Category Archives: Restaurant Review

20 Feet Seafood Joint

A while back our lives changed here in East Dallas.  Goodfriend opened and we had drinks and burgers.  There was this rumor that a seafood joint was opening, as well.  But, that would just be too good to be true, wouldn’t it?  15 years of East Dallas living with no decent bars and certainly no seafood left us skeptical.  And then it happened.  Things have never been the same.

20 Feet has received quite a lot of good press.  Rated one of the best seafood places in town.  And I will say that it’s only grown better and better as time has passed.  It’s a very regular spot for us.  Not only is the seafood fantastic, fresh and affordable, we always bring our own beer or wine.  That puts it in the VERY affordable category, which is not where you usually find seafood.

Today, we tried the oyster shooters.  Is that cute or what?  And so delicious!  $2 each?  Seriously?  That’s it?  I didn’t realize you could get something this good for $2 until today.

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As usual, we over-ordered.  I had the coconut shiitaki mushroom soup.  Delicious and mild.  An excellent blend of flavors.  It was their special soup of the day.  So, you can’t always get this.  I love trying their soups.  I’ve never had one that wasn’t fantastic.

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Hubbard went with the traditional clam chowder that is always on the menu.  I have to admit that I probably had 10 bowls of this in a row before I could bring myself to order any other soup at 20 Feet.  I love this chowder.  The best I’ve ever had.

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Another thing I find hard to resist is the Shrimp Scampi over Parmesan grits.  I’m a grits girl.  And the slaw on top with the little crunchy things…  love it!  (I don’t know what the little crunchy things are.  Does it matter?)

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Hub, being in that traditional mood today, had the fish and chips.  We searched this town for fish and chips a few years back and never really found any we liked as well as Guthrie’s, which closed a long time ago.  20 Feet has the best fish and chips ever.  Why?  The fish is delicious and perfectly fried every time.  But, those fries.  The fries alone are enough reason to order this dish.  They’re done with rosemary and thyme and cloves of garlic.  I think of the garlic cloves as little presents when I find them nestled between the skinny fries.  I’m not sure if I’ve ever left one for Hubbard.  I like garlic even more than grits.

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We didn’t get dessert today.  But, Suzan has got to be the best pie maker in town.  The chocolate cream pie and the key lime are so delicious.  Try to be more sensible than we were today and leave room for pie.  Or the strawberry shortcake which was the special today and I know I’ll be regretting not ordering as soon as I’m hungry again.  Hmmm…  maybe we’ll go back for dinner!

The Whistling Pig Neighborhood Pub

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It’s so hard to talk about a place that is brand new.  It’s not just that it’s my first impression of the place.  It’s everyone’s first impression because it didn’t exist until a week or two ago.  It will probably be a totally different bar by the end of the year.

We showed up at  The Whistling Pig on Mother’s Day shortly after noon. Understandably, the place was not packed.  The first pleasant surprise was that, despite the glass exterior walls, it was not brightly lit.  You’re not supposed to feel like you’re in shopping center even if you are in a shopping center.  The brunch menu was not available yet but they were offering $2 Mimosas and $5 Bloody Marys.  That was the second nice surprise.

Asher Stevens from Cock & Bull is the chef at this new pub.  So, we decided to have lunch. We started with Pulled Pork Fried Jalapenos ($9). Packed full of flavor.  Meaty to the max and hotter than hell.  If I ate all five of those myself I would have had to skip the sandwich.  They are a substantial snack.

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The house-made pulled pork, which showed up again on the Cuban sandwich ($14), was moist and tender. Very good.  Along with ham, baby Swiss and thinly sliced dill pickles, the sandwich was pressed, toasted and “melty”, just as described.  We opted for “Texas Toothpicks” instead of fries. Strips of onion and jalapeno were battered and deep fried.  Excellent and only mildly spicy.

It makes it worth the 15+ years we lived here with no decent pubs and only chain restaurants to see this kind of new life in East Dallas.  We will be visiting again soon, I’m sure.  Great to meet you, Pig!

Underground Dinner with Ryan Barnett

You’ve heard of those underground dinners, right?  Pop-up restaurants?  Well, Hub and I were unexpected stand-ins for a good friend of ours who couldn’t make it.  I had always wanted to attend an event like this but never really gotten around to it.  Such fun!

It was held at My Private Chef in Deep Ellum by Chef Ryan Barnett.  There were two communal tables and a four course dinner.  Delicious!  Ryan likes to focus on locally sourced food.  The freshness and purity of the flavors really showed through in each dish.

