Tag Archives: west village

Saved by the Bell

unnamed-14Class is in session, people.  Public School 214 will open its doors in the new section of West Village on January 29 as the first Texas location from the Los Angeles restaurant.  The open format, 5,000 sq. ft., 200 seat restaurant features a full bar with a dining room opposite.  The music and simplicity of the decor (industrial lighting, globes and other elementary reminiscent ephemera) keep the vibe modern and a bit hipster — this isn’t so much the place you’d go for a quiet meal, but for some good people watching with a good drink and a meal no the side, this’ll be the place.

While the vibe is decidedly Uptown, the food is anything but ordinary.  I’m talkin’ Chorizo Mac & Cheese, Fig & Prosciutto Pizza, Lamb Bolognese, and Nutella Cookie Sandwich out of the ordinary.  More on the food later … because cocktails.

The talked about the PS214 bar program with Colin Kerr, director of operations.  He is so passionate about what he does, and the cocktails on the menu are evidence of that.  He made each cocktail so unexpectedly detailed … even the Gin & Tonic is decidedly unique thanks to their housemade tonic.

  • The Crushed Velvet is their take on a Moscow Mule, featuring blackberry and blueberry reduction, lavender, Karlsson’s Gold vodka, and the obligatory ginger beer.  It’s just sweet enough to offset the bite of the ginger beer, making it a dangerous option.
  • The Yellow Smoke was my favorite of the night, with fresh pineapple juice, serrano agave, and xicaru mezcal.  The smokiness of the mezcal gives this somewhat simple drink a bit of exciting complexity.  I think Dallas is still timid when it comes to mezcal, and here’s hoping that this helps Dallas gain some progress in regard to this unique spirit.
  • The  (watermelon, St. Germaine, Aylesbury Duck vodka, salt & pepper) was delightfully sweet and refreshing, but could be improved.  Try this with tequila or gin instead of vodka to up the ante.
  • The Lavender Vanilla was a different take on an old fashioned with housemade vanilla bitters, lavender simple syrup, and Four Roses small batch whiskey.  I’d drink this all day every day …
  • The last cocktail that we tried was the Player’s Cut, a spirit forward cocktail that is their version of a negroni, with campari, Carpano Antica, and locally-made Brazos Texas-Style gin.  I enjoy a bitter drink, but they definitely slow me down.  I would order this again to go with my lamb bolognese!

The beer list exclusively offers craft beers and less nationals than usual — think Community Beer Co., Saint Arnold, Revolver, Real Ale, Peticolas, and many more.  They will offer 24 craft beers with the promise of rotators and seasonal options.  Check out their selection of drafts, bottles, cans, and event large format bottles for the table.  One of the random cans I’m stoked about is the Coconut Porter from the Maui Brewing Company!

Photo courtesy of Public School
Photo courtesy of Public School

I did note that their wine selection is incredibly limited with just one option of select varietals.  (Though they seem to have made good choices for the options they offer.)  Also note that some of these wines will be on tap.

The food, as I mentioned, embodies their mission to impart “an education in the art of food and beer”.  Some of the items are progressive while others are just f**king delicious.  In terms of appetizers, you pretty much can’t miss the Chorizo Mac & Cheese (hello, it is topped with sea salt and vinegar chips and has chunks of chorizo instead of the traditional ground chorizo) or the Bacon Cheddar Tots (with shredded potato instead of chopped).  To warm up, the Roasted Beet Salad is a ridiculously delicious mix of fresh and tender roasted purple and yellow beets, arugula, ricotta salata, pomegranate molasses, and marcona almonds.

The Wild Mushroom & Taleggio Pizza was delightful and ridiculously fragrant (and a great midnight snack) and the Fig & Prosciutto Pizza is a perfect balance of sweet and savory thanks to the fig glaze.  If you’re a fan of pasta, the Lamb Bolognese features whole wheat linguine and very mild ground lamb.

Now, dessert … DO NOT MISS THE NUTELLA COOKIE SANDWICH!  This is some seriously intense dessert with Nutella (duh), bacon brittle (uhhhh), cookies, and vanilla bean ice cream.  Don’t share this with more than one other person.

