There is something different about Jalisco Norte.
But it’s subtle enough that the real magic is camouflaged, until, that is, you allow yourself to soak up the entire experience.
The restaurant has a heartbeat.
Indulge your senses.
Soak up the energy of room.
Truly taste the ingredients in each dish.
When you do, you’ll find Jalisco Norte is far from just another Dallas Tex Mex restaurant, it’s a trip to Mexico City and it is all soul.
To be honest, I had not been expecting to be impressed with Jalisco. An ingredient conscious foodie, I assumed it be another Tex Mex restaurant focused on spicy margs, greasy tacos and the standard guac and queso scenario— usually the kind of place I look to avoid on a regular basis. (Keep in mind this is called— Feel Good Dallas for a reason).
But I soon realized it was the energy about the place that made it unique. You could tell that beyond the beautiful decor, dazzling bar, and twinkling lights, there was dedication and intention.
You can tell when someone enjoys what they do. If you don’t like it. Don’t do it.
It’s part of the job.
It’s part of the process.
You have to know every single part.Ximena, waitress
There is an elevated energy about the restaurant and it’s not just the smiling patrons digging into their chips and guac.
It’s the people that work there. They not only appear genuinely happy to be there, but passionate— and proud to be there. It’s that energy that is transferred over to the food itself.
“Food, for me, has to come from the soul. You can feel when food has soul.”Ximena, waitress
I had the opportunity to chat with Chef Jose Meza about his menu and vision and that’s when it all started to become clear— Jalisco Norte is a gem because of the carefully curated quality ingredients that make each dish standout, and the humble and talented people that make it spectacular.
I’ve been in and out of the restaurant and food industry for as long as I remember (my first “real” job was as a waitress). Let me tell you, it is rare to find a restaurant that really cares about the quality of ALL of their ingredients— and not just the cuts of their steak.
Understandably, restaurants cut corners, buying canned items— beans and tomatoes, pre-made tortillas— it saves time and simplifies training. I get it. But it is also commonplace to use inflammatory oils (like soy, canola and blended seed oils) in place of olive oil in salad dressings, simply because it is cheaper.
Chef Jose Meza does just the opposite. Although Dallasites are often looking for a quick taco and guac, each menu item has been carefully curated to pay homage to Meza’s home country– the cultures and customs. The people.
“Canned” is not the go-to. Food is made from scratch. The oil in his salad dressings are made with a premium olive oil, the tortillas are freshly pressed (and you can watch this happening through the glass window to the kitchen), Meza even creates his own spice blends.
In Chef’s kitchen, food is not meant to be covered up by salt and spice, but rather celebrated, like the solo artist that is accompanied by a band.
At Jalisco Norte, every ingredient matters.
“There is so much “spice” in Dallas that people have forgotten what food actually tastes like.”Chef Jose Meza
Take the ceviche, for instance, barramundi fish is “cooked” in fresh bright citrusy lime juice and perfectly layered in between fresh ginger root, herbaceous cilantro and ground Serrano in a brothy symphony of flavors.
Fresh okra is grilled to crispy perfection and tossed with a combination of smoky in-house made spices.
Usually, queso is kept “gooey” by adding flours and cornstarch. At Jalisco Norte it is made with cheese and milk.
Meza himself is an award winning Chef, having worked in some of the world’s most luxurious restaurants from Mexico City, to Spain, Belgium and Denmark. Dean Fearing “discovered” Meza while working an event together in Punta Mida and invited him to Dallas to bring his concept to life.
If you met him outside of the kitchen, you’d never know— Meza comes across as proud of his work (read: passion), but also a humble and kind father of two little girls.
Despite pushback from customers and staff, he insists on making food from scratch— no cans, chemicals, or cut corners. The food is perfectly seasoned, but not overly spiced to focus on the actual ingredients themselves.
The bar is no different. Head bartender, award winning, Raul Yeh knows how to add color to cocktails with freshly pressed juices and edible flowers. Each beverage is truly dazzling and delicious— Don’t drink? Seductive mocktails add extra class to Dallasite’s favorite Topo Chico.
We could go on and on… because with ingredients this fresh, it is easy to order, regardless of lifestyle– keto, vegan, vegetarian, etc.
As a nutritionist and ingredient conscious foodie, one of the most common questions I get asked is where to eat in Dallas. Especially, lunch.
Jalisco Norte is now my go-to for ingredients I can trust and flavor I feel good about.
Now open for lunch during the week and brunch on Sundays.
My go-to lunch order is:
- Ceviche (GF)
- House Salad (V + GF)
- Grilled Okra (V + GF)
- House Salad (V + GF)
- Grilled Salmon with veggies (GF)
Find Jalisco Norte nestled into what would seem an obscure place for such a snazzy menu and we suggest sitting in the glassroom– aka: The Tree House.
3858 Oak Lawn Ave #470,
Dallas, TX 75219
Monday – Thursday
11 am – 10 pm
Friday and Saturday
11 am – 11 pm