All posts by Quincy Atkinson

Y.O. Ranch Offers a True Taste of Texas

Some people say you haven’t done Dallas if you haven’t been to The Perot, or a Cowboys/Mavs/Stars game … others would say that you have to visit Reunion Tower, the Dallas Zoo, or Pioneer Plaza to genuinely do Dallas right. While all of those experiences are uniquely Dallas, I would argue that you haven’t really done Dallas right until you’ve eaten at Y.O. Ranch.

Currently the oldest steakhouse in the city following the unfortunate closing of The Palm (we know Wally and Bruce will be back in even more legendary fashion before we know it), Y.O. is quintessential Texas. It’s chef-owned with a menu offering some of the best meats and game Texas has to offer with a Hill Country twang and a bar offering creative takes on classics.

The restaurant has all the romantic charms of ranch life; think antler chandeliers, brick arches, supple leather seats, a hostess stand wrapped in cow hide … it’s basically Texas in a restaurant. Soak in the ambiance as classic country plays and head to one of their two bars to try the new set of cleverly crafted cocktails.

I started with the cocktail of the month, a riff on an Old Fashioned, the El Jefe; a bold Anejo tequila-based drink with orange zest, agave nectar, and a dash of cinnamon. The Anejo is complemented well by the cinnamon and orange zest for a taste that has that familiar tequila zing, but the richness of a whiskey based drink. It starts to transform into something slightly sweeter that actually leans towards an Old Fashioned as the melted ice, orange oils, and cinnamon dovetail with the tequila at the bottom of the glass. Next up was a Black Manhattan. It’s an interesting new take a on the classic—rye whiskey, vermouth, and black walnut bitters. Smooth, sultry, and draped in rye; it’s a solid way to start and end an evening. Thus, I opted for another drink since the night was just beginning. The last spirit I imbibed before diving into dinner was the Dirty Marshall, arefreshing cocktail bristling with citrus from the lime garnished grapefruit beverage made with Herman Marshalls’ excellent rye whiskey mixed with mint simple syrup, The Dirty Marshall is an exceptional summertime sidekick.

After enjoying my spirited visit to the bar, I decided it was time to take the plunge into Y.O.’s renowned cuisine. The meal started with the Wild Game Mixed Grill, a wild boar sausage link, venison with mozzarella and jalapeño-wrapped in bacon, and chicken fried quail breast all resting on a bed of wild rice made me wonder why they led with a winner. The boar was spicy, juicy, and cooked just right. The bacon-wrapped venison hid cheesy, peppered, elk under its salty crunch; and it was delicious and exciting like the nostalgia of finding the hidden toy inside a box of Cracker Jacks. Finally, the chicken fried quail was an surprise with its eager crunch blanketing a moist and flavorful breast. All of this masterfully made game framed by precisely prepared wild rice was a superb way to start the meal.

The Tomato Burrata Salad (fresh buffalo burrata, beefsteak tomatoes, and fresh basil drizzled with EVOO and balsamic reduction) was a refreshing palate cleanser to prepare for the Chilean Sea Bass. Caramelized and crusted for the perfect crunch and served with a sweet miso glaze, it is buttery, flaky and flavorful. Done a la carte, the Maple Dijon Roasted Brussel Sprouts with Bacon were astonishing. Lightly roasted and wilted on the outside with a savory, earthy crunch on the inside; these are hands down the best Brussel sprouts I’ve ever had, and I usually hate the little green monsters. Not to be outdone, their Buffalo Filet Au Poive, YO’s signature dish, is served crusted with black pepper and crowned with a green peppercorn cognac cream, this is a truly memorable dish. Lean, rich, and flavorful, I enjoyed every bite.

Resting in a nearly comatose state, I didn’t think it could get better … until they brought out their Lemon Brittle topped with Prickly Pear Sorbet and fresh berries. Beautiful, tart and bitingly sweet, I could only handle a few bites before a brain freeze/sugar high kicked in.

My time at YO was a revelation. After a meal that made dining a borderline religious experience, it’s easy to see why US News and World Report were such big fans. The new dinner menu is fantastic and the specialty cocktails are well balanced and creative takes on classics.

While there are many ways to experience a city, I’d like to offer a close-minded word of advice: Don’t come to Dallas if you aren’t planning to go to Y.O. Ranch Steakhouse. Otherwise, you won’t be authentically visiting the southwest, you won’t be genuinely visiting Texas, and you definitely won’t be legitimately visiting Dallas; you’ll just be simply be wasting your time.


