Elephant East is a “Pan-Asian-inspired” restaurant-bar-lounge that endeavors to tell “a story of heritage, life, and adventure from Bangkok to Bali” through its shared plate menu. Kathy Tran

Openings/Closings

News Bites: Oak Lawn’s Cosmic Cafe Closes and Swank Pan-Asian Bar Debuts

SideDish’s weekly digest of need-to-know dining happenings in Dallas.

Welcome to SideDish’s weekly dispatch of need-to-know News Bites, from quiet closures to opening updates and everything in between.

No More Cosmic Cafe

After more than 25 years, which is one helluva restaurant tenure these days, the Oak Lawn Avenue vegetarian Indian restaurant is closed. Its last day was October 17. Before I went to Seattle to get married, I forgot to shout (from this here webpage), “Oh, hey Cosmic Cafe is up for sale!” But CultureMap Dallas swooped in and scooped us all. While comforting bowls of dahl are gone, there will more space for meditation and yoga which has expanded into the dining area.

“​​Cosmic Cafe’s roots began in the late ’80s when Kumar Pallana opened a general merchandise store in the space. In 1992, his son Dipak opened the Cosmic Cup in the space, creating a gentle oasis, with a menu of Indian and vegetarian food at a time when vegetarian options in Dallas were slim to none — making it a unique and valuable piece of the Dallas community, and a quirky counterpoint to Dallas’ shiny persona.” —CultureMap

Far East Meets North Texas

The Harwood Hospitality Group’s newest concept to hit the Harwood District/Victory Park area is Elephant East. It’ll open on October 17 at 2850 North Harwood Street, suite 120. The “Pan-Asian-inspired” restaurant-bar-lounge endeavors to tell “a story of heritage, life, and adventure from Bangkok to Bali” through its shared plate menu. Speaking of which, highlights include Singapore noodles with house-cured ham, house-made steamed bao, and fried sesame-mochi doughnuts called goma dango. To accompany such dishes are cocktails, like matcha green tea mojito and an Asian Old-Fashioned, which I’m guessing is made with Japanese whisky. The executive chef leading the charge is Thomas Griffin, who will pull from his family heritage and life in Asia for the menu.

Steamed pork bao alongside cocktails Spring Snow (Empress Gin, lavender-infused syrup, lemon, St-Germain) and Asian Spiced Old Fashioned made with Harwood Maker’s Mark, Elephant East bitters, and house-spiced peach honey syrup.
Kathy Tran

The Latest on Koryo Kalbi BBQ

As we noted in a recent NewsBites, the beloved Korean barbecue restaurant that was felled by the pandemic in 2020 has been revived. Now Dallas Morning Newsfreshly minted food columnist Brian Reinhart (formerly restaurant critic at the Dallas Observer) has the latest details. The menu is trimmed down a bit. “Gone are some not-so-Korean teriyaki dishes that didn’t fit, but you can still find all the traditional classics,” writes Reinhart. “Although the restaurant’s mission may be the same, a great deal is changing. Extensive remodeling has updated a dining room that hadn’t been touched for decades. Now there’s a double-doored high-tech dry aging cabinet for top-quality cuts of beef, which will age for up to 120 days.” Koryo Kalbi is currently in soft open mode.

What Else Is Up in Dallas Dining? 

The owner of La Reunion, the coffee-slash-cocktail spot on Bishop Avenue, will spin off an all-day cafe called Parterre at 1601 Elm Street, which formerly housed Ascension Cafe (DMN). As a downtowner, this is promising news. It’s slated to open at the start of November. Meanwhile in Bishop Arts, the Exxir Hospitality (Paradiso, Mermaid Bar, Botanist) churns out another bar concept, Casablanca, which boasts private karaoke rooms and globally inspired food and drink menu—Egyptian-spiced lamb skewers, dandan noodles, falafel (Eater Dallas). It opens October 21. Two new Rodeo Goat outposts are opening in 2022; one in Frisco and another in East Dallas (DMN). Farmers Branch will be home to the new Gas Monkey come mid-2022 (DMN). Another Bishop Arts shakeup: Ten Bells Tavern is relocating. The property is becoming a multi-unit apartment complex, kicking out the tavern and neighbor The Local Oak (DMN).

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