Sunburst trout with fingerling potato and smoked trout roe at FT33, one of only two five-star restaurants in Dallas. There were plenty of available tables there on a recent Wednesday night.

Sunburst trout with fingerling potato and smoked trout roe at FT33, one of only two five-star restaurants in Dallas. There were plenty of available tables there on a recent Wednesday night.

2014 Staff File

Has business in Dallas restaurants slowed to a grinding halt, or are dining rooms more packed than ever? It depends whom you ask. 

Last week, I wanted to book a table at FT33, one of only two five-star restaurants in Dallas at the moment. I was amazed at how easy it was:  On Open Table on Wednesday afternoon, I was able to find prime time (6:30 to 8:30 p.m.) tables for two for that night — as well as for Thursday night, and even Friday and Saturday nights. 

Restaurateurs — some, anyway — will tell you that this time of year is always slow, as people are getting those last vacations in, or they're busy getting their kids back in school, and so on.

Uchi's dining room in late 2015

Uchi's dining room in late 2015

Tom Fox/Staff Photographer

But some restaurants are booked solid. As I write this (at 10:30 a.m. on a Saturday), if you want to reserve a table for two at Uchi using Open Table, forget about tonight and next weekend. The next Friday night prime-table tables are a month out. 

So, what's hot and what's not?

I went on Open Table this morning (at 9:30 a.m. on a Saturday) to find out where I'd have success booking a table for two the same evening. A few things to keep in mind: Not every restaurant uses Open Table (Lucia, for instance, where tables are famously hard to come by, does  not). Size sometimes matters. Fearing'sLark on the Park, Mudhen Meat and Greens and Stampede 66, for example, have very large seating capacity. Also, some restaurants only use Open Table for a portion of their bookings. keeping some (sometimes many) of their tables available for walk-ins. Such is the case at Uchi, for instance. 

What's surprising

A one-star review in October 2015 hasn't kept the crowds away for Ida Claire. The Addison restaurant was completely booked on a Saturday night.

A one-star review in October 2015 hasn't kept the crowds away for Ida Claire. The Addison restaurant was completely booked on a Saturday night.

Ben Torres/Special Contributor

If  you think a highly critical review makes it impossible for a restaurant to make it, think again: Ida Claire, which earned just one star in a review last October, was completely booked for Saturday night. Similarly, a four-star review doesn't necessarily translate to bookings: CBD ProvisionsMot Hai BaNeighborhood Services Addison and Salum had plenty of same-Saturday-night tables available. Some restaurateurs and restaurant groups have restaurants that are hot and restaurants that are not. If you wanted a reservation at Nick and Sam's Steakhouse, forget about  it. But at Nick and Sam's Grill Park Cities, you could book the time of your choice. 

OK, here we go . . .

Note: I'm not including every restaurant in Dallas; what follows is a sampling.

Hickory-grillled Colorado lamb duo, rack and belly, sweet potato puree, braised greens and sage jus at Abacus

Hickory-grillled Colorado lamb duo, rack and belly, sweet potato puree, braised greens and sage jus at Abacus

2015 File Photo

What's hot

The following restaurants did not have a single available table for two between 6:30 and 8:30 on a Saturday night when checked at 9:30 a.m.: AbacusBoulevardier; Cafe Pacific; Five Sixty by Wolfgang PuckGemmaHattie's; Ida Claire; Kenny's Woodfired GrillKnife; Little Katana (Knox-Henderson); the Mansion Restaurantthe Meddlesome MothMesero (Inwood Village); Montlake CutNeighborhood Services (Lovers Lane); Nick and Sam's Steakhouse; NonnaRapscallionPappa's Bros. Steakhouse; Stephan Pyles Flora Street Cafe at Hall Arts; Sissy's Southern Kitchen and BarSprezza; Tei-An; Uchi; Victor Tangos.

Want a table table at four-star CBD Provisions? No problem — at least lately.

Want a table table at four-star CBD Provisions? No problem — at least lately.

2015 File Photo

What's not

If you were looking for a table for two Saturday at 9:30 a.m. for the same night, you could choose just about anytime at the following establishments: Americano; Bob's Steak and Chop House (Lemmon Ave.); Bistro 31; Cadot; Cafe Momentum; CBD Provisions; Dakota's Steakhouse; Dish Preston Hollow; 18th and Vine BBQ; Fearings; the Grape; KomaliKenichi; Lark on the Park; MadrinaMercat Bistro; Mesa Veracruz Coastal Cuisinethe Mercury; Mot Hai Ba; Neighborhood Services (Addison); Mudhen Meat and Greens; Nick and Sam's Grill Park Cities; Oak; Pakpao (Design District); Pink Magnolia; Proof + Pantry; Salum; Savor; Sevy's; TJ's Seafood Market and Grill; Ser; Smoke (Oak Cliff); the TheodoreTillman's RoadhouseWayward Sons; Zio Cecio Cucina Italiana.

At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Filament in Deep Ellum had just one prime-time table for two slot available for that evening.

At 9:30 a.m. Saturday, Filament in Deep Ellum had just one prime-time table for two slot available for that evening.

Rose Baca/Staff Photographer

What's warm

Some prime-time slots were available at the following: Al Biernat's (6:30, 8:30); Bolsa (7:45, 8, 8:15); Casa Rubia (8, 8:30 p.m.); Filament (6:30p.m.); Hibiscus; Lavendou (6:30, 8, 8:30 p.m.); Le Bilboquet (8:30 p.m.); Nobu (8:15, 8:30 p.m.); Remedy (8:15, 8:30 p.m.); Shinsei (8:30 p.m.); Top Knot (6:30 p.m.); True Food Kitchen (8, 8:30 p.m.); Stampede 66 (7:45, 8, 8:15, 8:30); Stock and Barrel (6:30, 6:45, 8:30 p.m.); Suze (6:45, 8:30 p.m.)


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