Washington, D.C., celebrity chef José Andrés has once again taken his show on the road, bringing terrific Middle Eastern and Greek food to the Dallas Cowboys’ complex in Frisco. His empire includes thirty restaurants in twelve cities and two countries, but this is his first excursion into Texas. Zaytinya, which started in D.C. twelve years ago, is eminently approachable: our foursome nibbled on a salad spangled with ruby red pomegranate seeds, dived into great scoops of creamy labneh, and practically knocked over the wine getting the last luxurious spoonful of Sultan’s Delight. Everything was so carefully prepared and so fresh that it made us rethink our attitude about what’s possible with oft-ho-hum mezze plates. The hummus was heady with garlic and toasted sesame paste (scoop it up with crunchy triangular lavash chips), and we couldn’t get enough of the htipiti, a lovely vermillion-hued heap of roasted sweet peppers with salty nubbins of feta swirled in. Perhaps our favorite seafood entrée was the octopus Santorini, superbly tender with just a whiff of smoke from the grill, prettily arranged on a yellow-split-pea puree with capers and pink pickled onions. The aforementioned Sultan’s Delight was a miracle of heady wine-braised lamb shank cuddled up to an eggplant–Greek cheese puree as lush as silk velvet. And if you have a Texas dad–type along, there is a 24-ounce wagyu ribeye on the menu, just for him.
Cuisine: Middle Eastern