PS214 dessert
Pumpkin Coffee Cheesecake & Nutella Cookie Sandwich

Fun offerings to look forward to from PS214:


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3700 McKinney Ave (in the new West Village area east of McKinney)

Does anyone remember the name of the restaurant that was in the current Malai Kitchen space?  Honestly, I don’t really care because I wouldn’t give Malai up for all the bubble tea in Thailand.

I was so pleased to join Braden and Yasmin, the adorable husband/wife team behind Malai Kitchen, for a few sips of wine and a couple cocktails.  Not only are they delightful people, but they know their stuff.  Case in point: their wine list.  If you haven’t checked out Malai’s revamped wine list, it’s worth checking out.  The wine menu offers a unique variety of wines starting at $7 a glass from across the globe, some of which are priced quite close to retail (tres unique for a restaurant).  Even better? It’s wine-idiot-friendly as it’s organized by intensity.  

We enjoyed tastes of:

  • Livon 2011 (Friulano) – a unique flavor
  • Markus Molitor “Bernkasteler Badstube” 2011 (Riesling Kabinett)
  • Joseph Kent “Vieux Carre” 2010 (White blend)
  • Guillon “Gevery Chambertin” 2007 (Pinot Noir)
  • Longoria “Alisos Vineyard” 2005 (Syrah)
  • Brazin “Old Vine” 2010 (Zinfandel)

I died for the Guillon Pinot and would definitely recommend a glass or three of it.  The Markis Molitor is light and has just the right amount of sweetness to be the perfect pairing for a spicy curry dish.  Ask the bartender (or ask for Braden or Yasmin if they’re in) for a recommendation if you’re lost.

As for cocktails, they have a short list of really stellar options, many of which were developed by Jason Kosmas, the king of cocktail.  My dude, Rico*, and I tried a good mix of their offerings and were really wowed by some of the amazing mixology behind the Malai bar.  

The Singapore Sling got an audible “oh my god” from me and I’ll be returning for that one.  They recommend it for two (as it’s a pitcher) … but I think one person with a high tolerance and the Uber app could handle it.  Something everyone in Dallas must try is the Kaffir Collins (top left in the picture).  Since it’s made with a fruit used in Thai curries, kaffir lime, you can LITERALLY** not find this anywhere else in Dallas.  The taste is so incredibly rich and light and intriguing at the same time that  Rico and I actually squabbled over who got to finish this drink.  (I won.)  Other winners are the Cambodian Daiquiri and Bourbon Smash.

Malai Kitchen is convenient to grab before a movie or for happy hour, so stop in soon and order a Kaffir Collins in my honor.  

www.malaikitchen.com | @malaikitchen
3699 McKinney Ave #319 (West Village)
(972) 591-3387

*Rico is both a freaking talented coworker and the leader of the Brunch Bros gang.  Check them out if you aren’t already a huge fan.
**According to them.  Believe me … I tried bribing them to tell me where to get the Kaffir leaves.

Summer Activities and Events

AT&T Performing Arts Center

Sunset Screenings – the third Saturday of each month | Sunset (FREE)
The AT&T Performing Arts Center and the Dallas Film Society present these free outdoor shows at Strauss Square as an opportunity for the public to relax in a spectacular downtown venue in the Dallas Arts District while enjoying a movie. Concessions stands will have refreshments available for purchase. No outside food or drinks are allowed in Annette Strauss Square.

Barefoot at the Belmont – August 4 (Sahara Smith with Dylan LeBlanc), August 18 (James McMurtry with Greg Schroeder) | $15-20
“It’s time once again for Barefoot at the Belmont, KXT 91.7’s annual summer concert series at the beautiful Belmont Hotel in Dallas. Bringing great regional and national acts to a beautiful outdoor stage, Barefoot at the Belmont has limited seating…”
Buy tickets here

Dallas Museum of Art
Summer Film Series –  Thursdays through August 18 | 7:00 p.m.

Included in general admission to the Museum; DMA members FREE. General admission is half price ($5) on Thursdays in June, July, and August. Reservations recommended; reserve your seat online or by phone at 214-922-1818.

Dive-In Movies – Fridays through September 2 | 8:30 p.m.
“Dive-In Movies are back!  Each week, enjoy a film while lounging by (or in) our junior Olympic size pool located atop our Terrace level. ”  You can also order food and drink at the pool during the movie.

