"I enjoy putting the Old and New Worlds on a collision course," says Stephan Pyles, one of the first Southwestern star chefs, about his adventurous venture. At his eponymous restaurant, Pyles’s Texas style is obvious: Nothing short of a crowbar could pry the stupendous bone-in cowboy rib eye with fried red-chile onions off his menu. Other new-world flavors are evident in Mexican-inflected dishes like an ancho-spiked tart filled with creamy roasted garlic custard; at the seviche bar, lightly marinated Ecuadoran shrimp are served with popcorn (similar to the customary bowl of cancha, or popped maize). As for the Old World, Pyles pays homage to Spain with a golden paella spiked with chorizo and studded with lump crabmeat. DETAILS 1807 Ross Ave., Suite 200; 214-580-7000.
Chef Amador Mora spent more than 20 years cooking at the Mansion on Turtle Creek with luminary Dean Fearing. Now Mora’s the head chef at Trece, where he prepares alta cocina mexicana—fine Mexican cuisine—for diners who come to the chic restaurant. He tops roasted Alaskan halibut with a light, sweet tangerine sauce that gets its sassafras-like flavor from the hoja santa leaf, and glazes rib steak with a potent mix of brandy, coffee and piloncillo, or unrefined brown sugar. Mora’s former boss will soon have a new restaurant too: Fearing’s opening a place at the new Ritz-Carlton in Dallas next summer. DETAILS 4513 Travis St.; 214-780-1900.
There’s star power behind this new Asian-fusion spot: Owners Lynae Fearing and Tracy Rathbun are the wives of noted Dallas chefs Dean Fearing and Kent Rathbun. Both men consulted on the menu, which includes fat jalapeño poppers stuffed with minced chicken and coconut, a hit at the perennially packed bar, as well as more-serious food. Executive chef Casey Thompson’s specialty is surf and turf—precise squares of seared Kobe beef and ahi tuna with a drizzle of ponzu sauce. A dish called Elvis’s tuna tartare, a mix of sesame-spiked tuna, jalapeño and cucumber piled on a crisp wonton wrapper, honors head sushi chef Shuji Sagawara, whose black pompadour has earned him the nickname Elvis. DETAILS 7713 Inwood Rd.; 214-352-0005.