The amount of excellent food available in Dallas is dizzying, yet mediocre meals somehow keep worming their way into our lives. With your Eater Dallas editor dining out frequently, that means coming across lots of standout dishes and drinks that need to be shared.
Petra and the Beast
1901 Abrams Road
There were several food adventures in August, but a night at the chef’s counter at the new Petra and the Beast location is up first. It must be noted that the service was top-notch. Nearly everyone on the floor, from the servers to the GM to the chef working the line, came over to talk about various elements of the meal. It was not only a lot of fun, but it expressed enthusiasm about the place that one rarely encounters so thoroughly from the staff.
Misti Norris is ready to switch up her menu, which is almost a shame because every dish is terrific. But watching her evolution is always a treat, on the other hand. From this experience, we suggest getting a charcuterie board — they are all meat for the time, with plans to mix meat and cheese eventually. Ours had shaved pig ears, two different styles of pate, and numerous bread and cracker options and sauces. The mix-and-match options were so numerous that every bite was a completely different combination of tastes. We also ordered a melon-forward dessert that was perfect at that season’s height and mixed the textures of the extremely ripe cantaloupe, ice cream, macerated melons and citrus, and crunchy nuts.
The Heritage Table
7110 Main Street in Frisco
There was also a food adventure up to Frisco to visit the Heritage Table and talk to owner and chef Rick Vana about his mission. From that meal, two highlights emerged. The first was the bread plate, which Vana explained his diners wouldn’t let him take off the menu. The search for focaccia this excellent in the U.S. has been afoot for some 20 years, and now it ends. It is that ideal focaccia paired with garden butter. And the milk and honey rolls are some of the best that exist. This evening, they were served with a honey-infused marmalade that paired beautifully with the sweetness of the rolls but was not a necessary addition — they’re perfect all by themselves.
Among other great dishes, Vana presented The Whole Beast as an example of what he does. It features house-made noodles, broth made from all those leftover bits in the kitchen, slices of short rib, chicken meatballs made from all the bits that don’t get used in other dishes, an egg, house-made kimchi, and various seasonal vegetables. It was rich, filling, and a brilliant way to get to a minimal waste kitchen.
4514 Travis Street, Suite 132
There’s a new chef at Georgie, which we’ll tell you more about very soon, but the headline is that its new chef, RJ Yoakum, comes to Dallas fresh off a three-year stint at French Laundry with Thomas Keller. We tasted extensively from the current menu, which will change in the next three weeks, so don’t put off making a reservation to eat these dishes. Run, don’t walk, to order the pink snapper with a potato, ginger, and Meyer lemon crust. It is served with lima beans, garden okra, and a sauce based on arugula and oil.
Also noteworthy was the grilled Spanish octopus, served in a house-made tortilla with squash blossoms pressed into it, chunks of squash in the dish, and a mole negra. Mole is far from anything expected on this restaurant’s menu, so — go in and expect the unexpected.
1806 Greenville Avenue
The amount of time we’ve spent dreaming about the bolognese sauce at this place after first trying it cannot be captured by known human measurements. But on a subsequent visit, the occasion to test the house-made fusilli with pesto Genovese, green beans, and Yukon gold potatoes presented itself, and this wonderful, earthy, homey dish is the new bite we can’t stop thinking about.
Black Tap Craft Burgers & Beer
2475 Victory Park Land, Suite 120
The fried pickles at this New York burger joint landed on our table as the chef’s “just trust me” suggestion. Holy moly. They are not just the average fried pickle. It’s a simple flour and buttermilk dip, served with buttermilk and dill dip akin to ranch dressing but infinitely more delicious. The whole dish had a good amount of heat, and that buttermilk-heavy dip cooled it right down. So yeah, get a burger and get one of those crazy shakes this place is known for, but do not pass up the fried pickles.