Fun fact: I sort of hate bowling. I even worked on a bowling account for some time at my ad agency and tried really, really hard to like it but it just wasn’t happening.

Good news for people like me, A: bowling isn’t all stinky shoes and tacky carpet and shitty food. Which brings me to B: Bowl & Barrel brings the tasty-tasty when it comes to the food portion of bowling. That’s right, people. You no longer will need to pretend pathetic pizza is palatable or choke down cheap cheese fries. Because for a little (okay decent amount) more per lane/person/game situation, you can bowl in a clean, stink-free location that looks more like it was designed by Timothy Oulton than well, whoever the fuck designs bowling alley carpets.

And the food! Designed by Dallas dining darling Sharon Hage, it’s just about the opposite of what you’d find in a regular bowling alley. In fact, let’s just forget the bowling altogether (lord knows I’m happy to). The food served at Bowl & Barrel is good enough to be an attraction all its own, better than similarly-priced fare from similar places in the immediate area even, which will go unnamed. Unless you ask me nicely.

Let’s just get this out of the way: The PR folks who do work for Bowl & Barrel invited me and my Food Bastard out for dinner on the house to sample some of what they’ve got to offer. Here’s what I thought.

1) Ambiance: on a Sunday night, the place was reasonably packed by 8. There was some sort of SMU event happening, but aside from that, almost all the tables were filled. And most of the lanes were taken, which we noticed on the way out, mind you.

2) Drinks: I ordered a Ruskie Rose, which was a delightful combo of potato vodka, lemon, house-made grenadine and bitters. The flecks of icy goodness were a more than welcome partner to the flood of foodstuffs that came next.

3) Apps: We tried the hot fried quail, which were just the most adorable little fried quail legs in a cup like French frites. They had some decent heat, which was nice. And they were tiny enough to help us avoid too much chicken fried guilt. Then we were offered the most delicious, doughy, soft pretzel in the history of ever. This pretzel hails from Esmeralda’s Bakery. Which is a problem, because now I know that Esmeralda’s Bakery exists. And now I’m screwed. Anyway, this was easily the best soft pretzel I’ve had anywhere in town. It went exceedingly well with the Dublin Rarebit that arrived soon after, with its own bits of delicious bread things. Toasted rye, to be exact. The Rarebit itself — which is not in fact a typo of the word rabbit, like I assumed when I first read the menu — is like a classier, more delicious Velveeta. And while I realize this doesn’t sound like a good thing, I assure you, it’s worth a try. It’s comprised of Veldhuizen’s cheddar, amber lager & toasted caraway seeds. Tangy, well-seasoned and just a little bit weird, I was a fan. The next to arrive were steaming hot cornish hand pies. Flaky, stuffed with curry-seasoned beef and served with a steak sauce-like substance, these could have been a meal on their own. Suffice it to say we were getting full. And then the cheese board appeared. Cheese boards would totally be my favorite food if it weren’t for sushi. And B&B offers up a strong, strong board. Stacked with slices of raisin-studded and French breads, accompanied by honey and a chutney of dried fruits, five cheeses round out the “Foreign & Domestic” board. So much goodness.

4) Main: We were presented with Waygu beef sirloin, sliced to reveal a perfectly medium rare to rare red glow. In my head there are places to get a steak, and places where the steak might be good, but like, why get a steak there? Well, B&B is a non-steak place where you can go eat some damn steak. This was excellent, and I was SO beyond out of room. Food blogger problems, I know.

5) ‘Zerts: Well, there’s just the one. Butterscotch pie. And holy eff it’s good. It’s almost too sweet in a really great way. Like old-fashioned butterscotch pudding but better. Yes to that.

So we rolled out of there like two bigass bowling balls, having had nothing short of a pretty great meal. Comped or not, I’d hit up Bowl & Barrel for dinner with friends any night of the week, as long as it doesn’t get too, too busy and loud. And it might, because it’s basically three solid things in one: stylish bowling alley, restaurant and bar.

Check out some photos from the night:


Bowl & Barrel  |  Shops at Park Lane  |


NOTE: I case you just scrolled down to the bottom and didn’t read the post (jerk), I’ll just reiterate here that the meal we had at Bowl and Barrel was comped. I tipped heartily (because I’m not some sort of an asshole) and thanked the chef profusely. But once again, nobody buys kind words from this bitch. If that Rarebit tasted like rabbit poo, I’d have said so. 

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