Denton's food scene has grown exponentially in the past decade. People drive from all over to come check out some of the newer (and older) restaurants that our town at the top of the triangle has to offer. We figured with all of the recent restaurant shuffling, we would highlight the fifteen dishes that we believe you should eat during your time in Denton. We've purposefully left out desserts, beverages, and food trucks because we will take a look at those in future posts, but believe us when we say we had plenty to choose from and nailing this down to fifteen was not so easy.
These are not only the must-haves for Denton visitors, but also ones that you should seek out if you haven't had them already. We will probably pitch a fit if any of these are removed from any menus (you hear that, 940's?). Here now, our picks for Denton's 15 most iconic dishes. Disagreement is inevitable, so let us know what you think in the comments!
Ravelin Bakery makes the best French pastry in town, but the stuffed croissants are a beloved breakfast favorite. We would love to recommend a specific favorite of the bunch, but we love too dang many of them. Really, we think you should just go and get a sampler box of the things and congratulate yourself on a making the best decision you’ll make all week.
We’ve always loved J&J’s pizza, but it wasn’t until recently that we found our all time favorite combination. You see, J&J’s is a classic, with a hand tossed crust and a hearty helping of cheese with a chunky sauce, but it took us awhile to figure out that we didn’t need to order the veggie or the supreme, but a combo of pepperoni and sausage instead. You see, the J&J’s pizza set up needs something greasy and strong to stand up to the cheese and sauce, and the sausage and pepperoni combo is the absolute best.
The biscuit at Loco Cafe cannot be beat. Plain and simple. Try as you may, we haven’t found better, and unless we slave away for a day we can’t come close ourselves. Which is why we absolutely adore the Loco Breakfast Sandwich. That beautiful biscuit split in half and filled with all the breakfast goodies we love is a timeless classic we keep going back to. Our favorite combo goes like this: bacon and cheese with eggs sunny side up and honey butter on top.
When you’re craving a gut bomb and you really just want something delightfully sinful, and have time for a food coma, we recommend the chili cheese tater tots and a classic cheeseburger from Burger Time Machine. Don’t expect some snobbish cheese and housemade tots, this is the real deal. Real greasy, real dirty, real good.
We use any cold and/or rainy day as an excuse to go grab some Khao Soi from Thai Ocha. This authentic Thai soup has a red curry base with your choice of meat or tofu. There are boiled egg noodles in the broth and lovely fried egg noodles on top. In addition, they sprinkle on plenty of pickled cabbage, shallots, and lime. Sometimes, you’ll be offered a choice of a “spice level” at Thai Ocha - presented on a scale of one to five if our experience is the norm. We almost always get the five and almost always regret it. It kicks our butt like nobody’s business, but what a way to go out. The soup has a very deep, earthy flavor that also contrasts with the tanginess of the lime and pickled veggies on top. The crisp fried noodles give it a crunch that isn’t needed, but is very welcome. This is our favorite item at one of our favorite spots in town.
940’s hasn’t been on the Denton scene long, but they’re already dishing out plates that we can’t get enough of. Next time start with their blue crab hush puppies. Big hush puppies are served split in half and overflowing with fresh blue crab in a chipotle remoulade and topped with crispy fried leeks, you will be tempted not to share at all. Follow that with their fried chicken. We tried this the first weekend they served it as a special and did a happy dance once it was added to the permanent dinner menu. Their crunchy fried chicken is served over mashed potatoes and greens so good you’ll wonder why you ever liked your mama’s.
You’ve made a bonus at work, have saved up those pennies, or just really feel adventurous and fancy, so you made a reservation at Denton’s best kept secret, Keiichi. This also happens to be Denton’s toughest reservation to snag. Do yourself a favor and tell the chef you’d like to order Omakase, and just allow yourself to enjoy every bite of whatever Chef K puts in front of you. You will not regret it.
Rooster’s puts out plenty of great food on any given night, and has a pretty creative menu. However, we believe that the pulled pork nachos are the most craveable. Giant house made chips, smashed beans, queso, barbeque sauce, jalapenos, pico, shredded cheese and a mound of delicious pulled pork is piled high to create the perfect balance of Tex and Mex for some of the best nachos in town.
When you think of Queenie’s you may not think “best cauliflower,” but you should. The Queenie’s side dish menu has some gems in there, but the buffalo cauliflower is topped with the creamiest, perfectly pungent blue cheese that makes for a hauntingly good dish.
The B&B burger at Barley and Board is the quintessential dreamy, drippy, perfect burger that comes complete with in-house pickles, American cheese, and their own house sauce. It’s like the big mac grew up and became everything we ever wanted it to be.
The chicken parm at Bagheri’s is totally worth sitting in the shaded room with portraits of Sophia Loren staring down at you. Perfectly tender chicken smothered in tomato sauce and sizzling with fat slices of mozzarella - this is the American-Italian comfort food we crave.
La Estrella breakfast tacos are a wonderful stepping stone into the world of non-gringo tacos. Believe it or not, but there is a world beyond Rusty’s and Fuzzy’s breakfast tacos. This taco-shop-in-a-gas-station makes breakfast tacos to order right in front of you. We are kinda partial to the bacon egg and cheese. Grab a few plastic cones of salsa. Yes, plastic cones of salsa. Rip into that salsa container with your teeth and pour the oozing red (or green) deliciousness over your tortilla-encased ingredients. Don’t take the time to breathe in the aroma. Eat it while it’s hot enough to burn your tongue. You’ve got more tacos to eat.
The chicken saltimboca at Hannah’s is quite possibly the best we’ve ever had. This juxtaposition of the sage cream sauce with the saltiness of the prosciutto-wrapped chicken will make you regret filling up on that cheese board.
La Sabrocita has great Mexican food, but when it’s late at night, you’ve just left a show and you’ve had a few beers their nachos are divine. A mountain of salty chips, fresh guacamole, pico, sour cream, cheese and a generous helping of al pastor will fix whatever ails you. Make sure you stay and dine at La Sabrocita, though. You’ll get a lot more food than if you were to leave and the people watching is bar-none.
Flatlanders has plenty of great tacos on the menu, but we keep going back for the barbacoa torta. A toasted torta roll filled with slow cooked barbacoa, avocado, pico, black beans and mayo that is a mess of a flavor bomb. We’re drooling as we type. This is a must if you haven’t tried it, and should be on your regular rotation while you’re sipping craft beers on any patio downtown.