If You Had A Little More Than A Day In Dallas, Where Would You Eat?

Manny's Brisket Taco.JPG
A Tex-Mex tour of Dallas might not be complete without a plate of Manny's brisket tacos.
Every once in a while someone mistakes Scott for a food expert and risks ruining dinner by trusting him to answer to a burning question. Got a question about food or restaurants? Send it via Twitter @scottreitz, Facebook @ Cityofate or in the comments.

I'm from Charleston, and I'm going to be in the DFW area at the end of August for a ballgame. I'll have a chance to eat two meals while I'm there, and I want to eat good Mexican (aka Tex-Mex) and good barbecue (brisket). Here's my question: If you were in the DFW area for 36 hours only, what Tex-Mex place would you want to hit? What barbecue joint (specializing in slices of brisket, not chopped brisket in sandwiches) would you hit?

Right now, Fuel City Tacos and Angelo's (Fort Worth) are on my radar, but my quest is just beginning.

Bill

I hope you're hungry, Bill. Thirty-six hours isn't much time and you've picked the heaviest meals you could possible indulge while in Dallas. Angelo's and Fuel City are popular destinations for visitors and locals alike, but there are much better options for Tex-Mex and brisket while you stay in Dallas. (Fuel City is actually just a gas station that peddles tacos and elotes alongside car washes, motor oil and beer.)

Tex-Mex restaurants have a way of blending together into a salsa-laden sea of fatness and guilt. For a memorable experience, I'd shoot for a place with the best scene. On weekends El Ranchito in Oak cliff has a line out the door, and you'll likely be one of a few gringos. It's not a Tex-Mex restaurant, exactly, but they do have a section of their menu devoted to the genre with enchiladas, tacos, flautas and fajitas. The smart money is on the grilled baby goat, or cabrito a la parrilla, though. For a straight up Tex-Mex menu try Manny's in Uptown or Mia's in Oak Lawn and be sure to order the brisket tacos at either.

For barbecue, the simple answer is Pecan Lodge. The small BBQ storefront, buried in Shed Two of the Dallas Farmers Market, offers the finest sliced brisket that can be had in Dallas. A recent appearance on Diners Drive-ins and Dives has drawn a serious lunch crowd on the weekends, so you can bet on a line here too. Barbecue aficionados view the wait as an indication of quality: a necessary, and almost welcomed part of the brisket experience.

Also: Go Rangers!

Location Info

El Ranchito Cafe & Club

610 W. Jefferson Blvd., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Mia's Tex-Mex

4322 Lemmon Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Pecan Lodge

2702 Main St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Manny's Uptown Restaurante

3521 Oak Grove Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant


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20 comments
Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

I support both, because I enjoy both. I got there Sunday at 10:30, ordered at 11:15, food at 11:30. 

Mike Avery
Mike Avery

Yesterday was going to be that great day.  I made it to Pecan Lodge about 11:30.  The line extended pretty much the length of Shed #2.  It was, if anything, a longer line than I experienced at Franklin's.  http://www.thenewburgundians.com/franklin-barbeque-austin-tx-june-17-2012/ The last time I was at Pecan Lodge, there was a line.  This time it was a freakin' LINE!  Sadly, the line at PL isn't as much fun as the line at Franklin's.  The people tended to "be in line" and not interacting with one another very much. Franklin's line was more of a be-in experience. When I got out of the Army, I swore I'd never wait in line again.  Mostly, I've kept to that vow.  Looking at the line, I felt, well, daunted.  I remembered my vow, left shed #2, got back in my car and went to Lockhart Smokehouse.  It was a 5 or 10 minute drive.  I was served right away, had a table to eat upon, and enjoyed two nice beers as well.  And any day that has Will and Eric in it is a good day! The smoked pork chop was excellent, and the brisket Eric and Will served me really rocked.  So, I still haven't really decided which I prefer.  Do we now need to get to Shed #2 several hours before PL opens?  *sigh*  I sure hope not.  My guess is that Dallas really isn't a bbq kinda town and the excitement will die down.  I mean, the wait at the Chef Point Cafe in Watauga became reasonable again.  So, there is hope.

