Category Archives: Uptown/West Village

The Conservatory at the Hotel Crescent Court

I’ve lived in Dallas for 13 years now; that’s enough time to have at least heard about most of the restaurants in my purview … at least that’s what I’d imagined.  I was recently invited to a “power lunch” at The Conservatory at the Hotel Crescent Court, a place of which I’d honestly never heard.  First, I assumed it was a new spot, then I realized that I was just really out of the loop.  Now, my eyes have been opened.  The Conservatory has joined the ranks of the Zodiac Room, Mercat Bistro, and T Room in my mind and given me a new “ladies who lunch” spot.

The Conservatory has been operating in the Crescent for years tucked in the back corner of the hotel.  It’s a lovely spot with floor to ceiling glass perched on a courtyard complete with a waterfall and fountain.  It’s  a quaint yet luxurious little spot that I’m delighted to have discovered.

Any good “ladies who lunch” spot needs a decent drink menu (or a bartender who is willing to try some more adventurous things out).  I started with the a Hendrick’s cocktail that paired the botanical gin with tea and cucumber and was delightful, but I drank it too fast to get a picture.  To finish the meal, I skipped dessert (because I’m trying to lose weight … duh) and ordered a cocktail, but wanted to get a little crazy and test the bartender.  I asked for a Patrón Reposado Sidecar, and it was executed beautifully.

The dishes offered range from light salads like their to-dieeeee-for Roast Beets & Texan Burrata made with perfectly ripe beets, goat cheese, and citrus.  Their Baby Arugula with watermelon radish was just as delicious and gorgeous with the perfect amount of dressing drizzled playfully yet conservatively over the top.  They also offer a full breakfast every day until 11am with some stand out options like their Biscuits & Gravy Benedict.  It was my absolute favorite dish of the day and took me back to my childhood thanks to the peppery, light gravy and braised pork.  It was delicious … but just a little less Instagrammable than the salads.

They brought out some more substantial items like the House-made Potato Gnocchi and the Crispy Red Snapper.  I usually actively dislike gnocchi, and I’ll be back for this dish.  It was the lightest gnocchi I’ve ever tasted and the potato was the perfect texture.

If the pictures don’t say it enough, this place was amazing.  I was so delighted to find  a new spot and cannot wait to make a return visit.  (I also just got wind that they have a full afternoon tea, which I hope to try out soon!)

THE CONSERVATORY
crescentcourt.com
400 Crescent Court (in the Hotel Crescent Court)
214.871.3200

Next Door “Proper Brunch”, Uptown

Brunch in Dallas is a thing. You will wait as long in line for brunch as the one you probably waited the night before to get into a new club. The main difference is you’re more likely in the early stages of a hangover waiting for brunch. And that’s rough.

On the usually quiet little street of McKinney (ha), there’s a little place that, up until recently, was known for its dinner, cocktails and booming club beats on weekend nights. (I mean, they have an entire wall of speakers upstairs.) Next Door’s environmental design is what every loft owner wishes his or her apartment could look like. Behind the bar, the wine and spirit bottles are arranged between stacks of vinyl on wood shelves. There’s no shortage of leather and filament bulbs, and the downstairs patio and upstairs balcony make what is a small venue seem open, airy, and large.

Next Door, Uptown Dallas

Executive Chef Paul Niekrasz’s dinner menu is already far ahead of most of the culinary options in Uptown, and now he’s throwing his new “Proper Brunch” menu in the mix on Sundays. The menu is wonderfully small but creates an incredibly difficult choice because everything sounds amazing. If it’s your first time, I suggest either the Steak & Eggs or the BFFT (Best F**cking Fried French Toast).

As a person who prefers savory brunch options, I go more for the protein and bold flavors. The filet mignon in the Steak & Eggs was perfectly seasoned, perfectly cooked and fork-tender. Topped with a sunny egg, it is set off nicely by a red wine-roasted garlic sauce and paired with zesty hash browns.

Steak and Eggs

On the sweeter side of brunch, it’d be tough to find a comparison to the BFFFT. It goes without saying that it is deliciously rich, but it was not as sweet as expected from a French Toast. (Thank the brunch gods.) Reading its description, I was wondering how much any one person could eat, but it was fantastic. You guys … it’s cream cheese-stuffed cinnamon-raisin bread that’s pancake battered and fried topped with fresh berry compote, maple syrup and whipped cream. Even if it’s not your cheat day, ORDER IT. The BFFT does not disappoint.

