Scott Reitz went to PakPao Thai: The Design District's new Thai spot from the owners of Oak "offers a chance to explore facets of Thai cuisine that are difficult to find in Dallas," going beyond the typical tom kha gai and curries with unique dishes like jet pla pao, a roasted mackerel dip that "eats like umami on steroids," and mou pa lorw, soy-glazed pork belly with pickled daikon and mustard greens. "Noodle dishes taste hog-tied by heavy condiments," but red curry catfish is outstanding, if you can take the heat. Skip the too-sweet cocktails, but if you're in the mood for dessert, pandan panna cotta with coconut rice makes a fitting ending.
Kim Pierce (filling in for Leslie Brenner) reviewed Cafe Pacific: The 33-year-old Highland Park Village institution is "staid, classic and timeless" — and that's a compliment. Chef Chad Kelley, formerly of the Meddlesome Moth, is bringing "subtle and welcome change" by adding wet-aged steaks, upgrading the desserts, and putting microgreens on everything, but classics like oysters Rockefeller, a "dainty" lobster roll on a brioche bun and Maryland-style crab cakes are done right. "Some of Cafe Pacific's core dishes are looking more and more like upscale cafeteria food," though, like the ever-popular three-onion sea bass and lemon sole amandine. Three stars. [DMN]
Eve Hill-Agnus checked out The Slow Bone: The glowing reviews just keep on coming for Jack Perkins' Design District barbecue joint. Pierce declares the ribs "spectacular," boasting a "beautiful, cumin-rubbed bark," and brisket, "irreproachably tender" but overly smoky when the place first opened, has now been tamed to allow the coffee rub to come through. Sausages, including a coarse-ground cilantro number, are "fine specimens," and stuffed pork loin "is an unexpected gem." Unique sides like Brussels sprouts and cauliflower gratin "make the place special," though she can't see the appeal of dense and dry hushpuppies and cornbread. Three stars. [DMN]
Andrew Marton visited Citrus Bistro in Colleyville: Chef Didier Viriot has a deft hand with butter at the new location of this former North Dallas mainstay, spinning it into perfect sauces that adorn many of the seafood dishes like tilapia with beurre blanc. In fact, all the seafood here is treated well, from she-crab soup and diver scallops with butter-citrus sauce to crab cakes with "a filament-thin layer of breading." Carnivores will be happy with filet mignon or rack of lamb; for dessert, skip the creme brulee in favor of an "appropriately ethereal" floating island or a "disarmingly light" date cake.
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[Photo credit: Garrett Hall/EDFW]