Many upscale restaurants today are offering their guests tasting menus as a way to show off their best for a delicious dinner. Chefs have a chance to be creative with new dishes as well as serve tried-and-true favorites. Most also have optional wine pairings to complement each course, rounding out as a memorable dining experience. Here are some of the best tasting menus in the area.
4511 McKinney Ave
Dallas, TX 75205
Price: $65 for six-course tasting menu; $95 for nine-course tasting menu
Located in the heart of Uptown, Abacus is perhaps chef Kent Rathbun’s most famous locale. Rathbun says he drew “on Southwestern, Mediterranean, American, Cajun/Creole and Pacific Rim influences” to create the cuisine for Abacus. The tasting menu is available Monday to Thursday and can offer up to nine different dishes. Both menus are available for parties of less than 12 and three levels of wine pairings are offered to round out the meal. Hope to see such dishes like lobster-scallion “shooters,” king crab ravioli and braised wagyu short ribs. But even if these don’t make it on the list, every offering will surely exceed your expectations.
Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana
3405 W 7th St
Fort Worth, TX 76107
Price: $60 for five-course tasting menu
Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana offers fine dining with Mexican roots, and Lanny P. Lancarte has strong Fort Worth roots as well. His great-grandfather was Joe T. Garcia, founder of the famous Joe T. Garcia’s Mexican Restaurant. Following in his family’s style, Lanny’s restaurant provides quality food with bursting tastes. The best way to get a well-rounded grasp on the cuisine of this establishment is by indulging in the five-course tasting menu. This menu changes frequently but possible dishes include agave-glazed duck breast, rack of lamb, seared scallops and squash blossom soup.
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5450 W Lovers Lane, Suite 225
Dallas, TX 75209
Price: $95 for six-course tasting menu; $85 for six-course vegetarian tasting menu; additional $50 for wine pairings
Bijoux describes itself quite accurately as “a refined upscale restaurant with a contemporary French menu.” It doesn’t have just a tasting menu, but a Chef’s Room complete with a menu of six courses. On this parade of plates, expect to see some great dishes such as parsnip and sunchoke soup, oil-poached tenderloin or golden beet gelee. If you fair more on the vegetarian side, choose from the meatless tasting menu of options like cucumber and watercress soup, herb gnocchi and quinoa. Both menus can be viewed on Bijoux’s website if this will help you decide whether or not to indulge in the feast. This unique dining experience is available Thursday to Saturday, beginning at 5:30 p.m.
1807 Ross Ave, Suite 200
Dallas, TX 75201
Price: $125 for 15-course tasting menu; $200 for 15-course tasting menu and wine pairings
Stephan Pyles’ Fuego Sample menu consists of 15 courses making it more than just a night out to eat. This is an entire experience that starts at the Ceviche Bar with a cocktail and continues while watching the chefs prepare many of the dishes right behind the bar in the wood-burning oven. Broken down on the menu as “relax,” “amuse,” “dine” and “farewell,” this lineup of delicacies will provide one of the most memorable nights you’ve had in Dallas. With dishes like tuna ceviche, salt-baked halibut, smoked pheasant fritter and butterscotch panna cotta, you might just be naming your next son after the chef with this vision of tastes. The Fuego menu is only available for two to four guests at a time during select seatings and seasons, so call before making any plans.
2201 Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, TX 75207
Price: $85 for seven-course tasting menu; $121 for seven course tasting menu and wine pairings; $100 for 10-course tasting menu; $145 for 10-course tasting menu and wine pairings
Nana is located on the 27th floor of the Hilton Anatole and looks out over the city with an impressive view. The cuisine is American but the chef is known for creations that are anything but ordinary American cuisine. Nana’s tasting menu offers vegetarian and vegan menus as well as the traditional. See the current offerings online to get an idea of what’s in store for you palate. Some options might include marinated salmon, roasted duck breast, seared drunken goat cheese or butternut squash sorbet. If looking to get filled up without meat, you might bite into dishes of broccolini tempura, grilled leeks or cavatelli pasta. The menu is available for a maximum of six people.
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Emilie DesJardins currently works in Dallas television and worked with KRLD Restaurant Week for several years before that. She is always trying new places around the Metroplex to find the best food and unique things to do. See her work at Examiner.com.