Category Archives: Neighborhood

The Henry: Chic new spot for cocktails and caffeine

The Henry just opened by Victory Plaza and I’m calling it now: It’s going to be THE place to be when the weather is nice or before and after concerts/sporting events or when you need a caffeine fix or when you just want to go somewhere for killer food and cocktails (and an amazing view) … ok, so, like, anytime.

I had the opportunity to go to the grand opening of The Henry and since doing so, I’ve told at least 12 different people that they must go ASAP and that I would be happy to go with them. (No shame here.) It’s an impressive 15,000 SQ FT space in the Union Dallas (think right where Uptown and Victory Park come together) and comes from the Fox Restaurant Group we love for giving us other great concepts like North Italia and Flower Child.

This spot isn’t just limiting itself to dinner and drinks.; they have a super cute coffee bar, a delicious brunch menu with a tableside bloody mary and mimosa cart on Saturdays and Sundays, and a happy hour with the aforementioned views that features $6 cocktails like their amazing mint cucumber mule, $6 wine on tap and $4 draft beer.

We worked our way upstairs where they have an indoor bar that opens to their outdoor rooftop lounge area. The night of the event was a chilly night in Dallas, but they had heaters going in full-force along with fire pits all around the edge of the lounge area, so it was comfortable to hang out and sip on their delicious cocktails and admire the views. In the summer, they have fans that will regulate the temperature accordingly! Thank GOD!

For the grand opening, they were passing around appetizers and I honestly don’t know if I can pick a favorite. The sliders were honestly some of the best sliders that I’ve ever eaten. I feel like it’s super easy for a slider to be a little overcooked and slightly dry, but these sliders were perfect with a little bit of pink in the middle and tons of flavor. The other stand-out was the Short Rib Potstickers with toasted sesame and yuzo ponzu. I grabbed the last one off of a tray and literally stalked the staff to hunt down more so that my husband could experience the joy that I just did … and obviously so I could have a second one. 💁🏼‍♀️ I’ll admit that I have been back a couple times already to satisfy my craving for them.

As far as cocktails go, you really can’t go wrong. The mint cucumber mule was my favorite, and I’ll definitely be back for more of their specialty cocktails like the Go North (espresso, cocoa and cream. shaken and served neat). I’m also dying to try their Italian Mezcal Sour made with Banhez Mezcal, anejo tequila, spiced Curaçao, lemon, lime and a splash of Lambrusco. GUYYYYYYYS.

So no matter what time of day it is, it’s a good time to go check out the newest neighborhood restaurant in Dallas. Henry will be your new best friend … just wait.


THE HENRY
2301 Akard Street, Dallas (Uptown/Victory Park)
thehenryrestaurant.com

The HERO Victory Plaza Needed

Victory Plaza has seen many restaurant and bar concepts come and go, but none seemed to succeed. They were convenient, but not worth braving the crowds during events one wasn’t attending to patronize. …….. until a new HERO came to save the day.

The newest concept from Matt Ragan and 8020 Concepts, the people behind HG Sply Co., Gung Ho, and more, give us all something to love. Sports fans have giant televisions to watch their events with fellow fans and proximity to AAC. Foodies have a thoughtful menu with scratch items just like Mom used to make. And the boozehounds have a menu of unexpectedly thoughtful cocktails—some takes on classics and some originals.

Bottom line: it’s a huge place.
With a capacity of 1,100 and 610 seats with six bars and up to 20 bartenders working at a time, you’d expect a churn-and-burn, high volume restaurant/bar cutting corners and cutting costs—but that’s not so with HERO. Ragan and his team have ensured that everything is done quickly and efficiently but without lowering quality … at all. Think scratch food, fresh and local ingredients when possible, zero additives, and juices squeezed fresh daily.

The staff in HERO is stacked with all-stars. You’ll see familiar faces from concepts past and others that you thought gave up the stick. One of my favorites you’ll see is our favorite bartender past from Vickery Park, Chris Young, running around making sure everything is done right behind the six bars, but always with a smile.

