The famed KRLD Restaurant Week started on Monday, and while I would never recommend being late for a reservation, it’s not too late to throw your fork in the pasta and tummy up to the table for a sampling of the best Dallas has to offer. For less.
Now, I’m a girl who LOVES a deal, but I want to get quality for my money. That’s why I’ve compiled what is—in my opinion—a thorough list of the participating restaurants, divided into nine categories: The Riches, The Newbies, The Sexies, The Stuffy, The Overrated, The Royalty, The Disinteresting, The Meat and Potatoes and The Gems. Some spots make repeat appearances on two different categories, and I know there are a few missing. Please forgive me. But bonus: I’ve even included some recommended dishes to try. Maybe you don’t make it out this year, but next time you head to one of these eateries…you’ll know what to splurge on.
Please note that while Restaurant Week reservations tend to fill up quickly, there are reservations that are or become available nearly every day, especially if you are flexible. The lobster shooters at Abacus taste just as good at 9:00 as it does at 7:00. Some restaurants participate through September 6, so get on the horn!
Note also that I have very limited experience outside of Dallas proper. Thus, I have not listed many restaurants located in Lewisville, Ft. Worth, Arlington or Plano. I invite you to try these places for yourself and let me know how they taste!
Without further ado, let's get started!
The RICHES: These are places you go when someone else is buying. Best bang-to-buck ratio here.
Abacus – Everybody knows this spot. It’s well-known to be the most expensive restaurant in town, and it delivers a high-quality dining experience worth writing home about. And of course you’ll want to, y’know, to brag.
Craft Dallas – Sexy with a side of truffle oil.
The Crescent Club – Restaurant Week is a great opportunity to dine at this member-exclusive establishment. Take. That. Opportunity! It’s a unique culinary experience.
Fearing’s – Ritz-Carlton – Ahem—RITZ—ahem. Excuse me.
The Mansion Restaurant – What’s fancier than the Mansion??
The NEWBIES: Haven’t tried these yet but I’ll be there soon!
Eddie V’s – I have been to the Austin location, but that was before I was a "food person". I’ll have to report back once this Dallas newbie meets the more matured, bitchier me.
Horne & Dekker – The menu at this Henderson spot sounds fancy-home-cookin'-fantastic. Can’t wait to try.
The SEXIES: Places like these are a feast of the eyes often more than for the senses. Pretty doesn’t hurt, but it doesn’t alone make a worthy date night.
The 2nd Floor – In the Galleria. I haven’t eaten there, but it sure is pretty.
AMPM Restaurant & Lounge
Bolla Restaurant – in the Stoneleigh Hotel. Beautiful with chef POWER!
Central 214 – Sexy, sure, but I’ve had better. Ahem.
Charlie Palmer at the Joule – Last year’s RW dining experience. Delicious and they gave my party of 10 our own room!
DISH – This is a new arrival in town. It’s like gourmet-sexy-dining lite. I recommend giving it a try, RW or not.
Dragonfly – Quite possibly the sexiest restaurant in Dallas. I’m not sexy enough to even go there.
Eddie V’s – Sexy seafood. Is that a good thing? I'll find out one of these days...
Ferre Ft. Worth – the former Ferre in the West Village was a tasty, sexy spot. I can still remember the taste of the perfectly-cooked fish I enjoyed after quite a few glasses of wine...
Kenichi Dallas – Probably the sexiest sushi in town. So if you're looking to see and be seen in Victory, try it out.
Steel – Come for the sushi, stay for the inventive main dishes. Just don’t show up on Wednesday – it’s free sushi happy hour night. Read: PACKED.
The STUFFY: A little too formal for my taste, these mostly Dallas mainstays are a place to find good quality beef—and likely a gaggle of businessmen on the company tab.
Arcodoro & Pomodoro
The Landmark Restaurant
Oceanaire Seafood Room
The ROYALS: From the famously most expensive restaurant in town to celebrity chefs, these notorious establishments are great for name-dropping and showing off your fanciest pants.
Abacus – The proverbial fois gras, lobster, cavier and finest champagne of Dallas’ dining scene. Worth a try just so you can say you’ve been.
Charlie Palmer at the Joule – last year’s RW adventure. Delicious with a great waitstaff and an interesting menu.
Fearing’s – Ritz-Carlton
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck – It’s right there in the name, and way up in the sky. Anything would be better than the tourist trap he replaced.
Jasper’s Plano – Abacus’ little sister, Jasper’s is known for inventive and delicious, fusion-y fare.
