The Charles Heads South
El Carlos Elegante, a new upscale Mexican restaurant from the company behind The Charles and Sister, opened this Monday in the Design District. We don’t have much information about El Carlos Elegante, except that its name is a Spanish-language riff on The Charles and that reservations are available now.
I’ve seen a copy of the menu, and although it doesn’t name a head chef, it has lots of tantalizing ideas: a ceviche de tigre with blue prawns, chicharrón, and kumquat; a ricotta tamal topped with mole negro; molotes, tlacoyos, tetelas, and machetes; okra and shishito peppers dressed with salsa macha; carnitas made with osso buco; and a cherry tamal for dessert, served with atole. The reservation page boasts an “in-house masa program,” a pointed contrast with neighbor The Mexican, which uses processed industrial gunk.
El Carlos Elegante, 1400 N. Riverfront Blvd.
Two More Mexican Restaurant Openings
El Carlos Elegante isn’t this week’s only new provider of Mexican food, though. Locura Small Bites, which you may remember from its tenure in West Dallas, has now moved across town to a new location near Samuell Grand Park. It opened last week with a limited menu of daily specials, and will likely expand on that menu in the weeks to come.
Meanwhile, the Sylvan Ave. space formerly occupied by Herrera’s Cafe has now been taken over by a new business: Allende Seafood Bar and Grill. I saw an open sign flashing when I drove by this weekend, and its Facebook page promises tacos and empalmes.
Locura Small Bites, 3766 Samuell Blvd.
Allende Seafood Bar and Grill, 3311 Sylvan Ave.
Big Vegan Food News for Richardson
Chef Troy Gardner, formerly of Trinity Groves’ V-Eats Modern Vegan, has opened TLC Vegan Cafe in Richardson, reports the Dallas Morning News’ Amanda Albee. The full interview is wonderful and well worth reading; I particularly like the part where Gardner says that his vegan brisket brought Dallas media attention from other countries because “the rest of the world thinks we’re on horseback.”
Gardner’s style is to prepare vegan versions of beloved classics, using plant-based proteins and ingenious cooking to trick the taste buds. DMN reports that Gardner is also about to appear on Beat Bobby Flay. Hope he wins!
TLC Vegan Cafe, 1930 N. Coit Rd., Ste. 140
Their Milkshake Brings All the Boys to the Groves?
Nitro Burger, Trinity Groves’ newest restaurant concept, opens November 28 and features not nitro burgers but nitro milkshakes. CEO Julian Rodarte tells the DMN’s Sarah Blaskovich that this means that the shakes are mixed tableside, using liquid nitrogen to cool the ingredients down. I have no idea if this causes the shakes to be any better or worse than normal, but it surely will cause loads of people to post videos on Instagram.
Three more details stand out. One is that all the shakes can be made with added alcohol. The second is that Nitro Burger replaces a Trinity Groves concept called Flourish that I had literally never heard of until now.
The third is that there’s a sandwich called the Highland Park BLT, where “BLT” now stands for “bacon, lobster, truffle.” The lobster is fried. I just want to point out that this is a hilarious bit of satire. Pure savagery! But I also want to point out that, according to the article, it is only $10. For a burger patty, bacon, fried lobster chunk, lettuce, tomato, bun, and something involving either truffles or truffle oil. How does that math add up?
Let’s distract ourselves with DMN’s amusing slideshow of over-the-top photos.
Nitro Burger, 3011 Gulden Ln.
The Best Dallas Food Writing You Might Have Missed
A couple weeks ago, I experimented by promoting a Twitter thread of good Dallas food writing from non-D outlets. People liked it and responded well, so we’re giving it a spin in News Bites this week.
The best article I read this week was Courtney E. Smith’s Eater reporting on the deep community focus of Restaurant Beatrice, which uses South Dallas farms, practices environmental conservation and food waste reduction strategies, and stocks liquors made by women and minority distillers. Some of the restaurant’s produce comes from inside Fair Park, and Beatrice has more plans to deepen its farm-to-table roots by working directly with select ranchers to source all of its beef and pork.
Also worth quoting: “the entire leadership team identifies as BIPOC [Black, Indigenous, and people of color] and the vast majority of the staff identify as either BIPOC, members of the LGBTQ community, people with disabilities, or as an underrepresented age group. [Terance] Jenkins, as executive chef, is one of only a few Black men to hold that title at a fine dining establishment in the Metroplex.”
I also enjoyed reading a dispatch from Dallas Observer writer (and Chicago-area native) Hank Vaughn on a new Chicago-style hot dog joint inside a Garland car repair shop. “You could say it pretty much nails the lack of pretension that real Chicago-area dog joints are known for,” Vaughn reports, adding the unusual detail that the two owners do not want their names publicized. Intriguing. I might break something on my car so I can go check this spot out.
Finally, if you’re not quite ready for Thanksgiving yet, get in the mood by reading this goofy deep dive into the world of AI-generated recipes by Dallas’ own Priya Krishna, in the New York Times. She gamely attempts AI-created ideas for naan stuffing and pumpkin spice cake, and things do not go well. Guess we found one job the computers won’t take over.
Brian Reinhart became D Magazine’s dining critic in 2022 after six years of writing about restaurants for the Dallas Observer and the Dallas Morning News.
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