Oak, hickory, cherry, pecan and cows are in a bar.

No, this isn’t an attempt at a joke. This is what greets you in the entryway of The Rustic in Dallas Texas. All good signs that they mean smoky business when it comes to Texas BBQ.

In a large warehouse space with polished cement floors, industrial style tables, a giant bar area and a backyard concert stage this restaurant screams “Friday Night Party” spot. There are a reported 40 beers on tap, 30 of them local craft beers, as well as local spirits and wines.

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas

Today isn’t a Friday though. It’s a Sunday night and the place is packed – so much so that there was a line up at the door and there isn’t even a concert on!

A backyard concert stage in a BBQ restaurant

Do what??

Yes, we are in Dallas Texas after all and Dallas is known for doing it BIG. They even have signs all over the city proclaiming it!

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas by Calculated Traveller

If you are a fan of country music then you’ll already be familiar with one of the owner’s of The Rustic — Pat Green, a local Texan, regularly performs here in what they call “Pat’s Backyard”.

With big trees, picnic tables, fire pits and patio lanterns strung through the trees this looks like a great place to kick back, and hang out for a while.

But we aren’t here for the music — we’re here for the food. Everything is made daily from scratch and features Gulf seafood and local produce and local ranch-raised beef.

Here’s what we ate at The Rustic Dallas Texas

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas - Calf Fries
Calf Fries with Buttermilk Dip $6.95
Calf fries = bull testicles

Yep you read that correctly.

When in Rome – or in this case Texas…. You have to do as the locals. So calf fries it is.

They were surprisingly very tasty and I’m not bull sh*tting you! AND no they didn’t taste like chicken!

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas - Cactus Fritters
Cactus Fritters $5.95
Cactus – beer battered and served with red buffalo ketchup

Again, another first time experience for me, but I wasn’t really a fan of the cactus fritters. The flavor was bright and fresh but texturally it was a bit jelly like – similar to if you had deep-fried kiwi.

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas - Onion-y Rings
4 Napkin Onion-y Rings $5.95
Pile of extra crispy rings over our signature onion-y dip

Go big or go home!

Remember when I said that Dallas does it BIG – well upon reading the description the 6 of us actually ordered 2 plates thinking “4 onion RINGS per plate”. Nope. In reality it’s 4 entire onions per plate!

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas - Texas Quail
Texas Quail $17.95
Molasses brined bandera quail served with a side of chipotle-pecan sauce, “bright slaw” (cole slaw) and tortillas

The quail was very flavorful, tasty, smoky and tender – I really enjoyed the quail.

The pecan sauce was tasty but a bit dry and not creamy as I expected since it’s called a sauce. The slaw was also dry and not creamy enough for my taste.

The entire dish though was a bit confusing to eat. I wasn’t sure just how to do it. Do I pull the meat off and place it inside the tortilla with the sauce and cole slaw?? I apologize for my ignorance here but I didn’t have a clue.

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas - Gulf Shrimp
Gulf Shrimp $16.95
half-dozen large, sweet shrimp marinated with earthy achiote & fresh citrus

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas - Wood Grilled Turkey Sandwich
Wood Grilled Turkey $ 10.95
Texas gouda, smoked ham, slaw and apple butter on baguette served with smoke salt chips and pickle trio

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas - Peanut Butter Pie
Peanut Butter Pie $7.95
Crum crust with peanut butter cream, fudge chocolate layer, Spanish peanuts and warm bittersweet chocolate sauce

Large enough to share and very satisfying

Eating #DallasBig at The Rustic Dallas Texas by Calculated Traveller
 

The Rustic – Kitchen – Backyard – Bar – Music

Sure it was a bit loud and echoing inside but the atmosphere is part of the ambiance. I’d love to come back and sit for a while, listen to some country music under the stars, eat some more quail and have a local beer with some good friends – and that’s no bull.

The Rustic

3656 Howell Street, Dallas, Texas 75204

Members of the military and uniformed police officers, firefighters and paramedics receive 25% off food, every day.

Travel assistance provided by Visit Dallas and Texas Tourism. As always, all opinions are entirely my own.


Dallas CityPASS