Hawk-eyed SideDisher, Brad Twitty, just informed us that Luna’s Tortillas has just battled with a large-scale fire. Looks like the roof is pretty much gone. A Dunston’s Steakhouse employee, working across the street, confirms that the fire happened within the last hour.
Luna’s Tortillas on 8524 Harry Hines Blvd. was founded in 1924 by Maria Luna. It’s known for its tortillas and breakfast tacos.3 Comments »
First things, first.
Co-owner Laurent Lesort wants everyone to know: “We [Le Bilboquet] are not a franchise. We are not a big company.”
The reason he’s saying this, in case you’re not familiar with Le Bilboquet history, is because there’s another French bistro in New York City with the exact same name and similar white-table-cloth look as the Le Bilboquet that has just opened its doors on 4514 Travis Street. The Dallas one has existed for 11 days. The one in New York? 27 years. After almost three decades in the Upper East Side, the cozy French restaurant that (some say) helped redefine New York brunch left its original location after the lease expired. It’ll soon re-open in a new spot this August.
Now, onto the fun part: Lesort (of the Dallas Le Bilboquet) and his friend/co-owner/business partner, Stephan Courseau, have known each other for 30 years. They went to high school together. They even worked at the Le Bilboquet on Upper East Side side-by-side, managing the New York restaurant for owner Philippe Delgrange. Then stars aligned and Courseau moved to Dallas with his family for business. He thought Dallas would be a great place for “something casual, something French,” says Lesort.
It would be the ideal city for a French neighborhood bistro. Continue reading "Sneak Peek: Le Bilboquet, a French Neighborhood Bistro, Opens on Travis Street"
Chiladas, a family owned company, officially opens its second location today on Lovers Ln. The first is located in Plano at 6145 Windhaven Pkwy.
Owners Night Keyes (with Williamson Family Investments) and Katie Day greeted customers and media members at a preview yesterday, and encouraged them to try everything on the menu as they stepped up to the counter to order. I was invited as a guest.
Keyes and Day said they chose this location in order to appeal to the surrounding neighborhood. Located right off the Dallas North Tollway, the colorful and inviting patio is sure to draw in customers from the high traffic area.9 Comments »
Stepping into Jeng Chi, the Taiwanese restaurant located inside Richardson’s Chinatown, was a sad-but-happy moment for me this weekend. It’s great that Jeng Chi is doing so well that it can expand and buy out an old furniture store next door, but the new place has lost a smidgen of its traditional Taiwanese charm. I guess that’s what happens when everything becomes more glossy and modern-looking.
The bakery/cafe area has been expanded, with added tables and chairs. The owner no longer needs to man the cashier station now that he has more employees. One of them told me, as he pointed to the new dining area, “This is what a million dollars looks like.”
The banquet hall isn’t finished yet, but when it is, Jeng Chi will be able to hold 300 people. Wow.
CultureMap reports that Samar by Stephan Pyles will undergo a major facelift surgery this summer, along with the rest of the building at 2100 Ross Avenue. According to Lisa Endicott, the PR woman for Stephan Pyles’ restaurant empire, the high-rise was recently purchased by a new owner, Cousins Property Inc., and this owner wants to completely renovate the interior and exterior.
Samar is closing the first of July. The time it’ll take for the ground floor of 2100 Ross to be reconfigured remains unknown at this time.
“It’ll be a more expansive bar and dining room, because they’ll be moving the columns with the glassed-in space, eliminate those columns, and bring out more of the interior. There will still be a patio, but more interior space,” says Endicott.
My biggest fear is that Stephan Pyles will take this opportunity and ditch Samar for a new concept. Where else – within walking distance – can I go for my tandoori butter chicken for $5 only?
Endicott assures me that this is not the case. As far as she knows, this will be a “relaunch of a newly energized Samar.”
Let’s hope so.
Nancy already talked about Private | Social changing to its new Texas food menu, but now you get to taste it. For free. Everyone is invited to a complimentary event to sample the new menu and cocktails on Tuesday, May 21 and Wednesday, May 22, from 5 to 8 p.m. (On the menu: burly beef brisket, fried green tomato caprese, duck fat fried duck, ranch-style steaks, homemade cornbread and the delicious five-cheese mac ‘n’ cheese.)
