Does Dallas Morning News Dining Critic Leslie Brenner Even Like Dallas?

I don’t read her stuff enough to know, so I’m sitting this one out. But a couple different items that Morning News dining critic Leslie Brenner has posted to her blog in the last week have raised the hackles of our SideDish contributors, as well as (judging by the comments on this post) many of her own readers.

Our own dining critic, Nancy Nichols, was compelled to respond to a snotty remark Brenner made about Dallas sushi and her habit of negatively comparing Dallas to her hometown. Nancy writes:

Lighten up and let Los Angeles go. You hit town when the restaurant business was struggling through dreadful economic times. The last year and a half has been exciting. Creative chefs and restaurateurs are attracting international attention. I urge you to understand a business before you drop kick it to West Covina. If you don’t, I’d advise checking the want ads in the The San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Today our food truck guru, George Lewis, took to the blog to respond to the many unflattering comments Brenner made about the new Truck Yard on Lower Greenville. (It does seem strange to pronounce a place “not awesome” having only visited it once during the middle of a weekday.) George wasn’t going to stand for Brenner’s implication that there aren’t even three interesting food trucks in all of Dallas:

She then rants about not seeing the “Carnival Barker’s, the ice cream truck.” I just don’t know what to say about this rant. Carnival Barker is not even a food truck. It’s a window in the front of the building! At the entrance! There is a big ice cream cone on top of it, too, that you can’t miss…

Finally, Ms. Brenner asks, “I’m wondering whether there even are three interesting food trucks in Dallas. “Okay, let me make this easy on you, and in no particular order: Easy Slider, Taco Party, Good Karma Kitchen, Nammi, Pompeii, Trailercakes, Enticed Shaved Ice,Guava Tree and/or Ruthie’s Grilled Cheese. And it is a shame that you missed out onYellow Belly, City Street Grille, Munch Box, or Little Vessel Grill, who have all closed for various reasons.

Yes, Ms. Brenner, we have more than three interesting food trucks in Dallas.


  • gimmethewooby

    No, not really.

  • Manuel

    Shouldn’t a photo of Ms. Brenner be circulated among the restaurant industry here so they could get to know her better and help her to see their good points?

  • allison

    One of her first articles was about everything wrong with the Dallas food scene. I got the implication from that she didn’t like it here, and clearly she still doesn’t.

    • Johnson

      Please send us that link.

  • James the P3

    People still read what Leslie Brenner writes?

  • Johnson

    I don’t understand why Nancy Nichols orchestrates attacks on her fellow food critics.

  • Wylie H Dallas

    I get Brenner’s remarks about the cream-cheese filled sushi rolls, etc.— that stuff isn’t remotely Japanese, but the Truck Yard attack seemed pretty off-base.

  • DMNSCantrell

    Why are Dallasites so insecure that they bristle at any critic’s suggestion that things could be better here, that it’s worth raising our expectations? I have some experience with the phenomenon.

    • Ryan D

      Is it insecurity or sociopathic behavior?

  • Jack Jett

    Just for the record, it is legal for people to live here and not approve of every aspect of the city. I am interested in seeing where D is getting the information she doesn’t “like it here and clearly still doesn’t”. Does D Mag ever give a bad review to a restaurant that advertises here?

  • Beda

    I had a similar experience last Sunday. I walked in, through the patio, looking for the food trucks. They are definitely not the main event. There were a couple at the very back, one with its service window open, another with it not open, and then another truck parked mainly in the parking lot that didn’t appear to be a part of the food truck park. Since the beginning of the publicity of the Truck Yard, I had always assumed food trucks had finally found a home and the Truck Yard would be dominated by them, with seating around to accommodate them. That is definitely not the case.

    • Wylie H Dallas

      Interesting, I walked in, through the patio, earlier this week, and immediately saw the food trucks— straight ahead, forming a solid line dominating the view. The only thing standing between me at the entrance and the food trucks was a bunch of seating to accommodate the food truck diners.

      Are you sure you didn’t accidentally go somewhere else?

  • Borborygmus

    I suppose this is where we all bristle at your comment. Hmmm. I guess (after what, 4 years?), passing this off as a phenomenon is what you have to do. But I would point out that no other critic in Dallas during Brenner’s tenure has had such a strong negative reaction among the readers (and former readers), let alone other food websites (and not just SideDish). Sure you could also pass this off as being because she’s so extra-special good at what her job is. Kind of like calling this a “phenomenon”.

