Primo's, a Tex-Mex Staple, Moved to the Design District and Got a Serious Makeover

Categories: First Look

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All photos Scott Reitz
The semi sizzlin' fajitas
I measure all Tex-Mex restaurants by their fajitas. The simple dish of grilled meats and vegetables gives a great window into how the restaurant handles ingredients and, usually, what you can expect from the rest of the menu. So when I walked into the new Primo's to dine for the first time, I didn't even have to look at the menu. I ordered the fajitas, steak, and reluctantly said yes to the basket of chips and salsa that were offered up gratis.

Primo's, it appears, has gotten a serious upgrade since the McKinney Avenue days. The old location had decades of Tex-Mex smells clinging to the walls, years of margaritas spilled by local Uptowners. When the restaurant unexpectedly closed, a subsequent location was not announced. It seemed like Primo's had tossed in the napkin.

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Modmarket Is Spreading Across Dallas, and Is Worth Your Attention

Categories: First Look

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A gas-fired oven turns out attractive pizzas
I wasn't expecting much from the pizza I'd ordered at Modmarket. This is a fast-casual chain based in Denver, for starters, and they use an unimpressive gas-fired oven. But there it was on an aluminum tray, with a decent, if dry-looking cornicione. The basil had gone brown, but the tomato sauce was bright, and the whole thing wasn't weighed down by too much mozzarella. It was, I had to admit, an attractive pizza.

I picked up a slice and got even more excited. The crust didn't have the bubbly structure I was hoping for, but it was soft and delicate. It lacked those tangy notes I associate with a well developed fermentation, but it still had some flavor. The pizza tasted as good as it looked. I ate the whole thing.

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A First Look at Spork, North Dallas' Newest Burger Restaurant

Categories: First Look

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All photos Scott Reitz
Trust me, you can't miss this one at night.
The neon is shining at Spork now, as long as you show up after sunset. The casual burger restaurant opened earlier this month at the hands of Eric Justice (former chef at Mexican Sugar) and other Dallas-area power chefs. Tim Byres and Katherine Clapner were among the chefs tasked with the menu design.

The space used to be a Sonic, and the team made good use of every legacy design element. The counter is now a bar, and the eat-in parking stalls have been turned into a huge outdoor patio. (It's not available for dining yet. The owners are still working through the permitting.)

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ZaLat Pizzeria in East Dallas Is Now Open, a Little Weird and Really Good

Categories: First Look

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Scott Reitz
A small pepperoni pizza from ZaLat. The author could not wait till he got home.
Let's ignore the somewhat awkward pool table and the haze of cigarette smoke in the vestibule in front of ZaLat, the new pizzeria on Fitzhugh Avenue. Let's ignore the cast of characters hanging out inside as pizzas are delicately formed and slipped in the oven. Let's ignore the insane creations -- pastrami, chicken curry and other toppings that don't typically belong anywhere near a pizza -- so we can get to the most important piece of information: ZaLat is slinging some solid 'za, despite the owner being new to the business.

Keeping in line with the fact that nothing about this place is normal, customers are asked to order by text. My request was taken like so:

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Luscher's Is Now Open and Serving Sausage in Deep Ellum (Photos)

Categories: First Look

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Amy McCarthy
Luscher's, you were worth the wait.
We've maybe been guilty of overhyping the opening of Brian Luscher's meat heaven in Deep Ellum, but only because we're really excited about this sausage. Finally, after over a year of waiting, Luscher's has opened its doors. We were there on Opening Day to report back.

The exterior of the building is easy on the eyes, but the real magic takes place once you've gotten past those doors. Place your order at the counter, but good luck settling on just one of Luscher's house-made specialties. There are sandwiches, sausages of all kinds, and quirky little offerings that will soon become your go-to as you gear up for a long night of drinking in Deep Ellum.

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A First Look at Back Home Barbecue, East Dallas' New Cheap-Smoked-Meats Spot

Categories: First Look

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Scott Reitz
BBQ beans and macaroni and cheese are two of many sides served at Back Home Barbecue.
The creators of Company Cafe and Dallas' beloved gluten-free chicken-fried steak have decided to take on smoked meats. They opened Back Home Barbecue on Ross Avenue earlier this month in the old Yin's Wok space, and I checked it out this week.

The building has been spruced up but spared the bells and whistles. It's definitely a minimalist space. Inside the front door, picnic tables line up in rows, each outfitted with a paper towel dispenser made from a galvanized pipe. Otherwise the dining room is empty -- you have to walk through the tables to get to where the action is.

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A First Look at Gabriela & Sofia's Tex-Mex, Proud Sponsor of Your Next Cubical Nap

Categories: First Look

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Scott Reitz
Look for Gabriel next to the Tom Thumb.
On the corner of Meadows and the Central Expressway, in the same plaza as Tom Thumb, a neat and tidy Tex-Mex restaurant opened at the end of last year. You might think the last thing Dallas needs is yet another Tex Mex restaurant, but open the door and you'll find plenty of evidence to the contrary. On a recent workday during lunch, the dining room was so packed the staff had a hard time keeping up.

Manager Gabriel Pompa worked the floor, greeting and seating customers, his button-down shirt an eye-popping pink. When he wasn't playing host, he wielded a pestle the size of a Gatorade bottle, making tableside guacamole.

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The New Luscher's Has a Sausage Inspired by Meat Fight, Earth's Favorite Meat-Off

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Alice Laussade
Luscher's Meat Fight Smoked Sausage

Mark your meat calendar: March 2 at 11 a.m., Luscher's on 2653 Commerce St. will have its grand opening.

I know you're all very excited for this restaurant to open, and there are a lot of rumors flying around about what it looks like inside, where exactly the sausage champagne room will be, and how many dollars Brian C. Luscher will be charging for each "Haha, sausage means dick!" joke. I was allowed to visit the test kitchen this week, and I'm happy to report that all of your sausage dreams are about to come true. (And it's $1 per sausage/dick joke.)


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A First Look at Spice in the City, a New Indian-Food Takeout in Downtown Dallas

Categories: First Look

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Scott Reitz
The apartment lobby at the Dallas Power & Light Building just got cooler than your apartment lobby
Spice in the City opened in the super-swanky Dallas Power & Light building downtown this week, offering a trim menu of classic Indian dishes. You have to enter through the apartment lobby and walk toward the back of the building -- there is no sidewalk storefront -- but once you find the counter it's business as usual. The restaurant will serve lunch and dinner during the work week, and also offer catering services.

Orange balloons attached to a now-open sign danced in a chilly breeze as owner Navin Hariprasad served his first customers. His little kitchen turned out chicken tikka masala, saag paneer, dal and other curries plus a number of pre-made flat breads, samosas and other snacks, all neatly tucked in plastic packaging and stacked in paper bags.

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In Wylie, Rock Wood Fired Kitchen Serves Pails of Booze in a Flaming Neon Barn

Categories: First Look

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via Rock Wood on Flickr
A pail of booze awaits.
A behemoth has been erected in Wylie, Texas. A shining neon barn, affixed with flames and guitars, holds court over the Country Club and FM 544 intersection. It looks like the perverted restaurant love child of Bret Michaels and Guy Fieri.

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