Friday, April 4, 2008
Best Bites: Dining out in Dallas-Fort Worth April 4
Dallas hasn't had the best of luck with ice cream. Can we make it with sorbet?
Dallas likes gelato but doesn't do ice cream quite as well. The Carvel chain pitched a tent in North Texas, then quickly folded. So did Maggie Moo, a mix-in chain and corporate sibling to (the far more successful) Marble Slab. (There's still a Maggie Moo open in Frisco.)
But sorbet -- now how about sorbet. Coming to the shopping strip across from NorthPark Center down from Container Store and next to Bag and Baggage -- in fact, taking over the very spot vacated by Maggie Moo's -- is Sorbeteria, the first outpost of a small sorbet emporium based in Denver, Colo.
Aside from the sheer novelty value of having a cafe devoted to sorbet, Sorbeteria seems promising based on the descriptions of the flavors and ingredients (not to mention the enthusiasm of the locals). They use unique fruit such as tangerine, morello cherry, and white peach, always in season, and take the rustic route by blending in fruit pulp, not just the juice.
The sign went up on Wednesday and doors will open some time within the next couple of weeks.
Remember before the days of Starbucks and coffeehouses, when the prestige coffee used to be Kona? And if any of your friends were going to Hawaii, they'd bring back some beans and it was a big $$ deal? Seems so quaint now. But there is a chain still faithful to Kona, called Maui Wowi Hawaiian Coffees and Smoothies, with a stand-alone branch that just opened in Irving. (There's also a stand located inside a Kroger in Keller.)
Maui Wowi was founded in 1983 and has more than 500 locations in the U.S., most of which sell "genuine island apparel" and other lifestyle goods. In addition to coffees, they also make smoothies which don't use the fresh-frozen fruits Jamba Juice does but are lower in calories, if that's the kind of thing you're watching. Given the Hawaii theme, they also carry macadamia nut cookies and Hawaiian tea, plus the whole menu of coffee drinks and free wi-fi.
Two words: Sushi buffet
Japan House just opened near the Collin Creek Mall off US 75 in Plano (in what used to a forgettable Mexican restaurant called Juan's Hacienda) and it's already a mob scene at lunch. Two words: Sushi buffet. Well, let's go with six words, four of them hyphenated: All-you-can-eat sushi buffet. It's $14.99 at lunch, Monday-Friday, and $18.99 at lunch on weekends; dinner is always $25.99. There is sashimi, sushi rolls, hot pots, tempura, teriyaki, and a full bar.
Japan House comes from Tracy and David Chu, who are Taiwanese and who also own Chef Chu and its sibling at Trinity Mills and Marsh (which they've run for 20 years). David always had a dream to have a big restaurant, a step up from a fast-food place.
New places to get Pinkberry-style yogurt keep emerging. In addition to Natsumi, Berry Berry, Dragon Berries, and Bliss, it's now being offered by Boba Latte, a favorite place to get bubble tea, with branches in both Richardson and Plano. They're doing the whole deal, including toppings such as granola and chopped fresh fruit.