Category Archives: Uptown/West Village

Truluck’s Debuts New Menu Items and a New Happy Hour

Truluck’s has been a longtime favorite of my sister’s and mine. When she first went to college and I’d visit, we’d stop in just to have dessert. Their Jack’s Sack was always our favorite—a chocolate shell hiding pound cake, berries, and whipped cream that the guest gets to crack and mix. It’s not just delicious; the destruction of the presentation is really rewarding.

It’s nice to see a longtime favorite with twelve locations continue to give diners new options to enjoy instead of adopting an “if it isn’t broken …” mentality. They recently released not just a new cocktail menu, but also a new happy hour and new menu items. The new happy hour is stupid good. (And I know happy hours.)

The new happy hour can be enjoyed Monday through Friday, 4:30-6:30pm and includes select cocktails starting at just $5.50 and appetizers starting at $6. More into wine? They have 12 from just $6 a glass.

The new cocktail list has a bit of everything among the 20 new cocktail options. Some new offerings have a slight tropical feel (like the Heart of Gold with pineapple juice and smoked orange syrup or the Sao Paulo Punch with cachaça, run, and pineapple syrup), some with a downright tiki vibe (like the Singapore Sling and the Uptown Swizzle) and others with a more traditional origin (like the Amaretto Sour 2.0, Uptown Manhattan, and the Aviator).

New food items like the Shrimp Primavera Flatbread can be enjoyed alongside old favorites like their shrimp cocktail (giant shrimp served over dry ice to keep them chilled) and Kung Pao Cauliflower. See the full menu of 20 cocktails, wines, and food items.

Beyond their new cocktails and appetizers, they continue to offer a large, thoughtful selection of wines and whiskey options (and obviously a full bar and beer). There aren’t many combinations I enjoy more than a dessert and a dram. I enjoyed the Balvenie Caribbean Cask with their Carrot Cake … and it was good.

Stop by one of their twelve locations during happy hour to enjoy their new half price options. While you do, you’ll be entertained by talented musicians and treated to incredibly attentive hospitality. Now, that’s the right way to unwind from a hard work day.


TRULUCK’S
trulucks.com
Uptown: 2401 McKinney Avenue (Uptown Dallas) | 214-220-2401
Southlake: 1420 Plaza Place (Southlake) | 817-912-0500
(+10 other locations)

Jackson Family Wines + Harwood District Wine Dinner

The Harwood District has given Dallas some of (my) favorite new restaurants and spaces in the last few years—Mercat Bistro, Marie Gabrielle, Magnolias: Sous Le Pont, etc.—so it was surprise to me when I realized I hadn’t yet visited Dolce Riviera when I was invited to a wine pairing dinner there. I couldn’t say no. If it was anything compared to the other restaurants in the district, I was in for a treat. Bottom line: the food, the wine, and the “show” were all incredible.

The wine dinner featured Jackson Family Wines and was led by none other than Julia Jackson herself, daughter of the famed winemaker, Jess Jackson who began the brand in 1974. Each course got an introduction from someone from the restaurant, an overview of the paired wine and a colorful anecdote from Julia, and a step-by-step demonstration by Executive Chef Michele Scarpa.

Jackson Family Wines is a family-owned and operated wine company that owns vineyards, wineries, and brands throughout the world with brands spanning price ranges and various winemaking techniques. They continue to product incredibly wines and push teh envelope when it comes to innovation—both in winemaking and in eco-friendly practices. Well-known US brands include Freemark Abbey,  Kendall-Jackson, and La Crema.

The.meal.was.amazing. Each course was beautifully prepared and the paired Jackson Family Wines were exquisite and paired flawlessly. The risotto and Valodorna Supertuscan pairing was, by far, my absolute favorite. I’ve never been much of a risotto fan, but Chef Scarpa’s was life changing. Not kidding. The Supertuscan pairing was perfect as its bold notes of black cherry and spices cut the creaminess and richness of the risotto.

The food at Dolce Riviera is inspired by Chef Scarpa’s roots in southern Italy and dishes are authentic, but with a slight French slant. Everything is made with fresh ingredients from scratch to finish and is beautifully and intricately crafted to not only taste authentic, but to be presented beautifully as well. Dolce Riviera aims for simple, yet elegant.

ANTIPASTO: Half Crispy Quail over Green Asparagus with Quail Eggs and Sauce Mornaise
Paired with Cambria Clone 4 Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley, USA)

CRUDO: Venison Carpaccio with Wild Herbs, Late Radicchio Salad with Dried Apricot and Fresh Red Currant in White Balsamic Dressing
Paired with Yangarra Grenache (McLaren Vale, Australia)

PRIMO: Risotto Carnaroli with Pomegranate
Paired with Valodorna Supertuscan (Tuscany, Italy)

SECONDO: Veal Tenderloin Rollatino with Truffle Heart, Mix Wild Mushroom Sauce
Paired with Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley, USA)

Harwood District gives diners incredible opportunities to dine delightfully with various events like these wine dinners, DJ Brunches, and more. Make sure to watch the Harwood District events page and their social channels to be up on all of the offerings coming from the district.


JACKSON FAMILY WINES
jacksonfamilywines.com

DOLCE RIVIERA
dolceriviera.com

HARWOOD DISTRICT
harwooddistrict.com

Blue Sushi & Sake Bar

Full disclosure: My husband and I have been fans of Blue Sushi in Fort Worth for several years, so when I found out they were (finally!) opening Dallas locations, I was thrilled, albeit a little reserved. I couldn’t help but wonder whether it would be as good as we love all the way across DFW.

Short answer: Yes. The newest location nestled on the corner of McKinney Avenue and Bowen on the bottom floor of the M-Line Tower, Blue Sushi Sake Grill is a welcome addition to this strip of McKinney. (We’ve discovered that we love the roomy location on 75 at Walnut Hill, too!)

The hostesses were welcoming, the bartenders efficient, and true to memory, the menu included well-executed staples such as tuna tatake as well as more inventive small bites like the lightly fried, creamy-spicy Dragon Shrimp appetizer.

 

The space is cozy without feeling cramped and the high-top tables in the bar area are large enough to accommodate a group waiting for their reservation. Although it was too chilly to sit outside when we visited, the daily happy hour specials and prime people-watching real estate are sure to pack the small patio come springtime.

While I’m typically more of a wine drinker, the specialty cocktails were light and fruity, if a little summer-y, and we especially liked the Samuri Saketini, a refreshing blend of cucumber lime vodka and unfiltered sake garnished with cucumber. If you’re a fan of sake but maybe don’t know where to start, the two sake flights are a fun way to try a several options.

We had as great an experience at the new Uptown location as we’d come to expect from it’s Fort Worth sibling, and have recommended this spot multiple times to friends looking for good sushi and a fun atmosphere. Be sure to check out their lunch, vegan, and gluten-free menus as well!


BLUE SUSHI SAKE GRILL
bluesushisakegrill.com
Instagram: @BlueSushiSakeGrill
Twitter: @WeServeFunSushi
various locations

pictures courtesy of Blue Sushi Sake

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
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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
Facebook | Instagram | Twitter
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
Facebook | Twitter | Instagram
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