Our first course was a chilled mussel salad with peach and grapefruit.  A light vinaigrette and the bitterness of the greens perfectly complimented the shellfish and the fruit.  I would have never thought of a mussel salad, but I will from now on.  It was very nice.

Next, a veloute’ of sweet Texas corn topped with a little crab and some thinly sliced green onion.  And sweet it was.  It was delicately, yet fully flavored.  Creamy and smooth, delicious with the little touch of crab.

I wanted to pick up the bowl and drink it.  But, I behaved and used my spoon!

Next on to the fish.  Flounder served with an assortment of local squash.  Very nice.  A squash blossom was a lovely touch, as well.  The flounder was cooked perfectly.

So good.  I love fish.  But, what I don’t usually like at all is lemon desserts.  I am glad that I’m not the type that won’t even try something I have disliked in the past because the lemon tart was fantastic!  Not overpowering.  Tender crust.  It really was excellent.

Chef Ryan will be doing these dinners every two weeks.  We went to the first one on the 3rd.  So check in with him for more info… ChefRB@me.com.  Request to be on the mailing list if you want to be notified of new dinners.  This one was $50 for four courses. It was BYOB with wine service provided.  The service was great.  Conversation was lively and the food…  wonderful!

Like Chef Ryan on Facebook.

http://www.facebook.com/ChefRyanBarnett

Del Frisco’s Grille for Lunch

What’s better than a free brunch at the new Del Frisco’s Grille?  Not much!      Hubbard and I were treated this Saturday and loved every bite.  This is the steakhouse’s answer to a bar and grill.  Very stylish and a great location.  The patios is spacious.  They even have an patio upstairs in their second dining area.  Bonus:  they serve brunch on Saturday and Sunday.  I love that.  I’m always craving something delicious on Saturday afternoons.  I think if you see the pictures you’ll be craving it, too!

I’m a sucker for deviled eggs.  With truffle-chive vinaigrette?  Are you kidding?

Hubbard is still talking about these cheesesteak eggrolls.  They really were delicious.  Tender beef.  Cheesy, crunchy.  Great idea.

I thoroughly enjoyed this Carbonara Flatbread.  Isn’t it lovely?  Prosciutto, Parmesan, cracked black pepper cream sauce.  Kind of like a ham and egg pizza but better.  And we still haven’t gotten to the the entrees yet.

Want a drink?  How about that white Sangria?  So light and refreshing.  Makes you want to drink it all day!  The Bloody Mary comes with a tray of garnishes that you can use to fix up your own glass.  I never got to that because I was actually just interested in tasting the mix.  I hate a dull Bloody Mary and this one was nothing but dull.  Not too spicy, still full of flavor.  Of course, the brunch punch isn’t too bad either.

Bacardi, Malibu, orange and pineapple juices, grenadine… yum!

When I go to a new place for brunch I always try the Benedict.  This one was particularly good.

Sitting atop white cheddar and scallion biscuits, topped with chipotle hollandaise, the eggs were perfectly prepared.  I’m pretty picky about poached eggs.  This was a great entree and very filling.  Hubbard had to try the chicken fried steak.  He makes a mean chicken fried steak here at our house.  So, he can be critical when it comes to CFS.  Not much to complain about when it’s made from ribeye!

The chorizo gravy gave a nice full flavor to the dish.  Hub liked it a lot.  The steak was very tender and not chewy or fatty at all.  And yes, the crust says on the meat when you cut into it!  Delicious fries.

Yes, they are really called Sea Salt and Parmesan Frites.  Call them whatever you want.  They’re really good.  Maybe not as good as the desserts.  But, damn close!

This was my favorite.  Coconut cream pie.  Delicious!

Bread pudding?

Lemon cake?

Oh, come on!  You know you want it!  We’ll be going back for sure!

Celebration for Lunch

I had been meaning to visit Celebration forever.  Evidently it’s been there since 1971.  It’s an old house converted into a restaurant and all the rooms are separate little dining rooms.  It has a full bar and some really good food.  It’s the kind of place you could take your grandmother.  She’d love it.  The food is wholesome and satisfying.  Hubbard said, “It’s what Black Eyed Pea wants to be”.

Basket of Mixed Breads

Basket of Mixed Breads

The breads were warm enough to melt the butter.  Freshly baked.

Field Greens with Red Pear, Blue Cheese and Walnuts with Lemon Garlic Dressing

I paid a dollar extra to have this as one of my three sides.  Worth every penny!  Actually, much better than I was expecting.  Kind of elegant.

