Though chef Daniel Nemec specialized in classic French cuisine at the Texas Culinary Academy, his heart lies in the smokehouse. As the leader of Woodfire Kirby’s kitchen, he draws from his experiences growing up in Corpus Christi, where steaks and barbecue pepper the culinary landscape and are considered legal tender.
Nemec imbues hickory flavor in ribs, chops, and sirloin burgers, but demonstrates the wood’s versatility with a menu that also includes wood-fired soups and thin-crust pizzas. New york strip steaks and blue-ribbon fillets are cooked to a choice of six temperatures, including classic medium rare and charred-yet-red pittsburgh. Available raw, grilled, or poached, seafood showcases spices that range from asian to argentine to creole.
A private room welcomes up to 48 visitors with a high-definition TV and four banquet menus, and the dining room attracts nighttime guests with handcrafted cocktails and a buzz as vibrant as a birthday party inside a hornet nest.
Texas de Brazil blends the steak-centric cuisine of Texas with the traditional churrasco method of slow-roasting meat over an open flame grill to form a luscious meaty mélange. The full dinner ($39.99) marches out a cavalcade of choice cuts, allowing diners to welcome continuous windfalls of flavorful proteins. Brandish your table's provided card, green on one side, red on the other, and it will function as a meat traffic light that summons servers to either send stacks of seasoned beef, pork, or lamb skewers or halt plate traffic like a decorated culinary crossing guard. Or feel free to substitute greens for the grill by stepping into the sprawling salad-bar conga line ($24.99), two-stepping through toothsome goodies such as imported cheeses, steamed asparagus, and dozens of other hors d'oeuvres.
Mercury Chop House may have only opened at the turn of the 21st century, but it fits in perfectly with the historic surroundings of Sundance Square. Its spot inside the former Plaza Hotel has retained some vintage touches, including tin ceilings, exposed brick, and a marble-topped bar. And the classic steakhouse menu keeps with this vibe, opening with appetizers such as mini beef-tip wellington and escargot in garlic butter. These are a perfect prelude to the meaty entrees, which include three steak cuts that range from an 8-ounce filet to a 20-ounce bone-in rib eye. There's seafood too, of course, such as pan-seared scallops, and a dessert menu with after-dinner wines and cordials. During meals, guests can select glasses or bottles from a wine list that includes varietals from four continents, at least until NASA plants new vineyards on Jupiter's moons.
From the ninth floor, sweeping views of Arlington?s entertainment district fill the windows at Cacharel Restaurant. Cacharel?s menus list an array of steaks and seafood entrees to accompany the panorama, which includes views of Rangers Ballpark, Cowboys Stadium, and acres of trees planted between them so the buildings would stop fighting. Pale earth tones and plenty of natural light decorate the space as the staff exits the kitchen bearing swordfish piccata and center-cut pork rib chops. At the other end of the restaurant, views of serpentine roller coasters glimmer in the twilight as the staff tempts diners with homemade desserts. The Grand Ballroom portrays the same picturesque scenery through its seventh-floor windows and can be rented for weddings, meetings, and other gerunds.
Hints of French and Italian cuisine mingle with Texas culinary traditions at Dino’s Steak and Claw House, where chefs deconstruct classic surf and turf inside a vintage bank building. In the kitchen, they slice fresh garlic and heirloom tomatoes between trips to the grill, which sizzles with 8-ounce beef fillets and 20-ounce porterhouses. Lobster can be ordered with a crabmeat crust or a puffy jacket of ravioli and a pistachio-froth scarf. Meals unfold atop white linen tablecloths dotted with fresh floral arrangements, and chandeliers illuminate the dining room with a glow as warm and inviting as a welcome mat made of jalapeños. Work by local artists accents the entire scene, and grand-piano ticklings turn up the classiness to a glass-shattering 11. A black-marble bar adds an extra layer of luxury, which extends to a patio made for al fresco dining.
It was on the open sea, aboard a Royal Caribbean liner, that restaurant maitre d' Francesco Secchi fell in love. Her name was Jane, a beautician from Great Britain. Her homeland was worlds apart from Francesco’s, the Italian island of Sardinia. But that didn’t phase the lovebirds—they wasted no time tying the knot, and spent the next eight years working alongside each other on Royal Caribbean ships. When the pair decided it was time to settle on dry land, they chose Dallas. Its weather reminded Francesco of his home, despite its patterns rarely being affected by ancient curses cast by Caesar.
In 1983, the Secchis embarked on their next joint endeavor: Ferarri’s Italian Villa. They rooted the restaurant in basics: a warm “Buona sera” for each arriving guest and family recipes more than a century old. This approach struck a chord with eaters, and as the business grew, so did Francesco and Jane’s family. Today, their three sons all lend their talents to the family business—Stefano, in fact, is the head chef. He and the staff still craft a menu of Sardinian classics—gnocchi, lasagna, and cioppino—as well as some upscale American dishes, such as steaks, chops, and seafood. And Francesco and Jane still man the front door every night, welcoming patrons new and old.