At CBD Provisions, Chef Richard Blankenship is obsessively working on creating the perfect Texas-inspired brasserie. He’s also a new dad and has to maintain that luxurious beard, which means that he doesn’t exactly have time to get out and enjoy five-star dinners like he did as a young chef.
Still, Chef Blankenship knows exactly where to find good food just like he knows his craft, and he's shared some of his favorite secret spots with Eater. You’ll want to go ahead and immediately add each and every one to your list of restaurants to try.
Where do you find the best Asian cuisine in town?
Royal Sichuan. It’s my favorite restaurant in Dallas. The service is awesome, the dining room is smaller but they have huge round tables complete with "lazy susans" for family style dining. Must haves: Dry Fried Chicken, Fish in Oil, Cumin Lamb, Dan Dan Noodles, Chengdu Dumplings, Spicy Beef Tripe, Sichuan Long Beans. They also have a cold case with bamboo shoots and pickled pig ears. Bring friends and order too much – this food eats great the next day, too.
Controversial opinion on the best tacos in town?
Taco Lady in Denton. Hands down the best tacos on DFW. No one knows that because they're hardly willing to make the trek, but I live in Denton so it's home. The taco offerings are standard (lengua, desebrada, carnitas, chicharron, etc) but what's amazing are the tortillas and gordita shells, both made right there in front of you to order. Both well worth the wait.
And Tex-Mex? Is there a spot that everyone is missing out on?
El Ranchito in Oak Cliff has the best Tex-Mex I’ve had in DFW. They also have some legit authentic Mexican items (braised cabrito, grilled sweetbreads, Coctel de Camarone) but the absolute best thing they have – which is also my tell for a truly great Mexican restaurant and my last meal – is the rice and beans.
You have to go on a busy Saturday night to get the full experience. There's always multiple mariachi troupes pillaging thru the masses to forcefully push their performance on you but it's also worth it. Leaving El Ranchito on a hot Saturday in the Texas summer with a belly full of goat and ears ringing from the mariachi trumpets will make you feel like some kind of modern-day Santa Anna (or at least how I imagine him).
Where do you find a perfect bowl of pho?
Pho Bang in Garland, no question. I've been going here to eat soup since I'm 17 years old. It comes down to the broth. It's got the little bits floating in it, it leaves your lips all sticky and coated in collagen and gelatin, it's truly sublime. Combine that with "soft as butter" beef tendon and I'm done.
They also put some interesting herbs on the table, a welcome departure from the ubiquitous cilantro and thai basil. Before the remodel, they used to have some sketchy decor along with an imaginary divider between smoking and non-smoking section but that added to the mystique of the place. It's much "prettier" now, but the broth is still the same so I've forgiven them.
Whataburger vs. In-N-Out: If you had to choose only one, which would you eat for the rest of your life?
In-N-Out. Plain and simple. I crush double-doubles regularly, just being honest. By the way, I’m a native Texan, and forget Whataburger. That shit’s lame.