West Dallas is swimming in fresh, delicious seafood thanks to one of its newest restaurants, Lovers Seafood and Market, opened last month by duo Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing who brought us Shinsei. LS&M took over the space occupied by longtime seafood restaurant at Lovers and Inwood, Rex’s Seafood, and they did quite a bit with the space. The Nantucket-esque interior makes you immediately feel like you’re in for great seafood … and you are.
With Chef Aaron Staudenmaier in the kitchen, the fresh seafood doesn’t have to carry itself, though it could. The menu offers some exquisitely simple seafood options with some classic, “down home” options.
Before the meal began, I was delighted that they had little things to nibble on like truffle popcorn and pot bread. (Bread made in a pot … obvi.) Start your meal with their dips–Grilled Shrimp Dip and Pimento Dip–which are surprisingly delicious, or opt for their tuna poke (because everyone’s doing it) or the avocado toast.
The seafood is as fresh as it could be, so their market fish of the day is prooooobably going to be a good pick. Have a conversation with your waiter to see what they’re offering and how the chef recommends it prepared.
More into a little less cooked seafood? Check out their raw bar that offers options like oysters and buttery sashimi. Sit down and talk it out with the chefs while you enjoy those options, or even their more unique sea urchin and crab.
As the name implies, Lovers Seafood and Market has … a market. They offer daily features of fresh fish and shellfish along with select beef cuts. Stop in and get the best Dallas has to offer from LS&M. Remember: the fresher and higher quality the meat/seafood you start with, the less you’ll have to do to make it taste amazing.
No time to cook a meal yourself, or want to have fresh seafood for a get together? Call ahead and pick up a dozen oysters, shrimp cocktail, or poached salmon.
The new spot has already become a neighborhood favorite, and for a good reason. Pop in and find out how the former Rex’s spot has so much more to offer.
Need Valentine’s Day plans but are looking for something just a bit different from the usual steak dinner/flowers/sparkling wine? You may want to check out the Valentine’s Day menu at NOLA Brasserie to spice up what looks like is going to be a cold and rainy Valentine’s. Located in downtown Dallas, NOLA Brasserie brings the Cajun and Creole taste and exuberance of New Orleans to Dallas.
On Tuesday, February 14, Chef Ryan will be serving a special prix fixe menu just for you and your loved one. At $69 per person for four courses, guests will experience authentic Cajun and Creole comfort food, southern hospitality and live music by noted jazz musician, Carlos Guedes. Dinner begins at 5 PM, and the last seating will be at 10 PM. Carlos will begin his live set at 6 PM.
Guys, if you “just don’t have time” (lazy…) to get your significant other flowers, the night starts off with a red rose and a champagne toast. But really, for this to work you(!) have to plan the evening … meaning you just have to make one phone call to make a reservation and one call to ask your S.O. out.
The first course is a delicious, pan-seared Crab & Crawfish Cake with Jumbo Fried Shrimp for the table. The cajun seasoning and crystal aioli made it better than many of the crab cakes that I’ve had before.
The second course has three choices between a Strawberry & Walnut Salad or their popular Louisiana Gumbo. If you aren’t looking for the lighter side of things, get the gumbo. It is a dark roux gumbo with chicken, andouille & rice topped off with a crawfish fritter.
For the third course, you have the difficult choice between Cajun Filet Steak, Chicken Florentine, or Redfish Acadia. Each comes with garlic mashed potatoes. I went with the redfish and Whitney, my lovely wife, went with the chicken. Personally, I would stick to what they are known for: the cajun-inspired dishes. The redfish was topped with their famous crawfish Etouffee that set off the dish with bold flavor. If the garlic mash isn’t your thing, you can add asparagus, crawfish mac & cheese or cream spinach a la carte.
As if all of this isn’t enough to make you feel like you are going to burst, you get a choice between NOLA Bread Pudding or Chocolate Strawberries for the table for dessert. I’m a huge fan of bread pudding, and theirs is studded with pecans and topped with a house-made rum sauce, which made me fall more in love with it … because, romance.
