#201 - The Rustic, Dallas, TX

My first few years working at OSU, I traveled with the football team to every away game. Long story short, that ended 2 years ago. At first I was really bummed, but very few of my friends travel to away games. So even if I did go, it would be like my first year at OSU where I hardly knew anyone and hung out by myself. Instead, I take the opportunity to visit friends/family, or just relax at home.  Last week I decided to go to Dallas to visit friends.

Dallas is one of my favorite cities. Before I moved to Oklahoma I think I'd only visited a couple of times, but it's still always been a favorite. Even after I moved here I didn't visit very often, but once I found friends down there I go as often as I can. I always joke that if they would just move OSU to Dallas, I would never have to leave.

I drove down last Thursday, and had an appointment near downtown. Joni works nearby, so we decided to meet for lunch. Dallas has so many restaurants that I think it would take me a couple of years of going to new restaurants every week to hit every single one. I'm not that familiar with downtown, so I went online to see what was near my appointment and came across The Rustic. They use local ingredients, it's just a few miles from where I was going, and Joni had never eaten there before either. Sold.

The Rustic is located in the heart of Dallas, just North of downtown. The interior is very casual, with wood paneling on the walls, wooden tables, animal heads on the wall above the open kitchen, and a large outdoor patio. It's a very open concept restaurant, with huge garage doors that can open from the main dining room to the patio.

As you enter the restaurant, they've also got an entire wall of different types of firewood. It's really cool, because they explain each type of wood and the flavors it provides to food

This is a very cool restaurant, with tons of character. It's a regular restaurant during the day, with lots of workers going there for lunch. After hours it's definitely a hot-spot. The backyard is huge, and they do concerts back there all the time. They've got fire pits and heaters so the outside can be used most of the year. There's a beer station at one end, next to the stage, and a regular bar at the back of the patio. We are big fans of The Truck Yard for their great patio, but this place is a very close second, if not tied. And besides, the crowd here would be closer to our age. It didn't take Joni and I long to decide we'll have to check it out on a weekend.

As I mentioned earlier, The Rustic is a locally sourced restaurant. Seafood is from the Gulf, and meat, dairy and produce are from local farmers. Even better, they offer 25% off to military, uniformed officers, paramedics, and firefighters every single day. I love restaurants like this that make a difference.

We decided to start with deviled eggs

Oh my. These were absolutely outstanding. The yolk was so light and fluffy, and had such a wonderful flavor. The red seasoning was a mixture of sea salt and paprika. The crispies on top are pork rinds. I don't think I've ever eaten those before, but they were really good. I could easily have eaten all of these myself.

We also got the cactus fritters, mainly because our server said if we liked fried okra we would really like these

Sadly, our server was wrong. When I hear fritters, I think ground stuff that's formed into balls and fried. Not huge strips. And it was beer battered, which I'm not a fan of. Our server offered to swap them out, which was very kind of him, but we declined because we had enough other food.

We decided to split the special, which was brisket quesadilla and and avocado salad

Again, oh my. We both loved the avocado salad. It's huge chunks of creamy avocado, crunchy jicama, and fresh cucumbers. It was a very interesting combination, one I've never had before, but it worked really well. Actually I don't know that I've ever had jicama ever before. It doesn't really have much flavor, but does have a very nice peppery bite. Joni got full before me, so I got to enjoy about 2/3 of the salad. The quesadillas were phenomenal. The brisket was so juicy and tender, and was absolutely bursting with flavor. There was a kick from the jalapenos, but it wasn't overpowering. I would say the only slight negative is that it didn't come with a side of guacamole. But I guess that might have been avocado overload. But seriously, does such a thing really exist?! I think not.

We were very excited to find out that the brisket quesadillas will soon be on their permanent menu. They definitely deserve to be there. 

I don't think I have to say it, but I will most certainly be back. It would be awesome to see a free concert, go to a Dallas Cowboys watch party, or just hang out on the patio on a Saturday afternoon.

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