Monday, October 22, 2012

Jack's Southern Comfort Food

We are carb creatures, so when Jack's Southern Comfort Food opened with a menu centering around biscuits...well, how could we turn that down? Located on Lower Greenville, this place is a solid addition to the neighborhood. Small - with only a few tables, we are glad to see they have a to-go case as well. (Featured items that we can recall: cold fried chicken, meatloaf, and salads - 
all looked like good take-away choices.)

When we arrived for lunch at 11:45, we had our pick of tables. We sat across from the dessert case so that we could eye our choices all during lunch. The menu made it hard to choose just one thing to order, but we went with the BLFGT because it appeared to be a house specialty. This is THE THING to order if you go in for lunch. Man, it was tasty. It started with a made-from-scratch-biscuit, plus bacon, plus a fried green tomato, plus a slaw component. The combination was flavorful. The bacon was crisp and perfect. The slaw and the fried green tomato were temperature hot and temperature cool, which made the whole sandwich mellow. This sandwich is served with fries that do a service to the sandwich. A+ on this dish. 

We also ordered the brisket chili served on a polenta cake. It was a very solid and tasty dish as well. The chili was spicy. The polenta was smooth. It was a very satisfying and hearty combination as well. BUT...we maintain that the BLFGT is the way to go. 

For our side dish, we went with the mac and cheese. What a generous portion. You can order a crawfish and bacon mac and cheese off of the dinner menu, but we just wanted to sample a small amount. This serving was just straight mac and cheese (no bacon or crawfish), and it was very tasty. Nice crisp cheese crust on top, very flavorful roux/cheese mixture that cheesy without being too sharp or too bland. It struck the perfect balance that we are always searching for in our mac. We would order this again. 

We enjoyed our southern lunch right to the point of button popping. Having this new joint so close may be detrimental! Our waitress was very nice and offered us the sopapilla cake. We wished we had room to try that, it looked delicious, but we had to roll out of there. Literally. Like Oompa Loompas. 

Jack's knows what they're doing! Give them a try. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Terrace Bistro at NYLO

The NYLO Hotel at SouthSide recently opened up as did their full service restaurant,
Terrace Bistro.  The hotel is located off of Lamar and although it is open for business, there was still a lot construction going on inside and outside of the hotel.  The restaurant itself is not a separate space, rather it is part of the main lobby with little partition.  The concierge at the front desk directed us to take a seat anywhere and let us know that he would alert our waitress.  Odd.

When she did arrive, we were pleased with her friendly manor.  We ordered the watermelon basil tea and the peach ginger tea.  While they both were tasty, the peach ginger tea is definitely the way to go.

The hummus was our appetizer choice. It had a smokey flavor that wasn't too overpowering and had a nice, creamy texture. Served alongside toasted pita, this appetizer was a great start to our meal.

The cocktail menu had some interesting choices, so we placed our order. At lunch they didn't have a full time bartender, so it took our waitress a few extra minutes to make the drink herself.  The Razz Bubble was a mix of St. Germain, Prosecco, and raspberry flavoring.  It was a nice stiff drink - once it finally arrived.

For the main course, our waitress suggested the bistro burger.  This was served on a Challah bun with mustard, lettuce,  tomatoes, mushrooms, aioli and white cheddar.  The patty was thick, juicy and flavored just right.  The fries were pretty good, too. These thick cut fries were seasoned with salt and pepper were a nice accompaniment.  Our waitress was good enough to split the burger and serve us with two plates since we were sharing the meal.  This extra touch always makes a difference to us.

We also wanted to try the corn risotto side dish.  When it was delivered, the risotto looked dry. However, that was misleading - this risotto was definitely creamy. It could have used some additional seasoning to punch up the flavor, but it was a decent dish.