In addition to the sparkling wine toast, their full bar of hand-crafted cocktails, as well as a varied wine list and beer, are available. Whitney and I were able to try a couple for you … for, you know, research.
The Sazerac (Sazerac Rye, Peychaud bitters, Herbsaint rinse) This traditional New Orleans cocktails is served in a Herbsaint-coated rocks glass and is garnished with a lemon twist. If you’re going to have a drink to make you feel like you’re in the Big Easy … this one will take you there … and maybe even make you a little easy. 😉
The Original Cosmo: a traditional cosmo with freshly muddled cucumber.
Lavender Lace: Yeah…it is a secret. But the menu says it is a Lavender Champagne cocktail served with a lavender-scented sugar cube. Whitney loved it because it was simple and delicious.
Cucumber Collins (Hendrick’s Gin, fresh cucumber, lemon juice, a hint of sugar)
As far as clear liquors go, gin is my go-to. Ask for them to go light on the lemon as it was a bit too citrus forward for my taste.)
If you have never been to this area of downtown, I would suggest grabbing an Uber or be ready for an $8 valet ticket. Otherwise, you can park in the Westin garage for $5 (with restaurant validation) self-park in the Westin Tower garage for free (4pm Friday through Sundays).
Overall, Chef Ryan put together a pretty great menu that will be a great addition to your Valentine’s Day festivities. Charm your love (or, ya know, your friend) and make a reservation on OpenTable or call 469-872-1820.
I am always saddened by peoples’ dismissal of New Orleans as a party town … I mean, it totally is, but there’s a lot more to it than the partiers who are laissez les bons temps rouler-ing. I was delighted to get out of the French Quarter bubble on my last trip to visit the new Ace Hotel in the CBD (Central Business District) and dine at Seaworthy, the slightly “hidden” seafood restaurant marked by the eerie glow of a green neon sign.
The space is old school New Orleans, a little hipster and a little southern with elegant touches of brass here and … well, everywhere. You can choose to sit at the bar by the entrance that is both for booze and oysters–both of which were fresher than expected in many ways–at a table in the dimly lit dining room, or on the patio. Their patio is just about the closest thing as I’ve found to heaven in New Orleans (without being a tiki bar) thanks to the preservation of the building itself, the minimal (yet unmistakable) nautical decor, and the globe lights adorning every inch of the place.
The drink program here is very well done with bar director Lauren Schell at the helm. (See what I did there?) The cocktail list was a mix of classics (think Fishhouse Punch and Sidecars) and more “au courant” options like the Holywater (spiced rum, cognac, Green Chartreuse, almond syrup, grapefruit, lemon, lime, and angostura bitters) and the Good Ships/Wood Ships (the Tales of the Cocktail Daiquiri Seasonal Feature with El Dorado 5yr rum, Genepy des Alpes, pamplemousse liqueur, and lime). The wine and beer list are respectable with very limited but well selected options in both categories. (Really … there are only 11 by the glass options for wine making it a snap to choose which to order.)
As the name implies, the food menu is decidedly seafood-slanted. The oysters on the bar beg to be slurped as much as the drinks, so who were we to deny them the joy of being dinner? (Just ask for extra crackers if you’re into carb-loading your oysters.) Also not to be missed is their ceviche (Gulf fish, lime, brunoise of habañero chilies, sweet peppers, herbs) served with unexpectedly delicious grit crisps. The Gulf fish was surprisingly delicious and tender … and we may have ordered a second bowl of it.
Overall, the restaurant is worth a visit, if not for dinner for at least a happy hour with a couple (five) cocktails and a found of their fresh-as-they-get oysters.
SEAWORTHY at the Ace Hotel seaworthynola.com
630 Carondelet Street (Central Business District), New Orleans
By now, it’s no secret that some of the best seafood in the Metroplex (as told by D Mag, the Observer, The Dallas Morning News, blah blah blah) is at Sea Breeze Fish Market & Grill, tucked away in Plano’s LakeSide Market just south of Preston & Spring Creek. Sea Breeze is already a neighborhood favorite; that said … Dallasites: If you haven’t been here yet, I would highly suggest working a Plano date night (or girl’s night, or an “I feel like eating good seafood” night, or a random Tuesday dinner) into the rotation … like now. With the introduction new menu items including a brand new craft cocktail program (SusieDrinksDallas readers: rejoice), there’s never been a better time to give Sea Breeze a try.
