Brunch is BIG in Dallas. I know people say that about a lot of things in Texas, but I’ve never really been anywhere else in the US where Sunday brunch is such an event. An event that I’ve thoroughly enjoyed partaking in since I moved to Dallas in December. Since then, I’ve been trying to find a new place every weekend to explore (which isn’t hard to do since there’s so many amazing places to pick from– it’s just hard to avoid going back to my favorites over and over). I exercise hard and eat healthy all week, so on Sundays I don’t mind ordering whatever sounds good. Since I’ve been at this for a while now, I think it’s about time to do a little restaurant review. The bar is set high here, with so many great restauranteurs and chefs concentrated in one city. Local, fresh food is a huge movement and the restaurants are running with it. Here are my three favorites that I would say have thee best brunch in Dallas:
Oddfellows: First of all I love the location, nestled right in the Bishop Arts District where you could spend the entire day perusing all the eclectic shops, bars, and eateries. Major points for the laid-back, no-rush atmosphere with a vibe that I’d describe as somewhere between a 1950’s style diner and a hipster watering hole. We got lucky and grabbed some seats at the bar to get a front row seat for the action.
Delicious coffee served in oversize cups. Beignets with powdered sugar and local honey. Outdoor picnic tables, local brews and plenty of interesting characters to people watch. Just as many healthy options as unhealthy. Vegetarian friendly but there’s also some hefty meaty meals on the menu. Two quinoa dishes! Reasonable prices. One of my favorite meals is the Fried Green Tomato & Bacon Sandwich with sprouts and Oddfellows sauce on ciabatta bread (pictured above). The house salad that comes as a side (fries are also an option) is surprisingly awesome. I’m used to house salads being cheap iceberg lettuce with one slice of cucumber and maybe a crouton, but their’s is an arugula blend with chopped pecans, heirloom tomato and white balsamic. The breakfast tacos are also cheap and delicious (two is plenty for a meal). I have to go back for the Buffalo Mac with Texas blue cheese and buffalo sauce when I’m ready for a “cheat meal,” it was voted the best Mac & Cheese in Dallas!
SMOKE Restaurant: I’m no Bloody Mary connoisseur, but it is my man’s favorite day drink so I’ve tasted quite a few. It’s one of those things that I really want to like but just can’t seem choke down more than a swallow or two. Salty drinks are not my thing, but I do love all the little pickled veggie surprises that come with them. Anyway, while I vary my drink orders during brunch, my boyfriend always gets a BM, and he named SMOKE’s Double Barrel Bloody Mary the best he’s had in Dallas. They start with Tito’s Vodka, then add Tim’s Roasted Tomato & Chile Mix, olive juice & house-made pickle relish. So good even I almost liked it.
I went with the Mint Julep, which was tasty and refreshing, but a bit weak and teeny for $10. Same with the blueberry champagne concoction. $10 for a little flute? Should have went with the $11 bottomless mimosas.
On to the food! I ordered the Smoked Brisket Cornbread Hash with poached egg, green chili rajas and pearl onions. I only eat meat rarely, when I think it’s really going to be worth it. Let me tell you, this was one of those times. There’s nothing better than sticking your knife into a perfectly poached egg and watching the yolk coat the rest of your plate. The brisket had a perfect crispness, almost a bacon-like quality to it. Mmmm. I don’t know how I can go back and not get that again.
I also got to try the Pulled Whole Hog BBQ Eggs Benedict with Goat Cheese Potato Cakes, which was equally as delicious. Not to mention, SMOKE prides itself on from-scratch cooking using on homegrown and local ingredients and was named the best breakfast in Texas by Southern Living magazine.
Points lost for not having complimentary valets with no other parking choice but to valet. Also, plan on waiting at least 45 minutes to get a table for Sunday brunch, which isn’t too bad if you’re not starving and want to relax outside with a drink or (two). The food is worth the wait!
Bread Winners Cafe (on McKinney): The food here is always fabulous, but the atmosphere is hit or miss depending on your luck. Sometimes you get sat in the main dining area which is cozy with red brick, lots of indoor plants and a very Savannah-esque feel but other times they’ll stick you upstairs in a corner of the bar next door. Either way, you may not care because if you got there after 9am on a weekend you’ve probably been waiting a while to get a table. On the upside, while you’re waiting you can go to The Quarter Bar next door (owned by the same people) and have a few New Orleans style brews or a frozen booze pop (seriously, a popsicle with alcohol), a frozen Jack and Coke or frozen cherry limeade.
As soon as you sit down, they place an assortment of freshly baked breads and rolls on the table to get you started. I don’t know if they serve the same ones every time, but it seems like I’ve never had the same thing twice. I’m a sucker for salmon eggs benedict and their herbed salmon on an english muffin with diced tomatoes always hits the spot on a Sunday. At $13.99, it’s a fair price (they don’t cheat you on the portion size, they give you more than enough salmon). Another one of my favorites is the (vegetarian friendly) Monterrey Enchiladas with 2 flour tortillas, eggs, cheddar cheese, pico de gallo, ranchero sauce, black beans and brunch potatoes. And of course, the chicken and waffles…
Side note: Don’t try the new Lay’s Chicken and Waffle potato chips. Especially if you’ve never had chicken and waffles. They’re gross, and they don’t do the dish any justice.
DO try one of these places if you’re brunching out in Dallas, and DO go to the gym on Monday to make up for it.