  • August 12th: Nanny McPhee Returns 
  • August 19th: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off
  • August 26th: Old School
  • September 2nd: Pirates of the Caribbean: Curse of the Black Pearl 


Friday Evening Market  – the first Friday of each month | 5-10 p.m. (FREE)
live music, artisan goods, handcrafted jewelry, and much more. Inspired by the summertime markets found along the seashores of popular European vacation destinations

Farm-to-Market – Saturdays | 10 a.m. – 2 p.m
the season’s freshest produce, organic meats, and artisan treats. FM 3699 provides an authentic farm fresh experience to urban dwellers in the heart of Uptown!

LA DUNI – NorthPark
Mojito class – every Monday at 5:30 pm ($18 in advance)
Call (214)987-2260 for reservations 

Free wine tasting – August 2, August 16 |  6-8 p.m.
Guests are invited to a complimentary wine tasting featuring handpicked varietals from around the world. Selected wines such as Boutari Monschofilero, Sokol Blosser Evolution, M Chapoutier Belle Ruche and Coppola Directors Cut Zinfandel will be featured at the tasting.  More information: (318) 564-5442.

Free movie screenings – various | 8:45 p.m. (FREE)
July 30: “Star Trek” (2009)
August 13: “The Incredibles”
August 27: “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” 

$1 Admission – until August 31 ($1, parking is $7)
“With school right around the corner, don’t miss your chance for a money-saving final summer visit to the Dallas Arboretum.”


Sunday Lobster Bakes – call (214)643-6557 for reservations

Bellinis for next-to-nothing ($1) – daily through July 31
From The Dallas Socials: The rumors are true. Patrizio is celebrating Bellini Fest throughout the month of July with $1 (yes, ONE DOLLAR) baby Bellinis. Bellini Fest is being held at each of their six North Texas locations listed here.

Il Cane Rosso – Tuesdays | 6-9 p.m.
Enjoy the delicious Neapolitan pizza from Il Cane Rosso’s mobile oven and a glass of wine 

no malai-se here.

I was fortunate enough to be one of the lucky group of people who were invited to the preview of Malai last month (it helps to know the right people!). I was not only delighted to try a new place, but intrigued to see what was taking on the former Tom Tom space. (If you remember, they ran into a little, shall we say, fiscal problem.)

Upon rounding the corner, I immediately noticed that they gave the facade a colorful facelift complete with inverted umbrellas (see picture on right). Dark beams were replaced with white ones and covering taken off for a more open-air feel.

Once inside, more surprises awaited. We had an assortment of drinks and all were as delicious as they were different. First I had the lemongrass fizz which was light and refreshing – the perfect drink for summer weather on their breezy patio. It had St. Germain in it but not so much to overtake the drink. I followed that up with a Vang Veing which is what I’d describe as a Moscow Mule meets mojito – another great patio drink. I had to stop there for fear of not being able to walk back to my friend’s place across the street.

We were also given tastes of some of their specialties including grilled satay, spring rolls, and drunken noodles. Everything was delicious and if we didn’t have to share with the other tables, my table would have eaten all of it ourselves.

I haven’t made it back just yet, but have every intention of multiple future visits.

Drink strength: 3.5
Overall: 4

Malai Kitchen
malaikitchen.com | @malaikitchen
3699 McKinney Ave #319 (West Village)

Monday-Friday | 5-7 p.m. | $5 specialty cocktails and spicy crispy wings. 

Live music: Thursdays 6:30-9:30 p.m.

Lemon Bar (Closed)

Thanks to a reader’s urging, I finally got my butt into Lemon Bar.  Walking in, I was delighted to see how many people were happy houring at the newest watering hole in West Village.  A few restaurants have tried this spot but none have succeeded as Lemon Bar already has seemed to do after only a few months being open.

While the specials are somewhat limited, the drinks are pretty darn great … and not too overwhelming.  I had to cut happy hour short to get to dinner and I wish I didn’t have to have done so … and I would have given my left ear lobe to have whatever food’s smell was wafting from the kitchen.

The crowd is very “West Village” – in a good way – and seemed to be a fun place to meet a new friend or two.  However, returning to Lemon Bar at night is a different story.  People begin to trickle in for the night shift around 8:30 and bring the party.  Friday and Saturday nights it’s almost impossible to move let alone get a drink.

Thanks for getting me into Lemon Bar, @tgospel!