I can’t stop thinking about fried chicken. Last week, I ate at Rudy’s Chicken. Over the weekend, I met a tiny woman with a serious love for this greasy meat. Now I’m ogling a Southern Living recipe for fried chicken on the New York Times. Look!
Trinity Groves has an Indian cooking class tonight at 6 p.m. It’s $79 and you get to learn from Minal Jhaveri how to make mango lassi, samosa puffs, channa masala, saag paneer, vegetable saffron pulav, cucumber raita, and shrikhand. Call 214-939-3015 to register.
Word comes that Justin Holt isn’t done with his ramen pop-up shops. He’s doing another one this Saturday at Ten Bells Tavern. Just a little over a week ago, Teresa Gubbins posted on CultureMap that the Lucia-turned-Driftwood chef decided he would take a break from mass-producing his noodles in disposable bowls. But the ambitious man hasn’t slowed down, and he told Steven Doyle he’s gonna stick to his “road to ramageddon.”
I have to admit I wasn’t too sad when Holt said he was done with midnight ramen for good. I know a lot of people have given Holt’s handmade noodles positive reviews, so maybe I had a weird batch at Ten Bells that February night he opened his pop-up shop, right after a successful run at Tradewinds. But I also can’t help wondering if maybe – just maybe – people in Dallas are so overhyped about ramen (Ten Bells was scarily packed that day. It felt like Shanghai.) they think anything that resembles ramen tastes like the stars and planets aligning. That Saturday, I overheard several people say Holt’s ramen was fantastic – and the pork belly definitely was – even though the broth tasted overwhelmingly like soy sauce. It was so salty I could feel the insides of my cheeks swell up. It was like getting my wisdom teeth pulled all over again. But, like I said, it could have just been an off day for Holt. I’d be happy to try his ramen again at a sit-down place where hungry masses aren’t going haywire.
Jump for more.
Rosalind Lynam, the pretty wife of Matt Pikar (chef-owner of Nora), just called to tell me that they’re expanding the family restaurant.
“Two nights ago, we broke through the walls. We’re expanding through the corner and going to have a private event space. There will be a rooftop as well.”
Nora, the Afghan restaurant on Greenville that I’m in love with, is about four weeks away from all these exciting things. Lynam also says private wine dinners are happening soon. She’s sending me the info as we speak.
Some people collect stamps, wine bottles, finger nail polish, their old baby teeth – whatever. David Chan, 64-years-old, collects Chinese restaurants.
LA Times reporter Frank Shyong wrote a fascinating profile about Chan yesterday. Shyong found an attorney and third generation Chinese-American who keeps tabs on all the Chinese restaurants he’s ever visited. I swear Chan is the cutest man alive. He knows the ins and outs of Chinese and Chinese-American cuisine, and I love him for it.
Read the profile and hurry over to the live chat that Chan and Shyong are having right now. Food nerds, I know you’ve got work, but some things are more important…2 Comments »
Great news, SideDishers! The French Room’s old sous chef, Thomas Gray, is climbing the kitchen ladder. He’ll be taking over Brian Zenner’s old day job as Oak’s chef de cuisine. Does this mean Zenner’s out of a job? Heck no. Zenner’s been splitting his precious time working at Belly & Trumpet and Oak, but this news of his replacement confirms one of two things:
1) Either the Oak owners, Tiffanee and Richard Ellman, want Zenner to focus solely on their Uptown restaurant, Belly & Trumpet, OR
2) Zenner will be working at Belly & Trumpet AND helping out with the opening of PakPao (which means “kite” in Thai), the Oak owners’ new Thai restaurant opening in the Design District next month.
My guess is that Zenner is busily gearing up for PakPao’s opening. A few weeks ago, Tiffanee told me Zenner was born in Thailand and influenced by Asian cooking. It makes sense for him to be heading the PakPao kitchen, then. I’m counting down the days ’til it opens. Exciting things are happening, guys. My fingers are getting tingly just thinking about it.
It’s official: Tuesday, April 23 is when Mot Hai Ba (“123″ in Vietnamese) is opening, starting at 11 a.m. (lunch) and 5 p.m. (dinner).
So far, so good. This Vietnamese street food restaurant sounds promising, especially since Dallas needs more Asian food. It’s a cool thing the ladies of Good 2 Go Taco are rising to the challenge.
