Grilled summer dishes to try in town

Summer is an exciting time for two reasons. First, Dallas has decreed that weekends are for lounging by the pool, drinking beer, and sunbathing. Second, summer diets are over and diets consist of anything off the grill. However, sometimes the reason we get the most out of us and we need someone to grill for us. One of the big summer trends on the Dallas restaurant scene is grilled meats, vegetables, fruits, and just about anything chefs can find in their well-stocked pantry.

I’ve been looking for some of the best grills in town and these restaurants seem to have their grill game. Take a look at my list and let me know where you get your grilling fix other than the backyard.

Grilled octopus from Casa Rubia. Photo by Lauryn Bodden.

Casa Rubia: Grilled octopus might seem a bit out of your comfort zone right now, but order the Pulpo a la Plancha and you might consider adding it to your favorite dishes. Think grilled octopus with saffron potatoes, pickled onions and romesco verde. I realize this is a tapas place, but I strongly advise against sharing.

Victor Tangos: Chef Kirstyn Brewer just added a grilled Hanger Steak to the summer menu and the Blackberry BBQ sauce with olive tapenade is what makes me drool. She slathers Blackberry BBQ sauce on the steak while it’s on the grill, gets a nice crispy and sweet Arctic char on the meat, then slices the steak with an olive tapenade and more pickled blackberries.

Cafe Izmir: Besides the great social atmosphere and family hospitality, this place serves up some of my favorite Mediterranean dishes, including their grilled vegetable platter, grilled eggplant and tahini dip, grilled beef tenderloin skewer, ribs grilled lamb – I could go on, but I think you get the point. Go on Tuesday nights for a customer appreciation night with discounted tapas and drink as much of their sangria as you can.

OLT kitchen: Grilling lettuce might sound a little weird, but it adds smoky flavor, texture, and beauty points. Current chef Brooke Egger takes grilled romaine and pairs it with confit pork belly, puffed grapes, blue cheese and cashews to make a great table salad to start dinner.

Grilled rib eye, courtesy of Stock & Barrel.
Grilled rib eye, courtesy of Stock & Barrel.

Stock and barrel: Using a custom wood-fired grill, Chef Jon Stevens brings out the best in ordinary dishes with a bit of home cooking mixed with adventurous ingredients. Get the Grilled Artichoke with Charred Lemon Mayonnaise and Parmesan or the Grilled Octopus Ceviche. Save room for one of the select wood-grilled entrees like the brisket burger or the charcoal-roasted eggplant. Whatever you do, you have to order a side of the thick grilled bacon.

AF+B: You don’t have to look far in this menu to find a significant number of charred items. Start with the lamb tartare on a grilled baguette, move on to Grilled Flatbread with Smoked Beet Hummus and finish with the wood-grilled salmon, the wood-grilled sterling saddle of lamb or the wood-grilled beef tenderloin to complete your experience.

Dino S. Williams