Dining | rva.2010

Posted on 17 Mar 2010 at 11:44am



NAUGHTY AND NICE | Chef Blythe Beck makes buttercream seem sexy. Maybe because it is. (Photo by Arnold Wayne Jones)

TOP CHEF
Chef Blythe Beck, Central 214
5680 N. Central Expressway (in the Hotel Palomar)
Opens daily for lunch at 11:30 a.m., dinner at 5 p.m.; Sunday brunch at 8 a.m.
214-443-9339
Central214.com

Chef Blythe Beck has spent much of the last half decade cultivating her philosophy of naughty cooking: Food that’s unapologetically indulgent, an Atkins-be-damned attitude that embraces cream and butter and cayenne pepper. Why play it safe when safe is so boring? It’s that approach to food — and her bigger-than-life personality — that landed her her own reality series last year on Oxygen, just as she took over the kitchen at the Hotel Palomar’s acclaimed Central 214 restaurant. It also has made her a favorite of the gay community, both as a celebrichef and as an icon of brassy individuality. And she feeds us good eats, too. Gotta love that.

— Arnold Wayne Jones



LIVIN’ LA VEGAN LOCA Server Ashley Arostegui isn’t calling you a jerk, she’s sharing one of the vegan options available at Spiral Diner. (Photo by Eddie Garza)

BEST VEGETARIAN
Spiral Diner and Bakery
1101 N Beckley Ave.
Opens Tuesday–Sunday at 11 a.m.
214-948-4747
SpiralDiner.com

For down-home Southern eats with a cruelty-free twist, local veg-heads find comfort at Spiral Diner in Oak Cliff (an older location is in Fort Worth). Virtually everything on the diner’s menu is suitable for vegetarians, flexitarians, vegans and even the veg-curious. We heart Spiral’s jerk tempeh sandwich, Texas-Philly cheezsteak and Mitch tofu club. Down-home sides include a dill-rich potato salad and creamy pasta salad. And who says vegans can’t have their cake and eat it, too? Spiral Diner whips up a variety of lip smackin’ egg- and dairy-free cakes, cookies and pies, and all-you-can-eat pancakes are served all day Sunday. (Hint: You’ll wanna put on your eatin’ dress.)

— Eddie Garza

EDITOR’S CHOICE

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD | The bacon cheeseburger at Maple & Motor, top, is a greasy fantasy compared to the elegant pappadam cups at Samar, below. (Photos by Arnold Wayne Jones)

BEST NEW RESTAURANT • CHEAP
Maple & Motor Burgers & Beer
4810 Maple Ave.
Opens daily at 10:45 a.m.
214-522-4400
MapleandMotor.com

There are greasy spoons, there are hamburger joints and there are dives; somehow, Maple & Motor Burgers & Beer is all of those and none of them. How they do it is hard to pinpoint. The diner itself is both cool and stylish but not kitschy. Clearly, the star of the place is the burger. They are just big enough to be filling with beautifully glazed buns, a blanket of melted cheese and a patty that makes every bite heaven. Add a slice of uber-crispy bacon that cantilevers off the bun as if to pry its glorious sloppiness into your pie hole, and it becomes a meal that’s hard to forget. Owner Jack Perkins has created something really special in this unsuspecting — and gay-friendly — spot.
— Rich Lopez



BEST NEW RESTAURANT • NOT-SO-CHEAP
Samar by Stephan Pyles
2100 Ross Ave.
Open daily for lunch and dinner.
214-922-9922.

First things first: Stephan Pyles’ newest concept, Samar, is his most accessible (and affordable) cuisine since he was line cook at The Bronx back in the early ’80s. So don’t think of it as expensive — think of it as delicious. Serving lunch and dinner (and open late for an after-theater nosh), it’s a mini-tour through the flavorful cuisines of India, Spain and the Mediterranean that’s elegant without being high-falutin. It’s no wonder the restaurant has put Pyles on the shortlist for another James Beard Award — making the gay chef’s eateries a resource no queer local foodie should overlook.

