The Five Gavel Club

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Thursday, 30 November 2006 00:00
Hi, there!  Did you miss us?  We know it's been a little while since our last blog entry, but we've got a special holiday season treat for all of you out there in blogland.  It's our first ever listing of the esteemed Five Gavel Club.  It's kinda like Saturday Night Live's Five Timers Club but for Dallas restaurants and without Elliot Gould (although John Lovitz will still do birthday parties if the price is right!).

This is our attempt to list the creme de la creme of Dallas dining -- those favored few restaurants that have earned the exalted five gavel rating.  One rule we've set for our inaugural Club listing is that we have to have been to the place more than once, since lots of restaurants can charm your socks off on one visit, but the real test of excellence is whether a place can be consistently outstanding and not just flame out like the Mavs in the NBA Finals (we're not bitter or anything!).

So, without any further ado, here's the list (drum roll, please):

In the Club
Arcodoro and Pomodoro
is the most authentically Italian, specifically Sardinian, restaurant in Dallas.  The food is consistently excellent (their award-winning pasta is handmade) and all of the ingredients are fresh and of the best quality.  Service is always warm and you can choose between two distinct atmospheres: the more relaxed outdoor patio and interior bar area or the more formal interior dining room.

Royal Thai is quite simply the best value restaurant of any type of cuisine in Dallas, and in case you haven't noticed, we're big fans of value.  The food is always excellent, the service is fast and friendly and the prices are amazingly reasonable -- dinner for two is normally around $50-$60 including an appetizer and drinks.  The beef panang lunch special is easily the best lunch bargain in town.

Stephan Pyles is the best of the newbies on the Dallas scene.  Even though it's part of the crazy Celebrity Chef trend and was tremendously hyped when it opened, it more than lives up to its reputation (which is more than we can say for a lot of the overhyped places in town... we're looking at you, Hibiscus!).  Service is impeccible, the southwestern-with-a-dash-of-Asian food is always creative, interesting and delicious, and the decor is modern but still able to maintain warmth and a sense of vibrancy.

The French Room at the Adolphus is one of the grand dames of the Dallas scene and also one of the prettiest restaurants in town.  The decor looks almost like you're eating dinner at the Palace at Versailles, and the classic but not staid French cuisine lives up to the atmosphere. 

And, finally, Tahitian Noni Cafe is also a proud member of the Five Gavel Club... in Hell!

Allright, so Tahitian Noni is a joke, but the rest are real.  However, we're not done listing (and we don't mean Xmas lists either, we totally forgot about those!).  Following are some other noteworthy restaurants in Dallas (and elsewhere) that could or should also rank among the best...

York Street
was where one of us celebrated his big 3-0 party. The food was sublime, and we look forward to going back.  Lola's tasting menu was also excellent when one of us went there not too long ago.  We're hoping they pass through their initiations on our next visits so the can join the Club soon.

Hoping to get bids
We haven't yet gotten around to trying NanaLocal or Bijoux, but we've heard they are five gavel worthy.  After we've paid them a few visits and subjected them to some sophmoric hazing rituals, you may just see them on a future Five Gavel Club listing. 

Hot Foreign Exchange Students
Snake River Grill
(Jackson, Wyoming)
Jacques Imo's Cafe (New Orleans, Louisiana)
Incredible Seafood Place Whose Name We've Forgotten (Isle of Aran, Scotland)
Lanny's Alta Cocina Mexicana (Fort Worth -- it's like a whole other country!)

All of the above places aren't in Dallas, we just wish they were, and they don't pass the more than one visit test either, but damn if they didn't serve us some of the best food we've ever had!

We're always looking to add new places to the Five Gavel Club.  Someone has to pay the semester dues to cover Lovitz's keggers!  If you have a place you think was undeservedly left off the list, let us know so we can check it out for ourselves.

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