By Rebecca Combs, Foodable Contributor
The life of a chef appears glamorous and exciting. While that can be true, it is also exhausting. And, as much as they love to be in the kitchen, it is nice to have somebody else do the work on their day off. In Dallas, there is a plethora of foodie destinations. From Asian fare to tacos, Dallas chefs have their own favorite spots to hide away on their days off.
Tei Tei can be described with two words: glamorous and relaxing. This is where Chef Janice Provost (Parigi) can be spotted when she's not in her kitchen. Robata is a traditional cooking style in northern Japan where “the day's catch is grilled on small fires” and is a specialty at Tei Tei, where they use oak charcoal to cook seafood, poultry, meats, and vegetables. But, for Janice, it's the sushi that she's going for. According to Janice, “sushi is not something I want to make for myself. Tei Tei has great sushi, great service, music and atmosphere. Plus, I get to watch their amazingly skilled hands make my dinner.” This is also a favorite of Uno Immanivong (Chino Chinatown). She goes for the yellowtail collar and Perry (the bartender!). So, if you're looking for a relaxing and sophisticated sushi experience, pull up a chair at Tei Tei. Sip on something refreshing at the sake bar and be entertained as you watch your food being prepared right in front of you.
Tei Tei Robata Bar
2906 N. Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
2. Velvet Taco
Who doesn't love a good taco? They’re warm, fragrant and packed with flavor. Velvet Taco claims they may not be changing the world with their tacos, but “it's pretty freakin' great.” From housemade tortillas to slow-roasted chicken, Velvet Taco focuses on fresh food from scratch, which creates a tasty taco. It must be good enough to bring Dallas area chefs in the doors! Erika Lucio (Pastry Chef; Knife) and Mark Gordy (Knife) are both hooked. According to Erika, they are big on good lunch spots on their days off and, “we always get different tacos. Since they are all amazing, we haven't tried them all yet!” It's also said to be a favorite of Chef John Tesar (Spoon Bar & Kitchen and Knife). Plus, the kitchen is open late (VERY late) which makes it a good spot for industry people to stop in and relax after work. It's a small space that's making some “pretty freakin' great” tacos for Dallas chefs and foodies!
3012 N. Henderson Ave
Dallas, TX 75206
Another casual and comforting spot for chefs is Jeng Chi Restaurant and Bakery. This family owned and operated restaurant specializes in authentic dishes from Taiwan and China. For Justin Holt (Lucia), it's the pork and mustard green soup, scallion pancakes, and jellyfish salad that keep him coming back. Plus, he says, “I like that they are open on my days off and they serve a very consistent product. The food is always comforting and the people always warm and that's all I can ask for on a day off.” That's what it's all about — an all-around good experience after a long work week. At Jeng Chi, they nail it with an approachable menu, a family atmosphere, great prices, and delicious food. If you go, be sure to also try the pork soup dumplings. According to diners, these are to-die-for delicious.
Jeng Chi Restaurant
400 N. Greenville Ave Ste 11
Richardson, TX 75081
Looking for a casual yet sophisticated sandwich shop? Look no further than East Hampton Sandwich Co. It’s a fairly new concept (2012), but has quickly become a Dallas favorite. By using only the freshest ingredients to create classics like the Lobster Roll and Cuban Sandwich, they are attracting chefs and diners all over the Big D. This is another favorite lunch spot for Erika Lucio (Knife). Why? Because there are so many great sandwiches! It's fun for her to try a new one every time. From vegetarian options like Goat Cheese and Avocado to meat lovers favorites like Balsamic Tenderloin, East Hampton has something for everyone and is creating new sandwich lovers every day. Plus, they serve wine and beer, making it the perfect destination for either a quick bite or a relaxing evening on the patio.
East Hampton Sandwich Co.
Whether it's a taco or sushi, what all these restaurants have in common is that they are providing chefs with great food and a great atmosphere on their days off. Plus, they are providing Dallas diners with elevated versions of everyday classics. Something as simple as a dumpling soup or a lobster roll can be turned into an unforgettable dining experience that you won't soon forget.