While the popularity of this new spot has made it a destination and caused a bit of a wait from time to time, there’s plenty of space to go around. They host a full dining room, the aforementioned SIX BARS, a large patio, and even more standing room for watching games on their GINORMOUS SCREEN … and a small 90s-themed arcade.

The dedication to making everything just that much better extends event to the simplest parts of their cocktails. Ragan’s goal was to give is bartenders the ability to make a craft cocktail in under 45 seconds, and he sure as shit did it. He standardized four cocktail bases and put them on draft, cutting prep time and the opportunity for inconsistency, and ultimately price for both HERO and the guest, all while maintaining the integrity of his menu and the ingredients used. They employ one employee whose entire job is to prepare the fruit and juices for their cocktails. 

A perfect example of Ragan’s desire for consistency and quality is their house-made tonic. And if you know anything about making tonic, then you know it can be a dangerous game. It’s made with cinchona bark, which can help medicinally, if used responsibly, and it can do damage if not. He wanted to ensure it was done right, so he did it.

Their frozen drinks are even made with the most care and consideration of ingredients. Their Miami Vice, a strawberry daiquiri and piña colada swirl, happens to be a new favorite cocktail in Dallas … because 100º days are real and it’s f**king delicious. What makes it so good? They make their own coconut rum, strawberry cordial, AND coconut cream. The coconut cream in itself is culinary science at its best—they use Ticaloid 210 S, a natural stabilizer made from seaweed, to keep it emulsified. Why this? Why no shortcuts? Because they don’t do that. Ragan needed to find something that would emulsify fat in alcohol (coconut is a “fat”), but also work in cold temperatures and with alcohol, and the T210s is the only element that does all three. See? NO SHORTCUTS.

As with many of Dallas’s restaurants, the menu can be slightly daunting. So, I asked Matt what his “Go-To” items were, and he didn’t disappoint. He gave us his ideal days—both “healthy” and “cheat”. So here we go:

HEALTHY
– Salty Dawg ($11, vodka, Aperol, grapefruit juice, simple, lemon, candied citrus salt rim) & Cucumber Collins ($11, vodka, cucumber, lime mint cordial, soda)
– Smoky Carrot Hummus ($14, fresh veggies & grilled pita bread) & roasted Chicken Wings ($14, tossed in chimichurri, pecorino, fresno chiles)

CHEAT
– 14oz Miami Vice ($14, strawberry daiquiri + piña colada swirl)
– Calamari Lettuce Wraps
($14, pickled ginger, herbs, bibb lettuce), Crab Rangoon Dip ($14, served with wonton chips), & Parmesan Kale Dip

Here’s the bottom line: don’t write this place off. Yes, it’s huge and crowded when there’s a game, but it’s WORTH IT. It’s even more worth the effort of braving Victory Park when there’s not a game or concert. It’s the HERO we wanted, and really, it’s the one we all needed. 


HERO
herobyhg.com
3090 Olive Street, #b110 (Victory Park)
469-300-4199

Su-Th: 11am to midnight
F: 11am to LATE
Sa: 11am to LATE

EL RINCON: The Gem on the Corner

This joint is a gem!

What makes it different than any other Tex Mex spot in Texas? The uniqueness comes from the owners, Rick and Susan. They’ve added touches here and there to give the space a modern yet comfortable feel.

The bar is absolutely gorgeous with eye-catching tiling and a large selection of alcohol displayed beautifully on open shelves. The best of the bottles, though, is theirs. The owners went to Mexico and bought a barrel and had their own tequila produced. (Because that’s a normal thing to do right?) A single barrel which only produces around  240 bottles to use, so, pro tip: get there ASAP to try theirs before it’s gone! Their goal was to have vanilla and citrus notes come through their tequila, and upon first sip of their blend, those notes rang true.

To start our meal … as with any Tex Mex joint worth its (tequila and) salt, their chips and salsa hit the table right when you sit down. They’re made fresh daily and the salsa has a bright charred flavor. Not to start off too strong, but my husband claims this is his favorite salsa … looks like we will be going back soon … ya know … for quality control purposes!