Drink strength: 3.5
Overall: 4

Lemon Bar
3699 McKinney Avenue Dallas, TX 75204 | (214) 443-6043

Monday & Wednesday | all day | $2 domestic drafts
Tuesday & Thursday | all day | $3 wells
Friday | til 8 p.m. | $3 wells
Saturday & Sunday | 11 a.m.-3 p.m. | $8 bottomless mimosas and bellinis


The Lombardis know how to do brunch. $1 mimosas and bellinis can’t miss – but the food at Taverna makes the brunch that much better.

When I arrived, I was waiting on the rest of my 6-person party that was in from Pittsburgh. The waiter showed me to my table and entertained me until they showed … with one extra. “NO PROBLEM!” Another seat appeared without much drama. Five minutes later, another surprise guest. “NO PROBLEM!” Another seat appeared and all that was missing was a water.

As I mentioned, the food was great. The crab eggs benedict were (according to one of my dining companions), “The best I’ve ever had west of Pittsburgh!” There’s a compliment if I’ve ever heard one. I had the breakfast calzone and it was great, but make sure you split it because it’s HUGE.

The drinks, superb and quickly replenished … though I would say a big of creme de cassis would have made them a bit better. Pay attention to the small print; the drinks are only $1 if you get an entree.

Taverna was a great place for brunch – as all the Lombardi restaurants are!


3210 Armstrong Ave | Dallas, TX 75205-4131
(214) 520-9933
You can visit a Taverna in Dallas, Fort Worth, and Austin.

Saturday and Sunday | 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. | $1 bellinis or mimosas with purchase of an entree

the fish

After another happy hour, I was coaxed into visiting The Fish for reverse happy hour.  Though reticent to stay out late on a Wednesday, it was SO worth it.

We ordered a few rolls and some sashimi and all of it was incredible.  I wish I had been hungry so I could have eaten more.  The Fish has made drink specials a snap:  just have them all day everyday!

The sake bombs made this last stop a blast.  We played my favorite sake bomb game:  someone gives the group a topic and each person tells their story about it (i.e. first kiss, most awkward moment, etc.), and then SAKE SAKE SAKE BOMB BOMB BOMB.  Makes for a fun night.

The outside seating at The Fish is either on a quiet street across from the driving range or in the breezeway and the seats are comfortable.  Inside, the light was low and the plush booths were welcoming.  The crowd, though sparse because we were there on a Wednesday, seemed an interesting bunch.

Make sure you try this place, and make sure you’re hungry (sake bombs fill you up quickly)!

The Fish
3636 McKinney Ave., Suite 150 
Dallas, TX 75204

EVERYDAY | ALL DAY! | $3 wells, drafts, and sake & selected food discounts

Thanks again to my two most reliable happy hour buddies, Matt and Brandon!

The Patio Grill

Every now and then a new bar opens that you just know will become one of your frequented locales.  I drove by last week and saw construction on McKinney which piqued my interest, and after seeing The Patio Grill on Daily Candy, I decided I needed to try it.

When I walked into The Patio Grill there was construction all around as the owners prepared for the grand opening which will be in two weeks.  I spoke with no fewer than three people at length before sitting down; quite a friendly bunch.

The workers outside were … wait for it, men … mounting a large screen for football games.  As if strong drinks and sporting events aren’t enough, the waitresses and bartenders aren’t terrible to look at and are incredibly personable.

For the ladies:  great people watching (it’s right on McKinney) and giant Jenga.  I spoke with the “powers that be” and encouraged them to keep a Sharpie outside to break in the set – my block is pictured below!  It’ll happen before too long anyway, ya?

While the menu is abbreviated until the official opening, we had the Portobello fries and they were delectable.  They gave us a peek at the full menu and everything sounds incredible.  The menu offers buffalo wings with DAMN sauce (among many others) – if you can eat all 10 wings with DAMN on them, your next drink is on the house; we tried some of the sauce … good luck.

Overall, a great night.  I think everyone should make this porch a destination for the fall – and make sure you try one of their Three Olives Berry and Red Bull shots!

The Patio Grill
3403 McKinney Avenue 

Monday | $3 wells $5 you call its
Tuesday | 8-11 p.m. | $1 off all drinks & 1/2 off starters
Wednesday – Friday | 4-7 p.m. | $1 off all drinks 
Sunday | 8-11 p.m. | $1 off all drinks & 1/2 off starters