Home  >  Dining  >  Dining Reviews


A heaping helping of news & reviews from DFW’s dining scene.

Review: Texas Spice at the Omni Dallas

Texas Spice In the Omni Dallas, 555 S. Lamar St. Dallas 214-744-6664 Texas Spice on the web Hours: 6 a.m.-10 p.m. daily Signature dish: Dr Pepper BBQ pork ribs Entree cost: $16-$24 Essentials: Major credit cards; full bar; smoke-free; wheelchair-accessible. Good to know: Buffet at breakfast and lunch. Recommended for: Hotel lookie-loos

Posted 7:51am on Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2012

Texas Spice falls into the special category of "hotel restaurant," but this is not just any inn: The Omni Dallas is the new convention-center hotel, owned by the city and built after decades of debate and a public referendum. Opened for business on the mystical date of 11-11-11, it adds Hollywood glitz to the western edge of downtown with a mesmerizing rainbow light display that's programmed via a system used in concerts and on Broadway.

The Omni has a sports bar and steakhouse -- Bob's Steak & Chop House, the fifth in the Dallas area -- but Texas Spice is the workhorse that's open three meals a day, with a pragmatic versatility and wide appeal. Created by executive chef Jason Weaver and supervising chef Cory Garrison, the menu combines elements of Southwest cuisine with barbecue and home cooking, and a buffet that is open for breakfast and lunch.

Although not a destination restaurant, it has consistency, an easygoing personality and enough culinary stimulation to tempt locals and conventioneers. The lack of polish in service can be a trial, but it's not a serious obstacle to getting your dinner.

Menus come on shellacked boards, echoing the restaurant's wood theme; many entrees are served on rectangular planks. The decor is woodsy, too, with rustic farmhouse tables and warm paneling. A wooden table at the entrance holds baskets of help-yourself saltwater taffy from La King's Confectionery in Galveston.

Dinner on a Saturday night was crowded but not packed. We liked that wine was served in a carafe and poured into French Duralex tumblers at the table, a nice twist on stemware. We had to ask for complimentary bread but were glad we did; both the soft sweet-potato rolls and the crusty biscuits were good.

Casual plates included flatbreads with toppings lifted from some of the entrees. One had Kuby's jalapeño sausage ($9) cut into bite-size coins, with excellent roasted mushrooms, Roma tomatoes and fresh basil. The crust was on the flat side and clearly house-made.

Deviled eggs ($8) were cage-free, an appreciated effort; the egg-yolk filling was rich and mildly spicy. A small salad of tender lamb's lettuce with radishes shaved into thin slices added lots of charm. Appetizers ran from lettuce wraps made with hanger steak ($8) to "pig's head fritters" ($8) -- pulled pork with a catchy name, served with spicy chow-chow and onion-Parmesan jam.

Entrees were imposing and not as successful. It might not be a bad idea to split an entree and graze on salads and starters. They're attempting to do barbecue, but with mixed results. Brisket ($22) was grass-fed but extremely fatty, resulting in an unpleasant stickiness as the fibers of meat stayed glued together instead of falling apart in tender tufts. A side of "crispy" potato salad consisted of fried potato cubes in an extra cheesy sauce -- you knew it probably wasn't good for you but you kept eating it anyway.

Dr Pepper BBQ pork ribs ($23) were big Flintstones-style bones with dark shaggy crusts that looked better than they tasted; while there was plenty of meat, it wasn't always tender. Texas Spice seems to do better at healthier options like the wild salmon ($29), an extra-thick square with the skin still on, cooked until just rare. Accompanying "beet risotto" was basically creamy rice with cubed beets -- a neat concept nicely executed.

The lunch buffet ($17) was a solid choice, with pecan-crusted chicken, house-made creamy red pepper soup, a salad bar with a beautiful assortment of mixed greens, and mashed potatoes with their skins still on. Bread from Empire Baking Co. was a tipoff that they care about what they're doing. It comes with dessert such as the nubby chocolate-chip cookies with milk ($6), and coffee if you want it. It's a buffet, yes, but the quality was good, and in the end, this is a hotel.

We welcome your comments on this story, but please be civil. Do not use profanity, hate speech, threats, personal abuse, images, internet links or any device to draw undue attention. Our policy requires those wishing to post here to use their real identity.

Our commenting policy | Facebook commenting FAQ | Why Facebook?

Hey there. or join DFW.com. Your account. Log out.

Remember me