Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Slick Chef in a Tie? Food's still great.

I kid you not. Chef Nick Badovinus is the first chef I have EVER seen in a tie while on duty! There he was last Friday night, resplendent in his sartorial grandeur, expediting the kitchen line at his new, wholly owned eatery, Neighborhood Services. First off, Nick: Change the name. Please call it Nick's Neighborhood, or Nick's Goodtime Grill, or Nick's anything. Neighborhood Services reminds me of the free methadone clinics I used to hear about when I lived in San Francisco (I was not a patron). At any rate, I digress. The food and the vibe at Nick's (Neighborhood Services) is exactly what you want from one of our first-rate, first-class, all around good guy chefs. It's sensational grub. Ribs, to live for (we don't say the die thing). Great onion rings go with that. A fun mixed grill kinda thing with quail and a tenderloin. Oh, wait, I forgot the lobster fritter starters that inspired us oldsters to start singing a chorus from Perry Como's old TV show ("letters we get letters"....we get lots and lots of letters" substitute fritters for letters and you've got it). Now, I know most of you are asking "who the hell is Perry Como?". Google great crooners and you'll know. Bono could not pull that off on live television every week. More digression. Must be the holi-daze. Nick has a neat reservations policy. There is none. But, if you call ahead and tell them you are coming in, when you arrive, somehow, you are magically put at the head of the waitlist (which is considerable on weekends 'cause Neighborhood Services is cool, and hot and new now), and boom, you're seated. Actually, I thought it was better than a reservation. Well anyway, the menu has burgers, sandwiches, great fish dishes, real food for real people. The price is right and the wine list is easy on the pocketbook and the palate. I love this place. I love that Nick (formerly head pooh-bah chef extraordianaire at Consilient Restaurants--think Hibiscus-Fireside Pies-Cuba Libra-The Porch) has his own place. Please do yourself a favor and stop in. Nick's Place, er, Neighborhood Services is in the old Rouge spot (5027 W. Lovers Lane) two blocks west of Inwood. 214-350-5027 (for that step in line call ahead deal). We are trying to talk Nick out of his kitchen so he can bring the restaurant to Savor Dallas. If you can put in a good word for us, or if you want to start the groundswell here, please respond to this blog. I will pass along your sentiments to Nick. Please also ask him to change the name of the restaurant to Nick's Neighborhood (or other suggestions welcome). What do you think? Eat at Nick's has a nice ring to it. Ciao baby.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Rocket Man Pyles

Stephan Pyles is moving so fast along Ross Avenue in Dallas these days, he's thought about having a pneumatic tube installed so he can be whooshed between kitchens he is overseeing. Of course, his eponymous restaurant continues its high-flying, high style dining ways. And now he is planning a new restaurant: Samar by Stephan Pyles at 2100 Ross, under construction. Pyles refers to the style as "global tapas". You'll find small plates from Tunisia, Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey, India and Greece. Meanwhile, across from the street and down the block, he is consulting Seventeen Seventeen Restaurant in the Dallas Museum of Art--just in time to get the menu standards for a king (as in Tut, the exhibit runs at the DMA through May). He is also consulting the culinary needs for the new Museum Tower in the Arts District. All this while traveling the world doing food research for new menus and his own personal interest. He wants to do more TV, cookbooks, and a few more restaurant concepts before hanging up his proverbial spurs. The buckaroo from Big Spring, keeps on getter better (certainly not older). What is your favorite Stephan Pyles restaurant through the years? Share a story. Or give us feedback on a meal you've had at Stephan Pyles namesake restaurant in the Dallas Arts District.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Do not go gently into that good.....Blog.

Brother can you a spare a classic line? Gentle readers. Thank you for your patience. Gloomy economic forecasts, a national election, and piano lessons (yes, Virginia there is a reason for a middle aged guy to finally overcome a lifetime of procrastination and take piano lessons!) have prevented me and my muses from partaking of this particular passtime for some time now. I have been compelled by gentle nudges to resume the blog. We will be doing some highlights of the DFW restaurant scene, and some profiles of the chefs of Savor Dallas coming up. I would greatly appreciate any comments you might have about the event if you have attended, or information on new restaurants you have tried that should be a part of Savor Dallas. Or, at least turn us on to a favorite new spot. We need to get out and dine, dine, dine for the sake of the economy. Thank you. Remember: Life is uncertain. Have dessert first. Be well.