But as long as we’re on this subject, I’m just going to come out and say it. No one else on the food blogosphere has, but I’m jet lagged and groggy from 20-something hours of travelling back from Taiwan (Btw, thanks for your system failure yesterday, American Airlines. Loved being stuck in Vancouver.), so I’m okay with being the bad guy.
Any restaurant name that needs a pronunciation guide in the press release is guaranteed bad news. Nancy said it right here when she found out Sēr (pronounced “sear”) was replacing Nana. Sēr may have been terrible, but Mot Hai Ba tops the cake of really, really bad names. I’m adding it to our growing list of worst names for restaurants, ever. Even WITH the pronunciation guide, mo’oht high bah, I doubt 99% of Lakewood residents are going to be able to say “123″ in Vietnamese correctly. Did you know that the Vietnamese language has six tones? (Chinese has five tones, and even I struggle with that.)
I know Jeana Johnson explained to Teresa on CultureMap that people say “mot hai ba, yo!” before they drink in Vietnam, but when I forwarded the press release to a Vietnamese friend, she didn’t make that connection upon reading the headline. She was confused about the name. So am I. Why not pick a name with more meaning? What about something non-Vietnamese clientele can actually pronounce? As for me, I’m going to go with Liz’s suggestion and call it “One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish” for now.
[Update 4/23/13 - Chinese has four tones, not five. Let's hope my old Chinese school teachers never stumble on this blog.]30 Comments »
As a general rule, I typically avoid dinners with more than five courses, because most of them tend to suck the life out of you. Any program that takes longer than the length of a Lord of the Rings movie to finish is not my cup of tea. But when the owners of Oak, Richard and Tiffanee Ellman, invited me as a media guest to their restaurant’s first formal wine dinner, there was no way I could decline. I knew it would be good. And it was.
Oak is typically closed on Sundays, but the Ellmans are planning to host fun chef dinners every six to eight weeks. Each will focus on a different region. “This is what we hope will become a habit,” said Richard, who has decided to give execuchef Jason Maddy complete creative reins. The first wine dinner was Austrian-themed, which was Maddy’s way of paying homage to Danube, the Austrian restaurant he worked for in New York City.
The last time I visited Desta, the doors were boarded up and flowers sat outside the entrance for the late owners, Yayehyirad Lemma and Yenenesh Desta. Both had been shot to death in front of their house on August 15, 2012. Now the Ethiopian restaurant is back up and running. Tizeta, Yayehyirad’s sister, says it’s been open for about a month already. She was caught during lunch service when I called her yesterday, but told me that her family is running the Desta operation.
Go eat some Ethiopian food tonight, SideDishers. Let’s do what we can for Desta.
Richard and Tiffanee Ellman, owners of Oak (Restaurant of the Year 2012), have just opened Belly & Trumpet in their old Bowery space. But they’re not stopping there. The husband-and-wife team plans to open an Asian restaurant in the Design District this May. It’s going to be called Pakpao Thai. Plan B folks (Royce Ring/Alex Urrunaga) and Coeval Studio (John Paul Valverde) are teaming up to create a restaurant design that’ll probably make design history.
This is going to be insanely good. Now that the Design District is becoming a hot dining destination in Dallas, it only makes sense for an Asian restaurant to make an entrance. And there’s certainly no better team than the Ellmans. Get excited!!!!
Update [3/6, 2:45 p.m.]: Previously, the headline read “Pak Pao,” which was a whole space incorrect. The name has been changed to “Pakpao.” The restaurant will also be located right next to Oak at 1628 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 120.
I hesitate to add Lion City Chinese Cafe to this “Good Asian Grub” series, but this Chinese/Singaporean restaurant is so undeniably tasty… to leave it off would feel almost wrong. The truth is, the service here is not great. By “not great,” what I really mean is “so terrible, it’s pretty much nonexistent.”
That’s not to say you shouldn’t go here.
In fact, you should. Just not when it’s busy.
I first heard of Lion City when my Singaporean friend, Jason, was blowing by Dallas on his grand Southern tour. “There’s a really good Singaporean restaurant here,” he said. “Better than the ones I’ve had in LA.”
