Every year is a good year to be a food writer, but 2018 was an especially interesting year to eat in Dallas. The city’s diversity really came to the foreground: I visited restaurants as remote as McKinney and the far side of Arlington, and investigated the cuisines of Laos, Egypt and (according to an Esquire magazine writer) Narnia.

When the time came to choose my 10 favorite dishes of the year, I didn’t count too closely. Here, instead, is a top 12. There are some famous restaurants on the list, but this list isn’t about being the “best.” It’s about my own personal favorites, the meals that I’ll remember most fondly. So, yes, FT33 and Macellaio and other beloved spots are here. But have you ever been to — or even heard of — the place that served my favorite meal of 2018?


A cup of homemade beans with Cattleack Barbeque's bright red pastrami beef ribs.EXPAND

A cup of homemade beans with Cattleack Barbeque’s bright red pastrami beef ribs.
Brian Reinhart

7. Next-day beans with a pastrami beef rib from Cattleack Barbeque
13628 Gamma Road (Farmers Branch)
Cattleack Barbeque has been on this list before, because any visit to this exceptional and infrequently open barbecue joint is special. But if Cattleack is selling its beef ribs coated in a pastrami spice rub, try to resist the temptation to devour it all immediately. The day after our visit, we took our prized leftover package — half of the rib — and put it in a pot with a can of beans, a splash of beer and a bunch of spring onions. The result was, pretty clearly, the best beans I’ve ever had.

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