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WHERE TO EAT THIS FALL By Billy Fong T h e y e a r 2 0 2 0 delivered a walloping b l o w — a n d , gentle readers, we don't mean a gentlemanly slap on the cheek with a white glove, but a full-on sucker punch — to our city's restaurant landscape. Sadly, more than a few of our favorites did not survive. But over the past few months, the Dallas culinary world has become a phoenix, ready to re-emerge stronger than ever. Just take a Saturday-night drive through neighborhoods like Trinity Groves and Knox Street, and you'll find valet queues stretching around the block as eager diners scramble to their coveted 7:30 pm dinner reservations. CARTE BLANCHE 2114 Greenville Ave. 214.434.1538 We have high hopes for this little gem that has taken over the former Mudsmith space on Lower Greenville, run by chef Casey La Rue and his wife, Amy La Rue (known for her sublime baked goods). Casey previously worked in some of the country's best Michelin-starred establishments, including Daniel, Per Se, and Joël Robuchon. Carte Blanche specializes in evening service with four- and 12- course tasting menus that change seasonally. On a recent visit, we tried watermelon gazpacho with green tomato, basil, and pickled shallot; foie gras mousse; Dos Lunas Aranguaney Agnolotti with a liberal sprinkling of truffles; and, finally, mille feuille comprised of raspberry, white chocolate, and hoja santa. The 12-course option includes wild boar jelly, dry-aged duck breast, and crab salad. From 7 am to noon, Carte Blanche's bakery offers croissants and artisan donuts. WOK STAR CHINESE 8041 Walnut Hill Lane 972.961.1168 Finding a Chinese restaurant with a playful atmosphere that doesn't sacrifice food quality can often be tough. Wok Star Chinese checks both boxes and has a delightful Asian pop soundtrack spinning while you dine. First off, we're intrigued by its name. The restaurant has the standard black-and- red palette of many Chinese restaurants, but oversized portraits of rock icons including David Bowie and Mick Jagger dominate. The usual cast of characters can be found on the menu (yes, you can have your General Tso's chicken), but the true stars are the dumplings and noodles. From the dining room, watch chef Charlie Zhang (the legendary Dallas noodle chef) pulling noodles — true artistry — and preparing dumplings of every variety. ROOTS SOUTHERN TABLE 13050 Bee St., Farmers Branch 214.346.4441 Want to escape Highland Park and indulge in classic Southern fare? Might we suggest Roots Southern Table, which has all that one might expect, executed in an haute culinary fashion. Beaumont native Tiffany Derry, a Bravo Top Chef contestant in season seven, packs her menu with the kind of fare she grew up with — gumbo, fried shrimp and grits (the latter, deep fried into hush-puppy-sized morsels), and family-style duck-fat-fried chicken — a favorite at her other restaurant, Roots Chicken Shak in Plano's Legacy Hall. We adored the cocktail offerings with Southern gal names such as the Debutante with house Orangecello, Lillet Blanc, Prosecco, and seasonal fresh herbs. Wok Star Chinese Cast-iron cornbread Black-eyed pea hummus Braised elk and pickled kohlrabi MONIKA NORMAND 172

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