Every week, I ask my colleagues for the very best thing they ate recently. I love hearing what food and drinks people are excited about. This week we loved a little bit of spice and a lot of comfort.
Fried Chicken Wings at Ka-Tip Thai
If it’s been a while since you’ve been to Ka-Tip Thai, which we hailed as “Dallas’ next breakthrough restaurant” when it opened in 2019 at the Dallas Farmers Market, it’s time to go back. The menu is as comforting and flavorful as ever, but my favorite is still the Fried Chicken Wings (Peek Gai Tod) under Small Plates. They’re marinated in soy sauce, palm sugar and coriander, and are delicately crispy on the outside and super juicy on the inside. The crispy shallots on top and the side of dipping sauce add more textures and opportunities for “omg yum” moments. My dining companion, trying them for the first time, said, “These make me happy.” The dish of four wings is $8.50. ― Erin Booke, food editor
Ka-Tip Thai Street Food, 1011 S. Pearl Expressway, Suite 190, Dallas. katipthaidallas.com.
Maccheroni alla Vesuviana at MoMo Italian
There are fancier Italian restaurants in town. There are certainly more expensive Italian restaurants in town. But when I’m craving pasta these days, I often turn to MoMo Italian, the family-run spot in Lake Highlands. The Maccheroni alla Vesuviana is a simple pasta dressed in a fresh tomato sauce, with mozzarella, garlic, basil and pecorino cheese. It’s bright and saucy, with a little kick of red pepper, and it’s so good that I have trouble making my way down the menu (though I can vouch for the Puttanesca). MoMos also sports a surprisingly good wine list with a thoughtful selection of wines, beers and aperitivi, including vermouth flights, which you don’t see every day. – Kevin Gray, contributing writer
MoMo Italian Kitchen, 8989 Forest Lane, Suite 130, Dallas. momoitaliankitchen.com.
Shrimp & Grits at Restaurant Beatrice
Countless versions of shrimp and grits abound, from South Carolina’s Low Country to Louisiana’s Gulf Coast. My new favorite is from Restaurant Beatrice, a handsome Creole and Cajun bistro that opened in Oak Cliff in May. Although the gloriously sauced shrimp get top billing (it’s never on a menu as grits and shrimp), the creamy grits are no afterthought. Chef Terrance Jenkins sources yellow stone-ground grits from Homestead Gristmill in Waco. He cooks them in a corn stock and amplifies the corn flavor with ground, fresh-cut kernels. Chopped herbs and grated Parmesan further elevate the creamy grits. Blanketing them are Gulf shrimp, teamed with chopped portobello and whole beech mushrooms in a complex sauce — a reduction of shrimp demi glacé, white wine, and vegetable stock, with smoked baby tomatoes. Jenkins — whose resume includes Commander’s Palace in New Orleans, The Mansion on Turtle Creek, and Wolfgang Puck Catering — says the sauce gives the dish a lighter, Creole profile that he likes for summer. I’d eat it any time of year. — Tina Danze, contributing writer
Shrimp & Grits, $22 at lunch and $32 at dinner, from Restaurant Beatrice, 1111 N. Beckley Ave., Dallas, TX. restaurantbeatrice.com.
Nam Khao at Zaap Kitchen Lao & Thai Street Eats
Laotian nam khao is a master class in textural consonance. The fried rice salad is at once crispy and chewy, and flecked with bits of cured pork and herbs. The nam khao at Zaap Kitchen, which has a location on Fitzhugh Avenue and another on Garland Road, is one of my go-to meals, especially for takeout. It’s subtly sour and served with dried chili peppers and a wedge of lettuce to eat as lettuce wraps. I ordered it the other day, and in a true act of maternal love shared some with my 11-month-old who shoved fistfuls of it into his mouth with utter fervor. Was that learned behavior or just an instinctual reflex? It’s unclear, but either way he’s clearly a shrewd kid. — Claire Ballor, food reporter
Zaap Kitchen Lao & Thai Street Eats has two locations in East Dallas. zaapkitchen.com.