Dining • Readers Voice Awards 2009

Posted on 19 Mar 2009 at 7:43pm





MR. COFFEE: Buli barista Gilbert Guardiola serves a fresh cup of Texas pecan blend, $1.75. BRYAN AMANN/Dallas Voice

BEST JAVA
Buli
3908 Cedar Springs Rd.
Sun.-Thu. 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
214-528-5410
BuliCafe.com

"No cappuccino machine? And you call yourself a bookstore?" a New Yorker cartoon once sniffed.

OK, if you want a really good cup of coffee, maybe you should go to a coffeehouse. Buli is just that — a neighborhood café that actually specializes in serving food and beverages, not selling calendars. It’s espresso bar prepares java as simple as an American brew to a daily flavored coffee to the "naughty toddy" (iced) and the "scream’n queen" — not, the owners insist, named after a customer.

Yeah, right.

— Arnold Wayne Jones



TOAST OF THE TOWN: BuzzBrews manager Zach Davis and the "Mile High," griddle toast stacked with veggie sausages, scrambled egg whites, chopped nuts and real maple syrup, $7.50. BRYAN AMANN/Dallas Voice

BEST BREAKFAST
BuzzBrews Kitchen
4334 Lemmon Ave.
Open 24 hours a day.
214-521-4334
4154 N. Central Expy.
Open 24 hours a day.
214-826-7100
BuzzBrews.com

Ya gotta love the fact that our favorite place to eat breakfast has the words "buzz" and "brew" in its name. OK, so Buzzbrews Kitchen is only fooling us into thinking it’s a beer joint when in fact they specialize in the holy grail of 24-hour dining: all-day breakfast.

Because when a Spanish omelet calls to you — whether before the big meeting or after a night of clubbing — you must answer. And what better way to brush the cobwebs out of your eyes than with funky décor and a fun vibe?

If you haven’t been yet, this is your wake-up call.

— Arnold Wayne Jones



TEX-MEXCELLENT: Hostess Crystal Peralta and server Jano Guerra dish out the puffed taco with beef enchiladas, $10.50. BRYAN AMANN/Dallas Voice

BEST MEXICAN-LATIN
Ojeda’s
(Various locations.)
4617 Maple Ave.
Daily, 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
214-528-8383
OjedasDallas.com

I remember, soon after moving to Texas, the first time I saw the menu at Ojeda’s proudly offering a "puffed beef taco."

"What does puffed beef look like?" I wondered.

Of course, it’s the tortilla not the filling that’s puffed, but it still helps this institution of Tex-Mex classics stand out in my mind after nearly 20 years.

Equally distinctive are the chicken mole (some of the best in town), the homemade pralines (they just sit there at the cash register, begging you to take them!) and the (gay-)friendly atmosphere and usually whip-fast service.

Too fast sometimes: I always have so much fun here, I barely want to leave.

— Arnold Wayne Jones



OVEN-READY: Fireside’s Diego Botello hauls out a dish of roasted heaven. BRYAN AMANN/Dallas Voice

BEST PIZZA
Fireside Pies
(Various locations.)
2820 N. Henderson Ave.
Daily, 5 p.m.-midnight.
214-370-3916
FiresidePies.com

Who had even heard of "gourmet pizza" before Wolfgang Puck opened Spago in West Hollywood 27 years ago? But thanks to WeHo’s gay network, the trend spread to the point where, nowadays, the idea of a savory pie made without goat cheese, roasted garlic or fresh artichoke sounds retro.

And Fireside Pies — which opened on Henderson Avenue in 2004 and now boasts four more locations around the Metroplex — delivers. Well, they don’t actually "deliver," but you get the idea.

Yummy, hand-tossed thick crust pizzas are slathered in locally made cheeses and sausages and seasonal herbs and veggies, served bubbling in a cozy, buzzy atmosphere. After nearly five years, we still haven’t found its better.

— Arnold Wayne Jones



GAYBORHOOD, AL FRESCO: Hunky’s corners the market on cruising passersby at the Crossroads. BRYAN AMANN/Dallas Voice

BEST PATIO
Hunky’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers
4000 Cedar Springs Rd.
Mon.-Thu.. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
214-522-1212
321 N. Bishop Ave.
Mon.-Thu.. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
214-941-3322
Hunkys.com

In any cosmopolitan city, the best people-watching is usually the hippest corner of the gayborhood. So is it any wonder that Hunky’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers — literally sitting at the Crossroads (at Cedar Springs Road and Throckmorton Street) ­— wins Dallas’ best patio?

