The holidays brought a weird schedule for Dallas’ food critics last week, but they still managed to file a few reviews while most of us were out shopping for gifts and spending time with family. Dallas Morning News food critic Leslie Brenner headed to Nobu. In 2013, when she last reviewed the sushi spot at the Rosewood Crescent Hotel, Brenner didn't find much to love. This time, things were much different:
The sushi part of this redemption story has been particularly striking, as I'd been so disappointed in the sushi last review-time around -- and in the sushi bar experience, which I found unfriendly and forbidding. Now Eguchi and his sushi chefs seem engaged and inspired, a feeling that's delightfully contagious. I love to close a sushi experience with a hand roll, and Eguchi thought for a moment, then suggested oshinko -- house-pickled vegetables -- with umeboshe, pickled plum. The refreshing ferment of the pickles, the crisp crackle of nori: For me, it added up to the perfect exclamation point at the end of dinner. My husband, craving something more substantial, scored a warm crab hand roll wrapped in soy paper, rich and dreamy and luxurious.
After the menu updates, a "systematic overhaul of the service," and a "rigorous and intense training regimen," Nobu Dallas is now one of Dallas' few four-star restaurants.
Also for the Dallas Morning News (and on the same day as Brenner's Nobu review), Mark Vamos checked out cult favorite Cattleack BBQ, the south-of-Addison ‘cue spot that devoted smokeheads stand in line for hours to experience. According to Vamos, Cattleack BBQ is worth the wait:
There's a thing I keep seeing people do when they take their first bite at Cattleack Barbecue. I call it the Cattleack eye-roll. It's often followed by words like "revelatory," "life-changing" and, in one recent case, "sickeningly good." OK, I know it's just smoked meat, but what smoked meat this is. It may be the best barbecue in Dallas -- and that's saying something now that our once barbecue-impoverished town has upped its game so much. It's easily some of the best I've ever tasted, anywhere.
Elsewhere, as the Observer searches for a new full-time food critic, Foodbitch headed to Avner Samuel’s Nosh Bistro & Bar in Preston Hollow, and urged the veteran chef to find his way in Mediterranean cuisine. According to Foodbitch, Samuel’s beet-cured salmon over latkes ($13) are a "gorgeous homage to Jewish culture," even if the New American staples like truffles and Wagyu beef don't really work with Samuel's kibbe, mezze, and hummus.
On the dessert front, the Observer’s Kellie Reynolds raved about "a pair of buttery, soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside snickerdoodle cookies" that "steal the show" in Warward Sons’ chocolate semifreddo dessert.