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Best Lists

The 2009 Dallas Restaurant Design Awards

The D Home editors found the prettiest particulars in restaurants all around town. Forget the food. This is all about the most delightful dining details.
photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Best International Experience

(above) Dining at Tei An is like taking a trip to Japan—without the outrageous airfare and jet lag. Hatsumi Kuzuu of Kuzuu Design succeeded in bringing the best of Tokyo to One Arts Plaza. The atmosphere is decidedly chic yet natural—a sake cup installation mixes with the beautiful stonework arranged in the middle of the restaurant. The utilitarian—and somewhat sobering—uniforms come straight from the Japanese soba bars.

photography by Elizabeth Lavin

Best Lighting

(above) Dean Fearing knows women. Even better, he knows Dallas women. That’s why it’s no surprise that his namesake restaurant Fearing’s boasts seven separate dining areas—each with its own distinct lighting scheme. Whether you’re recovering from a little nip/tuck or feeling like a million bucks after a day at the Ritz-Carlton, Dallas spa, there’s a table for you in the Johnson Studio-designed space that is sure to show you in your best light.

photography by Kevin Hunter Marple

Best Acoustics

(above) Whether you’re having the “It’s not you, it’s me” talk or proposing marriage, you won’t risk being misheard at Salum. Not that it was planned that way. “We had no idea what it would sound like in there,” owner and chef Abraham Salum says. So much for best-laid plans. In the end, though, designer Julio Quiñones created a sleek, sophisticated space that’s ideal for those with a need to be heard.

photography by Kevin Hunter Marple

Best Place to Have an Affair

(above left) Designed by local firm Plan B Group, The Stoneleigh Hotel’s restaurant Bolla showcases rich colors and textures with a modern and glamorous appeal. The flattering lighting, chic chandeliers, and privacy panels make it the perfect place to sample forbidden fruit. The hotel rooms upstairs don’t hurt either.

Best Tapestry

(above right) We’ve always coveted the tapestry on the east wall of Hattie’s in Oak Cliff. No more coveting: turns out it is a digital photo printed on a
micro-fiber canvas, and anyone can use the technique to replicate the image of their choice. “The Legend of the Blue Willow” plate was created by Meisel in Dallas.

photography by Chris Plavidal

Best Wine Room

(above left) One could argue that any seat where you’re sipping wine is the best seat in the house. We beg to differ. Experience the glass room in the middle of The Fish, designed by co-owner Michael Collins and built by Kevin Dinh. It holds 2,400 bottles of wine and seats 14 very comfortably. What was the inspiration? Collins wanted an exclusive private area—with separate climate and volume controls—ideal for birthday parties, bachelorette fetes, or even an executive lunch meeting.

Best Wall Coverings

(above right) Any Golden Girls fan worth his weight knows that the botanical wallpaper at Park is the very same used in Ms. Blanche Devereaux’s boudoir. The Martinique “A” print by Beverly Hills Wallpaper is just part of the fun of the colorful Breck Woolsey-designed space, which is also filled with photographs by Allison V. Smith.

photography: cookies by Kevin Hunter Marple, Mansion by Chris Plavidal, and silverware by Kevin Hunter Marple

Best Presentation

(above left) We have a love/hate relationship with the desserts at Tillman’s Roadhouse. We love the desserts, and we hate ourselves for not being able to resist them. Maybe that’s why we love the “cookie paddle” so much. The R.W. Smith & Company-designed piece is perfect for meting out the appropriate punishment after we once again inhale one cookie too many.

Best Table

(above right) Admit it: the restaurant table often gets short shrift. You’re so busy looking into your special someone’s eyes—or into the bottom of your glass, depending on the day—to note the fine details of the dining surface. Not so at the Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek. The tables chosen by design firm BAMO are a marriage that crosses state lines: bases are by Alabama merchant Table Topics, and the Macasssar veneer is from Dallas’ Wood Gallery.

Best Silverware

(above at bottom) Dining at Hôtel St. Germain is a lesson in elegance. Just as the men don ties and jackets, the tables are dressed in their finest. The linen tablecloths, antique Limoges china, and crystal wine glasses set the scene perfectly, but what really pulls it all together is the antique silverware. The establishment’s vast collection, which was two decades in the making, includes nearly a thousand pieces in more than 30 patterns. The flatware is so beautiful, you just might be inspired to start a collection of your own.