On the way out we snuck up to the top floor to see the Soda Lounge.  WOW - this place has the best unobstructed view of downtown Dallas, complete with a bar, fire pit, and infinity pool.  We wish NYLO the best of luck and hope they enjoy their new real estate in SouthSide.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hopdoddy Burger Bar

New in the Dallas burger department is Hopdoddy's. Hailing from Austin, Hopdoddy's claim to fame is  "hand crafted and all natural": they grind their own beef, bake their own buns, and cut their own fries. 
You walk in to their Preston Center location, and you are greeted by a host. 
They give you a number and reserve a table for you. 
The largest table is for six, so bring a small party to this joint (or be prepared to sit in different spots). 
You proceed up to the counter and place your order, servers bring it to your table and you eat. 

We started with drinks. Hopdoddy's crafts their own brews, but we went with our tried and true favorites: Shiner and a Mexican vanilla milkshake. We also added a black cherry hard limeade. Each of these drinks made us happy, a nice and solid start. 

For our burger choice, the Terlingua was amazing. The Angus beef patty knocked it out of the ballpark all on it's own, but this burger also had chile con carne, Fritos, Tillamook cheddar, and sassy sauce.We love Frito pie, and this burger did it right.

For our fry choice: chile cheese fries. As with the burger, the fries on their own were good. However, the chile cheese really elevated this side to a new level.  We couldn't get enough of this.  The texture was creamy, the spice level was mild, and the temperature was perfect.

The only part of our experience that we didn't love is that the staff checked in with us too many times. We love that they were accessible and eager to get you a refill or anything else you needed. However, we didn't like the constant interruption to our meal. That being said, what a thing to gripe about!
Hopdoddy's gets our vote. We will definitely be back to try one of their twelve other special burgers. 

The dish: anything with their chile cheese is worth a try! The sips for grown kids aren't too shabby either.

Ocho Kitchen and Cocktails

The salsa plate, served alongside Ocho's amazing chip basket. Thanks, too, Ocho, for serving flavored butter on your salsa plate.

Ocho is located in Park Cities on Northwest Highway and Preston. We noted only valet parking up front, but you can certainly drive around and walk - if you have an extra twenty minutes. 
We arrived at 11:45, were quickly seated. The inside is gorgeous - very sleek and new. Fancy digs. The acoustics are no great, as lunch progressed we quit talking to each other to avoid yelling. But overall, this spot is pretty cool. 
From the drink menu, we ordered up a Hot Mamacita, complete with jalapeno tequila, and loved it. It was spicy without burning, and had a nice sweet finish.

For our appetizer, the spicy crab, cheddar, and chile fundido appealed. The cheddar and chiles melted together in this hot dish; spicy crab and fresh tomato were ladled on top. All of it created a very flavorful item. Served with fry bread and corn tortillas, this app is something worth trying. We were full by the time we finished this appetizer off, but we were intrigued by Ocho and wanted to try a few more things.

The Ocho mac and cheese struck a cord with us, since we are always in pursuit of a good mac and cheese dish. This one fit the bill; the green chili flavor was very mild, bacon was tasty, and you could actually tell that there was cheese in the dish (which has been our gripe as of late). You can also choose to add ancho roasted chicken or BBQ duck to this dish, but we liked it as is.

The Kitchen Tacos were a very solid dish. something that seemed very traditional and straightforward. These were just tacos. All of the flavors worked together: ground beef, cheese, lettuce, tomato, and crema. The green rice and beans were a nice compliment - nothing extraordinary, but a decent foil for the tacos.

Ocho's food was presented well, was tasty, and was something that we would come back to try again. 
The service was very friendly, albeit incredibly slow. Don't come here for the hour lunch, but do come here.
The dish: spicy crab, cheddar, and chile fundido and the hot mamacita make a meal. Plus, check out the patio while the weather is decent.

Monday, October 1, 2012

East Hampton Sandwich Company

East Hampton Sandwich Company in Snyder Plaza has something good going on...and you can tell that by the waiting line. Don't be put off - it's worth it.
We found ourselves dining on a Tuesday at 11:30. The line moved quickly and at 11:30, seating was abundant. That all changed as the noon hour rolled around and the place filled up. 

