Located within the 19 walkable blocks of fun, architecture, and culture, the Dallas Arts District is home to some of the city’s best restaurants. While many residents and visitors have discovered these fine eateries, there hasn’t been a central location for information on all of the great choices – until now.
Urban Rio, the newest restaurant in downtown Plano, is Nathan and Bonnie Shea‘s baby. For two years, the owners of Urban Crust dreamed and conceived and schemed about opening a Mexican restaurant until, finally, last Monday, it all came together when they opened their doors to the public. The restaurant features a menu of “Next Mex” cuisine and is housed inside the historic Plano Ice House, which was gutted for the Shea family’s Urban empire. On the first floor lies Urban Rio and Nate’s Gelato where guests can get their dessert fix, while the second contains a cantina called On the Rocks with a full bar. The third floor is used as office space. The Rooftop sits at the fourth floor, and the Sheas plan to use the space as a catering service and event center where musicians can play live music.
But I’m getting too far ahead of myself.
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New Orleans isn’t just king of po’ boys, it’s also the home of a 10-year-old cocktail festival that hosts some of the most respected mixologists around the country. Tales of the Cocktail is happening from July 25-29 in New Orleans, and Rocco Milano, Private|Social’s Beverage Director, worked with the festival committee to create a special tasting room called “Come and Get It: Cocktails Texas Style,” highlighting all that Dallas has to offer. Ten of Dallas’ best barkeepers will be creating a unique libation that’ll represent how the cocktail movement is ticking in Texas. Here’s the list of guys who’ll be the faces of our great state.
Abraham Bedell, Oak
Brad Hensarling, The Usual
Eddie “Lucky” Campbell, The Chesterfield
Greg Katz, Victor Tangos
Jason Kosmas, Marquee Grill
Kyle Hilla, Bolsa
Michael Martensen, The Cedars Social
Omar Yeefoon, The People’s Last Stand
Rocco Milano, Private|Social
Sean Conner, Whiskey Cake
If you’ll be in New Orleans next month, think about dropping buy the “Come and Get It” tasting room on July 25 from 10:30 a.m. to noon at the Hotel Monteleone on 214 Royal Street.
Chef Vijay Sadhu doesn’t let anything like a failed restaurant concept keep him down. When his innovative, yet unpopular, Sutra, the modern Indian cuisine restaurant at the The Shops at Legacy closed, he gathered new ideas and investors and opened Pepper Smash, A Cocktail Kitchen. Sadhu reworked the Sutra interior, 86ed the Indian food, added an extensive mixology program, up-tempo music, and a snazzy website. The food is Modern American with a Mediterranean twist.
Recently I attended a tasting event for the media and many dishes we tried (seemingly the whole menu) were impeccably prepared. I have said it before but will repeat it again: Sadhu’s greatest strength is his ability to wring every ounce of flavor out of the ingredients he choses. So pick a protein, like chicken, that could be bland and put it in Sadhu’s hands. He grills it until the flavors of the Maillard reaction http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maillard_reaction emerge and balances them with tahini sauce.
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