While it’s absolutely true that some restaurants and bars have begun to reopen—at 50 and 25 percent, respectively—under Gov. Greg Abbott’s move to bring back Texas’ economy, many places are sticking to takeout and delivery or doing a combination of both. If you’re in the camp of I’m Not Ready to Eat With Other Strangers in Public Yet, then get thee to the carryout suggestions I outline below which will undoubtedly help make your weekend tastier.
Of course if you do choose to eat at restaurants or bars, there are still safety precautions to consider as we learn to dine in the age of COVID. Remember that maintaining a distance of six feet between fellow diners is still a part of Abbott’s guidelines, whether you’re waiting for a table or sitting at one. Wearing a mask (that is, when you’re not actively eating or drinking) is the best way to protect others, especially servers who interact with lots of customers all day and who, because of increased exposure, have said they’re worried about getting sick or getting others sick.
Something else to keep in mind: Experts have said that perhaps dining outdoors in park or on patios—still with proper social distancing—where there’s better ventilation, would be a less dangerous option.
And don’t forget: If you can, tip generously (20 percent or more—yes, even for takeout—if you have the means).
Chef-owner Donny Sirisavath, who just this month earned another national nod as one of Food & Wine magazine’s Best Chefs of 2020, has brought his Old East Dallas noodle shop back online. After a brief hiatus, Khao is—thankfully, deliciously—slinging takeout again with the famous pork broth boat noodles, khai soi, and other Lao favorites they’re known for. Plus, Sirisavath has created a small market situation dubbed the Khaovenience Mart, from which you can order prepackaged foods like eye round beef jerky, pork steam buns with caramelized fish sauce, instant sticky rice, drink and more. It is essentially the South Asian mini market we didn’t know we needed.
The Bishop Arts newcomer (it was open for less than two months before the coronavirus hit) is just beginning to take reservations for its small dining room again. Still, their takeout remains one of my best decisions since sheltering in place. Individual paellas ($15), like one rife with seafood or another blackened with sweet squid ink, are a great way to savor one of Spain’s most well known dishes. Sketches of Spain also boasts a pincho bar with bite-size snacks. Order the cured Iberico ham croquette or salt cod–stuff piquillo peppers, Spanish tortilla with eggs and potatoes, and a bottle of tempranillo red wine. For duos, there’s also a dinner package for two which includes wine and dessert for $75. Then, if you close your eyes really tight, you might just feel like you’re dining in San Sebastian.
While owner Jay Jerrier told me that ordering his Napoletana-style pizza for carryout means potentially missing out on that char-crisped, straight-from-the-fire crust, I had no qualms. Avoid toppings that hold too much water, like mushrooms or fresh tomatoes, and you should be okay. (If you’re still worried, the dining room is open at limited capacity.) No matter where, though, the Zoli pizza topped with Luscher’s Post Oak Red Hots sausage taste like a summer cookout on dough.