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.
Fishbone Grill & Oyster Bar had been in place for a quarter of a decade when a new neighbor rolled into town and shook everything up. In 2009, the Dallas Cowboys' 111,000-person-capacity stadium sprung up just across the street, bringing with it throngs of fans looking for a place to eat and drink before the game.
Fishbone adapted, and today its tailgating events are a spectacle that often feature appearances from former Cowboys safety and three-time pro-football champion Bill Bates. But whether it's game day or any other day, the cooks display the same dedication in whipping up catfish platters, popcorn crawfish, and grilled mahi mahi. The menu ventures out of Texas, too, crossing into Cajun and Mexican territory with Louisiana-style crab cakes, shrimp quesadillas, shrimp cocktails, crab legs, and house-made gumbo.
The aroma of catfish filets frying in the kitchen wafts through Catfish Sam's and unites with the scents of hand-breaded-shrimp appetizers and charbroiled rib-eye steaks. Each table comes dressed with complimentary sides, including no-fat pinto beans, coleslaw, housemade yeast rolls, hush puppies, and green-tomato relish.
At Chop House Steak & Seafood, head chef Kenny Mills relies on the skills he's learned throughout his eclectic career, which included a stint operating the healthy, organic Natura Cafe in Uptown Dallas, as well as stops at steakhouses in Denver, Fort Worth, and DC. The menu reflects the chef's extensive experience with simple, yet elegant dishes, such as slow-smoked prime rib, Cajun rib eyes, mesquite-grilled salmon over lemon couscous, and tuna tartare tostadas.
Larry Walker knows seafood. The co-owner of The Oasis at Joe Pool Lake has sought game fish in more than 20 countries across the world and some of his greatest catches even adorn the eatery?s walls, including a massive black marlin that he snagged near Australia?s Great Barrier Reef. These maritime touches fit right in at a restaurant that floats atop the surface of Joe Pool Lake and serves a menu of pan-regional seafood dishes.
In addition to making shrimp gumbo and New England?style clam chowder, the chefs also create Tex-Mex fish tacos and beer-battered fish and chips. The selection even includes a handful of Southern staples from the land, such as barbecued brisket sandwiches and chicken-fried steak.
With the waters of Joe Pool Lake lying just beyond its walls, The Oasis at Joe Pool Lake features an outdoor patio area overlooking the surrounding shoreline. The eatery keeps diners engaged by hosting live entertainment in the form of bands and DJs, which get crowds up and dancing beneath the festively colored lights strung above the outdoor tables.
As the Papageorge family knows, you can't run restaurants for more than a century without becoming hospitality experts. Lefty's Lobster is one in their line of charming, casual eateries, where simple touches—ritz crackers in the stuffed snapper, for example—yield loyal regulars, including former NFL running back Emmitt Smith.