I like to eat.
So I was unable to pick just five Restaurants I enjoyed in the oughts. That would be as ridiculous as choosing my top five favorite things that are hard to choose just five of (sometimes the jokes are hard to come by).
So here are my ten favorite restaurants of the 2000s. Please note, that with only a couple of exceptions, these are places that I dined at on more than one occasion.
10. In-n-Out Burger (California) – What?!?! An overrated fast food place? This list has lost all credibility. Perhaps. But I guess I\’ve bought into the hype. There really is something special here. And if I were honest I would not rate their burgers above those of Whataburger. But In-n-Out was a big part of both of my trips to the west coast. So suck it!
9. Mondo Sushi (San Francisco) – In the summer of 2000 I did something at Mondo Sushi that I had never done before in my life – try sushi. Since this was such a life altering event, it makes the list.
8. The Mansion on Turtle Creek (Dallas) – If I were wealthier, this place may have been higher up on the list. But I\’m not rich and I only went there once in the oughts. It may have been one of the top three meals I had this decade, but it can\’t beat out places I went to multiple times.
7. Cuquita\’s (Dallas) – Cuquita\’s would have rated higher if this list had been organized after a long night on Henderson. Seriously, there was no food on this sweet clean Earth that was better at 2am than their queso flameado, chilaquiles and super nachos. A part of me died when it closed.
6. Truluck\’s (Dallas/Adisson) – I can\’t really explain why I love this place. Other places do steaks better. Other places do seafood better. But every time I go there I think \”Why don\’t I come here more. I love this place\”. It\’s just plain the most comfortable fine dining restaurant around. And maybe it\’s the carrot cake; the best in the known universe.
5. Morton\’s (Dallas) – This is my go-to place for great steaks; easily the best porterhouse around. And if you go, you must get the potatoes lyonase and grilled asparagus. Morton\’s is also enormously relaxed whose staff is always friendly, and welcoming. I also dig on the old school Rat Pack music that plays at a comfortable level.
4. Toulouse (Dallas) – This is a relative newcomer to the list. While I had tried it once earlier in the decade, I have since gone four times this year alone. The item that drew me back was their Green Room Mussels; more on those later. But everything else there is absolutely terrific: duck confit, tarte tatin, plateau charcuterie. My appreciation for this place definitely increased after my trip to France.
3. York St. (Dallas) – Probably the best restaurant in Dallas and certainly the best restaurant I can walk to. York St. is tiny. There are maybe 10 tables. And the menu changes from day to day depending on what Chef Sharon Hage feels like making.
2. Piranha (Arlington/Ft. Worth) – Simply the best sushi in all the land. There was a time in the middle of the decade I would go several times a month and sometimes a couple a times a week. The hamachi ceviche and the For Get About It roll remain some of my favorite dishes ever.
1. Green Room (Dallas) – Of all my friends that left me in the 2000s, this one was one that hurt the most. It was here that I learned to love mussels. With ginger, spinach, shiitakes, jalapenos in a champagne/cream broth when served with some bread were a meal in itself. But this is the fucking Green Room. And that meant Dine Me/ Wine Me; a four course meal selected by the chef with each dish paired perfectly with a glass of wine. With four people at the table means you get to try four different appetizers, four different salads, four different main courses and four different desserts. Oh, and don\’t forget the wine. Plans have been announced to bring back Green Room in early 2010, so be prepared to see this one show up in my 2010s Top 10 list.