Rathbun’s Blue Plate Kitchen – Celebrity chef Kent Rathbun does fancy country right.
Samar by Stephen Pyles – One of the few ethnic choices on the RW list, I’ve been meaning to head to this fusion spot.
Stephan Pyles – Spent my first Restaurant Week dining experience here. While I’ve heard good things since, our experience was far from top notch. While I’m not ruling it out completely, I probably won’t be back there soon.
Tillman’s Roadhouse – The classy addition of event design genius Todd Fiscus makes this place a feast for the eyes and the countrified heart.
The OVERRATED: I’ve been excited to dine at these establishments, I’ve dressed up, I’ve spent a bit of mine or someone else’s hard-earned cash, and I’ve left disappointed.
Craft Dallas – Honestly, Craft is too rich for its britches. I didn’t LOVE anything I had, and everything felt more heavy & fattening than fresh. Not my bag.
Dallas Fish Market – The food here should have been better for what it cost.
Five Sixty by Wolfgang Puck – While the prices and altitude are both sky-high, the follow-through was not. Asian Fusion menu yielded tasty items, but none were inventive enough to warrant the price tag.
Hector’s on Henderson – Meet Hector: He sings, you eat. It’s kinda weird. The food is good, but there are better selections on that street for the money.
Ocean Prime – With a business based most likely entirely via business lunches, it’s no surprise this relatively new place is a bit lazy. And I’ve heard heavily salted, oddly enough.
Sambuca – The one on McKinney Avenue is fun enough, but Sambuca360 in Frisco is a loud, cougar-filled hot mess with a line and a cover charge on Saturday nights. BEWARE.
The DISINTERESTING: The following are either not expensive enough or interesting enough to spend your $35 plus tax plus tip plus wine. Well, perhaps if you add enough wine…
Ferrari’s Italian Villa – Not pricey or high-class enough to be involved in Restaurant Week. Sorry.
Go Fish Ocean Club – See above.
The Grill on the Alley – Huh? Somebody feel free to let me know if this place is worth checking out.
Silver Fox Steakhouse – Nope.
Salum Restaurant – I’ve heard mixed reviews, but it’s in a strip mall, and I’m obviously a food snob.
Hully and Mo – A stand-up, classy spot for business lunch, but not RW-worthy, in my opinion.
The MEAT & POTATOES: Steak, steak and more steak. These are where you’ll find the unimaginative of Dallas’ diners. Good, sure, but no fun! My advice: be more adventurous!
Bailey’s Prime Plus (all locations)
Dallas Chop House
III Forks – I love to indulge in old, Dallasy, JR Ewing-style steak at this mainstay, but the family-style sides are honestly my favorite part. Fresh tomatoes, buttery snap peas and creamed corn. To die. Literally...
Lawry’s the Prime Rib – Try the prime rib. ;)
McCormick & Schmick’s
Pappas Bros. Steakhouse
The Place at Perry’s
Steve Fields Steak and Lobster Lounge
Texas de Brazil
Woodfire by Kirby’s – Excellent service at this Greenville avenue spin-off; try the salmon.
The GEMS: Places I’ve been, some of them more than once, and would recommend to anyone.
Capital Grille – Sure, I haven’t sampled every steak in town, but I’m guessing the ones here give the other slabs a run for their money.
DISH – Relatively new and sexy-like, this place serves up elegantly designed food that tastes great.
The Grape – A Greenville Avenue staple, I love this place for brunch. The burger is supposedly #1.
Hattie’s – Spent a Valentine’s Day dinner here, and the foodie sparks flew.
Hibiscus – Different and delicious. In the delicious corridor on Knox just east of 75.
Jasper’s – Abacus’ little bro. Give it a try – it will likely impress you!
Sangria – If Lombardi “concepted” it, odds are I’ll adore it. Sangria is no exception.
Parigi – I’m a BIG fan. Haven’t had dinner there, but lunch is fantastic. Everything is fantastic, but their Ceasar is award-winning.
Pyramid Restaurant & Bar – I’ve heard good things, so this one is on my short list to try out very soon.
Café Toulouse – L-O-V-E Toulouse, but I’m not sure RW is a good value here.
York Street – I’ve heard rave reviews about York and cannot wait to try it out myself.
The LAST BITE:
From the looks of this list I obviously have a lot more eating to do.
Remember, it’s not too late to make an extraordinary night out of an ordinary one. Call last minute and see if something opened up! Enjoy!
KRLD Restaurant Week 2010
Make reservations for most via OpenTable.com.