For an appetizer we indulged in the Brisket Empanadas that were filled with juicy meat and had a soft yet crunchy flaky crust. For the entrees we had Brisket Tacos and Seafood Ancho Relleno. Both dishes were stuffed with a generous portion of protein and really hit the spot. You can taste the freshness of the ingredients in the crunch of the vegetables.

To top off the meal we had the sopapillas. Did anyone else grow up “rais[ing] the flag”? No? Just me? Ok, well this dessert was the stuff dreams are made of. Show me a pastry covered in sugary goodness and you have my full attention (after I eat it  … because I’m not focusing on anything but that until it’s gone.) The whipped cream it came with had a subtle kick of heat, which was a delightful surprise.

The environment was light and airy. The bar filled up before the restaurant, obvi, and it had an energetic feel without being too loud to enjoy your dining companions. If you hit this place up, I recommend that you head to happy hour first and let the night go from there!

Just a couple of last tips:
– It gets busy right around 6pm, so get there early to get a good seat and start sipping a delicious marg.
– Their Carrollton location is super convenient but if this isn’t close enough to Highway 75 for you, they will be building a location in Frisco very soon!
– If you sit in the bar, be sure to chat with Danny! He’s pretty awesome!


EL RINCON
elrincontx.com
Facebook | Instagram
1114 S Elm St #100 (Carrollton, Texas)
469-892-6429

Header and queso pictures courtesy of El Rincon, all others taken by Taylor Sutton.

Save Lives with Me on June 30

Hello, friends! I have been a blood donor for many years and am proud to be hosting a drive with Carter BloodCare at Texas Live on June 30!

Every two seconds, someone needs blood, and there’s no substitute for it. Each donation could save three lives, so I’d be honored if you’d join me to #giveforlife!!

Anyone who donates during this event will be thanked with:
– a complimentary slider from Lockhart Smokehouse Arlington
– goodies from Balcones Distillery
– an entry into a raffle for a “Day at Balcones with SusieDrinks”
– a “Cheers to Life” mason jar from Carter BloodCare
– a Rangers t-shirt and a BOGO Rangers ticket voucher

Make an appointment now to #GiveforLife. Call or text CBC at 800-366-2834 or visit http://bit.ly/31qv1BY.

Deep Ellum Welcomes a Boozy Oyster Bar

There’s a new bar in town, it’s right at the edge of Deep Ellum where Elm meets Malcom X Blvd. Formerly Idle Rye, it’s now called Bitter End.

I experienced all of this for myself when I went to Bitter End for the first time last month. The first thing I noticed was that there is a solid patio which is where they hosted Puppies on the Patio every Sunday in April where they welcome your four-legged companion and kept free pupsicles in stock. But don’t worry … the patio is always pup-friendly and there’s a chance they will bring back Pups on the Patio for an encore. (Crossing my fingers!)

Inside, you can find vibrant art of famous rock legends along the wall which ties into the cleverly named cocktails—Walk the Line, The Madonna, and The Selena, to name a few.  You’ll also find a raw bar full of oysters on ice from all over. Bitter End will always carry Gulf and Blue Point Oysters, but there are other types on rotation like Sweet Jesus oysters. (Seriously.)

If raw oysters aren’t your thing, I recommend the charbroiled oysters or clams. They are wood-grilled with garlic herb butter and Parmesan and served with a toasted baguette that is excellent dipped in the leftover herb butter! The menu isn’t all oysters—they also have burgers, Nashville hot chicken sliders, salads, lobster rolls (on pretzel buns!), and other delicious pub food.

As far as cocktails go, you’re going to want to try them all! I am somewhat obsessed with the Ziggy Stardust (rum, maraschino liqueur, grapefruit and lime). They use a mini clothespin to fasten the garnish to the glass and it’s adorable (and very insta-worthy).  If you want something a little less sweet, I would suggest you Walk the Line (bourbon, spiced pear, lemon and egg white). It sounds like a weird combo, but go with it! I also discovered my new go-to coffee cocktail—I still love you, Twilight Lounge—called the Madonna (frozen coffee liqueur, espresso vodka topped with whipped cream). It’s going to be perfect for Dallas’s hot weather and late night patio season.

