Summer is an exciting time for two reasons. First, Dallas makes it law that weekends are meant for pool lounging, beer drinking and sun bathing. Second, summer dieting is over and food regimens consist of any item off the grill. However, sometimes reason one gets the most of us and we need someone to do the grillwork for us. One of the big summer trends across the Dallas restaurant scene consists of grilled meats, vegetables, fruit and almost anything chefs can find in their fully stocked pantry.
I’ve been on the hunt to find some of the city’s leading grillers and these restaurants seem to have their grilling game down. Take a gander at my list and let me know where you get your grilling fix other than the backyard.
Casa Rubia: Grilled octopus may sound a little out of your comfort zone right now, but order the Pulpo a la Plancha and you might consider adding it to your favorite dishes. Think grilled octopus with saffron potatoes, pickled onion and romesco verde. I realize this is a tapas place, but I highly advise not sharing.
Victor Tangos: Chef Kirstyn Brewer just added a Grilled Hanger Steak to the summer menu and the Blackberry BBQ sauce with olive tapenade is what has me drooling. She brushes the Blackberry BBQ sauce over the hanger steak while it is on the grill, gets a nice, crusty, sweet char on the meat and then slices the steak with an olive tapenade and more pickled blackberries.
Café Izmir: Besides the great social atmosphere and family-owned hospitality, this place serves up some of my favorite Mediterranean dishes, including their grilled vegetables platter, grilled baby eggplant and tahini dip, grilled beef tenderloin kabob, grilled lamb chops– I could keep going, but I think you get the point. Go on Tuesday night for customer appreciation night with discounted tapas, and drink as much of their sangria as possible.
Kitchen LTO: Grilling lettuce might seem a little weird, but it adds smoky flavor, texture and beauty points. Current Chef Brooke Egger takes grilled romaine and pairs it with candied pork belly, blistered grapes, blue cheese and cashews to make a great table salad to start off dinner.
Stock and Barrel: Using a custom wood fired grill, Chef Jon Stevens brings out the most in ordinary dishes with a little home cooking mixed with adventurous ingredients. Get the grilled artichoke with charred lemon mayo and Parmesan or the grilled octopus ceviche. Save room for one of the select wood-grilled items like the brisket burger or coal roasted eggplant. Whatever you do, you must order a side of the thick grilled bacon.
AF+B: You don’t have to search far on this menu to find a robust number of charred items. Start with the lamb tartare over a grilled baguette, move on to the grilled flatbread with smoked beet hummus and finish with the wood-grilled salmon, wood-grilled sterling lamb saddle or wood-grilled beef tenderloin to round out your experience.