More than 325 bottles of international wine fill Zambrano Wine Cellar’s shelves and its climate-controlled wine cellar, arranged by chef, wine enthusiast, and owner Cef Zambrano. When not hobnobbing with celebrities such as Harrison Ford, Nolan Ryan, and Katie Couric, Zambrano coordinates a menu of bistro fare to harmonize with his library of wine selections, which received the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence in 2009. Zambrano presents updated takes on Mediterranean favorites, crafting small plates of escargot broiled in garlic butter and shallots, as well as four types of bruschetta topped with tomato, chicken, duck, or fillet tips. Diners can dive into shared nibbles with custom plates of international meats and cheeses or pizzas topped margherita-style or with signature spanish ham.
Zambrano’s prized glass wine cellar sits behind a smooth stone bar, inlaid with variegated amethyst that glows as it catches the light better than an outfielder with a magnifying glass. While perched at its high-backed leather banquettes, diners can sip from the 50-plus list of wines by the glass while gazing at a flat-screen TV in the corner or admiring the custom art on the dining room’s exposed-brick walls. In the front of the dining room, gauzy orange curtains frame sheets of sunlight that illuminate simple wooden tables, each adorned with a single flower that provides color and an amuse-bouche for hungrier guests. A sidewalk patio offers al fresco dining and bustling sights of Sundance Square.
The tradition of Sonny Bryan’s award-winning barbecue started more than a century ago on February 13, a date that would become circled on the calendar again and again throughout Bryan’s Barbecue history. February 13, 1910, marked the opening of Elias Bryan’s Oak Cliff restaurant, Bryan's Barbecue. Exactly 20 years later to the day, his eldest son, William “Red” Jennings Bryan, launched his own restaurant. When February 13 rolled around again 28 years later, Elias’ grandson, William "Sonny" Jennings Bryan Jr., and his wife, Joanne, opened another restaurant, the first Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse.
Although a different Dallas family now manages multiple locations of the restaurant chain in Utah and the Dallas-Fort Worth area, the legendary barbecue lives on. Sonny Bryan's original barbecue sauce spices up its savory pulled meats and ribs, which have been devoured by US presidents, famous entertainers, sports legends, and A-list animated Disney characters alike. Sonny's seasoned chefs also cater heaps of fresh brisket and smoked chicken to parties and events.
Sonny Bryan's Smokehouse has been on the culinary radar since 1989, snapping up awards and publicity from Food Network, the Travel Channel’s Man V. Food Nation, and Emeril Lagasse’s The Originals with Emeril. The modest joints have also earned some highbrow epicurean chops through a 2006 Zagat rating and a 2000 James Beard Foundation award for Culinary Excellence and Achievement.
At YourWay Burgers & Wings, ordering your meal is an exercise in free will—the burger order form that greets guests can yield more than 340,000 combinations of patty, bun, and toppings. The range of choices is more appetizing than intimidating, though, and begins with five types of filling: certified Angus beef, chicken, salmon, turkey, or vegetarian. From there, patrons decide on a bun, cheese, and infused toppings, which chefs hand-pack into the meat before grilling it. The result distributes bits of chopped onion or tomato within each bite of patty and imbues the surrounding meat with a rarely experienced depth of flavor.
Even outside of its countless burger formulas, the menu embraces customization. In addition to signature twister tornado fries, manager Victor Nguyen spoke to Pegasus News about YourWay’s other french-fry and seasoning variants, listing off his creations like a father proudly reciting his children’s potato-themed nicknames: “shoe string, Tater Tots, curly, and battered, which are regular fries with a thin coat of batter that makes it crunchy. And five seasonings: salt-pepper-lemon, garlic Parmesan, Cajun, chili, and cheese." Visitors can also order chicken wings slathered in mango-barbecue or spicy-ranch sauce amid a sophisticated and sports-ready ambiance, with several HD televisions and cushioned booths flanking the full bar.
Movie Tavern transfixes one's taste buds and imagination by blending all-digital cinema with premium seating and sit-down dining. Moviegoers are encouraged to arrive 45 minutes prior to showtime, so that they can leisurely peruse an extensive menu of chef-inspired American cuisine, from kobe beef sliders to pizza and sandwiches. Nimble and unobtrusive servers slip in during the show to deliver orders, and can be called on for more drinks or dessert with the push of a button. At select locations, guests can opt to sip margaritas or signature cocktails at the bar before heading in to see a show. Audiences get to enjoy first-run films every week, retro cinema every Tuesday and Thursday evening, and breakfast food paired with early morning movies on Saturday and Sunday. While geared toward adults, the family-friendly establishment also serves finger food for kiddies along with film-inspired dishes. Guests can head to the bar or straight to the movie without ordering food, giving them some latitude in shaping their night out.
Additionally, Movie Tavern treats audiences to myriad benefits with their membership program. Anyone can sign up for free online to receive one free movie ticket on the spot and one free ticket every year on their birthday, as well as invites to screenings and other special events.
Gene Estes suspects that growing up in the 'dry' precinct of Abilene, Texas may have inspired his alcohol-based ingenuity; he crafted his first batch of wine from Concord grape juice when he was just 23. Years later, after holding various pharmaceutical jobs and putting to use his Masters in Microbiology, Estes' interest in wine re-emerged with a full and passionate force. Today, as the president and vintner of Lost Oak Winery, Gene works alongside resident winemaker Jim Evans to craft a host of award-winning wines. Among them is the 2012 Viognier, which scored a double gold in the renowned San Francisco Chronicle International Wine competition—meaning all five judges awarded the varietal with top scores before gilding the bottle twice in molten gold.
The winery itself offers both guided and self-guided tours, offering visitors a glimpse into the wine-making process complete with samples straight from oak barrels. Additionally, special events draw guests to the lush grounds for live music, wine club events, and the pre-Christmas holiday open house, where they can place preemptive wine orders with Santa.
An eclectic mix of ingredients, such as chipotle peppers, coconut shrimp, crawfish tail, and crunchy duck, gets stuffed inside the more than 40 signature rolls at Wild Sushi. Chefs swaddle shrimp tempura, cream cheese, and jalapeños inside the Red Rock roll and top the creation with spicy tuna, crabstick, and “exploding” sauces. “This roll was a behemoth, a massive construction standing at least 8 inches tall on the plate,” wrote Teresa Gubbins of DFW.com, who highlighted the roll in a review of the eatery. Towering rolls aren't the only surprises up the chefs’ sleeves. They also hide unexpected sweet touches inside their creations in the form of strawberries and honey walnuts. In addition, chefs stoke fires to heat up a variety of Japanese entrees, such as salmon steaks served with an apple-miso sauce or tilapia sautéed in a spicy coconut-curry sauce.
Guests settle into sleek wooden chairs at tables covered with squares of brown butcher paper to draw caricatures of sushi rolls playing tennis. Large teardrop lanterns fill the simple, modern dining room with light and illuminate a sushi bar backed with a wall of soothing waves.