Dallas' 50 Most Interesting Restaurants, No. 7: Teppo

Thumbnail image for teppo-spanish-mackerel.JPG
Mackerel garnished with ginger and scallions at Teppo.
Leading up to our annual Best of Dallas® issue, we're counting down the 50 most interesting restaurants in Dallas. These spots bring something unique or compelling to the city's dining scene, feeding both your appetite and soul. Find more interesting places on our all-new Best Of app for iTunes or Android.

Teppo straddles the genres of high-quality ingredients and casual approachability like few other restaurants. You can go in and experience some of the best fish in Dallas, but you won't pay through the gills, the atmosphere is quiet and you'll find yourself relaxed.

It helps that there's often Rangers baseball on, and even though with the team flopping around like a soon-to-be tuna roll, there's still optimism (and the smell of miso) in the air.

The sushi chefs steal glances over their shoulders while carefully bonding slices of fish to rectangles of rice to form perfect nigiri. Cooks turn their heads when they run ingredients and dishes out from the back kitchen. This isn't a sports bar: the volume is turned down and the atmosphere is reserved, but if you're into the game you won't be watching it alone.

Besides the chefs, the customers who come to Teppo hail from the neighborhood, and it's likely that anyone sitting next to you at the bar has put in significant time there. The chefs recognize the faces of their customers as readily as their favorite players, and that familiarity stokes a desire to return more than once.

Come to Teppo once if you're looking for great sushi and you'll find it. But this is the sort of restaurant you should get to know over time.

No. 50: Joyce and Gigi's
No. 49: East Hampton Sandwich Co.
No. 48: 20 Feet Seafood Joint
No. 47: Taj Chaat House
No. 46: Mot Hai Ba
No. 45: La Nueva Fresh and Hot
No. 44: Pera Turkish Kitchen
No. 43: Tom's Burgers and Grill
No. 42: Mughlai
No. 41: Russian Banya
No. 40: Off-Site Kitchen
No. 39: Bachman Lake Taqueria
No. 38: Carbone's
No. 37: Babe's
No. 36: Barbacoa Estilo Hidalgo
No. 35: Zaguan
No. 34: Royal Sichuan
No. 33: Spoon
No. 32: Bambu
No. 31: Pecan Lodge
No. 30: FT33
No. 29: Keller's Drive-In
No. 28: La Pasadita
No. 27: Ten Bells Tavern
No. 26: El Ranchito
No. 25: Cafe Urbano
No. 24: Nova
No. 23: Jeng Chi
No. 22: Omi
No. 21: Tei-An
No. 20: Jonathon's Oak Cliff
No. 19: Yutaka and Sharaku
No. 18: Local
No. 17: Ibex
No. 16: Pakpao
No. 15: Chennai Cafe
No. 14: Smoke
No. 13: Nonna
No. 12: Kuby's
No. 11: Sushi Sake
No. 10: La Banqueta
No. 9: Kalachandji's
No. 8: Mesa

Location Info

Teppo Yakitori Sushi Bar

2014 Greenville Ave., Dallas, TX

Category: Restaurant

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9 comments
beda50
beda50

I think I may try them tonight; any standout suggestions?

CitizenKane
CitizenKane

I have never had 'sushi" (other than fish I caught and consumed immediately, raw)....would Teppo be the sushi restaurant you would recommend for a novice, or would you guide me elsewhere?


scott.reitz
scott.reitz moderator editor

@CitizenKane Go on a night that they aren't busy, and try to get some face time with one of the chefs behind the counter. Start with simple, easy things like tuna and branch out from there. And if you call uncle you can always start ordering yakatori. Everyone loves grilled meat

golfnfashion
golfnfashion

@CitizenKane Teppo was my first foray into sushi 17 years ago.  I still go often.  A great place for a novice or a pro.  Highly recommended.

guest
guest

@CitizenKane I'd go somewhere casual like Tampopo for lunch first, just so you can get the hang of it.

beda50
beda50

@scott.reitz @CitizenKane Scott I went to Teppo last night and ordered the $75 omakase.  I just looked up the definition of omakase and it translates into "I'll leave it to you."  It was one of the most disappointing meals I've ever had.  Every single thing I was served was on the blackboard or the regular menu.  I could have ordered everything I had, or not ordered certain things.  I certainly wouldn't have ordered the $26 Komatsu (?) oyster. The chef cut it in three pieces and it was tough.  I never realized an oyster could be tough. And yes, $26 for a single oyster.  And then, the meal just ended: the waitress cleared my plates and chopsticks and that was it.  I had expected a bite of a sweet to signal the end of the meal, but there was nothing.  I would not recommend doing the omakase at Teppo. Maybe other sushi chefs at other bars are more creative In their selections.  There was nothing creative or original in what I was served last night.

beda50
beda50

@scott.reitz @beda50 @CitizenKane   Thanks for your response.  First, I'm a woman :-)  I sat at the sushi bar and the sushi chef never engaged me except to tell me what he was serving me, as he was serving it.  And then it ended so abruptly, which was also jarring.  My impression of an omakase experience is to put your meal in the hands of a sushi chef who will discuss some of your preferences to make sure you aren't served anything you don't like (an example is that I don't like uni and I was served it) and  then to create dishes not on any of their menus based on things you do like and have an "omakase" experience.  Like I said, everything, from the meatball yakitori to the sushi pieces, to the outrageously expensive oyster, were on their various menus, and for $75, I could have had one heck of a pig-out on things I already know and have eaten.  I expected the omakase to be an elevation of an evening eating sushi, and sadly, it wasn't.  After tax and tip and iced tea, the over $100 I spent really did leave a bad taste in my mouth.

scott.reitz
scott.reitz moderator editor

@beda50 @scott.reitz @CitizenKane   Sorry guys I was on vacation....

 It doesn't matter what omakase means if @beda50 didn't enjoy his meal. I've experienced the ($75) menu at Teppo and agree it can be less than elegant. The take a fire hydrant approach and shower you with a lot of food, instead of carefully dressing up the best of what any night has to offer. Omakase infers some trust, and a chef should discuss a diner's likes preferences, and monitor their enjoyment throughout, which it sounds like did not happen here. 


Still I've dined at Teppo countless times and consistently encounter top quality ingredients for a reasonable price. I've most enjoyed experiences I've curated myself, after having a discussion with one of the sushi chefs about what is most fresh or interesting that night. I wonder if @beda50 sat at the sushi bar or at a table.

Either way @beda50's only doing it wrong if he gives up. And if Teppo doesn't suit, there are plenty more sushi dens to check out.

 

Ardy
Ardy

@beda50 @scott.reitz @CitizenKane It means "I'll leave it to you" not "I'll leave it to you to give me only food that is not on the menu." A place that serves fresh food is going to have its fresh items listed on the menu. It might change daily. Omakase is probably a good way to go if you aren't familiar with the menu items and want to try a variety. (Note: I haven't been to Teppo, so I can't comment on the chef selection prowess, but nevertheless, I think you're doing it wrong). 

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