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Making Dallas Even Better

What Restaurant or Cuisine Does Dallas Need?

Black cod with burning hinoki woo
Black cod with burning hinoki cedar; Jidori chicken with green papaya salad.

We’ve played this game a couple of times. I ask: If you could move one restaurant here, which one would it be?  You answer.  Sometimes I throw you a change-up: If you could bolster the profile of one cuisine, what would it be? Today, let’s do both.

When I lived in LA©, I loved to eat at Madeo. I used to see Johnny Depp and Winona Ryder there. He was a young punk filming What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Lots of hookers with movie execs. I wouldn’t move Madeo to Dallas because it wouldn’t work. Not enough movie execs.

When I was in LA© last September, I ate at Hinoki & The Bird. The groovy Century City restaurant is one of the few places that offers Jidori chicken, the Japanese bird now being raised on a few farms in California. The “chicken of the earth” are beyond free-range, they are the world’s most pampered bird: each day they are massaged in herbal oil recovered from Cleopatra’s tomb, serenaded by Ruki, and hand-fed an all-vegetarian diet. (Only one of those is true.)

I’d look to Teiichi Sakurai to bring us Jidori chicken. Perhaps Matt McCallister can duplicate the black cod served with a thin slice of burning Japanese cedar (hinoki) wood.

So, tell us what you want. Santa’s listening.

  • Dallaslaw

    Any authentic and good New York Deli. How is it that other than Deli News in Richardson, there are no true Deli’s in Dallas? Boccolone from San Fran or Salumi from Seattle would be high on my list.

  • funny

    When I lived in LA … BAH!

  • DemigodH

    Red Sauce Italian – bring over any place from Brooklyn.
    Ramen – Tanoshi is hopefully a start but if it’s the end of our ramen scene that is not good news.
    Cuban – A good Cuban restaurant please.

  • Greg Brown

    When I was in Portland(C) earlier this year I was impressed with the number of small but high-quality restaurants (Pok Pok, Por Que No). Low overhead means the money goes into the food, not the building. Would love to see more small walk-up shops like Monkey King.

  • Carl

    Quiet, romantic, French style restaurant. Remember the Riviera? La Mirabelle, Aurora, etc.

  • Pedro527

    Would love to see a first-rate Peruvian restaurant not in the distant suburbs. Joyce and Gigi’s fills the bill to some extent, but would like to see more…I also agree about a good Cuban restaurant…

  • Jim Rain

    You can put that copyright symbol in there, but the phrase clearly belongs to another food critic in town. (Which, I suspect, is precisely your point!)

  • allison

    Quick aside about the cedar plank – what do you do with it while you’re eating? Do you set it to the side? Because usually my tables are crowded with water & maybe a wine or cocktail glass, utensils, the crap already on the table, etc. Do you put it under your plate? What the hell?

    As for what I want – I would like a $19.99 dinner with a side salad made of crisp, whole one hundred dollar bills.

  • Nancy Nichols

    Is BAH good or BAD?

  • Nancy Nichols

    ya thank?

  • Nancy Nichols

    What you can’t see is that the plank is burning and there is smoke rising from it. The tables are large and I set it on my bread plate. I loved the smell. And I would like your fantasy meal as well. And a doggie bag.

  • Dubious Brother

    I would settle for a Pete’s Tavern (in Manhattan) – not only for the food which was good last time I was there decades ago but because it is still there and has the same name and Babe Ruth and O’Henry ate there. What Dallas restaurant has a shot at over 100 years with same name and location?

  • twinwillow

    A great, Greek owned and run New Jersey style diner.

  • ICU

    Jonathon Gold does not talk about his fellow food writers. Of course, he’s #1.

    Back to your question. I don’t think we need different restaurants. But I wish some of the interesting Asian restaurants were closer to the center city. It’s kind of a pain to drive to Koreatown on Royal or parts of Richardson and Plano.