Mike Avery
Mike Avery

I've been hearing about PL for at least a year, maybe longer.  However, because I live way north, I only just made it by there a few weeks back.  I'm sure the spiky haired one jazzed up their business, and that's OK if they can maintain their quality. As to which is better, Lockhart or Pecan Lodge, I like both.  A lot.  Having only been to PL once, I'm not ready to pass judgement.  Both have a lot to like.  I've eaten just about everything Lockhart serves.  I've only had the brisket and ribs at PL. The bark on the brisket at PL was much better than at Lockhart, and I really like a good bark.  The meat, however, was more flavorful and moister at Lockhart.  Someone was commenting that the brisket was too salty.  It's a matter of taste.  I didn't think it was too salty.  Again, was it an off day, or an exceptional one, at PL?  I don't know.  But I'm eager to find out.  Maybe lunch at PL and dinner at Lockhart.  Sounds like my idea of a great day!

Captain
Captain

I find it unbelievable that there is no mention of Rafa's on Lover's Lane.  That is the best tex mex in Dallas

Hownow63
Hownow63

We are going to be in the DFW/Arlington area for a week beginning on 7-23. Our favorite restaurants at home (Asheville, NC) are a tapas restaurant and a little french bistro. I love offal, foie gras, game...not the usual fare one finds at Applebee's or Red Lobster. Where can we go for dinner on Monday-Wednesday? Entree prices around $25, nice atmosphere, takes reservations and not too hard to find. We are staying in Arlington, but don't mind a little drive. Thank you for any advice.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

I'd make an Oklahoma run..up past Ardmore a lil bit..turn right and look for some RV parking. Go on Saturday night and they have smoked ribeye methinks.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

JD isn't playing, I just got a call from the Village..and guess what? That's right, he was missing.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Dammit JD, would y'all just kiss already! Who makes numbered effing lists? Y'all and women.

sc
sc

 keep your small minded ft worth inferiority complex to yourself especially if youre serious about eating at chain restaurants in the crappy mid city burbs.

Dan
Dan

Bill, ignore all of these suggestions. First off don't eat in Dallas> Everyone is stuck up and wouldn't know what quality food tasted like. Arlington, Fort Worth and Grapevine are the best places to eat in the metroplex. For Tex-Mex look at Uncle Julio's or Pappasitos. Great food and great flavor not the blandness of those other places. Pappas is just down the street from both the Cowboys and Rangers. Julios in Fort Worth has the best atmosphere, harder to get into.  For bbq go to Coopers in Fort Worth, next door to Billy Bob's a or look up the Hard 8 in Coppell or Roanoke can't go wrong with either. Dan

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

I respect your opinion, though the idea that bagels are just "a vehicle to transport..." calls into question your deli experience

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

I respect someone who has an informed opinion and can present it in a intelligent way. Still waiting for you to do so.  I am glad you want to pimp your friends place. I have places I like and I extoll their virtues on line all the time. And I trash places I don't like. But I can say I have actually been to these places.  If you really want to help out your friends at Mac's, have them step up their game on the food. They may have been the best place 10 years ago, but other places are better now

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

I think Lockhart has a ringer with the Kruez Market sausage, but just because they don't make it there doesn't mean it isn't excellent

Jon Daniel
Jon Daniel

Anyplace that has a picture of a dead dog makes up for iffy food

todd
todd

I'd go to Meshack's in Garland for BBQ.  Not because it is necessarily better than PL or Lockhart's, but because I've eaten at PL and Lockhart's more recently than Meshack's and I really miss Meshack's.  I'd also go to Chuy's on Knox, which I'm sure is causing a collective groan amongst the food zealots here but I don't give a fuck.  First, they nicely fuse New Mexican and Tex-Mex.  Green Chiles, and lots of them.  Chile Rellenos, green chile sauces, Green Chile Stew, and stacked enchiladas with a fried egg.  I absolutely adore the flavor profile of old school beef enchiladas with a side of green chile sauce.  Second, although I'm not vegan, their charro beans are meatless.  Nice guilt free fiber to top off a hubcap sized serving of artery clogging tex-mex.  Last, they have a picture of my dead dog in their entryway.  If I'm only here for 36 hours, I'm going to see my dead dog. 

Bill
Bill

I would rather go to Craigslist for dinner with a tranny

Mike Avery
Mike Avery

 Lavendou is a very nice French style Bistro.  The prices will be higher though.

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