6 restaurants pushing the envelope in Dallas

At Lexy’s, an ultra Instagrammable spot in Trinity Groves, cocktails are garnished with flowers. | Credit: Adriana Herrera

Posh steakhouses. Hole-in-the-wall barbecue joints. Chips and salsa for days. These are just a few of the compelling reasons to take a bite out of Dallas’s renowned dining scene.

The area’s most innovative restaurants display a fierce, Lone Star swagger. A downtown sushi den offers avant-garde rolls, topped with lesser-seen ingredients such as cashew pesto and yuca crisp. A New American dining room known for top-notch fried chicken doubles as a non-profit, empowering formerly incarcerated teens. In Fort Worth, a “cowboy fine-dining” spot steered by a prolific chef serves up kangaroo carpaccio nachos and rabbit-rattlesnake sausage.

Seek out these restaurants in Dallas for a truly unmatched experience. These are the Metroplex’s six most unique spots to make a reservation at right now.

Uchi (Downtown)

Avant-garde sushi makes up the menu at Uchi. | Credit: Uchi

Uchi is a longtime Dallas favorite because of its utterly unique approach to sushi. There’s not a California roll in sight on James Beard Award winner Tyson Cole’s inventive menu. Cole and chef de cuisine Rhonda McCullar, known for reducing waste by creatively repurposing unused ingredients, offer avant-garde delicacies such as snow crab maki with cashew pesto, asparagus, and brown butter; smoked yellowtail with yuca crisp and Marcona almond; and fatty bluefin tuna with truffle oil and Welsh onions. With a massive sushi bar as its focal point, mood lighting, and exquisite Japanese design accents, Uchi stands out for multiple reasons.

Don Artemio (Fort Worth)

The menu at Don Artemio is inspired by the cuisine of northeastern Mexico. | Credit: Fernando Gomez Carbajal

In a sea of casual Tex-Mex restaurants, Don Artemio, one of the Metroplex’s most anticipated 2022 openings, distinguishes itself by serving sophisticated regional Mexican fare. Executive chef Juan Ramón Cárdenas takes cues from the cuisine of Saltillo in northeastern Mexico, where he was born and raised. The Fort Worth location marks Don Artemio’s first outpost outside Mexico; its original Saltillo edition was featured in Netflix’s Taco Chronicles docuseries. All menu items, including the tortillas, are made from scratch. Some of Don Artemio’s more innovative dishes include the costillas de cabrito (fried ribs with oregano-pickled red onion) and the chile hojaldrado (a cream cheese and pecan-stuffed poblano chile, wrapped in puff pastry, served over tomato sauce). Feast on it all in a space inspired by Saltillo’s old homes, decked with handmade clay bricks from Mexico.

BAR-Ranch Steak Company (Plano)

Texans take immense pride in their steakhouse standards. And this unassuming Plano spot is a cut above the rest. BAR-Ranch is a craft butchery by day and an elegant, white-tablecloth spot at night, complete with live piano and artistic charcuterie boards. All steaks are dry-aged for at least a month in a glass-walled salt chamber onsite. The restaurant is small but mighty: With just seven tables for two (turned every two hours), it’s a place that has everyone talking about its cool use of space—and its culinary prowess.

Lexy’s (Trinity Groves)

Faux roses deck the walls at Lexy’s. | Credit: Adriana Herrera

Lexy’s, an Instagram influencer’s fever dream, offers unmatched whimsy. Its interiors are some of the most playful in town, adorned with feathered chandeliers, pink booths, faux roses on the ceilings, and a Champagne vending machine. As are its drinks, which include an over-the-top “high” (CBD-infused) tea service, featuring clouds of dry ice, plus cocktails with dainty floral garnishes. Shareable plates such as wagyu tacos and shrimp-crab-artichoke dip are reliable crowd-pleasers. But let’s face it, you’re really here for the glamorous ambiance and Lexy’s inimitable vibes.

Lonesome Dove Western Bistro – Fort Worth (Fort Worth)

Hamachi tostadas at Lonesome Dove Western Bistro – Fort Worth | Credit: Lonesome Dove Western Bistro – Fort Worth

No Forth Worth spot claims more buzz than Lonesome Dove, chef Tim Love’s “cowboy fine-dining” venture. With a menu that features rabbit-rattlesnake sausage and kangaroo carpaccio nachos, this Stockyards spot offers a one-of-a-kind meal. To that, add an eclectic backdrop, complete with trophy heads on the walls and a chandelier made of deer antlers, and you’re in for an unforgettable experience. With a dozen restaurants spread across Texas and Tennessee, chef Love is renowned for other cutting-edge concepts, including Caterina’s, an Italian restaurant where diners have to relinquish their cell phones. But Lonesome Dove is arguably his wildest and his most popular.

Café Momentum (Downtown)

Café Momentum, a boundary-breaking New American restaurant, is both a dining room and a classroom. The farm-to-table spot stands out for its 12-month paid internship program that equips formerly incarcerated teens with job skills, education, and various avenues of support.
Apart from its noble social mission, Café Momentum is known for its locally sourced dishes. Though the menu is seasonal and changes frequently, the famous smoked fried chicken remains a consistent favorite.

Diana Spechler is a novelist and essayist whose work appears in The New York Times, The Guardian, Washington Post, Harper’s, and elsewhere.

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