  • Jay

    There’s a cuisine that is not only absent from Dallas, it’s absent from just about everywhere except its native country. The state of Minas Gerais is famous in Brazil for it’s soulful, country cuisine. Known for its cheeses, sweets, bean stews, and pork and chicken dishes – I’d liken it to southern soul food.

    It’s very popular comfort food in Brazil but no one else knows about it. I’m waiting for it to catch on! (Google image search “comida mineira” to get an idea of what we’re all missing out on!)

  • Trace


  • Missy


  • Missy

    My favorite restaurant in Chicago was an Argentinean steak house (not to be confused with Brazilian). They had the best Chimichurri sauce… and it was BYOB!

  • Jim Rain

    Gotta admit, I didn’t actually read the post very carefully. “When I lived in LA” was enough of an emergency brake to make my eyes glaze over, so I passed over the rest of the snark..

  • KJ Johnson

    I just want a really good cafe on Turtle Creek that utilizes the beautiful landscape and can bring people over the katy trail and relax a little

  • Sevy

    OMG, picking on Leslie is so small town – incestuous. I would like to see restaurants that do not include consultants from1970s and 80s Dallas. They and their mistresses are gross.

  • randomburb

    More German restaurants please. I need more schnitzel, right now I have to go to Plano or Rowlett.

    And if you want to get specifically ethnic, we desperately need Swedish food that isn’t served on the second floor of a furniture store.

  • Phebe Phillips

    Dallas could use a really good Vegetarian Restaurant with ambiance, and not just tofu, fake meat, and pasta offering. I like Cafe Gratitude and Gracias Madre.

  • Phebe Phillips

    Dallas could use a really good Vegetarian Restaurant. One with ambiance, that has more to offer than fake meats, tofu, pasta dishes and pre-bagged salad greens. Some of my favorites are Cafe Gratitude, Gracias Madre, and in NYC, Candle Cafe.

  • Brandon Mohon

    What are the good Asian restaurants in Richardson and Plano?

  • dallasboiler

    Dallas needs an upscale German restaurant. There’s been a hole in that area since Hofstetter’s closed several years ago. It should feature German & Austrian wines to pair with the food.

    Agree with comments about an authentic New York Deli (how about one in downtown Dallas?), a Cuban restaurant, and an Argentinian place that is not a churrascaria.

  • Nancy Nichols
  • Beda

    Have you tried Havana Café in Casa Linda?

  • Jeff Hayden
  • José Ralat Maldonado

    A Puerto Rican restaurant in Dallas would be great.

  • lala

    Like that idea Carl. Remember Le Boul’ Mich @ The Quadrangle? Loved that restaurant!

  • TheGuy

    I concur with the idea that we need a really good New York style deli, especially somewhere in East Dallas. I find it hard to believe a brand new, well stocked deli in a city this big usually lasts about as long as a George Clooney girlfriend. I guess the expense of flying in fresh product daily is high, but I have to believe the audience for it is out there.

  • Athena Hinkhouse favorite LA eatery. There is nothing like it in Dallas. Also, can we ask Michael Mina to open something here? I think it would do GREAT. I too loved Madeo. Such a great restaurant in such a dumpy hotel. In Berlin, I had the best Portuguese BBQ. In a town with so many BBQ options, let’s add Portuguese to our list. Last but not least, we need a real Argentinian steakhouse. Puerto Madero in Cancun would be fabulous in Dallas!!

  • lala

    Great idea Carl. Remember Le Boul’Mich which was located in the Quadrangle?

  • AmyS

    I would like to point out that there may be several nicknamed “Sevy”s in Dallas, but the commenter above has no relation to Sevy’s Grill.

  • Monica

    Arepas like they serve at Pica Pica in the Napa public market would be nice!

  • twinwillow

    Yeah, especially one that roasts large whole pigs.

  • Jeff Oestreich

    Casserole’s! A staple of various regional ones and seasonal ones… I know – kinda stupid but we were talking about something like while having a few drinks… it IS unique.