Fresh bean sprouts, sliced jalapeños, a mound of thai basil, and a wedge of lemon accompany each bowl of pho soup served at Pho Colonial, a restaurant that specializes in authentic Vietnamese dishes. French baguettes crafted by a local Vietnamese baker serve as sturdy bases for bahn mi sandwiches, which the restaurant claims are the "best in the city." But this isn't an empty boast, since The Dallas Morning News concurs that they are, in fact, "terrific." The chefs also whip up a variety of small bites—including many vegetarian options—that are perfect to eat on the go or to shove inside the horns of a rival marching band.
The light goes on in 12 Bagels’ kitchen early each morning, and it’s not because the ovens can’t sleep. The staff shuffles into the kitchen well before the first customers arrive, making fresh bagels in flavors that range from sweet chocolate chip and cinnamon sugar to savory cheddar cheese, egg, and sun-dried tomato. The menu also includes flavored cream cheeses, bagel sandwiches, and freshly brewed coffee.
At Sushi Robata, owner Hiroyoshi Mori and several other native Japanese chefs present a menu that balances a diverse selection of dishes. Diners can start with robata—Japanese-style grilled appetizers such as sea scallops, beef tongue, and sake-infused cod—before moving to entrees of teriyaki chicken and shrimp tempura. A separate menu governs the sushi bar, where patrons sitting at the counter can look on as the chefs plate nearly 90 types of sashimi or build a New Zealand roll with green mussels, smelt roe, and onion. Sushi Robata practices izakaya-style dining, a casual approach in which groups are encouraged to share dishes and chairs. Despite the low-key vibe, the restaurant is rather elegant: pot lights glow off the open, stainless-steel kitchen, and in the dining room, a checkerboard installation and a tree mural line spaces furnished with wooden tables and backless banquettes.
Before arriving at house specialties like the Chicken Bene Bene ($13.99) and sautéed salmon ($16.99), Cafe Bene Bene's menu artfully appetizeseduces with starters such as a platter of sautéed calamari with black olives and capers ($8.99) or steamed mussels with garlic and shallots ($9.99). The Junior's Favorite pizza's weighty blend of mozzarella, ricotta, pesto, and tomatoes (large, $14.99) will satisfy the hulking but sensitive club bouncer in your life, while the rigatoni Contadina's cornucopia of chicken, mushrooms, asparagus, and a light cream sauce ($10.49) will cruelly taunt your little wooden boy's lack of taste buds. Lovers of orbish foods, however, can dive face-first into the eggplant parmigiana's ample bosom ($11.49).