Arguably Dallas' most important restaurateur, and inarguably one of the founders of modern Southwestern cuisine, Stephen Pyles reshaped Dallas dining scene. Indeed, it could be said he put the city on the map with his flair for showmanship, his respect for the roots of Texan cuisine, and his imaginative retakes on that cuisine.

His flagship restaurant showcases what he does best. The room is elegantly comfortable, with well-spaced tables that are perfect for both romantic tete-a-tetes and business dinners. It has a subdued palette but also a spark of drama at its center: the open kitchen, which is glassed in and lit, so that diners can watch the chefs bustle back and forth, creating the elaborate dishes that will soon issue forth. To the kitchen's side is a wide and welcoming long bar, perfect for solo diners or those who prefer to eat their meal in a convivial group setting.

And then there's the food which is, in a word, flawless. Going beyond Texan into global fusion, most diners choose to start their meals with ceviche (marinated raw fish)—it comes in as many colors as the rainbow (ok, it's never purple or blue) and in as many preparations. I recommend a tasting plate as you'll want to try several varieties—the fish is super-fresh and the sauces exciting. The mains are as colorful, whether you choose the bright white Nantucket bay scallops sided by masa and ricotta dumplings (they're offset by brilliant green asparagus spears and brussels sprouts leaves) or one of the hearty meat dishes, such as the sous vide short rib that crowns a mound of Manchego-infused parsnip puree and wild mushrooms.

The lunch menu is half as expensive as dinner, so if you'd like to try Stephen Pyles' food without breaking the bank, head here at midday (or go to Stampede 66 , his blockbuster, down-home restaurant).