By Steven Doyle
The Dallas dining and drinking scene continues to grow at rampant rates with no end in sight and as the new spots take their place in our weekly rotation we all come out as winners. This month we want to highlight some of these better places and welcome them to the neighborhood. In the list that follows you will be able to savor the finest in food and libations. Make a date with your favorite person and be sure to nab reservations as these places open just a few short months or less already are overflowing:
San Salvaje – Take flight to the Central and South Americas at Stephan Pyles’ latest restaurant where you can enjoy the results of his years of travels and tastes south of the United States. The name San Salvaje means “wild saint” which could definitely describe Pyles, who has been a relevant patron saint of dining in Dallas for so many years, and has kept his concepts fresh and inviting.
Pyles literally has written the book on tamales and also has a few choice versions on the San Salvaje menu. Some are filled with wild mushrooms, others with lobster or wild boar. All are very delicious. You will find these listed in the same section as the crispy squid tacos which can be found next to the cabrito or smoked duck tacos. Those tortillas are stone ground and rolled out in house and worth the price of admission alone. Heavenly.
Stock & Barrel – Located on Davis Street on the cusp of the Bishop Arts District, Stock and Barrel is owned and cheffed by Jon Stevens who has been part of the Dallas dining scene for some years now.
Stevens told us recently, “65 to 70 percent of the menu is based on the wood fire grill. We also have this rotisserie that we will be using more,” he said. “But a lot of the proteins are coming off the grill, with some sautéed items. A lot of fresh, light salads. A lot of lighter fare in general, pairing with the things coming off the grill. We are doing our own house-smoked bacon. We cold smoke some fish for some different things on the brunch menu.”
Look for some terrific items such as the large lump crab fritters which are light and addictive. Also the meatloaf is one of the most popular dishes and is baked then grilled and served with bacon, potato caramelized onion hash and finished with a cream peppercorn sauce. The sauce is a standout.
The Ivy Tavern – Check into this delightful neighborhood watering hole where you will want to be a regular. The friendly staff serves up an interesting mix of clientele which come from several demographics surrounding the bar. The large back patio area will remind you of a late night party at your favorite friend’s house with old wood trees and fun games, along with a cute outdoor bar.
The service is quick, and the food is pretty darned good. The burgers are served on Texas toast for a bit of change of scenery, and some damned good wings. Whatever you do, try the now legendary creamed corn with the pimento cheese. The brisket is a hard item to keep in stock. The place also serves some pretty tasty drinks and always has Peticolas Velvet Hammer on tap.
Scotch & Sausage – Imagine all the scotch and sausages you could ever desire. Try more than 20 handmade sausages featuring beef, chicken, venison, quail, antelope and more. All sausages are priced $8 and below. They are an all-natural, small batch production with no by-products.
There are just a few other menu items available besides sausages. The Scotch Egg surely is delicious, and made up of a six-minute egg covering of homemade sausage then rolled in corn flake crumbs then fried. The result is a crispy outer layer with a slightly oozing yellow center. This definitely will make you smile. Your vegetarian friends also will feel at home with the menu as there are friendly sausages and Scotch Eggs for them as well.
Oh, and there are more than 120 whiskeys in the house. Go get ‘em.
TJ’s Seafood Market – There are but a few real fishmongers in the DFW area, and TJ’s is the mother of them all. Fresh fish is flown in many times daily guaranteeing the ultimate in freshness. Back in August the flagship location at Preston and Forest moved (there also is a smaller version located on Oak Lawn), and reopened at the new location with 80 seats, a giant fresh fish counter loaded with oysters, and massive specimens of sea critters, all at their peak of freshness.
You may take home the seafood to cook or grill as you wish, and the store is extremely helpful with instructions even going as far as to offer grilling classes each year at no cost. The real thrill is to sit and dine in, enjoying the long-time family recipes, and the new chef’s creations made up on the fly each day depending on what type of catch he has on hand.
The new location has a full service bar with a proud selection of beer, wine and cocktails all ready to pair with your platter of divine seafood.