Photo by Paige Halverson
During my daily commute, I cross through a sea of restaurants and many are fresh, new brainchilds of savvy entrepreneurs trying to shine in today’s highly competitive restaurant business. But there is one place that has recently caught my eye. Resembling something from the past, with its geometrical block designs and its mid-century modern Mexico vibes, José is a new restaurant on Lovers Lane.
Upon entering, it feels the as though you have been transported into a whole new era. With the plentiful murals inspired by the owner’s adventures to Guadalajara, rows upon rows of cacti and a lone pineapple adorning the trickling fountain outside, I couldn’t imagine a better place to enjoy a taco or a bottle of Topo Chico.
I arrived in only athletic wear and was afraid I was slightly underdressed, but with José’s relaxed atmosphere, there were more sandals than heels present.
Service was quick even on a Sunday evening without a reservation, but around 7 p.m., the crowd started to pick up, and the bustle of dinner- time commenced. Contrasting with the throwback decor, José is also very high-tech, with portable iPads accompanying every server around the open-concept restaurant.
With entrees that range from $11 to $30, and sides that start at $9, it may not be the best place for a broke college student, but with such tasty food from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., it’s worth it.
My favorite dish was the sizzling fish tacos, or tacos de pescado. Delicately arranged on a large plate, the fish was crispy on the outside, and as I took a bite, the initial flaky layer revealed a moist and warm inside. The thick tortilla was complemented with the creamy avocado and refreshing pico de gallo. The dish was served with a classic side of rice and beans, which completed the meal.
Another hit at José is their ceviche, which is served by the bowl. With a squeeze of lime, it is a soothes the palate after chowing down on their tasty chips and salsa. The sweet tomato and zesty fish contrast each other which reminds you of a warm, summer day on the coast.
I finished up my meal with Pera Escalada, a poached pear served with a creamy sauce made from cinnamon, cream cheese and caramel. Even though I could barely stand up after such a filling dinner, I made sure to finish this luscious dessert.
The atmosphere of José also added to the dining experience. Music was a mix between songs like XXXTENTATION’s new hit, “Jocelyn Florens” and appropriately themed genres from South America. With the open spaces and ample floor room, I was surprised to see no dancers emerging from the lively crowd.
My main complaint was parking. Like with other stores and restaurants on the tight Lovers Lane, finding a place to leave my car was not easy. However, if you have a problem with parking across the street or sneakily parking in the residential area, you can always use the valet.
José is owned by Megan and Brady Woods, who set out to create an authentic restaurant channeling their love for the Guadalajaran culture and delicacies.
“José is an authentic, neighborhood Mexican restaurant rather than a Tex-Mex restaurant. We were inspired by regional Mexican cuisine and atmosphere,” Wood said.
With its Guadalajaran theme throughout, José’s namesake is the designer, José Noé Suro, who helped design the restaurant’s hip aesthetic and is a close friend of the owners.
And you might see some familiar faces at José; the Woods’ daughter, Honor, is a freshman at Hockaday and their son, Wheeler, attends the Episcopal School of Dallas.
José opened last May, and I believe it has a bright future ahead. With it’s creative and original recipes and plates, it will most likely become a Dallas classic in the years to come.
4931 W Lovers Ln, Dallas, TX 75209
Story by Paige Halverson, Castoff Editor