The Cheap Bastard's Guide to Eating Like a Fancy Bastard
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2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., 214-559-2100
You might think that a place called "The Mansion" would be stuffy and snobby. On the contrary, the server people at The Mansion were incredibly nice. Your server will not even blink when you say you'd like to order the tortilla soup and the shrimp cocktail for dinner, "And that's it."
Instead of bringing soup out to your table in a bowl, which would be simple, your soup will arrive in two parts that we will lovingly call "the chunks" and "the liquid." So, when your soup bowl is set in front of you, for a moment, they will trick you. Your thought process will likely be something like, "Bitches got my order wrong. I didn't order chicken chunks with avocadoooh HOLY CRAP THEY'RE POURING SOUP ON THOSE FOOD CHUNKS Y'ALL." As it turns out, rich people not only love putting food into shot glasses, they also love serving soup from pitchers. And all this time, you thought the Medieval Times soup pitcher was classless.
Hidden cost: If you're seated in a dark corner of The Mansion restaurant, when they use their pen lights to light your menu, you'll know that they've been trying to hide you from the rest of their guests.
The Most Food for Your $50:
1807 Ross Ave., 214-580-7000
Here, you can afford an entrée and a glass of wine. And the entrée comes piled on top of side items, too. Bonus. The Sous Vide Fried Chicken with Three Potato Salad, Wilted Mustard Greens & Dried Cherries is $28 and is plenty of food for a delicate flower like yourself. As a good friend once told me, "It's one of those meals that's so good, you want to keep it inside you for a while."
Pro tip: Bring a lady flask strapped to your thigh and drinks are free. Blam. Now you can afford that kick-ass coffee and doughnuts dessert.
Hidden cost: Ratio of Hawaiian shirts to Not Hawaiian shirts = high to quite high.
The Most Atmosphere for $50: 560
300 Reunion Blvd., 214-741-5560
Obviously, Wolfgang Puck's 560 is a tourist trap. But so is the State Fair of Texas. And if you're a true Dallas Fancy, this is your only real option for a carnival in town. It's a Tilt-A-Whirl at 560 feet in the air. It's worth a ride up the elevator just to chug a $16 beverage and get dizzy around a bunch of people getting engaged while your server explains to you what "modern Asian fusion" means. If you weren't so cultured, you'd create a drinking game while you're up there, chugging every time a camera flashes, and you'd be drunk in three flips of a cougar's weave.
In addition to the regular menu, 560 has a sushi menu that is much more modestly priced and offers sushi rolls ranging from $16 to $27 each. The $27 roll is the "Surf & Turf Roll" with lobster and Kobe beef. It's tasty, but not 27 whole dollars worth of tasty. If you want to blow all of your cash on a roll, instead opt for the $20 Fujipeno Roll, with cucumber, tempura shrimp, tuna, sweet and sour chili sauce and avocado. That roll + $16 Pepino's Revenge cocktail = happy.
Pro tip: What if I have to go to the restroom during my meal at 560, but my table's super far from the pisser?
The trick about this restaurant, in the top of Reunion Tower, is that it constantly revolves so that rich people only have to walk two feet to the bathroom and elevator if they time their liquid intake properly. If you find that you're full of pee when your table is on the opposite side of the restaurant from the bathroom, you have two options:
1) Attempt walking all the way around this Tilt-A-Whirl to the restroom. The risks with this option are high, especially if you're already drunk on their delicious $16 cocktails. (Pepito's Revenge does not fuck around.) Your table will not be where you left it. Just like the world, this restaurant doesn't stop revolving just because you have to make a pee payment to the toilet bank. Should you lose your table while voiding, simply birdcall at your dining partner until you see her in the dining room.
2) Ask your server or sommelier for one of 560's giant fishbowl cocktail glasses for use as a pee cup.
Hidden cost: While you are getting a fantastic view of Dallas, you are also never not spinning. People will tell you that you can't feel this restaurant spinning when it's spinning. People are liars.
The Most Alone Time For Your $50: Charlie Palmer
1530 Main St., 214-261-4600
If you're going to go out for a fancy dinner at Charlie Palmer, plan for it to take awhile, even if you only order the lobster macaroni and cheese side item and a glass of wine. Why does it take so much time to make a meal at Charlie Palmer? Because it's so fancy. I heard that the instant you order the lobster macaroni and cheese at Charlie Palmer, they send a sous chef to a secret garden on Main Street to forage for the most perfect, most ripe lobsters, macaronis and cheeses, which they pick right off the vine for your meal. The chef will masterfully dump that into a casserole dish and bake it. Then, your server will watch your meal sit on the line waiting to be run to a table for at least 10 additional minutes. That, my fancy friends, is service.
Hidden cost: The servers at Charlie Palmer can be so thoughtful that at times, they could come across as overly concerned with properly recording your order. For example, when I told my server that I would only be ordering the side item as my entire meal, he said, "Really?" When I confirmed, "Yes, really." He then asked, "Seriously?" Yes, seriously, you vagina wad. I mean, how nice of him to triple check my order.
The Most Cleave for your $50:
2121 McKinney Ave., 214-922-4848
High-Dollar Boob Hunters already appear to know that the bar at Fearing's is where the cougar herd hangs out. Groups of old men in smoking jackets sit in the lobby of the Ritz-Carlton drooling into their wine glasses at the Cleave Parade high-heeling it through the door. Thirty-year-old short white guys with sticky prom hair check their phones for messages that aren't there, trying to look important in front of cougar cubs. It's not working.
Ladies, seriously: If you 1) have a set of boobs handy and 2) like it when old men pay for your drinks, this is the place to use your powers of boob.
Hidden cost: If you're a lady, you'll need to purchase and bring with you approximately one gallon of creepy-dude mace.
The Best Old-People People Watching for your $50: The French Room
1321 Commerce St., 214-742-8200
Ross Perot Jr. is still working on his Museum of Nature and Science. In the meantime, if you'd like to see some dinosaur-old Dallas Fancies (most of whom are still breathing), make yourself a reservation at The French Room. This restaurant is old-school fancy dining at its best: real taper candles burning real fire that almost lit up the real rose on my table, antique ladies weighed down by definitely real diamonds and their boring-as-fuck spouses, the distinct aroma of moth balls + decay + denture breath. It's like watching the History Channel while enjoying a TV tray full of foie gras and souffle. Absolute fancy perfection.
Hidden cost: The French Room's prix fixe menu can really gouge you if you're not paying attention. Here's the solution: If you simply ask, "Can I order these items a la carte?" without hesitation they will say yes, both on the phone ahead of time and also in the restaurant. Which is how you know rich people have asked them this question before, so don't act weird about it.
Next: 10 Options for Fake, Fancy Reservation Names