Now let’s talk about their events…
Mondays and Tuesdays, ALL DAY: $5 champagne and $1.50 oysters
Every day, 5-7pm: $5 wells, wine and beer
7 days a week, 10pm-2am: reverse oyster happy hour with $1.50 oysters

There are more than 20 TVs, so it’s also a perfect spot to watch your favorite sports team and there will be various specials for select games. Now would be a great time to check out Bitter End while cheering on your favorite Dallas team …


BITTER END DALLAS
bitterenddallas.com
2826 Elm St, Dallas, TX 75226
(214) 792-9888

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen may be filling the spot of Grayson Social, but they are certainly setting themselves apart from the previous southern-style restaurant. This new joint has all the comfort food you could possibly need … and the whiskey list to match, The space lends a feel of porch sitting at Grandma’s after enjoying a home cooked meal.

They’re all about the whiskey and bourbon at Elm Street Cask & Kitchen, and if their “Whiskey Bible” doesn’t do it for you, then I don’t know what will. The extensive book features history lessons, cocktail recipes, and plenty of information on whiskey. As for their cocktail menu, they feature drinks such as their Maker’s Mark Mint Julep, Old Fashioned, Whisk(e)y Sour, and even whiskey flights. (For non-whiskey drinkers, they also have wine, beer, and various signature cocktails available.)

I went with the Kentucky Buck (Four Roses whiskey, fresh muddled strawberries, lemon, ginger, and bitters), and it was SOOOO refreshing—perfect for those wanting to get into whiskey drinking, but not necessarily be hit with it like a sack of bricks.

Now, as a Southerner, I take my Southern-style cuisine very seriously. They do a great job providing traditional Southern fare alongside current crowd favorites like hushpuppies with roasted chili honey butter and Crushed Avocado (aka guacamole) with chimichurri and black pepper crackers.

The main dishes are packed with flavor and cooked perfectly. I suggest the Beer Can Chicken with apple cornbread stuffing, almonds, charred carrots—order it with can of Lonestar for just an extra $2! The Bourbon Braised Short Rib with Lakewood Bourbon Barrel Temptress glaze, asparagus, and brown butter mashed potatoes was also quite intriguing and we decided was worth a return visit for us. If you’re into fish, you might enjoy the Pan Seared Salmon with black-eyed peas, ham hock, pickled shallot, and watercress.

 

The only logical way to end a filling meal is to overstuff yourself with delicious sweets—am I right? It’s pretty hard to choose between the Cast Iron Bread Pudding and the Banana Cream Pie … so just go ahead and get both.

Courtesy of Elm Street Cask and Kitchen

 

Elm Street Cask & Kitchen offers Happy Hour pricing Monday-Friday from 2pm to 7pm featuring $5 bites, $5 select drinks, and $12 chili dog/draft beer/TX bourbon shot combos.


Elm Street Cask & Kitchen
ElmStreetCaskKitchen.com
1525 Elm Street (Downtown)
Facebook | Instagram

*Header photo courtesy of Elm Street Cask & Kitchen*

bartaco in Preston Center

Bartaco may be new to town, but they’re not new to the game. Margaritas and tapas-style taco bites are their specialty, and they know how to do them right. With a uniquely Asian flair, bartaco has something for everyone.

We started with margaritas, specifically the Pomegranate Margarita and the Classic Margarita, both of which were delicious and smooth. The Pomegranate Margarita is actually part of their “Margarita March” promotion, but more on that later on (skip to the bottom if you really can’t wait that long).

I would suggest starting your meal with some salsa roja and corn tortilla chips, which you get to break yourself; and the duck quesadillas, which are tender and served in a blue corn tortilla. If you’re looking for something lighter, the tuna poke is a colorful and refreshing option.

