The laid-back modern Japanese spot above Uchi used to be called Top Knot, and it used to have brunch (RIP), but I’m not bitter at all. You know what else isn’t bitter? Uchiba’s perfect cocktails, like the Jungle Bird, for example, which is rum-based and topped with a single basil leaf. Whether you’re there for happy hour, their perfect sushi, some saucy-spicy fried chicken buns, veggie night on Sundays or their monthly #UncommonRamen guest chef series, it’s ALL good up top.
Oh Billy can, alright. He can decorate a restaurant, make killer cocktails and serve delicious food I’d never get tired of. Happy Hour is your best bet at Billy Can Can, where Texas beers, wines and spirits are on special. Try the kitchen’s deviled egg sampler, tartare and smoked fish dip for appetizers and before you know it, you’ll have the best night ever.
3. MOT HAI BA
I DREAM about the whole fried fish that chef Peja serves at Mot Hai Ba. The culinary energy and excitement that’s packed into the tiny Vietnamese spot over on Live Oak in Lakewood is astounding. Try the garlic noodles, too, and really don’t miss anything that your server recommends. I once had a cocktail with peanut milk in it that was outstanding. You literally cannot go wrong at Mot Hai Ba.
Pizza is a hot topic (literally and figuratively) and everyone has their favorites. Well, everyone whose favorite isn’t Zoli’s New York Pizza is mistaken. The Spangler is Zoli’s NY cheese pie and it’s perfect. But if you’re still hungry, the monster culinary team at Zoli’s just happens to make one of (if not the) best burgers in town. Oh, and salads, pastas, apps and brunch! I mean, come on.
Delucca is what would happen if a Las Vegas buffet and a churrascaria had little delicious baby. A beautiful setting with mouthwatering, unending pizza served by a very attentive staff. Start your night with some complimentary charcuterie and a classic cocktail, and end with pizza topped with Nutella. You deserve it.
When I’m feeding a crowd, I take them to Hero in Victory Park. There’s something good for everyone and plenty to entertain them the entire time, whether they like sports, drinking, arcade games, shopping, or just cool vibes for hanging out. The cocktail program at Hero is can’t-miss, with some rotating specials, extremely well-made tiki beverages, and even some large-scale drinks at brunch-time just for the fun of it. Don’t leave without getting a taste of The Remedy Burger, which is another one from my personal top 5.
7. MALIBU POKE
I love poké. Even not-so-good poke is still pretty good. But really good poké? It’s the stuff of dreams. Well, Malibu Poke owner Jon Alexis and chef Matt McCallister have come up with some really good poké. Fish market-quality fish, plus bowls designed by a chef, plus a laid-back, modern, clean, insta-worthy atmosphere makes Malibu an A+ in my book. Build your own or try one of their faves. Either way, you’ll want to come back tomorrow for another.
Now that The Grape has left us, I’m putting in my vote for Gemma to become Dallas’ most perfect date night spot. The California-style, wine-obsessed bistro is lovely and delicious. You can send anyone there and be confident they’ll walk out having enjoyed a great meal with service to match.