Best F*ckin Stuffed French Toast

On the lighter side, the Skinny Omelette was surprisingly delicious. From the menu description, I didn’t hold out much hope (farm eggs, asparagus, goat cheese, tomato, roasted red peppers, pesto). The goat cheese, roasted red peppers and pesto really flavor up what I thought was going to be a bland dish. Good news for those of us already working on our bikini bods. (Yuck.)

Skinny Omelette

For me, the Smoked Salmon Sandwich was a bit on the rich side. It was delicious and the flavors were delightfully refreshing, but I just couldn’t eat it by myself. Also, it was served “deconstructed”, which threw me off, but I was into it.  I’m a sucker for smoked salmon, though, and would suggest ordering this for the table for everyone to get a bite or three.

Smoked Salmon Sandwich

Don’t think I have forgotten the beverages … we know why you come here. They have the go-to mimosas and bloody marys, but Next Door is known for their wide range of modern classic and hand-crafted cocktails, so you know they have some random s**t in store. I am a sucker for Revolver Blood and Honey. It has become a staple in my beer line-up. Next Door livens it up a bit in their Blackberry Summer Beer with Deep Eddy Lemon, Monin Syrup with muddled blackberry. I was worried that it would be too sweet, but it was just right.

 

If a hangover cure is what you’re looking for, coconut water is said to be one of the best ways to rehydrate after a long night. They thought ahead and made it the key ingredient in their Coconut Water Mojito. (The name kind of gives it away, no?) The Captain Morgan White, Strawberry, Mint, and coconut water is perfect to cure what ails you.

All in all, if you are looking to hit up a great brunch spot this Sunday (yes,ONLY Sundays, 11am-3pm), head over to Next Door and take advantage of the softer, way more laid back side of their venue.

NEXT DOOR
nextdoordallas.com
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2908 McKinney Avenue (Uptown)
888-381-1411

*Thanks to Next Door for inviting us in and treating us to a meal!*

NYE 2016 Dinner at Saint Ann

Need New Years Eve plans but don’t have a clue about what to do? Look no further as the Harwood District is taking care of it for you with set menus and live entertainment at Saint Ann, Mercat Bistro, and Dolce Riviera!

Reservations at Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar (with a special NYE three course menu and live entertainment) start at 5pm and the band goes on at 9:30pm. When 2017 finally arrives, balloons will drop both inside and out on the heated patio and champagne glasses will be raised to the “new year, new you”.  (Cue the cliché kisses and toasts.)

The special menu features twice baked black truffle fingerling potatoes with crème fraîche and caviar for the table along with four appetizer choices–including the positively naughty bacon-wrapped sizzlers (chicken-stuffed jalapeños, wrapped in bacon, and served with ranch dressing).​

You’ll have some trouble deciding between the five entrees, but you can’t go wrong with the grilled black angus tenderloin and lobster, served with asparagus and hen-of-the-wood mushrooms.​ Dessert will be as sweet as the date you bring: either a salted pots de crème with bourbon whipped cream and almond biscotti or a chocolate lava cake with port-soaked cherries and vanilla ice cream.​

Their regular cocktail and drink menu will also be available during the special evening. To make your reservations for New Years Eve at Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar, click here.

Saint Ann Restaurant & Bar
saintanndallas.com
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2501 N Harwood Street (Uptown) Valet is in the parking lot across from the restaurant
214-782-9807

Harwood District

Shake Shack Holiday Menu

With the changing of seasons comes the changing of the guard … err … shakes at Dallas’s newest burger chain. Shake Shack has a new holiday menu that would turn even the Grinch into a cheerful SOB. You can get three new shakes and a hot chocolate treat to keep your spirits bright from the inside out.


Pumpkin Pie Shake: vanilla frozen custard blended with Four & Twenty Blackbirds pumpkin pie and topped with whipped cream and spiced pie crumbles ($5.79)

Christmas Cookie Shake: sugar cookie frozen custard topped with whipped cream and red and green sprinkles ($5.79)

Chocolate Peppermint Shake: chocolate frozen custard blended with peppermint and topped with whipped cream and chocolate peppermint candy crumbles ($5.79)

Brownie Batter Hot Chocolate: a blend of bittersweet dark chocolates and rich fudge sauce, topped with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles ($3.89)

Don’t forget to check out the Custard Calendar to find out what custard is being featured daily at Shake Shack!

