The tamales at Danals Mexican Restaurant are so popular that some regulars place bulk orders days in advance. But the tender, husk-wrapped snacks aren't the only reason to visit this 25-year-old Irving eatery. The restaurant's cooks are experts when it comes to crafting Michoacan-style carnitas, seafood ceviches, and other Mexican staples. Specialty margaritas and micheladas pair beautifully with each fresh, piquant dish, and desserts such as flan give folks a way to get rid of the bitter taste that comes from saying "Beetlejuice" three times. To nail down the authenticity, brightly colored walls and murals line the restaurant's interior, creating a colorful, happy ambience.
Smashburger isn't just the name?it's the way chefs, otherwise known as Burger Smashers, cook every burger. First, they form never-frozen, 100% Certified Angus Beef into a giant meatball. Then they season it, place it on a butter-glazed grill, and smash it into a patty. The process caramelizes the beef, locking in flavor while keeping the meat juicy and tender. Each slab is then sandwiched in an artisan bun and is turned into one of an array of standard burgers or locally inspired specialties unique to each market.
This handcrafting approach typifies everything else the restaurant does, from blending handspun shakes to hand painting Smashburger's logo onto every beverage cup. Letting its food stand for itself and relying mostly on word of mouth for advertising, the Smashburger franchise expanded from one restaurant in 2007 to 220 today, with its swift growth from zero to 100 stores making it one of the nation's fastest-growing restaurant companies. This rapid development even caught the attention of Forbes and Inc. along the way.
When their family business closed, the Ortegas imported ingredients and machinery straight from their native Argentina, set up a small kitchen, and took their Buenos Aires-inspired products on the road aboard a brand new food truck based out of Global Bakery, in Irving. Their flaky pastries brim with beef, chicken, pulled pork, ham and cheese, and spinach fillings and bear a unique, baked-in pattern, creating ideal handheld meals available straight from the food truck’s window. As they add the variety of fillings, they imprint each pastry with a specific pattern, allowing customers to keep different flavors separate without interrogating their empanadas under a fast-food heat lamp.
In the tradition of a Brazilian churrascaria, the servers at Villa's Grill present guests with as much seasoned meat as their plates and appetites can hold. Nine different cuts of meat include everything from sausage and parmesan pork to bacon-wrapped chicken and picanha, a rump cut of beef popular in Brazil, where the owner grew up.
Though eating unlimited meat is a task in and of itself, you'll want to save room for the extensive selection of sides and desserts such as the brazilian flan. Occasional live music makes for romantic evenings, inspiring couples to gaze deep into each other's eyes as they plot to steal the last piece of bacon-wrapped chicken.
At Bombay Sizzler Pub & Grill, cooks pump out delicious smells that tickle patrons’ appetites and pile plates with savory Indian and pan-Asian dishes. The varied menu throws taste buds culinary curveballs in the form of entrees that integrate a menagerie of meats, from curried mutton in tomato-onion gravy to pomfret fish with ginger, garlic, and lime juice. Meat-free eaters might avail themselves of the dahl tadka, a serving of yellow lentils with onion, tomato, and cumin, or the okra masala fried with onion.
Specializing in the fragrant, well-spiced "loose rice" that is biryani, Astoria Biryani House prepares heaping mounds of the long-grain rice mixed with traditional South Indian ingredients. Diners dig in to dishes of the aromatic rice mixed with tender chicken, mutton, or goat in portions large enough to feed a table full of people or an actual table if it gets hungry enough. A full menu of other traditional Indian cuisine includes spicy curry, fluffy naan, and crispy samosas.