Speaking of that cocktail program…
The new cocktail lineup was carefully selected by manager, Ryan Oruch and features premium spirits and fresh ingredients, with an emphasis on crafting beautiful drinks worthy of Instagram. Or Snapchat … whatever. Current offerings include:
Lakeside Mule – Stoli vodka, Velvet Falernum, fresh lime juice topped with ginger beer
Honey Badger – Maker’s Mark, Barenjäger Honey Liquor, fresh lemon juice and a dash of habañero bitters
West Plano Punch – Olmeca Reposado, Cointreau, fresh lime juice, pomegranate juice, shaken with fresh mint
Texas Margarita – Silver Z tequila, fresh lime juice, agave nectar, shaken with a jalapeño slice
Vanilla Old Fashioned – Bulleit rye, vanilla infused simple syrup with a dash of Angostura bitters
Sunset Lemonade – Bombay Sapphire, Lillet Blanc, shaken with fresh raspberries and topped with lemonade
I tried the Texas Margarita, and I loved the tartness of the fresh-squeezed lime juice in this citrus-forward cocktail. It had a subtle spice to make it interesting without melting my face. I also sampled the Honey Badger, and the sweetness of the honey was the perfect complement for the slow burn from the habañero pepper.
All cocktail offerings are available for $9, but, during their DAILY happy hour (read: including weekends) 4-7pm, they can be enjoyed for $6. Boom.
In addition to their new cocktail lineup, Sea Breeze has an interesting and well-appointed wine list reflecting a variety of guest favorites available by the glass and bottle. Each month, featured wines are available by the bottle for a special price. (Call for more info.)
While the cocktails I sampled were delicious, Seabreeze is, in fact, a fish market (and restaurant); so, let’s talk seafood. I spent some time chatting with owner Rick Oruch, and I am here to tell you … the man is passionate about seafood. “I always invite people to give our fish the ‘sniff test’,” Rick explained. “Good seafood shouldn’t smell”.
Rick flies in fresh, seasonal varieties direct from the source; be it Alaskan snow crab or Gulf snapper, you will only find it at Seabreeze if it’s fresh and in season. Rick explained he only buys whole fish, which they fileted on-site for maximum freshness. All seafood is hand-sorted and inspected, meaning only hand-picked selections ever make their way to the seafood counter, or onto your plate. After sampling a variety of items, Rick has me convinced; you can taste the difference.
We started out with the Sautéed Snow Crab Claws, nestled in a decadent lemon, garlic butter and accompanied by a buttery, grilled baguette ($16). The tender crab melts in your mouths and has a sweet, delicate flavor … an exercise in self-control was required to keep from sopping up every last drop of garlic butter with the toast. We also tried the new Smoked Salmon Deviled Eggs, accompanied by arugula and a sriracha mayo ($7); the smokiness of the salmon and the spice of the sriracha played perfectly together. Rick brought us a cup of Seabreeze’s New England Clam Chowder ($4), proclaiming, “It’s something we are really proud of.” And I can see why; fresh clam flavor is the star of the show in this rich and hearty chowder, with a notable lack of distracting ingredients (read: bacon) frequently incorporated in other chowder recipes to mask inferior clams.
For our entrees (because we needed more food … ) we sampled the Cioppino ($25) and the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese ( $22). Cioppino is a San Francisco-style seafood stew. I am going to be completely honest; at seafood restaurants, I usually shy away from any dish with “seafood” in the title. I always assume this is where leftover odds and ends find their final resting place. Not in their kitchen. The Cioppino quickly bucked that notion as every bite of clam, mussel, shrimp, calamari, and fish tasted fresh and vibrant. The tomato broth base was spicy and begged to be sopped up with the delicious house bread. As for the Lobster Mac n’ Cheese … simply stated, Seabreeze does it right. Gruyere and white cheddar are the cheeses of choice in this dish, and nearly every bite I took was loaded with an impressively sized chunk of sweet, decadent lobster.