Monday, June 16, 2008

You want a bier mit dat dinner?

Victory Tavern kicked off a summer series of great wine dinners on Saturday featuring hand-crafted brews from New Belgium. The Victory Park hot spot featured five courses from Executive Chef Jim Oetting paired with New Belgium's Skinny Dip (a seasonal release), Mothership Wit Organic Wheat Beer, Trippel Belgian Style Ale, and Fat Tire Amber. The series continues July 24th and August 21 with other hand-crafted beer producers. It's a great way to spend the summer with upscale "backyard cuisine" and a great brewski. Have you been to a beer dinner? What are your favorite boutique beers? Compare American brews to International suds. What do you think?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Open Sesame for Ali Baba in Lakewood!

Ali Baba opens in the Lakewood Shopping Center and the neighbors are saying "Open Sesame!" The venerable East Dallas favorite Mediterranean (Lebanese) Restaurant is finally open in the old Carrabas location after spending years on Greenville Avenue. All the favorites are there: hummus, dolmas, succulent roasted chicken, gyros, falafel, and more. The menu is friendly and so is the staff. Lebanese house wines and some interesting choices from South America, plus a few selections of beer are available. They assure us they will be improving the wine list (they will even be printing one--none available on our first visit). Service is overrun right now, because the Lakewood denizens have sniffed a new restaurant in the shopping center and are converging in droves. The staff is meeting the demand with a big smile and an apology if the wait is a tad long. We didn't experience any particular problem, but we only had apps-- meat pie and spinach pie are great! Dolmas are an all time favorite of mine. Interestingly, if you just want rice and seasoning they are labeled with the traditional name on the menu, but if you want meat added they are listed as "grape leaves". It must be the essence of meat, because these are the skinniest dolmas I have ever seen. Maybe they've been on a diet. Ali Bab still serves the best hummus around. This is a big improvement over the great old "dive" surroundings on Greenville. The new digs are comfortable and the air conditioning works really well (unlike the past location). A WELCOME addition to the neighborhood. What do you think? Read the legend of Ali Baba on the back of the menu and see if you don't think CSI: Persia should look into it. I didn't remember such a grisly story when I read this fable in grade school.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Wolfgang Puck lands in Dallas big time

Big news on the Dallas dining scene as Wolfgang Puck arrives to announce his company is working with Ray Hunt's Woodbine Development to restore the historic Union Station in Downtown Dallas and turn it into a grand events venue with catering from Wolfgang Puck, of course. The space should be ready to go by October or November. The kitchen facilities alone will cost $6 million. That's not all. Come February, the lighted ball atop Reunion Tower will become the site of the newest Wolfgang Puck Restaurant. It will be done to the hilt with a $25 million plus pricetag. Fine dining with a view on steroids! Of course, the iconic chef already has staked out territory in DFW with his catering company. His high-profile clients include the Nasher Sculpture Center, Nokia Theater in Grand Prairie, and the commissary at the new Hunt office building downtown. Have you been to any of Wolfgang Puck's restaurants? Have comments to share? Thoughts on celebrity chef restaurant outposts? (Wolf says he will spend a lot of time in Dallas overseeing the menu development and the operation of the new restaurant). Look forward to your comments.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Welcome back to the Brown Food Bowl!

Welcome to our blog! The guy who covered the Dallas-Fort Worth restaurant and wine scene for 10 years on KRLD NewsRadio 1080 ("The KRLD Restaurant Show with Jim White" figured the blogosphere was ripe to share some food and wine comments with friends (and friends in the making, we hope). Starting off....does anyone remember "The Brown Food Bowl" that Bud Kennedy and I hosted for 10 years on SuperBowl Sunday? Let's start there. The premise is simple and the name was borrowed from a Dan Jenkins statement that "...the best food in Texas is either brown or white." We chose brown, because it created a realm of interesting food talk about restaurants serving great barbecue, fried chicken, steak, burgers, and more. Want to list your favorites? Send me your thoughts. Not just limited to Texas, BTW. What are the best restaurants (and, here, you are allowed to think in loose terms when interpreting what constitutes a "restaurant") for BARBECUE, STEAK, BURGERS, RIBS, even MEXICAN FOOD counts! Oh, don't forget DESSERT (life is too short to omit chocolate). Have fun. Let me hear form you. If you have photos and website addresses, even better. Let's all figure out where to the get the best BROWN FOOD. Cheers! And, bon appetit!