The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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What the hell is this?

A weekly food commentary
 What the hell is this?
What the hell is this?

What the hell is this?

Dallas is changing clothes! OK, maybe not. The tight jeans and cowboy boots are here to stay, but at least the culinary panorama has a new look.

From the green pastel yards of Highland Park to the spinning rims and platinum grills of Oakcliff, chefs are on a mission, a mission that leaves the old out of commission. No longer are sub par meals reaching the fairways – in fact, these chefs don’t even tee off. Dallasites are finally raising the bar.

As they trade in their cowboy edition Wranglers for beach guy Diesels, they are also trading the legendary Burger House for the chic Village Burger Bar. The Big D turns into a sexy city with sexy cuisine.

Tucked away so gently in the southeastern quarter of Uptown lies a bistro that brings the same warm feeling of a Highland Park Christmas, serving Texan comfort food and imposing the question, “Paula Dean who?” Bistro 51 glorifies SMU as one of their graduates – Angela Gordon concocts delicacies, which takes her small 1977 home business into a Big D contender.

Gordon brings big flavors to big dishes in a state where being big is big. Gordon presents Texan-style biscuits that are to die for when dipping them into the heart-warming creamy tomato basil bisque. Her warm Tuscan spinach artichoke and parmesan spread with toasted baguettes welcomes the Texan countryside of my palate.

Gordon’s years of experience are also shown through her selection of ingredients. Each piece of the smoked salmon is sliced thinly to perfection and then accompanied by fresh dill caper sauce. Gordon puts significant amount of thought into her dishes, as she offers the roasted pork tenderloin with red currant glaze, nutted wild rice with scallions and brown sugar baby carrots. Once again, all I can say is, “Paula Dean who?”

Your tour of the Texan countryside is not complete until you settle your tummy with her celebrated Key Lime Pie. Gordon also offers a large lunch menu that features such brilliant dishes as the warm beef tenderloin with brie, caramelized onions and Burgundy mayo on baguette. Bistro 51 brings the comfort of Grandma’s home cooking into a new millennium cuisine and venue.

From classy to ashy – after a much needed four year hiatus, I was willing to give Snuffer’s another chance. I once repudiated caviar until I acquired the taste while yachting the Caspian Sea in the summer of ’03 – I also refused to eat cheese until puberty hit.

Regardless, I figured why not give this greasy food and piss-beer-tasting establishment another try, so I took up my friends offer to join them at Snuffers’ original location on lower Greenville the other day. It was a sordid decision from the get-go.

Upon arriving at this impecunious-looking locale, flashbacks of heartburn and cold sweats emerged, chilling to say the least. What is more vexatious is the amount of hype I remember this place getting when I first moved here to Dallas. Everyday freshman year while living in the lavish Boaz residences, I learned that people enjoyed frequenting this restaurant and bar. At first, I figured they must be lax on our then-Louisiana IDs, until I heard that they had the best burger in Dallas, accompanied by cheddar fries that are to die for.

While doing some research on the Web prior to my retrial, I learned that Snuffer’s was voted “Best Burger in Dallas” multiple times, according to its official Web site. However, after checking the Dallas Observer’s Web page, I unfortunately discovered that its “Best Of” listings has only been documented since the year 2000, and I can guarantee you it has not won any such accolade since then. True, it has gotten the reader’s choice award multiple times, but this is the reason why we are the critics and not the other way around.

So, naturally I settled for the same meal I had so many years before, thereby breaking the solemn oath I took that dark agonizing evening when I vowed that never again would I step within the confinements of this seemingly innocent and ingenuous looking restaurant.

The burger, in fact, wasn’t that bad. It was actually pretty good, though I hate to admit it. But, I must reiterate I never said that the food was bad here. One has to realize that H&A’s critiques do not simply stop after scarfing down whatever the aliment of the week may be but continues in evaluation of utility that the meal may or may not bestow throughout the entirety of the day. That’s right, we almost never stop working for you.

Along came the much celebrated cheddar fries. If you really come to this place just for these things, I have a good time-saving suggestion for you. Simply open up a container of Crisco at home and go at it with a spoon for a while. This at least will save you the $3.25 a small serving will run you. I could not eat more than two fries – the conspicuousness of clogged arteries is all that seemed to prevail in my mind.

Overall the prices are pretty low, but I must urge you to spend the extra buck and get something healthier elsewhere. H&A would rather go hungry for a day than come back to this place anytime in the unforeseeable future! H&A, fair, balanced, telling you how it is.

 

Harrison Polsky and Alex Schmidt can be contacted at [email protected].

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