Veggie Garden draws on the traditions of Punjabi and North Indian cuisine, discriminately spicing authentic vegetarian dishes to awaken the flavours of vegetables, cheeses, grains, and legumes. The menu seduces both herbivores and those who adhere to steak-shaped food rainbows alike with dishes such as the South Indian specialty masala dosa, a rice-and-black-lentil pancake stuffed with potatoes and spices ($8.99). Entrees include the mutter mushroom, sautéed with green peas in butter before being dressed in onions and tamarind sauce ($7.99). The baingan bharta ($9.99) mashes smoked eggplant with spices, onions, and tomatoes and is served with a side of residual good karma from Mother Earth. Palates enlivened by the eatery's delicately incorporated spices can change directions with desserts such as kheer kesari, a rice pudding swaddling saffron and nuts. Between bites, Veggie Garden's free WiFi encourages plant gnashers to hop online to check on their virtual organic farms.
In Amharic, the word desta means "happiness," and it appears throughout the Ethiopian restaurant known as Desta, gracing the menus, signs, and walls with a constant reminder of hope. Here, it's a mantra as much as a namesake, a tribute to the tragic past. In 2012, the owners of Desta—Yared and Yenni, a husband-and-wife pair returning home from a 16-hour shift—were fatally shot on their front porch, leaving behind an infant son. Months after the couple's death, Yared's sisters reopened Desta, dedicated to continuing Yared's dream so that his orphaned son might grow up in a world defined by desta rather than grief.
Whether in the sleek, minimalist décor or the menu of authentic Ethiopian cuisine, Yared and Yenni's legacy remains in every part of Desta's second iteration. Atop the wooden tables, entrees such as fish kitfo—a serving of extralean tuna seasoned with mitmita-hot-chili powder—accompanies helpings of injera bread, an Ethiopian staple that can be formed into a scoop to pick up food by hand. To the tune of the modern lounge’s grand piano, Desta’s friendly staff serves diners inside or on the patio, happy to offer suggestions or answer questions about any unfamiliar fare.
The Egg & I started in Colorado, but like a tumbleweed or a particularly sturdy egg it rolled its way south into the Dallas culinary scene. Sit on the outdoor patio and sip premium, fresh-ground Costa Rican coffee, fresh-squeezed orange juice, and made-to-order smoothies. Or head inside, where the décor is as sunnily downhomey as the yolks on your plate. Vegetarian options abound, and egg whites can be substituted at any time so long as you order with conviction and integrity.
Pera means "welcome" in Turkish, and it's an apt name for Pera Turkish Kitchen—which welcomes in diners with the smell of grilled lamb coated with Eastern Mediterranean spices. The signature hand-ground lamb dish is just one of many authentic Turkish and contemporary entrees, as is the salmon kadayif, a salmon fillet crusted with shredded wheat that was featured on Thrillist. While diners feast, their eyes take in the contemporary artwork from Turkish artists decorating the crimson walls.