Death to Bread Service

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Flickr/Bruno Raymond
Bread is good, but not always great, please get this bullshit off my plate.
When you walk into one of the city's better restaurants, there's a certain set of expectations that you bring along. If you're planning to drop a pretty penny on a decent meal, you expect great service, top-notch food, and a great atmosphere. You also probably expect for a basket full of bread or rolls to make it to your table, and that's one of those old-school dining traditions that really, really needs to die.

Sure, it's great to wait the 15 minutes before your dish comes to the table with a basket of warm, crusty bread and butter. But most of the time, bread service is such an afterthought at restaurants that the result is much more reminiscent of a few old buns dragged out from the back of your own bread bin at home than a Francophile's yeasty dream. Often, the bread in these baskets is cold, slightly stale, and leaves you wondering exactly when (or where!) it was even baked.

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Dallas Doesn't Need Any More Ramen Shops

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Kathy Tran
Raman Hakata is the latest ramen shop to open in the area, but it won't be the last.
I realize I'm rolling a heavy stone up a steep hill, but Wabi House, the latest ramen restaurant planned for Greenville Avenue, has me feeling a little down. I get it: Trends drive restaurant menus, and they drive customers, too. But the restaurateurs who explore less fetishized cuisines contribute most to a city's culinary culture.

Let's first note that Dallas is woefully behind on the ramen wave. Ramen restaurants began their push in larger cities well over a decade ago. And look where that's gotten them. I happened to be in New York over the holidays and while wandering around, I passed several ramen restaurants without even looking for them. They were everywhere. They're so ubiquitous that David Chang of Momofuku declared ramen dead last year. Ruined. This, from one of the guys who started the whole trend.

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Your Friendly Reminder That Texas Restaurants Can Still Pay Servers Two Bucks an Hour

Categories: Complaint Desk

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zoetnet
Pay up Texan diners, because Texan restaurateurs don't have to.
New York state's wage board wants the state to hike the base wage for tipped employees to $7.50 an hour by the end of the year, part of an almost nationwide push to help servers, bartenders and other employees who count on tips for a significant portion of their income.

Meanwhile, in Texas.

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Macarons and Macaroons Are Not The Same Thing, Dammit

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Scott Reitz
M-A-C-A-R-O-N. It's not hard.
There is much talk about the trendiness of "macaroons," those pillowy little cream or jam filled cookies that people are lining up around the corner at Joy Macarons and Rush Patisserie to pay three bucks a piece for. "Macaroons" are the most popular cookie in the world right now. Entire bakeries are popping up to meet the demand for the pastel-colored cookies.

The only problem, of course, is that these shops aren't selling macaroons at all. They're selling French macarons, and far too many people don't seem to realize that the two cookies are entirely different things.

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Houndstooth's Baristas Are Too Damn Nice

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Scott Reitz
How about, "Of Coffee and Then Leaving?"
Barring monks and weirdos, we all drink coffee. And we have two types of coffee shops from which to choose: the trendy, independently owned spots or Starbucks. Traditionally, the eco-conscious, local-loving, soy milk-drinking people patronize the indie shops while the mainstreamers get their brew fix from one of the 21,000 stores within the monolithic Seattle chain. Many of us vacillate.

One of Dallas' newest independent operators is Houndstooth: The Pattern of Coffee and People, an Austin-transplanted shop on Henderson Avenue. Here, you can find sexy people sipping Americanos made of beans roasted across town in Tweed Coffee Roasters' Design District warehouse.

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Down with Paper Drinking Straws

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Scott Reitz
Paper drinking straws will not save the universe.
I get it: It's 87 degrees in January and it hasn't rained since the early '1990s. We all should be conserving. But considering the overflowing dumpster the size of a short bus behind every restaurant in America, I'm having a hard time thinking drinking straws are where we should focus our efforts.

Restaurants are switching to paper straws and touting their environmental do-goodery as some epic step toward reducing waste and saving the sea turtles. "Paper straws cost more, but we're doing it anyway," Snappy Salads actually said in a press release, before they served up a salad in a plastic to-go bowl. And this is supposed to make me feel good about the soggy paper pulp I'm gumming while wrestling with my beverage?

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Addison: You Need a Nice Cocktail Joint, Stat

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Kathy Tran
Take notes, Addison.
Craft cocktails are finally a thing in Dallas. The rest of the country has been drinking better than us for years, but we're catching up. At least parts of the city are, anyway. You can't throw a rock without hitting a craft cocktail bar on Henderson Ave, Lower Greenville or even in Uptown. Where you won't find a single bottle of fancy imported rhum or frothed egg whites in a glass, though, is Addison.

I begrudgingly moved to Addison in a crunch to find an apartment last December. I'd lived in East Dallas for five years, but I didn't realize just how much I would miss everything that the neighborhood, and those within a five minute Uber ride, had to offer. I could go to Proof + Pantry anytime, and hit up Parliament's spontaneous, rainy-day happy hour whenever a craving for one of their perfect Ramos gin fizzes crept up.

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Uptown's Tacos and Tequila Demonstrates How Not to Serve Elotes

Categories: Complaint Desk

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The elotes at Tacos and Tequila.
Like many foods, elotes is interpreted differently in different regions. Depending on where you place your order it can be served on or off the cob, and the slew of toppings and condiments varies as well.

When elotes makes its way into professional kitchens it is subject to a new layer of interpretation. Most of them work -- corn, cheese and hot sauce is a hard combination to mess up -- but since elotes is a street food, those interpretations can get a little clunky when a chef decides to chef things up.

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In 2015, Let's Say So Long to Bone Marrow, OK Dallas?

Categories: Complaint Desk

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When bone marrow is done right, it's great. When it's not...
I ate a lot of bone marrow this past year, and the only dish that really wowed me was the one you see pictured above. It's bacon-crusted bone marrow and it's served with either uni or caviar, depending on the mood of chef John Tesar at his new steakhouse, Knife.

When roasted bone marrow is good, it's really good. It spreads like whipped butter and melts on the palate. Bone marrow is rich, and if any dish out there deserves to use the term unctuous, it's this one. When bone marrow is bad, though, it can be really bad, which happens when it is served at one of two temperature extremes.

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Ben & Jerry's Made a DFW Ice Cream

Categories: Complaint Desk

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Ben & Jerry's limited-batch Bourbon Pecan Pie ice cream.
Last summer, Ben & Jerry's announced it wanted to make some new ice cream flavors based on cities across the country. The notion filled our brains with po' boy flavored ice cream from New Orleans, and scoops of chocolate-laced chili heaped into cones in honor of Cincinnati.

See Also: If Dallas Were an Ice Cream, What Would it Taste Like?

When we asked what Dallas would taste like on our Facebook feed, though, things got even more strange. It seems we are a city without a unique culinary identity, and that led our readers to come up with some questionable flavors. What does Dallas taste like? Spray tans and silicone, according to one reader, and Botox, according to another.

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