The Cheap Bastard's Guide to Eating Like a Fancy Bastard

Tracie Louck / Art by Dan Zettwoch
Everyone knows that in a nice restaurant, special etiquette must be practiced. Carefully following the rules of decorum reserved for fine dining is what separates The Fancys from The Normals. The trouble is, it's hard to remember every single rule at once. Well, lose your shit not, friend. The Cheap Bastard has created this handy-dandy guide to eating with Fancys in Dallas just for you.

See also
The Cheap Bastard's Ultimate Guide to Eating like a Total Cheap Bastard

In these pages you'll find answers to most every question you could have about dining at an expensive restaurant. How much sex is too much sex in the unisex bathrooms at Fearing's?* When is it acceptable to punch the valet at Charlie Palmer in the junk?** Yes or no: Jams and a suit jacket, Weekend at Bernie's-style, at The French Room?***

I visited six of Dallas' fancy restaurants in order to give you real-world examples of the proper do's and do-not-do's for your nice night on the town. If you learn the rules of decorum for these restaurants, you'll know how to refrain from acting a fool in any fancy Dallas food place.

*Have as much as you want, but it's unisex, so hover over the seat, ladies. Say no to herp.
** After you get your car and only when you have a clear path to the street for a getaway. *** No. Only well-dressed stiffs are welcome.

Dan Zettwoch
Click to embiggen
Dressing Appropriately
Before you set about on your travels through high-brow Dallas, let's make sure you're dressed for the occasion.

When planning for a night out of fine dining in Dallas as a woman, it is imperative that you dress like a Superhero Hooker: at least three inches of cleave, at least three inches of thigh showing, stiletto heels that can double as boomerangs in the event that service at the restaurant is slow, and hair height that is directly proportional to your please-let-me-get-laid-tonight desperation level.

When planning for a night of fine dining in Dallas as a man, pack your credit card. Beyond that, take a shower, or ya know, don't. Whatev. Just make sure you wear a suit jacket over your Tommy Bahama shirt if you're going to The French Room.

The French Room wins the award for "Most Times Reminding Me Not To Wear Jeans." The Open Table reservation states that men are required to wear jackets and that jeans are not allowed. Then, the restaurant calls you to confirm your reservation, and when they call, they remind you: "Jackets and no jeans." Then, the day before the reservation, they call again to remind you to wear a jacket and to not wear jeans. Just in case you forgot.

The reason they call this many times to remind you that a jacket is required and that jeans are not allowed should be obvious: If an old fancy woman sees a pair of jeans or a man not wearing a jacket, she'll dissolve in a pile of smoke like the witches from that book The Witches. And a buncha dissolved old ladies is not a good look for the French Room dining room. Dying in close proximity to someone who's wearing jeans is a rich old woman's greatest fear.

Dan Zettwoch
Arrival at the Restaurant: 
The Valet
In Dallas, it is customary to pay a valet at fancy restaurants for three services: 1) existing, even though you don't fucking need him to be there, 2) closing his valet service before you're done hanging out downtown and 3) allowing you to watch him walk to your car, put it in reverse, drive it three feet, put it in park and hold the door open for you.

A pay-for-it valet should not be confused with a complimentary valet. A complimentary valet is obviously the better option because it's free. But complimentary valet is not fancy. Paying for a valet even though it makes no fucking sense -- that's fancy.

Charlie Palmer executes the pay-for-it-for-no-reason valet flawlessly. They will take the keys of your Ford Escape without wincing. When you claim your vehicle, they will ask you for $8, and even though you can see your car right in front of you and you could walk three steps and drive away in it yourself, they will do that shit for you. If the valet then waits for a tip, it is your obligation to throw a middle finger to signal to him that you appreciate his bird-like beauty.

The valet at 560 charges $10 for valet, and includes a free "There's an ATM inside if you don't have cash on you." So, if you've used up all your cash earlier in the night at the gentlemen's club, you're paying $10 plus an ATM fee to have this sweaty man put your car in park.

If you're thinking that you should skip the valet to save yourself tens of tens of dollars at these restaurants, think again. Paying for valet even though it's really dumb is how Fancies roll. You are far too important to park your own car on a street. If there's one thing you need to learn before you go to a fancy restaurant, it's this: Only Normals choose to be practical.

Next: a Typical Fancy Meal, Course by Course

Location Info

The French Room

1321 Commerce St., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Fearing's at the Ritz Carlton

2121 Mckinney Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Charlie Palmer at the Joule - CLOSED

1530 Main St., Dallas, TX

Category: Music

Five Sixty By Wolfgang Puck

300 Reunion Blvd., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Samar by Stephan Pyles - CLOSED

2100 Ross Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek

2821 Turtle Creek Blvd, Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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James Day
James Day

Best reading ever in observer.


My husband loves to use an "alias" for restaurant reservations. We become Mr. and Mrs. Harry Knucklesucker. When we hear our name called we laugh so hard our first stop is always the rest room.


I have never commented in my 2 years here, but have to share that this piece was sheer brilliance - thanks Alice and your Fancy Bastard ways.




I read every word and enjoyed it.  You seriously outclass this piece of shit rag.

TheCredibleHulk topcommenter

Funny stuff.


For my $50 I'll grill a couple'a good aged steaks at home and take a few pulls off the bottle of Jameson 1780 I keep around for special. Besides, I'd never dream of letting a lowly valet park my cherished Civic.

Myrna.Minkoff-Katz topcommenter

Relaxed good etiquette is never out of place, and is one of the signs that you're around old money.  Biernat's, The Mansion, and the Melrose Hotel are easy and elegant, and I doubt you'd find tacky, snobby waitstaff in those establishments.

Sotiredofitall topcommenter

"Stop caring so damn much about what the staff thinks"  they just want the Benjamins


Very entertaining!


Over 20 years in Dallas and I've never been up in Reunion Tower. I need to fix that.

joe.tone moderator

 @steve.sandwich If we're such a piece of shit, Steve, surely you can find something else to pass the time with? Because you leave a lot of comments on this shitpiece.

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