When The Island Spot owner Richard Thomas was growing up in Jamaica, his mother, Mama Joyce, would always make dinner for the family. On Sunday, they'd head to the farmer's market for mango, passionfruit, soursop, and other fruits to make into juice, which she'd serve along with dishes such as jerk chicken and curry shrimp to a crowd of extended family. Today, Richard uses those recipes to give diners at The Island Spot an authentic taste of the Jamaican food he grew up eating—chicken and beef patties, or meat pies, braised oxtails, smoked jerk chicken, and escoveitched fish fillets.
"I would bathe in the rub they put on that chicken," wrote a D Magazine reviewer about The Island Spot's signature jerk chicken. The Dallas Observer named The Island Spot's jerk chicken the best in Dallas in 2012, due in part to its smoky flavors and the experience of digging in: a "burst of perfume that starts as a wisp and builds to a billowing smokescreen."
Diners sipping rum punch or playing Jenga with a plate of jerk-chicken nachos can admire Richard's family portraits and snapshots of his favorite places in Jamaica as reggae, soca, or steel-drum music plays. On the first Friday of each month, a reggae band treats diners to live jams that transport imaginations to a breezy, sun-soaked island.
Holster's Texas Bar-B-Q's pit masters combine sweet and smoky flavors to craft their signature sauce, which drenches a variety of meats including ribs made from a family recipe. A cast of homestyle sides, such as hand-battered onion rings, complement smoked sausage, pulled pork, and beef brisket as tender as a puncture wound left by cupid's arrow. The family friendly eatery also caters to kids with chicken strips and pint-sized portions of their smoked meats.
Bistro Desserts lets its Latin inspiration show—mainly through the staff’s specialty flan. They churn out traditionally flavored flans, as well as recipes that taste like orange, pumpkin spice, or espresso. They even use flan as a nontraditional icing for their cakes. The hybrid desserts come in several flavors, including coconut flan atop a pineapple cake or chocolate cake with vanilla flan for a more classic combo.
Party Time Corp.'s game masters bring the exciting stakes and ritzy glamor of a casino to living rooms with a fleet of poker and blackjack tables run by experienced card dealers. Dealers arrive on-site to get-togethers, block parties, and friendly gatherings with tables purpose-built for games of chance, divvying out chips and shuffling cards with well-honed precision and impeccable professionalism.
Formerly the site of the RedDog Cafe, The Daily Dish is a genuine eatery where a passion for food and attractive plateware coalesces under inspired cuisine. Diners plant themselves in a modern space decked in olive greens and rustic reds, making feasting a cozy venture into the depths of Executive Chef Michael Chretien's lunch and dinner menu. Appetites unfold like pea-blossom petals to the rich flavors and hearty textures of the baked local goat cheese served with fresh-baked focaccia bread and roasted-tomato sauce ($8) and the signature house mac 'n' cheese served under an edible bedspread of aged cheddar ($11 for lunch, $4.50 as a dinner side).
Because getting exactly what you want has never hurt anybody, Mama Fu's Asian House gives guests the option to design their own made-to-order meals from top to bottom. When building a rice or noodle bowl, you can choose from a variety of fresh ingredients, including sauces and proteins such as sesame shrimp and teriyaki chicken.
All meats and vegetables are hand-cut and marinated on-site daily for maximum freshness. Mama Fu's also tempts tummies with a wide assortment of pre-imagined dishes, which can be altered and customized in a number of ways. The Thai dynamite shrimp salad packs a spicy punch; fresh green salads can be topped with shrimp, chicken, or beef; and the crisp lettuce wraps, like the best letters from fans, come stuffed with minced tofu or chicken. Dip-able appetizers like fresh basil spring rolls pack in mint, peanuts, and bean sprouts, while crab rangoon form tasty pockets of real crab meat, cream cheese, onion, and scallion. Even more treats await on the secretive Black Market menu, which boasts Thai Pepper Steak Salad and refreshing Sichuan Eggplant with Lychee.