    I’ve read her book, American Appetite, and it was phenomenally bad. So are her reviews. I would use the word schizophrenic to describe them. It’s not just a Dallas thing.

  • allison doesn’t have the article online anymore, but the NYT talked about it & has an excerpt. That’s the best I can do for you.

  • abe

    Hmmm, how is attacking another local food critic, “sitting this one out” ?

    Personally, I like a food critic that holds the standards of other great cities when it comes to sushi, steak, etc. And I like a critic that is not afraid to be underwhelmed by a food truck yard.

  • Jason Heid

    Aside from my agreement that it’s strange to so strongly criticize Truck Yard after only having what would seem to be a non-representative-sample experience, none of the opinions in this post are mine.

    I don’t know enough of Brenner’s work to answer the question posed in the headline. I’m just passing along an interesting discussion.

  • Ryan D

    This blog post is supportive of Brenner and the comments are overwhelmingly in her favor.

  • Hansel

    Speaking of bristling, it makes me bristle when a writer creates fake posts. Is there a policy against that?

  • Mess Wright

    Thanks for this, Jason! When I read LB’s Truck Yard review, I finally washed my hands of her writing. I didn’t think much about it, buy Nancy’s post got me all riled up again. I woke up this morning, and I was still pissed. This was the first thing I did this morning:
    I am fed up with Dallas haters; go elsewhere. LB is, purely and simply, a hater. Lame! How can DMN keep promoting the hate? Am I being too idealistic?

  • Ryan D

    Thanks for your perspective, Nancy.

  • allison

    Or she could just be a grump. Her goodbye letter to NYC was 95% complaints about the city’s restaurants. She even complained about the NYC sushi.

    Sounds like her hatred for Dallas may just be a general bad attitude.

  • Diner

    Dmag– give it up. Leslie may not get it right every time but let’s face it, Dallas food scene is lame compared to others its size ( and smaller). It’s a fact. Sure we have great steaks, Mexican and BBQ but it ends there.

  • Bill Marvel

    Could you give us specifics, here?

  • Ryan D

    This is the second link you’ve posted where your claims do not match the content. Why would anyone conduct this much research on Leslie and make these false claims? Anyone, I mean, besides Nancy.

  • Ryan D

    Why did you ask the question if you don’t have a point of view?

  • Jason Heid

    I was summing up the perspective of our SideDishers.

  • TLS

    So Nancy Nicholas goes after Leslie Brenner. Tim Rogers goes after Steve Blow. Zac Crain went after Mario Tarradell. Again and again.

    I don’t know why D Mag writers are so catty but it is really old and really boring.

    • BrentDude

      But it’s entertaining.

  • BrentDude

    Look at the number of comments on this post vs. the other 95% of Frontburner posts. There’s your answer. Bonus answer…works the same way on Sidedish.

  • Chris
  • Stephie Cheffie

    If Nancy Nichols comments on her own blog posts under aliases, would she be reprimanded or fired? Is that ethical? What will happen when she is caught?

    • Borborygmus

      Do you really think she does that? Lordy, could it be that Bill Marvel dude? His picture is too good looking to be real. I bet he’s a fake Nancy Nichols.

  • Jack Jett

    So why put this headline in a negative tone? How well do you know her to write she doesn’t like Dallas? She did give up a nice gig in LA to come here? And if she dares to share a thought she might have to make a city better, should we have D Cover Boy Jeffress pray for her or have Perry execute her?

    Give this gal some time. It takes people from LA a while to understand the concept of D and Frontburner. It is clear she hasn’t caught on authentic upper crust taste can only come from someone that stands behing a big red D.! I mean who could not love Dallas, we are only a few hundred miles away from Ted Cruz who is currently making people more and more aware of Texas and he is NOT an Abortion Champion!

  • Jack Jett

    Yes, for a brief time it was Brett.. And then came a second wind came in the form of semi camp at utter silliness. But that went too.

    I think Tim has one or two really good ones left in him before his ends this never ending, doubling up The Judd’s Farewell Tour that I assume will last until the end of the decade. I love this man more than the dog hairs that collect in my belly button

  • Triple double

    Yes, I believe Nancy Nichols posts fake blog posts.

  • JLR

    Leslie is a Natural Hater.And nothing will make her 100% happy nor satisfied. I’m sure she is the same way around her house.That is one difficult way to live.