Speaking of lobster, one of the most popular menu items at Seabreeze is the New England Style Lobster Roll, served on a split-top bun filled with tender lobster salad ($16). The lobster roll is a perfect warmer weather lunch (and those days are rapidly approaching), and I can absolutely vouch for the deliciousness of this dish from past experiences.
Worth mentioning: Rick also shared with me Seabreeze is now offering an off-menu Surf and Turf Burger, featuring fresh ground chuck from Hirsch’s Meats crowned with lobster salad and arugula. Oh. Hell. Yes. Call ahead before visiting to see whether the burger is available; Rick will only make the burger when he has fresh beef on-hand from Hirsch’s. (Just another testament to his insistence on quality.)
Here’s one more thing you may not know about Seabreeze: They offer bi-weekly “demo-style” cooking classes, where guests will learn to prepare 3 or 4 recipes and then taste those creations with wine pairings. Classes are $50 per person, class size is very limited and reservations are required. Reservations can be made by calling 972-473-2722.
Brunch in Vegas. Perhaps one of the lesser considered meals in Sin City, but one of my new favorites. On a recent trip, a couple colleagues and I ventured into Morels in The Palazzo. I love everything French (wine, bread, macarons, kisses …), so I was stoked about trying this place out. Not only did it have he promise of a great hangover cure (because hair of the dog is necessary in Vegas), but it ups the ante with a view of the strip.
We started with a fancy bloody mary at the stately inside bar. While they offer a traditional version of the brunch cocktail, they also offer a few remixed version including a Surf & Turf Bloody Mary, complete with bacon (obvi) and a jumbo shrimp. Their bloodies have a nice flavor and aren’t weak in the least. If ordering off the menu isn’t your style, you can have them make you one to your specs when you order the bloody mary cart!
We moved outside after our first round of drinks to enjoy the view of the Strip complete with some serious people watching along with some . I started hacking away at their offer of bottomless mimosas for $25 (damn decent sparkling along with four options of juice). Soon enough, everyone at the table joined in on the bottomless challenge offering, so they brought us our own bottle of sparkling and carafes of each juice. (Gotta love that self-serve life.)
The menu offers plenty of French-inspired items and I couldn’t pass up the Mushroom & Gruyère Crepe with cream sauce. The rest of the table opted for the Pan-Seared Scottish Salmon and the Crab Oscar Benedict–both were amazing. We all shared bites of our entrees and agreed that I made the best choice (though all were ah-mazing).
Without asking, dessert and much-needed coffee was sent out (the worst, no?) All three of us were absolutely full, but made room for the Mixed Berry Crumble and Classic Profiteroles. And damn … I’m glad we did. The crumble was perfectly warm (you can tell that I didn’t get the picture before it started melting the ice cream) and the topping was nice and crispy. The profiteroles sandwiched candied vanilla almond ice cream and came with a side of malted chocolate sauce and topped with house-made whipped cream.
Overall, the brunch was amazing. All three of us agreed that it was a delightful change of pace from the all-you-can-eat buffets and smokey casinos (not that I’d ever leave either of those behind). The entire staff was courteous and amenable and the restaurant was beautifully light and airy. I’d go back in a second to get my hands on one of their steaks (we saw a few go by and … ohhhh my), cheese and charcuterie platters, and seafood towers. They offer iced seafood and freshly-shucked oysters.
Morels’ weekend brunch is served Saturdays and Sundays from 8am to 4pm, giving you plenty of time to sleep off the haze from the night before.
MORELS FRENCH STEAKHOUSE & BISTRO www.morelslv.com
3325 Las Vegas Blvd (in the Palazzo)
There’s a new chico in town … and his name is C’Viche. Get your ass into this play ASAP, because it’s f**king delicious.
Their cocktails pack a punch and are a perfect complement to their Mexican and South American food. They have an extensive full bar with some more exotic options, so you can get traditional margaritas or get a little crazy with Pisco drinks. Check out some details of my visit below.