SHAKE SHACK (Uptown)
shakeshack.com
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2500 North Pearl Street
214.983.1023

Shacktoberfest

Everyone’s doing the Oktoberfest situation (yes … I know it’s still September … it’s a thing).  So it makes sense that Dallas’s newest quick-serve burger join, Shake Shack, dubbed Shacktoberfest. September 23 – October 2 you can get six German-style menu items from burgers to shakes with a decidedly Shake Shack slant to them.

 

25oz. Shacktoberfest Bier Stein fill with Brooklyn Brewery Oktoberfest ($10, refill available for $7.69 … the stein is yours to keep!)

Brat Burger: topped with a flat-top griddled Usinger’s cheddar-stuffed bratwurst, crispy beer-marinated shallots and ShackSauce ($7.59)

ShackMeister Brat: Flat-top griddled Usinger’s cheddar-stuffed bratwurst, crispy beer-marinated shallots and cheese sauce ($5.29)

Bavarian-Style Soft Pretzel: Toasted soft pretzel topped with Bavarian spices ($2.99)

Apfelstrudel Shake: Apple strudel shake topped with whipped cream and cinnamon-sugar shortbread ($5.79)

Black Forest Shake: Chocolate and cherry shake with whipped cream and chocolate sprinkles ($5.79)

Shake Shack – Uptown Dallas
shakeshack.com
2500 N Pearl Street (in Crescent Court), Dallas
214.983.1022

Hours
11AM – 10PM, Sunday – Thursday
11AM – 11PM, Friday & Saturday

 

Shake Shack is here!

— post collab: words by Rachel Farrar, pictures by Susie O. —

It’s finally here! NYC’s very own burger Mecca, Shake Shack, has opened up shop in Uptown, smack dab in front of The Crescent. Admittedly, I was a little taken aback. Being a Shake Shack virgin, and I wasn’t really sure what to expect. Was there any possible way burgers and shakes could live up to the hype? The short answer is: Yes.

As soon as I sunk my teeth into my ShackBurger, I understood. My burger was juicy but not greasy, perfectly seared, and amazingly flavorful. Shake Shack uses freshly ground 100% natural Angus beef, featuring a proprietary (read: delicious) “Shack blend”. The soft, fresh potato bun snuggling my burger + toppings was the perfect accompaniment. Equally delicious, the decadent hand-spun peanut butter Shake I sipped on alongside my meal.

Shake Shack Uptown has incorporated a few menu offerings that highlight local favorites, including the Link Burger, topped with a Pecan Lodge jalapeño cheese sausage link (pictured above), and the Dallas Pie Oh My, a custard concrete blended with a slice of seasonal pie from Emporium Pies. (Look for pumpkin … just released today!) Oh My, indeed.

Some bonus items:

  • Local beers are available on tap along with Abita’s absolutely delicious root beer.
  • It’s dog-friendly and they even offer a couple of menu items for dogs. (Suh cute.)
  • Their Shack-cago Dog is real damn delicious thanks to the 100% Vienna beef dog … but watch out for the pepper. That’s some unexpected spice, my friends.

shake-shack_chicago-dog_susie-oszustowicz

As if the food wasn’t enough of a draw, it also bears mentioning that the Shake Shack Uptown location is incredibly cool. With plenty of patio seating available under the shade of towering oak trees, this is a perfect spot for al fresco grubbing, relaxing, and people watching. Lawn games like Bocce Ball are also available, if you are so inclined.  Even cooler?

 

Shake Shack – Uptown Dallas
shakeshack.com
2500 N Pearl Street (in Crescent Court), Dallas
214.983.1022

Hours
11AM – 10PM, Sunday – Thursday
11AM – 11PM, Friday & Saturday

 

Del Frisco’s Grille Kicks Off New Happy Hour Menu

By Wednesday, after a long few days at work, I was ready for an adult beverage. (I had just started a new job and getting the lay of the land in a new place is always stressful.) Fortunately for me, Del Frisco’s Grille is celebrating summer by introducing a new happy hour–Monday to Friday, 4-6:30pm. So I headed over to the Dallas location on McKinney Avenue to check it out.

You guys … they have a Sip and Share menu with $6 cocktails, wine, craft beer ($5) and food. The menu includes some of their top signature drinks like the VIP and Tennessee Peach and new and old favorites in the food department.

