January 31, 2015
Neighborhood Services is Chef Nick Badovinus’ first solo effort since arriving on the Dallas restaurant scene in 1996. This neighborhood restaurant serving the North Dallas neighborhoods surrounding the Lovers Lane and Inwood Road intersection has generated great buzz and has quickly become one of the top destinations in the Dallas Fort Worth dining scene.
The menu is an interesting balance of offerings I’ll call New American comfort food. There are roughly a dozen appetizers ranging from light and fresh to heavier and savory to suit any palate. Entrees seem centered on the premium, hand selected steaks but there are daily specials, daily seafood offerings in addition to standard menu offerings of chicken, pork, etc… There is even a daily hand made pasta offering as well as flatbreads. In short, there is something for everybody at Neighborhood Services.
We were still fairly full from our large birthday lunch earlier in the day so we begrudgingly skipped the appetizers, instead opting to start with salads.
My wife had the Texas Bibb Salad ($9.00) which is a bibb lettuce salad made with macron almonds, razor thin apple slices, pecorino cheese, pickled red onions and mixed with a white balsamic vinaigrette. This large salad was not only filling and plentiful but clean, crisp and flavorful. It is recommended. I started with the Bacon Lardons & EZ Farm Egg Salad ($12.00) which was comprised of a generous portion of fresh arugula mixed with large, chewy lardon, walnuts and spinach mixed with a sherry dijon dressing and topped with a firm crostini that served as a plate for a sunny side up egg. This large and filling salad had all of the components you seek: saltiness, creaminess, acidic bite, etc… It easily eclipsed the Texas Bibb in my humble opinion in the flavor and filling departments. This salad is highly recommended.
Although Neighborhood Services is certainly known for their premium cuts of hand crafted steak on this particular occasion we opted for some of their attractive seafood dishes for our entrees. My wife ordered the “Nightly Plate” which on Saturday is the Angry Lobster and Grits ($32.00). This mad little crustacean was nicely prepared and set atop a bed of grits with an angry sauce that slowly built in intensity from beginning to finish of the dish. This dish is recommended. The restaurant typically has 2-3 fresh catches each evening. I opted for the Chesapeake Bay Flounder ($25.00) that was perfectly fileted and coated in a panko and cheese crust before being pan sauteed and served with a side of butter lemon champagne dipping sauce. Light, flavorful yet decadent this entree easily eclipsed the ever more popular Angry Lobster in my humble opinion. This dish is highly recommended.
Completely overstuffed by this point thanks to the generous portions served so far we forced ourselves to split a “light” dessert of hand made Butterscotch Pot de Creme ($6.00). This fantastic little pot of devilish dessert is made in house with copious amounts of fresh butter and Dewar’s scotch. Served in a tiny ramekin with nothing more that two balsa wood tasting spoons you quickly find yourself digging deeper and faster and scooping up larger and larger bites of this wonderful dessert. This dessert is highly recommended. As we told our waiter, the next time we come in we’re just ordering three of these: one for the appetizer course, one for the entree course and a final one for dessert. It was that good.
Service was attentive and always there throughout the meal without being hovering. Kitchen service flowed just about perfectly throughout the meal.
Neighborhood Services has a small wine list but with a wide range of variety to better match up with the gambit of cuisine on the menu. Prices are roughly two times retail which is about as good as you see in the Dallas Fort Worth restaurant scene. The restaurant has a mixed beverage permit so under state law they are prohibited from allowing BYOB.
If I had to dig for one complaint about the restaurant that would be it is very loud. During prime dining hours it is next to impossible to hear your dining partner straight across the table from you. You will be turning your ear towards them throughout the evening, regularly leaning forward and repeating yourself often.
Major credit cards are accepted. Attire is smart casual: dressy jeans and crisp, eye catching shirt works well. Parking is either valet just west of the main entrance on Lovers Lane or there is some free street parking available in the area with a short walk.
Conclusion: Neighborhood Services is solid from start to finish. I will be a repeat customer.
NOTE: I apologize for the poor photo quality but I do not use a flash when dining out as to not disturb my fellow diners.