By Steven Doyle
Trinity Groves is the pretty terrific new expanse just across the Margaret Hunt-Hill Bridge (the same bridge we fondly call Large Marge). Currently there are 10 restaurants staking claim to the area, with many more on the way. Also coming soon are condos, galleries and other forms of entertainment. This all is led by the massive brain trust we call Phil Romano. The man has laid the ground work for an amazing part of our city replete with plenty of free parking and a chance for some pretty delicious non-chain dining in the Dallas area.
We spoke to Romano recently and he explained the concept easily. “We have been buying up land here for seven, almost eight years now. First we are taking 15 to 20 acres and putting in new restaurant concepts. We are not going to put any brands down here, we are going to create brands. Every company that is out here will have its first location here.”
“We are taking young people and opening businesses they like. Most of them do not have money, so we have got an entrepreneurial fund and we are funding them. It is an equity proposition not a loan payback,” Romano continued.
That said, let’s take a ride through the area and give you some dining tips to each of the restaurants that currently are open.
Resto Gastro Bistro This is billed as a modern American restaurant with global influences. It allows the chef-owner to have his say in the kitchen, typically serving kicked up steaks and seafood items.
What to order: We loved the Miso Glazed Sea Bass and the massive Braised Beef Short Rib, but the selection of salads are very satisfying.
What to drink: Go for the Shishito Pepper infused Cazadores Blanco, Lychee Cordial, Agave, and Lime.
Chino Chinatown Sizzling hot Latin-Asian fusion at its finest. This means many of your favorite Asian dishes are given a Latin bent, or vice versa.
What to order: Nothing could be more satisfying than the sizzling Korean Short Rib Fajitas that come with a giant pile of grilled tablitas, along with the signature duck fat fried rice. The dish is enough for two to share. Also, there’s plenty of small sharable plates for romantic evenings.
What to drink: The cocktails are some of the best on this boardwalk. There always is a list of $5 specials to choose from, and that is a great place to start.
LUCK The name stands for Local Urban Craft Kitchen, and is operated by three of the thirstiest beer mavens in the state. Consider 40 very local brews on tap, with growlers to go. The food is a stand out as well.
What to order: We love to start with the bierocks which are sharable meat and cheese stuffed pastries. The house-made pastrami is killer.
What to drink: Peruse the beer list, and ask lots of questions. Samples always are on the ready, as well as flights for inquiring minds. Always start with a Peticolas Velvet Hammer to get the fun going.
Souk A lovely Moroccan-style restaurant that serves up some spicy flavors of both Berber and Mediterranean influences. See something in the décor you enjoy? It’s all for sale, just like it would be in Morocco. Look for belly dancers on the weekends. Hookahs!
What to order: Start with the Mezza sampler which includes the dips such as the eggplant and hummus, as well as the potato cakes and more. The beef kabob is very special, but for a group you may order family-style with roasted leg of lamb or paella that will feed a small hoard.
What to drink: The infused roasted pineapple drink is to die for.
Casa Rubia Amazing tapas like you have never experienced. Nominated for a James Beard Award after two months in business (that is a huge compliment). Casa Rubia serves up the most refined tapas in Dallas. Plenty to choose from with a very helpful wait staff, and a terrific bar.
What to order: The paella always is good, and always changing. The cheese and charcuterie board is the best the city has to offer. Order any special being offered. Currently, I am liking the soft shell crab. It will be fleeting.
What to drink: Anything poured will suffice, but I always start off with the Cava Rose.
Amberjax Grille Delicious seafood fare with a heavy Cajun influence. You also may order seafood to go and prepare at home in the iced case in the front of the house.
What to order: The gumbo will curl your toes, and we love any fish special on the menu that day. The boudin is an excellent example of what the sausage should be like. The lobster mac & cheese is over stuffed with lobster. Pies are baked all day, but there still is a short supply.
What to drink: When in Rome, right? Drink an Abita beer.
In addition to these finer dining establishments you will find Babbs BBQ and Hofmann Hots across the street. Potato Fats just opened its doors and serves up a huge baked or sweet potato filled with your choice of hot and cold ingredients. More restaurants are on the way including an Italian restaurant, and plenty from chef Nick Badovinus, including his famous burger joint, Off Site Kitchen, a new pizza concept, and a roasted meat emporium. There also will be a tamale shop and a chocolate store installed sooner than later.
Kitchen LTO also is located in Trinity Groves, and the place changes concepts every four months with a new chef voted in from an online election system. The menu varies.
Look for Trinity Groves just across the Hunt-Hill Bridge at 425 Bedford in Dallas.