First thing’s first: food. One of the classics and my favorite is their classic Cheesesteak Eggrolls. These things are amazing.  Other items include Deviled Eggs, Pulled Pork Nachos, French Onion and Parmesan Spinach Dips, flatbreads, and the best corndogs you’ll ever have, the Wagyu Corndogs.

Now let’s get to the real reason I was there. First, if you have never had one of Del Frisco’s signature cocktails, head over ASAP. I am a whiskey drinker, so, my personal favorite is the Tennessee Peach (Jack Daniel’s, Fresh Peaches, Local Honey, Fresh Lime Juice, and Peach Bitters). This whiskey cocktail is perfect for summer; it’s refreshing and light, but it’s definitely on the sweet side.

I also tried the Grille Margarita. I asked the difference between the Grille Margarita and its Hand Crafted Cocktail counterparts; I was told it’s the Margarita 160 (skinny margarita: Sauza Silver Tequila, Triple Sec, Agave Nectar, Fresh Lime Juice) without the “skinny.” It was not too sweet, and just an excellent, classic margarita.

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In addition to these, they also include their Red and White Sangrias on the Sip & Share.
Red: Malbec, Stoli Razberi, Cointreau, Sweet & Sour, White Peach Purée, Fresh Lime Juice.
White: Pinot Grigio, White Peach Purée, Peach Schnapps, Strawberry-Peach Popsicle.

2016_7_27_DelFriscos-0235

If you’re in the mood for the classics, they included premium spirits on the happy hour menu, including Tito’s Vodka, Bulleit Bourbon, Bombay Sapphire Gin, Bacardi Rum and Milagro Silver Tequila.

Needless to say, the summer happy hour Sip & Share at Del Frisco’s Grille will be one of my new go-to happy hours. The best part? The new HH is available at all locations! Head on over and take advantage of this $6 Sip & Share (with $5 craft beer) happy hour menu while it lasts!

Del Frisco’s Grille
delfriscosgrille.com
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Bowen House

I went through a vintage phase in college.  So where did I shop?  My first stop on a shopping trip was always Ahab Bowen, a little vintage shop tucked inside a historical house smack dab in the middle of Uptown with a smattering of clothes with that have already lived a full life, but still had more to give.  While I was sad when I heard the news that it closed years later, I was also excited about the potential of the establishment taking over the quaint, little house–a serious craft cocktail bar, Bowen House.

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The space was completely reinvented with a bar spanning the facade and a handful of intimate white marble tables.  The chandelier above the bar gives the space a decidedly haute feeling, but the atmosphere is anything but stuffy.  Oh … and this is a perfect date spot.  (They even joke that they host Tinder Tuesdays because so many blind dates show up.)

Thanks to owner, Pasha Heidari, Bowen House put together a killer lineup of some of the best in Dallas’s food and drink talent.  The food menu was created by Chef Graham Dodds and he has a team of incredible mixmasters behind the bar.  Some of said talent (ahem, the badass Reid Lewis … she’s a lady) was just recognized as one of the seven best mixologists in the city by “Modern Luxury Dallas”.

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As drinks go, previously you were meant to simply chat with the bartender and he (slash she) would whip up a perfect cocktail crafted to your specifications.  As of late, they’ve rolled out menus to make things a bit easier on those of us who have a paralyzing fear of making decisions when put on the spot.  That’s right … leisurely peruse the menu … or you can still chat with the bartenders if you’re into that.  (Which I am.  Like, really into.)  The menu offers classics, and then classics with a twist … each drink has also been reimagined by one of the bartenders.

Another new addition to their offerings to keep up cool on these 100º days–popsicle cocktails.  The popsicle menu totes four options that’ll sweeten you up and cool you down while packing a punch.

The food here is also surprisingly good.  The Fried Brie is a ta-reat with seasonal compote accompanying the melty, cheesy, crunchy goodness.  Oh, and the chicken salad–dubbed Mom’s Chicken Salad because it’s actually his grandma’s recipe–was somewhat addicting.  (And unfortunately it’s frowned upon to ask for seconds at a media tasting … whatever.)  Also, (I’ve been told) the potato chips are even pretty epic.  They have bleu cheese which is a no-no for this girl.

If you’ve never stopped in, make it a priority.  Get all the drinks … and all the food … (That doesn’t really narrow it down for you, does it?)


BOWEN HOUSE

bowenhousetx.com
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2614 Boll Street, Uptown (valet is located on Howland Street)
214.484.1385

Header photo courtesy of Bowen House.