Tuesday, May 19, 2009

New Addition to Shinsei

Perfectly smitten with my modern, Asian-inspired Dallas hotspot, Shinsei could do nothing more keep me coming back. But surprise Reagen, they certainly did! 

I was quickly getting my fix of fried rice and crispy brussel sprouts at my zen-like green and brown restaurant when co-owner, Lynae Fearing,  came by for a quick 'hello' and then casually asked, "Have you seen our new patio?" 

What? A patio? I was sold before even having seen it. But friends, I am here to tell you that Shinsei's new patio is             A-mazing. Complete with over-head fans, lounge chairs, candle light and a water feature (soon to come), this new addition to an already impeccable restaurant is exactly what foodies' dreams are made of!  

Enjoying fresh, exciting sushi and sipping on wine or sake sangria while sitting in an excluded, peaceful patio (perfectly feng shui I should add) is what we all need in these stressful times.  
  • 7713 Inwood Rd. Dallas TX 75209
  • (214) 352-0005

Monday, May 18, 2009

BELLA - not only the name, but a prerequisite for all who dine

“I am so sorry to say, but sir, we are out of the Caymus Conundrum Rutherford as well.” 

This was my dad’s third attempt at ordering a glass of wine from the quite interesting wine list. With defeat, and slight irritation in his voice he gestured toward my glass and said, “I’ll just take whatever she’s drinking.”

Being an early Sunday evening, the lack of available wine spoke loudly of the night before. Although we were the only table dining in the dining room at the time (there is a great, COVERED patio), all signs pointed to a busy, rock-and-rolling Saturday night for Bella Restaurant and Bar.

A new addition to the Quadrangle, Bella is THE place to go. Round up your posse, dress in your most stylish, figure-flattering and show stopping outfit, pile into whoever drives the flashiest car and get to one of the most talked about restaurants in the area.

With out-of-town family visiting and a free Sunday night to fill with dinner, I took the opportunity to see what all the rave was about (and happy to miss the over-the-top weekend night crowd). 

After getting the wine situation under control, we immediately dove into appetizers. This is when we ran into issue number two. Unlike encountering a lack of available wine, we faced an abundance of oh-so-tasty-sounding starter options, making it difficult to make a decision.

Shredded beef stogies served with plum sauce and accompanied with a small, refreshing mango, arugula and onion salad were an easy choice. Served in a clever ashtray, think spring rolls with an updated twist. The crispy shrimp appetizer was a crowd (and personal) favorite. Served over a crisp salad, these succulent, flavorful shrimp were dressed with fresh ginger, lime butter and fresh jalapenos. Order this dish for yourself, you won’t want to share.

While the shrimp caprese salad sounds interesting, skip it. (Wanting a salad, definitely order the crispy shrimp). Hung-over? Order the Tuscan club melt, guaranteed to be the perfect fix. As my aunt described, “Everything in the kitchen can be found in this sandwich.”  For the larger appetite, go with either the braised short rib (stamped with my brother’s approval) or the seared Diver scallops with apple-braised pork belly. The sweet, buttery and rich pork belly is a perfect match for the impeccably cooked scallops.

I know this will come as a surprise to all of you, but I actually did not try one of Bella’s signature cocktails. However, judging by the sleek, urban, sexy ambiance and menu, I am fairly positive that their drinks will follow suit. And they must, because isn’t it great drinks with a stylish atmosphere that is the deciding factor on where to go on a Friday or Saturday night, Dallas?  

  • 2626 Howell St. Dallas, TX 75204
  • (214) 855-5001

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Neighborhood Services: Simply Delicious

What is it that brings me back time after time after time? Why is it always the first restaurant to pop into my mind when asked the “Where should we go eat” question?

Simple, it’s its simplicity. It’s the American flag humbly hung it the back of the restaurant. It’s the black and white pictures of grandfathers working oilrigs. It’s the unpretentious food and drinks that anyone, from any walk of life, would enjoy.

Neighborhood Services is my favorite restaurant in Dallas (at this moment of course). But be forewarned, the saying “good things come to those who wait” should be the motto for this tiny, tucked away joint. A 2-hour wait for its easy cuisine is not unusual. Although they do have a small bar area for waiting, there’s only so long that staring at designer purses and overly styled hair remains entertaining. My advice, go early and avoid weekend nights.

Trust me on this, once you finally get a table, you CAN’T go wrong with anything on their menu. But for first time goers, I feel obligated to tell you what not to miss.

First, start out with a cocktail or one of their ever-changing beers on tap. Try the Sage Advice, their take on the margarita with a touch of sage and garnished with red clay sea salt, but order it on the rocks (just a quick insider tip). Or, the Pops Martini served up with an adorable Mason jar overflowing with house pickled veggies (YUM!). And the best part, the drinks ar strong!

Next, order the fried little asparagus. Served over a frisee salad, this delicate asparagus dish is lightly tempured, drizzled with a Meyer lemon, dill aioli and fresh lemon juice. You’ll thank me. The green chili crab dip makes an easy-to-share table snack. Paired with the crab dip, a citrus, cucumber salsa (or at least that’s what I think it is) is a refreshing balance to the creaminess of the dip. My only complaint, more salt and spice to the dip. But hey, I’m a salt freak.

OK, onto the main event. I have not sampled an entrée that I have not enjoyed. Let your always friendly and slightly quirky server run over the specials, but please, please do not pass up the beyond fork-tender pot roasted short rib. Prepared in a shiraz-rosemary jus and plated with French toasted gnocchi, the melding of flavors and herbs create a melt-in-your mouth, delicious experience. You will taste comfort in this dish. If you are willing to go carb crazy, order a side of three jack and mac gratin. Enjoy now, work it off later.

No matter if you are in jeans and a t-shirt, or dressed to impress, Neighborhood Services is calling your name. Meant as the gathering place for family and freinds, this neighborhood eatery and watering hole is comfortable and inviting while satisfying the simplest of eaters, the most discerning of palates, and even Dallas’ 30k millionaires. Tell me another area restaurant that can accomplish that.

  • 5027 W Lovers Ln. Dallas, TX 75209
  • (214) 350- 5027
Photo provided by D Magazine