Leslie Brenner went to Little Lilly Sushi: She lavishes praise on this Fort Worth sushi spot, proclaiming that 25-year-old chef Jesus Garcia "probably makes the best sushi rolls in North Texas." Despite some service missteps and less-than-stellar cooked dishes, the superb sushi rice (just "the right temperature" and texture, Brenner's "rarely had sushi rice this perfect in Dallas") and expert handling of raw products like sea bream, "two beautiful varieties of salmon," and "spectacular" sea urchin is enough to garner the restaurant a whopping four stars. It's a major bonus that sushi this good doesn't break the bank — diners can expect to get out "for less than $50 per person for the food." Prepare to be slammed with new customers, Little Lilly. [DMN]
Scott Reitz checked out Russian Banya: This unusual Carrollton spot is not only a restaurant, it's also a Russian bathhouse complete with saunas and plunge pools. Bring along your own bottle of vodka and settle in for some damn fine Russian comfort food, like ground beef-stuffed pelmini that are "likely the best dumplings you can find in Carrollton, Russia or anywhere else." A platter of cold smoked fish with house-baked bread is "simple, honest and generous," as is a classic borscht and more dumpling options including the potato-stuffed vareniki. Overall, it's an experience "you won't find anywhere in Dallas, in a dining room with more nudity than you'll encounter in some time." [Observer]
Nancy Nichols revisited Carbone's: After scrapping its initial overly-confusing layout, chef Julian Barsotti has turned this Oak Lawn restaurant/market into "the finest Italian-American joint in Dallas." A "small, approachable" menu includes housemade pastas that are "like no other in Dallas," making for a " light and luscious" lasagna and some stellar spaghetti and meatballs. Don't miss the fettucine with Sunday gravy, a long-simmered, "comforting dish [that] cures all ills." (Pro tip: The sauce is also available for purchase in the grocery section.) [D Mag]
Anna Caplan reviewed Deluxe Bar & Grille: This new Fort Worth spot in the old Monty's Corner space "needs a bit more polish before it's ready to roll with the West Seventh Street big dogs." It suffers from "an oddly sterile environment" and a menu that's "a hodgepodge of the best of American food hits, circa 1990," like dry roasted chicken and a goat cheese and pesto flatbread that's overly greasy. "Two-dollar pints can absolve many sins, though," and avocado fries with sriracha mayo make a tasty accompaniment if you're in the market for a cheap drink and a snack. [DFW.com]
ELSEWHERE: Fort Worth Weekly revisited Macaluso's; The Taco Trail found disappointment at El Ranchito #3; Confection Confessions went to Stir Crazy Baked Goods in Fort Worth; SideDish sought out the best pizzas not found at pizza places.