Previously known as The Firkin & Phoenix Pub, The Phoenix on Westheimer didn't necessarily rise from the ashes as much as it transformed into its current incarnation under the watchful eyes of the original owners and management. The cozy tavern maintains the same neighborhood-friendly spirit that made the original pub an inviting stop for regulars and passersby hoping to enjoy a quick meal and a pint. The menu, while updated, also preserves the feel of a traditional pub with favorites ranging from fish 'n' chips to bangers and mash.
Complete with weathered floorboards, dark wooden trim, and chairs and banquettes upholstered with lipstick-red fabric, the decor continues the across-the-pond ambience. 12 LCD televisions hang throughout the space, and five projectors are available for especially important games or marathons of Antiques Roadshow. That's only the regular entertainment, though?the proprietors love to throw special events, including regular trivia nights and viewings for popular TV shows such as The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones. The Phoenix also earned a spot on CBS Houston's list of the Top 2014 St. Patrick?s Day Bars In Houston for the St. Patrick's Day party it hosts in its parking lot.
Chinese-American fusion stars on the menus served at Taipei Restaurants, located in both Stone Oak and Castle Hills. Both locations specialize in wok-seared moo shu pork served with housemade pancakes, salt-and-pepper shrimp, and triple delight—a tasty trifecta of chicken, beef, and shrimp in a spicy housemade sauce. Sizzling firecracker chicken sets tongues aflame with jalapenos at the Castle Hills dining room, and in Stone Oak, knives glide through tender osso bucco, a bone-in pork shank poached in a traditional sauce of rice wine and soy. At the Stone Oak location, sushi chefs carefully craft maki rolls or assemble plates of precisely sliced sashimi and nigiri from fresh seafood fished by the staff's resident mermaid. The Castle Hills location cultivates serenity with muted tan walls, rows of tall windows, and mounted Chinese paintings that depict subjects from a horse to a parade.
A staple in the Dallas eating scene since before the first location in Oak Cliff was cool, La Calle Doce opened in 1981, just ten minutes from downtown. Set inside a renovated former home, the original location on 12th Street is near to bursting with relaxed charm. Each cozy, wood-floored room offers up a couple of white tablecloth spots for simple dining, while sunlight pours in and homey touches – think hutches filled with china, decorative wallpaper – round out the experience. Offering some of the best Tex¬-Mex food in town, La Calle Doce pushes plates of saucy seafood and fresh ingredients, served in tacos, sopas, cocteles or as standalone plates.
With more than 90 buffet dishes including 30–35 hot entrees and more than 10 varieties of sushi, it’s no surprise that Buffet Palace's Austin location has been voted best buffet 12 times by Austin Chronicle readers. The similarly well-stocked Killeen location looks like a grounded spaceship from the outside, complete with a cylindrical metal cage, a Saturn-style ring, and two alien-like statues.
At each location, a modern 350-seat dining room vaunts sleek countertops and high ceilings as well as a buffet so long visiting Lilliputians regularly land planes on it. Items range from Korean-style salads and Japanese sushi to more than 30 primarily Chinese hot dishes such as sesame chicken and pan-fried dumplings.
In addition to these made-from-scratch items, a chef cooks Asian pancakes and dumplings. Before departure, diners can also stock a plate full of the buffet’s housemade desserts, which include cakes, cookies, and fruit so fresh it often gets smacked by older, wiser side dishes.
Rice N Roti's name implies a pan-regional approach to South Asian cuisine; an approach that is upheld by a menu of northern and southern Indian staples and a selection of Indo-Chinese dishes. In addition to baking fresh naan in the kitchen's clay tandoor oven, the chefs slow-cook tender morsels of lamb, chicken, and vegetables in flavorful sauces with nuts, garlic, and yogurt, or vinegar and red chilies. Crepe-like dosas with savory fillings of onion or chicken represent culinary traditions from the southern regions, and orders of meaty fried rice help to bridge the gap between Chinese and Indian cuisine.
"Long live the king of all Dallas-area Chinese restaurants," wrote the Dallas Observer about First Chinese BBQ, going on to call it, "the measuring stick by which all other Chinese restaurants in the burg are compared." One glance at the whole barbecued chickens, ducks, and pigs that hang in the kitchen window of this venerated standby makes it easy to see why it has sustained a loyal following for more than 30 years. As the name implies, crispy marinated meats are the primary showstopper here, and may be served atop steamed rice with egg or simply catapulted into an eager diner's open mouth. But First Chinese BBQ is hardly a one trick operation. The menu encompasses everything from noodle soups to hot pots with lamb and sugar cane, and new items frequently pop up.