Roomy enough to accommodate enough patrons to warrant "be seen" status on its own, it’s also conveniently on the north side of the street, offering a perfect post-noon vantage point from which to observe, ogle and opine over a burger and beer.

If there’s any better use of a patio, we don’t know it.

— Arnold Wayne Jones



MOMENT OF ZEN: Michelle Carpenter and her Sakura Roll: clam, crab, shrimp and asparagus with dynamite sauce. $13.50. BRYAN AMANN/Dallas Voice

BEST SUSHI
Zen Sushi
380 West 7th St.
Lunch: Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.
Dinner: Mon.-Thu. 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
214-946-9699
ZenSushiDallas.com

Michelle Carpenter, the chef-owner at Bishop Arts’ Zen Sushi, shares much in common with her cuisine: Half Japanese but the other half very American.

Like many other gay-owned eateries in the neighborhood, Carpenter’s Oak Cliff sushi joint manages to be uptown and down-home at the same time: deliciously unpretentious.

We love the muted tones of the décor with splashes of flair — a description that also applies to the flavors of the food, from the disarming sushi rolls (triangular, not round) to the tasty sashimi. This is Japanese cooking that thinks outside the bento box.

— Arnold Wayne Jones


BEST FAST FOOD

McDonald’s
(Locations nationwide.)
4439 Lemmon Ave.
Open 24 hours a day.
214-522-0697
McDonalds.com

BEST BRUNCH
The Bronx
3835 Cedar Springs Rd.
Lunch:
Tue.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.
Dinner:
Tue.-Thu. 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.,
Fri.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
Brunch: Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
Closed Mondays.
214-521-5821

BEST HOME COOKING
Black-Eyed Pea
(Various locations.)
3857 Cedar Springs Rd.
Sun-Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
214-521-4580
TheBlackEyedPea.com

BEST SANDWICH
Buli
3908 Cedar Springs Rd.
Sun.-Thu. 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 7 a.m.-11 p.m.
214-528-5410
BuliCafe.com

BEST STEAK

Bob’s Steak and Chop House
(Various locations.)
4300 Lemmon Ave.
Mon.-Thu. 5 p.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 5 p.m.-11 p.m.
214-528-9446
Bobs-SteakAndChop.com

BEST ITALIAN
Patrizio
(Various locations.)
25 Highland Park Village
Mon.-Tue. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Tue.-Thu. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-midnight.
Sun. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
214-522-7878
Patrizios.net

BEST BARBECUE
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
(Various locations.)
2525 Wycliff Ave.
Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-8 p.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.
214-780-0999
Dickeys.com

BEST FRIED CHICKEN
Bubba’s
6617 Hillcrest Ave.
Daily 6:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
214-373-6527

BEST CHINESE
Panda’s
3917 Cedar Springs Rd.
Daily 5 p.m.-4 a.m
214-528-3818

BEST THAI

Thai Lotus Kitchen
3851 Cedar Springs Rd.
Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sat.-Sun. 12 noon-10 p.m.
214-520-9385

BEST GREEK
Stratos Greek Taverna
2907 Northwest Hwy.
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-midnight.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-2 a.m.
Sun. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
214-352-3321
ClubStratos.com

BEST TAKE OUT
Eatzi’s Market & Bakery
3403 Oak Lawn Ave.
Daily, 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Closed Thanksgiving
and Christmas.
214-526-1515
Eatzis.com

BEST SEAFOOD
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
(Various locations.)
3520 Oak Lawn Ave.
Sun.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
214-521-4700
Pappadeaux.com

BEST DESSERT
The Cheesecake Factory
(Various locations.)
7700 W. Northwest Hwy.
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m.
Sun. 10 a.m.-11 p.m.
214-373-4844
TheCheesecakeFactory.com

BEST VEGGIE
Cosmic Cafe
2912 Oak Lawn Ave.
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sun. noon-10 p.m.
214-521-6157
CosmicCafeDallas.com

BEST KID FRIENDLY
McDonald’s
(Locations nationwide.)
4439 Lemmon Ave.
Open 24 hours a day.
214-522-0697
McDonalds.com

BEST BURGER
Hunky’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers
4000 Cedar Springs Rd.
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
214-522-1212

321 N. Bishop Ave.
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
214-941-3322
Hunkys.com

BEST CHEAP DATE
Hunky’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers
4000 Cedar Springs Rd.
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
214-522-1212

321 N. Bishop Ave.
Mon.-Thu. 11 a.m.-9 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sun. 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m.
214-941-3322
Hunkys.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 20, 2009.

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