 — Arnold Wayne Jones


BEST BREAKFAST

Lucky’s Cafe
3531 Oak Lawn Ave
Opens daily at 7 a.m.
214-522-3500
LuckysDallas.com


BEST JAVA

Starbucks Coffee
4101 Lemmon Ave. (and additional locations)
Opens daily at 5 a.m.
214-522-3531
Starbucks.com


BEST BRUNCH • TIE

Bread Winners Cafe
3301 McKinney Ave.
Opens Monday–Saturday at 7 a.m., Sunday at 8 a.m.
214-754-4940
BreadWinnersCafe.com


The Bronx
3835 Cedar Springs Road
Opens for lunch Tuesday–Friday at 11 a.m., Saturday–Sunday at 10 a.m.
214-521-5821

BEST GREEK
Stratos Greek Taverna
2907 Northwest Highway
Opens daily at 11 a.m.
214-352-3321
ClubStratos.com


BEST HOME COOKING

Black-eyed Pea
3857 Cedar Springs Road (and additional locations)
Opens daily at 11 a.m.
214-521-4580
TheBlackEyedPea.com

BEST STEAK HOUSE
Bob’s Steak and Chop House
4300 Lemmon Ave.
Opens for dinner Monday–Saturday at 5 p.m.
214-528-9446
Bobs-SteakandChop.com

BEST BARBECUE
Dickey’s Barbecue Pit
2525 Wycliff Ave. (and additional locations)
Opens Monday–Saturday at 11 a.m.
214-780-0999
Dickeys.com

BEST SEAFOOD
Pappadeaux Seafood Kitchen
3520 Oak Lawn Ave. (and additional locations)
Opens daily at 11 a.m.
214-521-4700
Pappadeaux.com

BEST ITALIAN
Taverna by Lombardi
3210 Armstrong Ave.
Opens Monday–Friday at 11 a.m.,
Saturday–Sunday at 10 a.m.
214-520-9933
TavernaByLombardi.com

BEST MEXICAN/LATIN
Ojeda’s
4617 Maple Ave. (and additional locations)
Opens daily at 11 a.m.
214-528-8383
OjedasDallas.com

BEST ASIAN
Green Papaya Cafe
3211 Oak Lawn Ave.
Opens daily for lunch at 11 a.m.; for dinner at 5 p.m.
214-521-4811
GreenPapayaRestaurant.com

BEST SUSHI
Oishii Sushi & Pan-Asian Cuisine
2525 Wycliff Ave., Suite 110
Opens Monday–Saturday for lunch at 11 a.m.,
dinner at 5 p.m.
214-599-9468
DallasOishii.com

BEST FAST FOOD
Whataburger
5500 Lemmon Ave. (and additional locations)
Open 24 hours.
214-521-3870
Whataburger.com

BEST BURGER
Hunky’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers
3930 Cedar Springs Road (and in Oak Cliff)
Opens Monday–Saturday at 11 a.m.,
Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
214-522-1212
Hunkys.com

BEST CHEAP DATE
Hunky’s Old Fashioned Hamburgers
3930 Cedar Springs Road (and in Oak Cliff)
Opens Monday–Saturday at 11 a.m.,
Sunday at 11:30 a.m.
214-522-1212
Hunkys.com

BEST PIZZA • TIE
Sal’s Pizza
2525 Wycliff Ave.
Opens daily at 10 a.m.
214-522-1828
SalsPizzaDallas.com

Grimaldi’s Pizzeria
3636 McKinney Ave.
Opens daily at 11 a.m.
214-559-4611
GrimaldisPizzeria.com

BEST ROMANTIC DINING
The Grape
2802 Greenville Ave.
Open daily for dinner at 5:30 p.m.
Happy hour Monday­–Friday at 4:30 p.m.
214-828-1981
TheGrapeRestaurant.com

BEST KID-FRIENDLY DINING
McDonald’s
4439 Lemmon Ave. (and additional locations)
Open 24 hours.
214-522-0697
McDonalds.com

BEST PATIO
Jack’s Backyard
2303 Pittman Road
Opens for lunch Tuesday–Saturday at 11 a.m.;
dinner at 5 p.m.
214-741-3131
JacksBackyardDallas.com

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition March 19, 2010.

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