sticky rice with Wasabi rice Krispies is particularly divine.
3699 McKinney Ave, Ste 319, (972) 591-3387, http://malaikitchen.com/
5 The Cedars Social
Hearkening to the days of Sherlock Homes, The Cedars Social is a dark, richly colored bar and restaurant is modeled after a British pub/library. Catch a hand-crafted cocktail here on the way to a show at the Palladium, but not miss out on a meal here. Plump, delicious scallops, lobster pot pie, gnocchi, plus pork belly and pig's ear - put on your British accent and try something different.