I have a rule when it comes to dining out in Dallas: Nobody can order the same dish as anyone else at the table, and everybody has to give me at least one bite off his or her plate. It's a delicious way to enjoy the city's best restaurants, if you'll pardon my reach.
I've been to nearly every major new restaurant in Dallas-Fort Worth as the food writer for The Dallas Morning News and GuideLive.com for five years. I'm not our restaurant critic, and I generally keep my opinions to myself. But I found it easy to pick the most interesting new restaurants that opened in Dallas in 2017. After all, I ate off my friends' plates a lot this year.
The most inspired restaurant on this list -- the one you mustn't miss for your next date night -- is Sachet in Highland Park. The menu is exciting, the decor is inviting, and it isn't as expensive as the address would suggest. Missing from this list is the French Room, technically a re-established Dallas gem rather than a new spot. You should go.
What you'll find below are places serving barbecue, dumplings, healthy food and fancy food, listed in alphabetical order. I wanted to represent the most interesting new restaurants in Dallas, regardless of how much money you want to spend. You can even take your children to many of these spots; I did.
Dish with me on Twitter at @sblaskovich about which new Dallas restaurants topped your list.
As one of the most anticipated restaurants of 2017, and the product of ex-Mansion chef Bruno Davaillon, Bullion made a debut that was nearly as flashy as its retro-cool gold exterior. Its fun, French menu -- and yes, French food can be fun -- is at its best in the entree section, where each dish is worth the $30 or $40 price tag. Servers operate with an air of casual elegance as they bustle around the skinny dining room that feels, oddly, like a cruise ship. This restaurant should be on every gourmand's list, but save it for a special occasion.
400 S. Record St., Dallas. bullionrestaurant.com.
Fun fact: All the bread supplied to a dozen well-known restaurants in Dallas is baked in ovens at Commissary, which is destined to be downtown Dallas' cutest new addition of late 2017. The shop is a grab 'n' go place for downtown dwellers (think wheels of cheese, artisanal crackers, bottles of wine) that also serves the weekday commuter looking for good espresso. It's hard to miss, with the attractive blue tiles designed by Cuban artist Jorge Pardo that dot the building inside and out.
1217 Main St., Dallas. commissarydallas.com.
Ferris Wheelers Backyard & BBQ
You're driving along Market Center Boulevard, where some parts look a little run-down, and your co-workers wonder aloud where you're taking them. Then, hello, there's Ferris Wheelers, a barbecue joint and bar where you have to V A L E T P A R K on busy days. It's a little weird, but hand over your keys and inside you'll find good barbecue from pit master Doug Pickering and a backyard with a working Ferris wheel. This place is as puzzling as it is delicious.
1950 Market Center Blvd., Dallas. ferriswheelers.com.
There's exactly one new restaurant calorie counters need to visit: the fashionable Flower Child near Lovers Lane and Inwood Road. This place is packed with Park Cities people and their children -- so if that scene isn't for you, you've been warned. The beauty of Flower Child is that eating healthfully is fun. Darn it if the Mother Earth bowl of ancient grains, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, avocados, cucumbers and broccoli pesto doesn't brighten a Saturday afternoon shopping spree. Ditto the Thai Cashew Quinoa bowl with zucchini, snap peas and shiitake mushrooms.
5450 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas. iamaflowerchild.com.
More like hello, darling. This Chinese dumpling shop in East Dallas is simple and small, and nearly everything on the menu is good. Don't miss the pork with cabbage dumplings and the Peking noodle bowl. Dallas was sorely lacking in dumpling shops, and owner June Chow's shop offers a satisfying little bite in a popular nook of East Dallas (near 20 Feet Seafood Joint, Goodfriend Beer Garden and Burger House and Cultivar Coffee Bar and Roaster). Hello Dumpling is the definition of a neighborhood joint, but it's worth the drive even if you don't live nearby.
1146 Peavy Road, Dallas. facebook.com/hellodumpling.
New seafood joint Hudson House looks and feels so much like Houston's, you'll almost think you're either there or at a sister restaurant. But you're not. Here, start with that awesome clams casino appetizer, then go with the lobster roll -- a mayo-based, messy beauty. And, fine: Order a salad such as the American tuna tower, which is artful and tasty, if you're the kind who goes to a seafood restaurant and orders a salad. Land lubbers, the grilled cheese on garlic bread was so good, I almost stole it away from my toddler.
4448 Lovers Lane, Dallas. hudsonhousehp.com.
The feast for the eyes comes first. Mexican restaurant Jose is a thrill, artistically, with its bursts of color and cool art on the walls. Then comes the actual feast. Start with the Usual, a mix-your-own cocktail with three parts: George Clooney's Casamigos Blanco tequila on the rocks, the world's most adorable glass of Topo Chico and a little shot of lime juice. The patio is the primo spot, especially at brunch. Stay awhile if you have time to kill and chill, while you snack on pretty dishes of carnitas or fish tacos.
4931 W. Lovers Lane, Dallas. jose.mx.
Chef Nilton "Junior" Borges, who originally made the move to Dallas to work at Uchi, is at the helm at Mirador, where his menu is smartly focused on the well-heeled Dallasite. Maybe you were already shopping downstairs at the showstopping boutique Forty Five Ten. Upstairs at Mirador, single dishes, from the burger to the chicken paillard, are good. But truly, just order the chef's tasting menu and let Borges' team get to work. Money doesn't matter at a place like this, does it?
1608 Elm St., Dallas. mirador-dallas.com.
Pick your poke shop
If you're a fan of bowls of raw fish atop rice, quinoa or zoodles, chances are you aren't driving all over Dallas to get it: You're picking the place closest to your house, because it's quick and it's healthy and you get to build your own bowl. I'm thrilled to see poke taking off in Dallas, though I hope shops keep their standards high, because it's important to remember that we're talking about raw fish, served in grab 'n' go shops. Find a guide to some of the city's better poke shops here.
Our restaurant reviewer, special contributor Mark Vamos, called Sachet electrifying, and he's exactly right. This new spot in Highland Park is beautiful without being precious. It's no surprise that this place is so popular, given that it comes from the owners of Gemma on Henderson Avenue, another confident spot. Owners Stephen Rogers and Allison Yoder initially called Sachet's menu exotic, and it might be, but there's something so relatable about shareable pasta, whether the star of the dish is squid ink spaghetti or short rib ravioli. Ask the server for recommendations, then order at least one thing with ingredients you've never heard of. It's bound to be good.
4270 Oak Lawn Ave., Dallas. sachetdallas.com.
This place is so "Dallas," and it knows it. Nearly everyone in the bustling, busy bar is trying to impress someone. But under all those sparkly chandeliers and after all that expensive food, you just might score the date or seal the deal. +1 to Nick Badovinus for knowing what people in this town want: delicious excess.
1617 Market Center Blvd., Dallas. townhearth.com.
Up on Knox
Finesse. That's the best word to describe how husband-and-wife chefs Melody Bishop and Dennis Kelley execute their dinner menu. Up on Knox (where the old Chili's used to be, though you'd never know it) is full of surprises that the chefs play off like it ain't no thang.
Order oysters and you'll get raw mollusks accompanied by ramekins of Tabasco ice and horseradish ice -- how much fun is that? The secret's already out, but if you get a reservation, you'll score a seat at what's sure to be one of Dallas' hot spots for months to come.
3230 Knox St., Dallas. uponknox.com.