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2012 Tasted Good: New DFW Restaurants

December 26, 2012 7:00 AM

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(credit: flyingcarpetcafe.com)

(credit: flyingcarpetcafe.com)

DFW residents lead the nation in dining out, so it’s no surprise area restaurateurs constantly seek to supply the demand. While the Dallas-Fort Worth restaurant scene flourishes with great new dining spots, these five new restaurants made it to the top. These are 2012′s cream of the restaurant crop. 
(credit: oakdallas.com)

(credit: oakdallas.com)

Oak
1628 Oak Lawn Ave.
Dallas, TX 75207
(214) 712-9700
oakdallas.com

Price: $7 to $34

Oak created a buzz when it opened last January. There’s a lot to love about this restaurant: The decor is sexy, the service is excellent and Chef Jason Maddy is nothing short of a genius in the kitchen. Maddy’s ability to create a harmonious melange of textures and flavors using interesting ingredients has elevated him to rock-star status. Everything on the menu makes a bold statement, but the Moroccan octopus with pork jowls is not only Maddy’s most daring creation, it’s also the most popular item on the menu, wowing even the most conservative palates. Maddy says the dish was kind of an epiphany. “I had worked with octopus and gnocchi at a previous restaurant, so I was interested in using this ingredient. My wife had made braised jowl for dinner one evening, and I was up at 3 a.m. with the whole dish flowing in my head and immediately wrote the idea down.” The restaurant has also received accolades for its outstanding desserts, including pastry Chef Sarah Green’s gianduja chocolate panna cotta. Rounding it off is Oak’s general manager, Kyle Miller, who keeps restaurant operations running smoothly, while making the atmosphere inviting and comfortable. The devotion to keeping the food fresh and innovative without pretension will likely keep Oak in the top position for years to come.

(credit: driftwooddallas.com)

(credit: driftwooddallas.com)

 
Driftwood
642 W. Davis
Dallas, TX 75208
(214) 942-2530
driftwood-dallas.com

Price: $8 to $28

If you can’t go to the seaside for fresh seafood, Chef Omar Flores will bring it to you in the one of the most flavorful and original ways you’ll find in the metroplex. Since the April grand opening, Driftwood has been hitting high notes with restaurant goers and food critics alike, with no signs of slowing down. Driftwood offers a total dining experience from its beautiful decor and outstanding service to the inventive menu featuring vibrant, ambrosial dishes that resemble paintings on a canvas. Small plate selections of hamachi with pomegranate-cranberry sorbet and Maine lobster rolls with tarragon aioli send taste-buds into overdrive. Big plates such as the fennel pollen-crusted sea scallops with pomegranate brown butter and the tender chargrilled octopus with smoked tomato vinaigrette hit high on seafood-centric foodie charts. Flores also offers a few non-seafood items on the menu that are equally satisfying, especially the seasonal duck duo with a crispy confit leg and seared rare breast on huckleberry sauce. With a rising star chef and the management dream team of John Baudoin and Sal Jafar II, Driftwood’s future looks to be just as successful as its beginnings.

Monica’s Nueva Cocina & Mi Lounge
4123 Cedar Springs Road
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 219-1639
monicas.comPrice: $3 to $22Legendary restaurateur Monica Greene opened her latest eatery in August, featuring some of  the Mexico City street food that’s made her previous restaurants so successful. What makes this venture different is that this menu offers globally inspired dishes that follow the evolution of Mexican cuisine. Along with the creative talents of former Hibiscus chef, Hector Hernandez, the restaurant features freshly made, modern Mexican food with an Asian, European and South American flair. Many of Greene’s famous trademark dishes are on the menu, including the Mexican chicken lasagna, but they’ve been enhanced with in-house ground corn used for the tortillas and freshly made queso. Other dishes include Chinese char sui pork gorditas and lamb breast in mole negro with potatoes cooked in duck fat. You’ll also find ceviches, sushi, stir fried rice with pork belly and tempura jalepenos filled with crab, cream cheese and sweet eel sauce. The restaurant is all about awakening the senses, from its colorful decor and enticing drinks, to the fantastic food served. If recent reviews are of any indication DFW diners’ taste buds are being awakened here at unprecedented rates.Related: Best Chefs Heating Up The DFW Culinary Scene

(credit: flyingcarpetcafe.com)

(credit: flyingcarpetcafe.com)

Flying Carpet Cafe
1223 Washington Ave.
Fort Worth, TX 76104
(817) 877-1223
flyingcarpetcafe.com

Price: $7 to $20

Since opening in September, the Flying Carpet Cafe has made its mark among its trendy West Magnolia Avenue neighbors by bringing a touch of Turkey to cowtown. Le Cordon Bleu-trained chefs, Devon and Callie Doyle, opened the restaurant in part of a restored 1909 home that also houses a Turkish rug shop. With Devon Doyle’s pastry chef experience at Café Modern and Callie Doyle’s background as sous chef at Bolsa, the sisters created a tantalizing menu of Mediterranean specialties, many of which are inspired by their childhood cooking experiences with their Lebanese mother. Along with dolmasi, the menu features a succulent Australian lamb shoulder sandwich with pickled radishes, prunes, olive jam, toasted almonds, tzatziki sauce and flatiron steak with caramelized fennel. Devon Doyle makes delectable desserts including phyllo pastries and an exotic rose-water milk pudding with black-currant compote. After the meal, enjoy Turkish coffee, tea and a hookah to complete your flying carpet voyage to a faraway land.

(credit: woodshedsmokehouse.com)

(credit: woodshedsmokehouse.com)

Woodshed Smokehouse
3201 Riverfront Drive
Fort Worth, TX 76107
(817) 877-4545
woodshedsmokehouse.com

Price: $4 to $110

Celebrity Chef Tim Love’s newest restaurant proves that there’s much more to barbecue than throwing a slab of meat on the fire and slathering it with some sauce. Opened in February, Woodshed Smokehouse is an indoor-outdoor oasis on the Trinity River that’s full of cool vibes and wood smoked specialties. From smoked olives and artichokes to brisket-stuffed piquillo peppers and smoked redfish en papillote, just about everything on the menu has been cooked over a variety of smoking hardwoods. Also on the menu are standouts including Korean bulgogi beef tacos and Vietnamese banh mi tacos with coke and bourbon smoked pork, corn tortillas and pickled veggies. Try the dining with friend’s feast and share a 60-ounce bistecca alla fiorentina or a paella of mussels, clams, shrimp, rabbit-rattlesnake sausage and game bird. Daily animal specials will send carnivores to hog heaven, featuring fresh wild boar, elk, lamb, antelope or cabrito that’s been roasting all day on a spit near the dining area. Dining at Woodshed Smokehouse is more like hanging out at a backyard barbecue party than eating at a restaurant. With rave reviews and non-stop crowds, it looks like this party won’t be ending anytime soon.

Related: Best Sommeliers In DFW

Ilene Jacobs is a freelance writer living in Dallas, Texas. Ilene enjoys writing about a variety of topics, ranging from food, fitness and travel, to kids, pets and senior care. You can find some of her work at Examiner.com.
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