First up, the roasted corn chowder. The spiced corn and bacon combo gave this little bowl of chowder a very spicy and smokey taste. The micro greens sprinkled on top helped to make the flavors clean. This will be a nice choice when fall finally sets in.

In the sandwich department, we started with the hot cheese and short rib sandwich. This beast, complete with white cheddar, caramelized onion, short rib, and arugula tasted just like my grandmother's roast...and without the crazy cook time and clean up. I would definitely order this again, if in the mood for something hearty. 

The Meyer lemon chicken sandwich didn't disappoint us either. Nice white meat pieces of roasted chicken, lemon vinaigrette, celery chop, and some crisp radishes gave this sandwich a very clean and healthy taste. 

Finally, the Gruyere and Asparagus sandwich - crisp asparagus topped with warm and melty Gruyere and finished with a Balsamic glaze, this sandwich was a huge hunk of vegetarian heaven. There was just enough Balsamic glaze to punch up the flavor on this sandwich and keep things interesting.

We ended our dinner with the Hampton's Donut Bag. Next time, I would skip that dessert and just walk on down to Creme de la Cookie. The donuts were a little dry - kind of like a cake donut that has been overcooked. It was a generous portion, but it was just not something we wanted to eat. Everything else tasted so clean, this was kind of a let down.

Hampton's Donut Bag - served in a brown paper sack

Overall, East Hampton Sandwich Company gets our vote - and a revisit for the very tempting lobster roll. Just make sure you time it right - this place fills up fast!

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Mecca

Mecca opened up at Lakewood and Skillman this month and we have been dying to try it.  This new spot is located where Molly Maguire's used to be and has somewhat of "turnover" past.  The new Matt's has opened up in near proximity, so this corner might be the new HOT spot of East Dallas.  We arrived before the church crowd on Sunday at about 11:30 a.m and there was still about a twenty minute wait.  They had chairs set up outside and the lovely waitress brought a round of complimentary mimosas served in  mason jars.  This was a nice touch and made our wait much more enjoyable.  We were seated right in the middle of the front dining area in a booth.  The old banquettes are still available for seating and even the bar in the back has about 10 spots. We were indecisive that morning, so one of us went with breakfast and the other went with lunch.  The burger is 1/2 pound served up any way you like it.  We had everything on the side so we could build it exactly to our liking.  This burger was juicy, flavorful, and enough for two to split.  Their fries are truly a treat; the potato to breading ratio is just right and they are well seasoned.
The french toast was lightly battered and deep fried to golden perfection.  Two slices filled us up, but now we feel ready to face State Fair season!

Finally, we ordered a side of bacon.  With the looming pork shortage, $2.50 this filled us up with three thick slices of grilled bacon
Mecca has daily dinner specials and a whole menu that we are excited to revisit and try.
Welcome to the neighborhood, Mecca!

Friday, September 21, 2012

E Bar Tex Mex

E Bar Tex Mex caught our eye when we found out that the owner opened up Primo's on Mckinney Avenue many years ago.  This new spot is located on Haskell and Munger in a small complex that you might actually miss if you aren't truly paying attention.  E Bar had a nice covered patio with about ten tables and a couple of TVs. The inside is pretty bare bones with a bar on one side and then about 15 tables total.  The entire time we dined, we were the only customers.  We started with the queso which was served up in large bowl complete with sour cream, guacamole and ground beef.  The queso needed to be a bit warmer for our taste and overall lacked flavor.
We ordered the spinach and mushroom enchiladas which came with Mexican rice and refried beans.  The beans were a bit watered down, but the enchiladas were pretty good.  They were heaped with cheese and had a dollop of green salsa mixed in right on top.
We also ordered the brisket tacos which came with a side of Mexican rice and beans.  The tacos were good, but we've had better.

Finally, we went with the chicken quesadillas that came with a nice portion of guacamole and sour cream.  They needed to punch up the flavor a bit on this menu staple.

The staff was extremely attentive and cheery. On the way out, we received free drink coupons for our return.  We might be willing to try this spot for a cocktail in hopes that they work out a few kitchen kinks.