Friends often ask me for suggestions on where to take out-of-town guests for dinner in Dallas and I reply with a slew of suggestions (The Porch, Mi Cocina, Smoke, Bolsa, Lark on the Park – to name a few, in no particular order) but last night I was faced with this dilemma myself. After running through my own list of favorites, I remembered some of the reasons I personally enjoy Stampede 66 and came to realize that it may be the perfect solution for out-of-towners to Dallas. Allow me to share why.
First, I’ll explain that these guests aren’t entirely true out-of-towners, as one friend, Caitlin, lives in Richardson and the other is her sister, Ashley, who is moving with her hubby in short order. But Caitlin has only been a resident since this past fall and Ashley has never been to Dallas, unless you count a stop through as they drove across country to move (I don’t). Another interesting fact is that I’ve known these wonderful ladies and have proudly called them friends since my elementary years when I was living outside of San Francisco – I’ve mentioned them before. As fate would have it, the three of us (and soon their parents) will all be living within the same metropolitan area, some 20+ years later, but I digress.
So where to for dinner last night with these lovely ladies? I wanted something that spoke to Texas, while staying true to the uniqueness of Dallas, and of course a spot with excellent food and atmosphere. Stampede 66 hits on these points through Texas style adorned with Dallas flair, and master chef touches from Stephan Pyles, a VIP in the culinary world. Pyles’ Uptown location is more casual than his namesake and provides authentic Texas dishes including everything from tacos and tamales, to Frito pie and Chicken-fried Buffalo. Most dishes come in under $25 and there’s plenty to choose from in the $12-18 range, while offering a $42 Ribeye for the extra-hungry palate. The single shortcoming is that the drinks are a little on the pricy side, though well worth it with unique handcrafted cocktails and delicious wines. If you’re more in the mood for a beer, you can still keep that check to a reasonable dollar amount.
Ashley and Caitlin both ordered the Dotty Griffin’s Salty Dog (Deep Eddy’s Vodka, Fresh Grapefruit Juice and Agave Syrup), while I sipped on the Cowgirl (Silver Star Original Texas Whiskey, Muddled Fruit, Sweet Vermouth, Orange Bitters and Fever Tree Ginger Ale), before wine with dinner. Johnny stuck to Rahr & Sons “Texas Red.”
We started with the “Faux” Gras Mousse, named so as it’s prepared with chicken liver instead of duck. With a subtle hint of jalapeno, it spread nicely over the accompanied sourdough and was a step above your traditional bread and butter. “Melts in your mouth” would be an adequate description.
Johnny and I split the Fried Green Tomatoes and Smoked Mozzarella salad, which we were pleased to see that the kitchen took the time to split on a separate plate – just one aspect of the excellent service you can expect. Ashley and Caitlin split the same salad. The portions were appropriate, the tomatoes were cooked to perfection, and the balance of creamy mozzarella paired well with the side of kale.
Continuing the shared experience, he and I also split the Chicken-Fried Buffalo Steak with Mashed Potatoes and Potlicker Greens, which we had enjoyed on a previous visit. We agreed that it was even better than the last time and again, liked that the kitchen split the plates for us.
In all, Stampede is a clear choice for those out-of-towners and local alike. Next time you’re feeling like you need a little more Texas, with polished Dallas touches, look to Stampede 66.