Dallas is known far and wide for its glitzy, over-the-top steakhouses — places like Nick & Sam's and Pappas Bros., where the caviar flows freely and the wine list offers plenty of four-digit selections. But there is another option for red meat lovers, Dallas Observer critic Scott Reitz discovers: "Walking through the front door of Dunston's on Lovers Lane is like stepping through a tear in the yellowed fabric of time," he recounts.
Nixon was president the last time this dining room with burgundy patterned carpet got a facelift, and if you're wearing a burgundy jacket you can blend in perfectly with the tufted pleather booths in the main dining room ... On a recent Friday night, it's packed with a mix of silver-hairs coming as long as Dunston's has been opened, families with children and younger diners who either think they have stumbled upon a really accurate period restaurant, with every dusty detail nailed down flat, or who have been eating at Dunston's their entire lives. French fries and Saltine crumbs fall to the floor around high chairs, and a bottle of A-1 can be spotted on a table in the corner. It's a vestige of simpler times, and a stark contrast to what you'll see in its modern counterparts.
So how's the food? Well, "you should know to not expect three-star dining when you open your menu," Reitz admonishes. But if you're cool with steaks that are often overcooked (here they're grilled over mesquite) and "Key lime pie dyed a shade of sea green," a visit to Dunston's could be an inexpensive trip back in time. After all, where else are you going to find a steakhouse with fried cheese sticks on the menu?