(Pictured above: Dakota’s Steakhouse (18 feet below street level)
Dallas is one of a few cities that can truly claim the steakhouse experience as a native cuisine. Of course, Tex-Mex, barbecue, chicken fried steak and food trucks vie for top billing as well. And “Texas-sized” portions mean you won’t leave the table hungry!
Truluck, one of the best steakhouses in town, also features fresh seafood, hundreds of wines by the glass as well as a live pianist and singer. As they explain, “At Trulucks, we’re all about fresh seafood, tender juicy steaks, succulent crab from around the globe, and delicious wines. We are so committed to bringing fresh crab to the marketplace that we operate a fleet of crabbing boats at our very own fisheries on the Isle of Capri just outside Naples, Florida. From our traps to your table in less than 24 hours.” And if you let them know you’re celebrating they’ll decorate your table with roses and serve a complimentary dessert.
Another popular and sophisticated eatery with live jazz is Eddie V’s. They also offer the finest seafood available, as well as their critically-acclaimed prime center cut steaks, aged 28 days and broiled to perfection. For a unique steakhouse experience, Dakota’s Steakhouse is 18 feet below street level because the landowners (First Dallas Baptist Church) had a legally binding clause in the sales agreement that prevented any future owner from selling alcohol on the grounds—but not underground!
The original Bob’s Steak & Chop House, 4300 Lemmon Avenue in Dallas, is all about Texas-sized portions of high-quality cuts, full of flavor and hand-picked from the top 2 percent of USDA prime beef. Whether you order prime steak, chops or seafood, every dish is accompanied by Bob’s signature, a single glazed carrot. Most cuts are butchered at the restaurant, and all are given a five-minute rest before returning to the broiler for Bob’s hallmark hard sear.
Dallas is also home to plenty of great Tex-Mex restaurants like Blue Goose Cantina and Mercado Juarez for queso, quesadillas, enchiladas, fajitas, burritos and sopapillas. Visit Mariano’s Hacienda to have a frozen margarita in the place that birthed the delicious frozen drink back in 1971.
But you can’t head back home before you try some Texas barbecue—from Central Texas-style brisket to east Texas pork ribs. Start at Pecan Lodge in Deep Ellum or Lockhart Smokehouse, two of Dallas’ most popular BBQ joints. Check out Off the Bone in the Cedars for a few pecan smoked baby back ribs or 18th & Vine for some caramelized burnt ends. Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse, a legendary BBQ joint frequented by George W. Bush, Larry Hagman (J.R. Ewing) and Jimmy Buffett has starred in all sorts of food/travel shows, including Man v. Food Nation and Rachael Ray’s Tasty Travels. The interior features old school desks from the 50s but the real draw is the brisket, sausage, ribs, pulled pork, pulled chicken and sides like BBQ beans, potato salad and mac & cheese.
Located in the heart of downtown Dallas and less than a mile from KBHCC, the GeO-Deck (“The Ball”) at Reunion Tower, a staple of the Dallas skyline since 1978, offers visitors the only indoor/outdoor observation deck in the city with 360-degree panoramic views of Dallas from 560 feet in the air. Pop into the Cloud Nine Café for a snack or refreshing drink or dine on a gourmet meal at Five Sixty, a Wolfgang Puck fine dining restaurant located on the top, rotating floor.
Also downtown, Ellen’s offers an all-day breakfast menu of Southern favorites, including shrimp and grits, biscuits and gravy, huevos rancheros, and French Toast. Come with a big appetite as portions are served Texas-sized.
Can’t decide what you’re in the mood to eat? Check out the multitude of options available at Trinity Groves. Asian, Italian, barbecue, vegan, seafood, burgers, Mediterranean, tapas, even a restaurant focused solely on avocados—it can all be found just across the river from downtown. Thanks to a Restaurant Concept Incubation Program, allowing entrepreneurs to test drive restaurant concepts to see if they are ready for an expansion, no two visits are ever the same.
Fellow time travelers might enjoy the enchanting DeGolyer Garden Café, an indoor/outdoor garden restaurant inside the Dallas Arboretum and Botanic Garden, located on the shore of White Rock Lake, with unrivaled views of both the water and the greenery. The restaurant is housed the historic DeGolyer House, a 22,000 square-foot Spanish-style home built in 1940, right in the center of the garden overlooking White Rock Lakes, tiered fountains and formal landscapes. The Praline Creme Brûlée is a house specialty but it’s the seasonal three-course tea services that really stands out. Tea service begins with soup, followed by an assortment of tea sandwiches, and ending with sweet dessert treats.
Lastly, the Truck Yard, a Dallas favorite, is probably one of the most unique places you can enjoy a drink, food and good tunes. Set in what looks like a junkyard, complete with repurposed truck beds, a tree house, an airstream bar and old-fashioned lawn chairs, the restaurant serves Philly cheesesteaks, but there’s always a rotating selection of food trucks in the yard too. The Truck Yard is also known for its on-tap cocktails, frozen daquiris and craft beer. Dogs and good friends are all welcome!
An excerpt of this story originally appeared in the Sept./Oct. issue of Exhibit City News, p. 48. For original layout, visit https://issuu.com/exhibitcitynews/docs/ecn_sept-oct_2020