YO RANCH STEAKHOUSE

yoranchsteakhouse.com
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702 Ross Ave (West End)
(214) 744-3287

A Tricky Brunch

Nestled among the retail stores and restaurants lining State Street’s pristine pavement within Richardson’s sexy, new mixed-use community, City Line, there lies an unexpected early afternoon delight. When walking past the Tricky Fish, the last thing I would think is, “I bet this place has a good brunch.” It’s not that it’s unappealing; the location is perfect and the atheistic is mesmerizing. The space is wrapped in a bold, brick veneer that melds into modern subway tiles as you walk towards the fish market-inspired kitchen. There are bonded polished wooden planks flanked in steel and embossed with rivets separating tables to break up the space, accompanied with walls of corrugated steel cleverly capping corners. It just feels like you’ve walked into a sleek Cajun restaurant on the edges of Port A that’s looking for an excuse to throw a party instead of serving a late breakfast.

We’ve learned that there’s always a party happening in Tricky Fish’s the kitchen, and it opens to the public on Saturdays and Sundays at 10am. The brunch menu here is focused and the kitchen clearly knows their strengths.

I’m a huge fan of breakfast pastries, so I started the meal with Praline Pancakes. Served with macerated raspberries, candied praline pecan whisky syrup, and orange cream delivered on a sizable plate framed with ramekins for toppings; I can’t think of a better way to get two servings of fruit and a little whiskey to start the day. While the cakes didn’t look like anything special, they were. The cakes were fluffy, lightly crisp, and I really liked getting the toppings separately so my pancakes didn’t get soggy half way through the celebration. Explosions of raspberry layered with the sweet satisfying crunch of pecans wrapped in whisky syrup, finished with a dollop of creme confetti-ed in orange zest, made every bite feel sinful.

After shaking my sugar buzz, it was on to heartier, protein-filled plates. The only thing missing from my pancake cavalcade were bacon and eggs, so I gathered myself and crawled over to the NOLA Benedict to get my fix. Flaky biscuits loaded with Andouille sausage, grilled peppers and onions topped with poached eggs and a creole mustard hollandaise sauce surrounded by fried okra brought this dish to the next level. This is a robust benedict. (The impregnable moment right before the perfect pop of a poached egg yolk reminds me of energy building in a crowd before a heavy breakdown in a dynamic rock song, or an elongated pause before a bass filled beat drop from your favorite DJ. Just me?) Cascading over the milky white edges of egg and through a meat and veggie medley before finally soaking into the biscuit below; the warm yolk and hollandaise blend really binds the individual pieces of the dish together into a perfect finish. However, the life of the party on this plate is the fried okra! Perfectly salted, briskly breaded and fried with a crispy gratifying texture that begs you to eat more. It’s the after party you didn’t know you wanted to go to, but once you get there, you don’t want to leave.

Walking away from a dish with such an unexpected connection was difficult, but the party wasn’t over. So, I cautiously cozied up to the Fried Shrimp and Oyster Grits. At first glance this is an odd and eclectic bowl—it was laced with hidden bits of corn and bacon, with melting cheese and a gooey yolk under a canopy of fried egg with a juicy, golden brown assortment of sealife splashed with a tangy BBQ sauce from Shiner. the first bite was like saying the right secret password at a speakeasy—decadent, spicy, and savory with depth and texture rarely experienced in a single dish. These grits are phenomenal. The oysters and shrimp are coated and fried, and bear a brash crackle in contrast to the creamy grains of hearty, whipped wheat.

Photo credit: Quincy Atkinson

After the serotonin release from consuming something so obscenely rich, I was ready to call it an afternoon until the FOMO and temptation of tequila and bananas foster convinced me to stay for a brunch cap.

 

The arrival of the Bananas Foster Monkey Bread (pictured at the top) was similar to the feeling that you may have had one drink too many before closing your tab. This rum-based dessert has a brittle shell that’s punctuated with slices of candied banana that crumbles into puffy folds of warm monkey bread when you dig in. You can comfortably share this treat with four people, and its quite rich, so the option for added ice cream might be overkill.

Finally, doing last what I should’ve done first … I ordered a cocktail, a La Paloma. Tricky Fish’s take on the La Paloma starts with a grapefruit-infused tequila, then they add real grapefruit, lime, and agave, and top it with Topo Chico. It’s a fantastic refreshing summer drink that provides a great guilt-free way to enjoy tequila before noon. If you don’t know how to enjoy alcohol guilt free before noon, that’s okay too … Tricky Fish’s happy hour starts at 5pm and goes until close every night of the week.

Good food, great drinks, and a party in the kitchen. Next time you’re in Richardson, let this fish show you a few tricks.


TRICKY FISH
tricky-fish.com
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1251 State Street, Suite 750 (Richardson)
(972)437-FISH

Pictures courtesy of Tricky Fish.