Updated at 11:30 a.m. August 18, 2017: Revised to add new lunch service at Hot Joy.
Sidewalks and swimming pools aren't the only thing heating up as we head into the hottest part of the hottest season in Dallas. The dining scene is heating up as well (at last!).
Here are five new restaurants worth a visit:
City Hall Bistro
While the Dallas foodiesphere waits (impatiently!) for the newly imagined French Room to reopen (are we there yet?!), a lower-key restaurant has opened just next to it in the Adolphus. City Hall Bistro, designed to feel like the eat-in kitchen of a grand European family, is a cool hideaway done in Carrara marble, white subway tile and butterscotch leather. On the dinner menu: sophisticated Mediterranean bites like savory Lebanese atayef pancakes filled with duck confit; marinated sardines on tomato coulis with escalivada; or grilled lamb chops on hazelnut romesco. Bonus: An engaging wine list that offers quartino-sized pours at glass-sized prices.
City Hall Bistro, the Adolphus, 1321 Commerce St., Dallas; 214-651-3686. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner and Saturday and Sunday for brunch.
On his many trips to the Mexican state of Jalisco in the last 10 years, Brady Wood fell in love first with the agave culture in the spirit-producing town of Tequila, and then with the nearby city of Guadalajara — for its vibe, its restaurants, its culture and particularly the work of ceramist and art collector José Noé Suro, whom he met in 2012. So enthralled with Suro was Wood that after more than a decade away from the restaurant business (he and his brother Brandt were high-profile stars on the Dallas social scene as co-owners of famed '90s hot spots the Green Room, Gypsy Tea Room and Trees), he decided to dive back in: José was born.
"I swore I would never open another restaurant until I met José Noé," says Wood of the ceramist, whose plates and other tabletop pieces have graced the tables of Pujol in Mexico City and the Noma pop-up in Tulum. "The guy inspired me so much that I named the restaurant after him."
The busy patio, dining room and bar — magnets for the see-and-be-seen Park Cities crowd — are giving nearby Mesero a run for its money. That striking 85-foot-long black-and-white tile mural? Suro created it, along with the matching hand-painted plates. And guess what: Though it's not exactly a gastronomic destination, the Jalisco-style food is pretty good. Don't miss the striped-bass ceviche tostadas, soft-shell crab tacos and luscious, soulful carnitas.
José, 4931 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas; 214-891-5673. Lunch, dinner and snacks Monday-Saturday; dinner Sunday.
Fans of Colleen O'Hare will be happy to learn that the talented chef has resurfaced — in Plano's the Shops at Legacy, where she heads the kitchen at a new Pacific Rim-themed seafood restaurant, the Keeper. (With Jeana Johnson, O'Hare founded Good 2 Go Taco, which closed in January, and Mot Hai Ba, which they sold to chef Peja Krstic in 2015.) The already-hopping spot, named for the fish you don't throw back in the water, is the latest project from Front Burner Restaurants, the group that owns Whiskey Cake, Sixty Vines, Velvet Taco and other popular destinations. (Its Mexican Sugar is just across the way.)
What to order? Jazzy starters like "knuckle sandwiches" (steam buns filled with king crab knuckle meat, cucumber and celery slices drizzled with brown butter vinaigrette); napa cabbage-wrapped mahi mahi tacos; egg-topped Dungeness crab fried rice. Check out the gorgeous display of fish through the window to the right of the glassed-in kitchen.
The Keeper, 5840 Legacy Circle, Plano; 469-210-5337. Dinner Monday-Saturday.
Also in Plano, this expansive dining room and sushi bar — which opened in April — is generating buzz among Japanese food devotees. Grab a seat at the sushi bar and order nigiri and rolls that are better than most. Or relax at a table and dive into dishes like cold sliced duck breast, seared albacore sashimi, shrimp tempura (crisp and light) or awabi (abalone) steak, brushed with sauce and served hot in the shell.
Wa Kubota, 8448 Parkwood, Plano; 469-606-5222. Lunch and dinner Monday-Saturday.
Tiki drinks, crab-fat caramel chicken wings, fried cheeseburger spring rolls and cold crab-and-shrimp noodles make a splash at this colorful Uptown spot, a two-year limited-run outpost of the San Antonio original.