In Deep Ellum, you're as likely to run into a beautiful mural as you are to stumble into your favorite band having a smoke on the sidewalk. It's been known as a hub in Dallas for music and street art, but more recently, it's also becoming known as a hotbed for interesting food.
Deep Ellum continues to welcome more restaurants and bars to the scene, many of which are experimenting with surprising dishes. Here are five unexpected dishes you'll find in Deep Ellum right now.
Octopus at Armoury D.E.
At many restaurants, octopus is a rare delight. At Armoury D.E., a restaurant-bar-music venue with a Hungarian-themed menu, it's always available. In fact, the charred pulpo (octopus) is perhaps what Armoury is best known for. A whole octopus arrives charred on a plate with a dipping sauce made of duck fat and Spanish seasonings. Its tentacles are meaty with a delightfully fatty skin. Bring friends: This octopus is too big and too good to eat alone.
- 2714 Elm St., Dallas. Details here.
Two burgers -- the Nutty Pig and the Sweet & Lowdown -- at Easy Slider
The women behind this food-truck-turned-brick-and-mortar eatery split up the best ingredients from a peanut butter and jelly and remarried them into two burgers. You wouldn't expect peanut butter or strawberry jam to pair well with beef, but, surprise!, they're astonishingly good. The Nutty Pig is a beef patty slathered with peanut butter and topped with lettuce, tomato and red onions. The Sweet & Lowdown is a beef patty topped with bacon, goat cheese and strawberry jam. Don't miss 'em.
2701 Main Street, Dallas. Details here.
Pizza flights at Stonedeck Pizza Pub
There are a lot of pizza joints in Deep Ellum. Stonedeck Pizza Pub is different in that it offers pizza flights, which means you can try eight pizzas all at once (without purchasing enough pizza to feed a basketball team). The company makes nearly 15 signature pizzas featuring toppings like chicken tikka masala and feta cheese; chipotle sauce and chorizo; tomatillo sauce, avocado and pickled jalapeno; and more. With that many options, the flight's a good idea.
- 2613 Elm St., Dallas. Details here.
Steak at Niwa Japanese BBQ
Restaurants where you cook your own food might come across as a bit of a gimmick: So, I have to pay to sit down, then filet my steak myself? At Niwa, the staff makes the grilled-meat process, called yakiniku, foolproof. Steak options like rib-eye and filet mignon are presented in small cubes to be cooked on a grill in the center of the table, and servers check on your progress so the meat is cooked to your desired temp even if you are a challenged chef. Niwa offers other cuts like beef belly, short rib, sirloin and chicken breasts. For more adventurous eaters, there's also tongue.
- 2939 Main St., Dallas. Details here.
Taro and lychee ice cream at Chills 360
If you've been in Deep Ellum recently on a weekend night, chances are you've seen an obscenely long line outside Chills 360, the newest concept in ice cream to come to Dallas. It's a Thai ice cream trend that transforms a liquid custard base into hardened ice cream as workers spread the mixture over freezing marble slabs. After becoming solid, the ice cream is doused with syrup and scraped into rolls. While the rolls at Chills 360 have the consistency of regular ice cream and most of the flavors on the menu are not that different from anywhere else you'd go, the Ice Ice Baby featuring Southeast Asian taro (a root plant) and lychee (a fleshy fruit akin to a plum), make this dessert stop worth the wait.
- 2646 Elm St., Dallas. Details here.
CORRECTION, 7:20 p.m. Aug. 11, 2017: This story has been corrected to remove a reference to Stonedeck Pizza Pub's gluten-free crust. The restaurant has never offered gluten-free crust.