Chicken Fried Chicken with Jalapeno Cream Gravy

I was very impressed with this.  I don’t usually order chicken breast because I hate dried out chicken.  This was moist and juicy.  Perfectly done.  The gravy had just a hint of spice.  Not hot or anything.  Mashed potatoes and roasted beets on the side.

Burgundy Pastures Chopped Beef with Mushrooms and Onions

Hub was pretty well into his plate before I got him to stop and take a picture.  He ate it all and liked it quite a lot.  Then he ate about a third of my chicken.  He loved that chicken.  Mashed potatoes and corn on the side.

Coconut Cream Pie

For sure someone’s grandmother made this.  It was delicious!   It all tastes homemade.  What’s not to like about that?

We both had a glass of wine and the bill was $49 before tip.  Keep in mind, the wine we chose was $9 a glass.  So, without the wine, that’s a pretty good price for a very good lunch.

Smoke for Brunch 2012

Smoke is a meat lover’s dream.  They make practically everything themselves.  Take the Bloody Mary…

They pickle the vegetables they use for garnish.  They make their own roasted tomato and chile mix.  The drink is super flavorful.  The waiter said spicy, but I didn’t think it was hot-spicy.  Just good.  Although it seems funny to pay $10 for a drink and $15 for a steak and egg breakfast, that’s exactly what we did.

Hanger steak, sliced and served over a fluffy biscuit topped with peppercorn gravy.  A huge pile of scrambled eggs, though you could have yours fried, if you want.  Frankly, I didn’t even eat more than a bite of my eggs.  They were good, but there was so much on the plate that was better and I knew I couldn’t eat it all.  Potato cakes made with goat cheese were a little overdone.  Still a nice starch to accompany the meat.  A broiled tomato and and a couple of spears of asparagus made it a really nice plate.  The steak was cooked perfectly.  But, we still couldn’t resist a couple of sides…

They call the bacon “thick cut pork belly bacon”.  Which seems a little funny because all bacon is pork belly.  Who cares what they call it.  It’s amazing.  Looks like it’s a little crunchy, doesn’t it?  It’s really not.  It’s firm enough, but nice and chewy and meaty.  The “artisanal style pork ham” has just a touch of sweetness and is pleasantly moist.  Love it.  Both these meats are cured and smoked in-house.  Out back, you can see the huge smoker on the patio and firewood is abundant.  These side dishes are a deal at only $3.50 each.  You can pay that much much for a side of crappy store bought bacon.

Yes, I took home a to-go box.  With tax and tip, $72.  Not bad for something you can’t get anywhere else in Dallas.  In fact, Hub and I have some pork belly curing in the fridge right now.  I’ll be shocked if it turns out to be even close to as good as the bacon we had today.  At least we know what to shoot for!

Stackhouse Burger

Thanksgiving was behind us.  We needed a burger house and decided to try the new place with the spectacular view of downtown, Stackhouse Burger.  It’s just up the street from Baylor Hospital.  Unfortunately, we were there on a super windy, kinda chilly afternoon.  No great view of downtown for us.  We ate inside.

The place is pretty small but very well appointed.  I really liked the look of it.  Lots of natural light.  You order at the register and then they bring the food to the table.  You decide if you want a single, double, etc…  then the toppings come at an additional cost.  I think lettuce and tomato comes with it.  There’s a list of additional toppings.  You can get wine and beer.  Our order consisted of a cheeseburger with grilled onion and bacon, an order of the housemade potato chips with homemade carmelized onion dip and a grilled cheese with bacon and tomato.  We also got a beer and a glass of Savignon Blanc.  It was about $35.  Not horrible.  But, not cheap either.

Hub ordered his burger pink.  The choices were pink and well done.  He thought that maybe his burger was a bit more on the red side when it arrived.  But, he did think it tasted great, though it was messy.  I didn’t confirm, but the rolls look like those fabulous Empire Bakery buns.  He said he would order it next time with less stuff.  My bite was delicious.

The grilled cheese was good.  Could have been a little more melted.  But, the bacon and tomato really made it a meal.  Yummy.  The star of the show was the house made potato chips.  Really good.  I like blue cheese, but we really didn’t need it.  The dipping sauce, a basic French onion dip, was perfect.  I could go for some right now.  They should make a bigger deal of the chips.  The only reason I knew about them was that someone mentioned them on a blog.

I’m ready to check it out again.  Then, maybe go across the street to The Elbow Room for a drink at the bar.  Or have some knives sharpened at Viega!