Dallas Restaurant Favorites
You'll Need To Rush To Get In - Desert Racer
The hustle and bustle may be stretching you to your wit's end. You could be tired of waiting in traffic, yearning for an end to your weekday misery. Well, with one last lap to Desert Racer we guarantee you will pass through a door of happiness this weekend.
Some restaurants, leave you with a lasting memory, and Nick Badovinus' latest creation in Dallas does just that. Over and over, we've been shocked (in a good way) at the frenetically eclectic creativity with which Badovinus and the Flavor Hook group fit out their restaurants. As an example, Town Hearth -- another Flavor Hook creation-- often garners praise similar to, "Oh yeah, it's the place with the yellow submarine inside the tank or whatever." That same creative energy is ever-present at Desert Racer, and the impression is equally lasting.
Desert Racer fills a void in a Lowest Greenville - East Dallas neighborhood that was yearning for another large scale, Texas-sized mash-up to supplant HG Supply. Doors open at 5, and you will most certainly have to race to get in line. In fact, when we went, the restaurant had already seated the majority of guests who showed up early.
Yellows and reds adorn the space with a retro Baja vibe that's as cool as Steve McQueen himself. Everywhere, and we mean everywhere you look is adorned with pictures invoking a high-octane dragster like feeling. If you were a competitor in the Baja 1000 in the '60s, Desert Racer feels like the type of place you'd stop to refuel at the end of the race.
Desert Racer certainly has plenty of fuel for your engine, and it's all of the alcohol variety. We were pleased to see seven different high ball options all from the tap. If you're not familiar with the high ball, then think Texas ranch water but in all sorts of different flavors like Hibiscus-Agave or Strawberry-Pomegranate-Simple Syrup. We tried the Hibiscus-Agave and it had the clear, refreshing sweetness of cold water straight from the hose on a hot summer day. They also offer other drinks which are aptly named Joshua Tree, Ensenada, Big Bend, and other similar locutions.
Flavor Hook's other locales feature more of an upscale, tidier food presence compared to Desert Racer, which is more of a Tex-Mex explosion. We were very impressed with the branding, appearance, quality, and service from Desert Racer. So much so that, if we're honest, our flavor expectations went through the roof as high as their High Ball concoctions. Adjusting for expectations, Badovinus and his team deliver a very solid Tex-Mex flavor menagerie that is sure to please anyone looking for that heavy, hefty hangover-curing variety of cuisine. To date, the only enchiladas we've had in Dallas that were better are the CremaQueso Chicken enchiladas at Mesero, so in our book, that's saying something. Due to the substantial nature of the fare, we recommend the Avo Tom & Cucumber starter before delving into dishes like Asada Tots, Cheddar Burgers, Cheese Nachos, and Half Chicken al Carbon.
The food was simple and to the point, but at times, the restaurant gave the impression that it was trying to embellish its way to greatness via over the top styling. However, in totality, it was an apt and original take on Tex-Mex we know and love here in North Texas, which is why we're listing it as one of our new additions to Standard Table's favorite list.
P.S....Seeing that it's winter and all, we didn't mention the patio, which looks OUTSTANDING. So be sure to keep an eye out for a follow-up post when we update our favorite patios for 2020 this summer.
Images courtesy of Desert Racer Instagram and Yelp.