“No way,” I responded, incredulous. Dallas? Better than Los Angeles when it comes to Asian food? Rarely. (I love you, Dallas, but the truth hurts.)
I have a dining crush on Sakhuu. I love the amazing service, the stuffed chicken wings, and the fact that owner/chef Kyla Phomsavanh will make special dishes (you’ll have to ask him what they are) off the menu if you just email or call beforehand. Did I mention it’s also BYOB?
Phomsavanh also has a ginormous heart for kids. Sakhuu is usually closed on Mondays, but during the month of March, Phomsavanh is opening his restaurant to help Kidd’s Kids, a foundation that serves children with special medical needs. 100% of the sales and gratuity made every Monday will be donated to Kidd’s Kids.
Help Sakhuu reach its fundraising goal of $10,000. It’s good food for a good cause. I can’t think of a better deal.
It’s been awhile since we’ve heard anything about Uno Immanivong, the Dallas woman who owns the boutique food company, Foodie Couture. I asked Nancy if she knew her, and Nancy goes, “Sounds familiar… Mico Rodriguez?” Yep, apparently the two worked on a restaurant concept together back in 2010. It was going to be called Pinky Chan – China Town. Immanivong and Rodriguez created this elaborate backstory about Pinky Chan, an Asian concubine who loved sewing and Parisian life, for the restaurant. (I refrain to comment on this. Must. Bite. Lip.)
Since then, Immanivong told me she’s been pretty busy. She’s been trying out for reality shows. None of them worked out until… ta da! The Taste happened. The Taste on ABC is a ripoff of NBC’s The Singoff The Voice, except they cook instead of sing, and there’s Anthony Bourdain instead of Cee Lo. The “Auditions Part 2″ aired on Jan. 29, and whaddyaknow, Immanivong was chosen to be on AB’s team because of her lap gai with minced gizzards. ”I have to come in first place because the name says it all: Uno,” says the single mother of an eight-year-old girl. ”I would say I’m a home cook almost on the border of a professional chef.”
In the meantime, while we wait to see whether she wins and lives up to her name, Immanivong is also getting ready to open her first restaurant at Trinity Groves. It should be open by May. She and her partner, Adrian Berdin, are planning to do Asian-Latino food. “It’s an eclectic mix of both of our styles, smaller proportions, it’s about sharing family meals, and we’re going to focus on cocktails.” Those are all the details she’s releasing for now (besides the fact that it’s basically going to be the Americanized version of Asian street food). Think: “lemongrass and fermented fish and all those great things and making it palatable,” says Immanivong.
The restaurant will also be called Chino. I wasn’t sure if Immanivong was naming her first restaurant after pants or the Spanish word for “Chinese.” Either one would’ve been a little… odd. ”Chino means Latin China Town,” she told me. Interesting definition of Chino, but let’s focus on the more important things: Asian street food is making its way to Trinity Groves. And if you’re dying to try some of Immanivong’s food, you can attend her Chino preview/pop up event on February 9 for $80: http://cravechino.eventbrite.com/7 Comments »
This Indian restaurant, owned by Sonia and Javeed Khan, specializes in the cuisine of Northern India and includes traditional and modern preparations of hearty dishes from Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Goa. If you are a fearful fan of Indian food, you will find familiar items such as chicken tikka masala and saag paneer. If you are an intrepid eater, gather a group of like-minded gourmets. There are so many culinary adventures on the menu—curries, kebabs, biryanis—that you’ll want to try them all. There are four spice levels: mild, medium, spicy, and Indian spicy. “Don’t order Indian spicy,” our waitress said. “It will blow your head off.” Heeding her warning, we stuck to spicy and were glad we did. Our group of three ordered six items and did not have one bad bite of food. The Murgh Malai Kebab appetizer was Indian fajitas. Cubes of chicken marinated overnight in yogurt are grilled and served on a cast-iron platter sizzling with onions and green peppers. The chicken was so tender that it really did melt in our mouths. Other standouts included Roghan Josh (chunks of lamb in traditional brown onion gravy spiced with coriander, turmeric, tomato sauce, and red pepper) and Keema Mutter, a dish recommended by owner Javeed Khan. “It is a spicy minced lamb with peas that most Americans don’t eat. Indians love the activity of their taste buds.” Well, I know three Americans who feel the same way and will go back for more.