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News Bites: The Filipino Room, Art Exhibit Eats, and a Revived South Dallas Food Park

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

Fair Park Is Food Park Again This Fall

Good news for those who enjoyed this summer’s food truck pop-ups at Fair Park: the festivities will continue into 2023. The food park, which is now named Sunny South Dallas Food Park, will happen on the following Sundays from noon to 4 p.m.:

  • November 13
  • December 11
  • March 26
  • April 16
  • May 21
  • June 18
  • July 30

This free event series has been a boon for its South Dallas community. The featured food trucks and trailers are Black-owned and include a number of vegan options. There is more entertainment as well, including live music. If you’re driving, park at lot 6 (inside gate 6, at Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.).

The French Room? More Like the Filipino Room!

I need to make an apology. A few weeks ago I pointed to The French Room’s ongoing guest chef series as an example of Dallas restaurants lionizing out-of-state chefs simply for being from out of state. My bad. The vaunted venue’s next guest engagement is next week, and wow is it exciting.

Tom Cunanan is the Filipino-American chef behind now-closed D.C. restaurant Bad Saint, which became a national sensation when it presented his creative, modernized vision of Filipino food from 2015 until its closure this summer. Cunanan won the 2019 James Beard award for best chef in the mid-Atlantic region.

His French Room menu, appearing this November 16-19, includes six different seafood dishes (including kinilaw, soft-shell crab, and large prawns), plus guava pie for dessert. Whether you’re a Filipino food fanatic or you just said “what’s kinilaw?”, I’d strongly recommend booking a table for this one. $150 plus tax, service, and drinks.

The French Room, 1321 Commerce St. Limited run of dinners November 16-19 (but reserve in advance)

What looks to be half the menu at Escondido, a new Tex-Mex spot in Preston Hollow. Kathy Tran

Basically Every Restaurant Is Opening This Month

All weekend, I stared enviously at the Instagram stories of people who’ve been invited to preview night dinners at Brass Ram, the new Nick Badovinus joint opening any minute now in downtown Dallas. It’s a second-floor restaurant perched above National Anthem, in the space occupied many years ago by the Dallas Observer offices. This has caused much nostalgia among the D newsroom, along with questions about where exactly the kitchen fits into what apparently used to be a small space with just enough room for some cynical old-school journalists to cause a weekly ruckus.

Based on those Instagram stories, Brass Ram is going to be Badovinus’ most creative outlet yet, going well beyond his usual steak-and-motorcycles schtick. I don’t know when it will open, but it could be any day now. I also forgot what the food in the pictures was. I’m so good at this job!

Meanwhile, in Carrollton, new Korean fried chicken spot Chicken Warriors begins its soft opening on November 16. Chicken Warriors has the potential to explode onto Dallas’ Asian food scene, since it comes from the mind of eccentric genius restaurateur Brian Chong, who created (and then sold) the lively bar Ddong Ggo. Ddong Ggo translates to “butthole,” so Chicken Warriors is actually a tame name for him. Expect a menu that wildly exceeds the usual fried chicken spot’s.

Finally, Escondido, a new Preston Hollow Tex-Mex joint, opens Monday, November 14. A quick peek at the menu (PDF link) reveals both the classics—crispy beef tacos, queso, tortilla soup—and some unusual additions, including huevos rancheros all day long, papas bravas, and “Tex Mex Pizza.” The menu isn’t the only attraction at Escondido, though: you also have to consider the hospitality expertise of owner Jon Alexis (from TJ’s Seafood) and the size of its patio, reputedly the neighborhood’s largest.

Brass Ram opens soon above National Anthem at 2130 Commerce St.
Chicken Warriors opens November 16 at 1060 W. Frankford Rd., Ste. 200, Carrollton
Escondido opens November 14 at 5950 Royal Ln., Ste. A.

Dallas’ Hottest Restaurant Is an Art Exhibit?

I can’t remember the last time I read about a new dining experience as intriguing as the one being served up at the Nasher Sculpture Center November 16 through April 29. According to Elizabeth Myong at the Dallas Morning News, the museum will include a four-night-a-week multi-genre art installation by Theaster Gates, Afro Mingei, and it includes small plates.

Gates’ exhibition will give diners “the chance to taste dishes influenced by Japan and the African American South on a table made by the artist, while listening to music curated by him and viewing his other artwork.” His studio also makes the ceramics in which food and tea will be served. Local DJs will spin records from Gates’ personal collection.

A representative for the Nasher kindly answered my questions about how this will work. It’s not really a “dinner” series; visitors aren’t expected to sit down and order a full meal as if at a restaurant. Instead, feel free to order a small plate or two, sip some Japanese tea or whiskey, and admire Gates’ installation and work. Admission is separate from the rest of the Nasher (at the front east corner, near Olive Street), and customers are billed for food and drink. The installation doesn’t have a separate entrance fee.

In other words, think of Afro Mingei as an immersive experience where snacks and drinks are part of the artwork. In addition to promising a new perspective on the interactions of African American and Japanese cultures, it’s a fascinating new way of looking at the art of dining.

Nasher Sculpture Center, 2001 Flora St.

An Ethiopian Pop-Up in Bishop Arts

Don’t miss Fana Yohannes’ Ethiopian dinner pop-up at Taco y Vino this Sunday. A vegetarian dinner is $25, while omnivores will pay $35. Some diners might remember Yohannes, an Addis Ababa native, from her days as general manager of Lucia.

Taco y Vino, 213 W. Eighth St.

Plot Twist at Nick & Sam’s

Nick & Sam’s—it’s this little steak place you may have heard of—now offers a monthly 10-course omakase dinner in its kitchen. The menu will change with each dinner, starting with this Friday’s seating. Despite the name “omakase,” it looks like this will be a globe-hopping affair with all the frills, not focused solely on sushi or Japanese food.

Nick & Sam’s, 3008 Maple Ave.

courtesy Heim BBQ

At Last, Barbecue Delivery

Let’s cut to the chase on this one: if you live somewhere in Dallas or Fort Worth, Heim BBQ now likely delivers to your house. The website doesn’t list an exact delivery radius, but I plugged in some pretty faraway addresses and they worked. Order great barbecue from your couch! The modern world is a marvel. College football Saturdays may never be the same.

Heim BBQ, multiple locations in Dallas and Fort Worth (all of which participate in the delivery system)

Someone Thought Uptown Didn’t Have Enough Steak in It

Eater Dallas reports that international chain STK has opened in Uptown Dallas, a neighborhood the restaurateurs apparently decided does not have enough beef yet. But that’s no surprise, considering they don’t even know how to spell “steak.” If you want them to shake seasoned salt (sorry, “Zingy Rub”) over your stk, it’s a $6 upcharge. Good luck!

STK Dallas, 2000 McKinney Ave.


Brian Reinhart

Brian Reinhart

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Brian Reinhart became D Magazine's dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.

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