We started with their complimentary chips & salsa while we poured over their menu. Their food options are limited in the most perfect way–they don’t do all that much, but what they do, they do really damn well. Their menu is literally five simple sections … ceviches (obvi.)and crudos, specialties, quesadillas, “snacks”, and tacos.
In the meantime, we ordered a couple drinks with the help of the owner and chef, Randall–Jackie* went with their mojito and I opted for a Pisco Sour … because Pisco. Jackie hadn’t tried Pisco, so we were given small tastes to sip. If you want to know more about Pisco, check out #SDDContributor Brian’s review or mine from ages ago!
Their bar is pretty extensive, offering “100% agave Mexican tequilas & mezcal, Caribbean rums, Brazilian cachaça and Argentinian Pisco”. You can also opt for their local or Mexican & South American beers on tap or some wine. But, when in C’Viche …
Their food is unexpectedly good. Though, they’re owned by the same guy as Clark Food & Wine Company, so I should have known better … because that place is legit.) The food is inspired by Mexican and South American cuisine and makes the food its own in a special and delicious way.
My absolute favorite food item we tried was the Tuna Crudo “Poke Style” (tuna crudo, tamari, ginger, and scallions). Jackie and I had a little fork fight over who got the last piece … I kid you not. We also got into some serious queso business along with their Street Style Corn and Avocado Fries. Not to be missed is their fresh fish, which you can choose which fish you prefer, chopped (ceviche) or sashimi style (crudo), which style you’d like (Baja, Peruvian, island, or Asian), and you can even have them make it into a salad for just $2.
The atmosphere is decided casual thanks to the nice natural light it lets in, red metal bar stools, industrial lights, and cement floors. The music keeps it light and the staff lights to kid around … which just makes things a little more fun.
Stop into C’Viche soon and get you some of their tuna crudo to accompany their new happy hour specials. C’VICHE & TEQUILA BAR
1922 Greenville Ave, Dallas, TX 75206
*Jackie is my new friend who happens to be a fellow blogger … check her our at Pretty Petals! You’ll hear about her again.
Oysters are delicious. Well handled, well shucked, fresh oysters are delicious. (Obvi.) While we’re a bit landlocked here in Dallas, there are some places that have fresh oysters and a decent shucker. Ocean Prime is one of them, and is upping their oyster game with some new offerings. And shuck me* … they’ve thought up some amazing pairings.
Not only are they offering $1 St. James Virginia oysters for $1 until 7pm daily, but they’re also featuring other oyster options (which vary by season and availability) and are pairing them with their four sauces–cucumber, champagne, and red wine mignonettes and a green apple granita. (Yes, they made a flaky, frozen granita to pair with their oysters! It’s amazing how the sweetness balances out the salinity of the oysters.)
Their fresh oysters on a half shell are irresistible, to be sure, but they’ve also come up with four baked and broiled oyster options in flavors like Bacon & Blue, Rockefeller (huh-um), their traditional parmesan, and BBQ. While they’re a tiny bit harder to eat, they’re delicious and worth the awkwardness that comes with trying to tackle a huge oyster with a tiny fork. ($7 for two, $13 for four, or a sampler of two of each for $24)
Ask Heather or one of the other knowledgable members of the Ocean Prime staff what they recommend pairing with each oyster, because they have really done an incredible job choosing pairings that cut the saltiness of some and really bring out the flavors of the baked/broiled options. We enjoyed a glass of crisp chardonnay with our basic oysters, and anything from a Goose Island India Pale Ale to a Whiskey Clover with our baked/broiled oysters.
Rockefeller – Saint Arnold Amber
Bacon & Blue – Astoria Prosecco
BBQ – Whiskey Clover cocktail
Parmesan – Goose Island IPA
Needless to say … I had a shell of a time** trying all of these delicious oysters! Get your butt in there any enjoy some of these options … because a dozen St. James oysters for just $12 mean you can afford a few happy hour drinks (and an Uber home).
*I had to make at least one shellfish pun. ** … or two.