Everything ordered at bartaco is served family style in small tapas form, so you can order as much as you want and not feel guilty about it at all! Each taco will run you $2.50 – $3.50.

We tried a ton of tacos—the baja fish, spicy chorizo, falafel, fried oyster, glazed pork belly, carne asada, and Brussels sprout. All of the tacos were delicious, but the crowd favorite was the Brussels sprout taco … which isn’t even officially on the menu! It comes with a sweet balsamic glaze and spicy carrot purée, which tastes more like a sweet potato mash and works beautifully with the other ingredients. This taco was so good that we ordered a second to share.

We supplemented our taco frenzy with a side of Asian slaw and black beans with sofrito. Sides are easy to add on at just $2.50 each!

Round two of drinks hit the table to help us finish our meal. We (greatly) enjoyed the Mojito Tinto (Flor de Caña silver rum, winter spiced sangria, lime, mint, and sugar) and, of course, the Smoke on the Water (Banhez mescal, Pisco, pineapple, lemon, bitters, and egg white), pictured below. bartaco also serves bottled and canned beers, wines by the glass, and sangrias by the glass or liter.

If you’re anything like me and need to end your meal with something sweet, then the platanos fritos are the way to go. They come with a side dish of a mayo dip, but I personally think they taste better dipped in chocolate gelato. If anyone has tricks for kicking a bad sugar habit, I’m all ears.


Now, back to the Margarita March news that we’ve all been waiting for. Each week in March, bartaco will feature a different specialty margarita, like the Pomegranate Margarita mentioned above (Liber grapefruit cordial, lime juice, lucardo marascino, and Libelula Joven Tequila*). The drinks are only around for one week each in March, so grab your friends, order some tacos, and get to living the #bartacolife!

Photo courtesy of bartaco

BARTACO
bartaco.com
6130 Luther Lane (Preston Center)
Instagram | Twitter

 

*This tequila was selected specifically for bartaco by Destilladora Bonanza and is crafted in the highlands of Jalisco (obviously … or it wouldn’t be Tequila!)

Catch Lovers Seafood’s new menu and patio

Blue crab and truffle deviled eggs.
Crispy shrimp corn dogs.
Maytag blue cheese potato chips.

Say what??

These are just a few of the things you can find on Chef Kent Rathbun’s new menu at Lovers Seafood and Market. I recently had the chance to sample a little bit of everything from this new menu and hear all about their new weekly specials … and you’re gonna want to go check it out.

The tasting started off on a boozy note with the unveiling of their signature cocktails. The tasting lineup featured their Marfa Mary and Gypsy Wife along with a classic, the Corpse Reviver. Each of them were light enough to start the meal nicely without blowing out your palate. (They were also delightful to enjoy on their cute patio!) My personal favorite was the Gypsy Wife (Ketel One, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, grapefruit, basil and lime). This should be no surprise since I’m very into grapefruit-based cocktails lately.

These delicious cocktails are half priced during their happy hour which you can check out Monday through Saturday from 3-6pm. The happy hour also features half priced oysters … such a steal! It’s also very important to note that on Wednesdays they have half priced martinis all night long.

On the new menu, you’ll notice that they have added more grill-oriented items like the Roadhouse Cheeseburger and tender kale salad. This is part of their strategy to re-brand as more than just a seafood spot. (Rumor has it that they will soon change their name to “Lovers Seafood + Grill”.) I love that there were multiple healthy options on the menu like the charbroiled burger bowl that was served over quinoa and sweet potato pieces.

The tasting wrapped up with a sampling of the desserts … and ohhhemmmmgeeeee. They have a key lime pie to die for. The graham cracker crust and raspberry coulis were so good that I would come back just to have dessert.(I seriously considered licking my plate clean. Calories be damned.) Don’t skip dessert when you go!


LOVERS SEAFOOD AND MARKET
loversseafoodmarket.com
5200 West Lover’s Lane (Preston Hollow)
214-414-9880