The Kick List – My Recommendations

The Kick List features food, drinks, places and people I adore and wholly endorse.  From recipes to wine, hotels to chefs, from peanut butter to pork, I have a close relationship with everything on this list and love them all so much I want to share.

A food critic really shouldn’t play favorites or reveal them to readers, but I’m not a critic, I’m a story teller so I’m going to tell you my favorites as on June 2021.


Odelay – Julian Barsotti has expanded his culinary horizon to Tex Mex with the opening of Odelay. It’s great, unfussy, flavorful TexMex and NewMexMex in a beautifully decorated space in Inwood Village.

Roots Southern Table – Chef Tiffany Derry has refined and elevated Southern cuisine that’s infused with flavors and techniques from her travels and training in Asia. Fried squash blossoms filled with jerk-seasoned meat, fried shrimp and grits balls and gumbo are lined up on the same menu as refined dishes like Spring Pea Salad, Sea Scallops with Texas sweet corn ravioli and Pekin Duck Breast. Cocktails and service are amazing, too. RST has already won scores of awards, more to come, no doubt.

More of My Faves . . . .

New American/Continental
Homewood – Chef Matt McCallister and his brilliant team get every single dish and drink right every single time.
SuzePreston Hollow “Continental” cuisine, Chef Gilbert Garza is low key amazing.
Salum – Always great and it’s been around for years. Abri Salum has a middle eastern-touch to each dish, one of my absolute faves.
Sloane’s Corner – this downtown gem is great for lunch or dinner. Menu includes pastas, fish, steaks and great cocktails. Park in the Trammel Crow building and enjoy the beautiful lobby art.
Dakota’s – Well, it’s not really new but after closing in 2019, Dakota’s steakhouse in downtown Dallas has reopened. It’s a restaurant I didn’t know I needed until it wasn’t there. The restaurant hasn’t changed much physically but the food has improved since the last time I ate there in 2017 and there is something delightfully old-school about it that makes my heart swoon. The full review is here.

BBQ and Burgers
Rodeo Goat Ice House
(those burgers, baby!)
Lockhart BBQ – I judge the ‘cue on the sides and this place has awesome spicy
blue cheese slaw. Dang good meats, too.
Loro – Award-winning chefs Tyson Cole of Uchi and Aaron Franklin of Franklin BBQ paired up to open a Dallas outpost of Austin’s Loro. It’s INSANE. Southeast Asian flavors of lemongrass, coconut, curry, thai chilis are enhanced sometimes and mellowed others with smoky richness of smoked protein.

Rise No. 1 – Souffles, yes but that artichoke with Hedda’s sauce is so dang good
Parigi – Always get the Deviled Eggs unless you’re allergic to eggs
Le Bilboquet – It’s a real social scene but the food is excellent, try the Cajun Chicken Salad
Up On Knox – I’ve fallen in love, ex Mansion and Bullion Chef Bruno Davaillon is in the kitchen now and it’s just fabulous and more casual that his other two posts

Lucia – World class cuisine in a charming spot in Bishop Arts. Chef David Uyger combines flavors in unexpected ways to create elevated, classic Italian food. Stunning and hard to get in to but worth it.
Sister – I love everything about this restaurant, especially the handmade pastas. Here’s my review of it.
Nonna – Julian Barsotti’s first Italian joint.  Pastas I can’t live without.
Partenope – I think this is the best dine-in pizza in Texas. Everything is outstanding. Zalat – I think this is the best made for take-out and deliver only pizza. It travels well and has a perfect moderately thin crust and traditional and funky flavors.

José – Refined Mexican, AQ Pittman will win a James Beard someday, Mark Me. Always order the ceviche and taco of the day.
Mesero – Elevated TexMex. I LOVE the three salsas and big ol’ chips you get as soon as you sit down.

Our Door 2 Yours – Excellent Southern and soul food prepared and delivered by Chef Ty Frazier and his beautiful wife, Denise. Fun fact, he played on a championship LSU team and she was Eryka Badu’s manager
Avner Samuel – Avner’s a five-star chef who will create a five-star spread for you. He is still a brilliant chef.

Fast Casual
Little Greek Cafe – I think this is the best Greek food in town. These Dolmas are blessed with a beautiful lemon sauce I could drink with a spoon. Opa!
Super Chix – Having owned a fast-casual chicken joint, I have some credibility here. I think this place has the best tenders and fried pickles. But Super Chix has a frozen custard that is thick and almost chewy. It’s addictive.
Taco Joint – it’s a chain, it’s got killer queso and a spicy jalapeño ranch that I could drink
Red Stix Street Food – My go-to for a quick, flavorful Asian meal. I love the Chinese BBQ Port Banh Mi.
Dive Coastal Cuisine – Everything is healthy, non-GMO and fresh

Not Dallas
Ft. Worth:
Ellerbe Fine Foods – Farm to fork refined southern food. It’s literally one of my top 10 favorite restaurants in the U.S.
Tokyo Cafe – A chill little Japanese restaurant on Camp Bowie at Pershing. Great sushi, Tok fries, ramen – it’s all great here.

Lover’s Seafood – Get the Key Lime Pie and Fish Tacos
TJ’s Seafood has two locations, Preston Royal and Oaklawn, just south of Highland Park. The fish is the best, of course, but the recipes and prep are outstanding as well.