Joyce & Gigi’s feijoada

Restaurant Review: Joyce & Gigi’s Kitchen

Modern South American cuisine from family recipes.

Joyce & Gigi’s, tucked away just east of downtown Dallas, envelops you in the cozy atmosphere of a home, with kitchen cabinets, warm brick, and a waitstaff that exudes hospitality. A Bolivian mother-daughter duo brings finesse to South American dishes that reflect their roots. Flavors are intense and earthy; bright bursts come like joyful exclamations. Dishes that sound heavy turn out not to be. Don’t miss Salteñas, an off-menu Bolivian special of pretty, empanada-like crimped parcels, whose saucy filling melds beef and secret spices. Anticuchos presented perfect, medium-rare beef skewered with sweet onion and peppers over a smoky garbanzo purée. Comforting and reminiscent of risotto, duck Majadito owed its depth to house-made chile paste, dusky as mole, and plantains that lent sweetness. Eggplant Escabeche, intensely vinegary on its own, was a well-planned accompaniment to an anise-scented vegetarian corn cake topped with cucumber-yogurt sauce. You’d be a fool not to order the quinoa grits, creamy and laced with bits of chicken skin. End with one of many family recipes. Manjar’s oven-kissed layers of caramelized bananas and crème anglaise ooze glory under a cap of cinnamon meringue. Surprisingly, it’s not as sweet as many South American desserts can be. Like so much at this gem, it’s just right.