New in the Neighborhood

Restaurateurs Tracy Rathbun and Lynae Fearing, known for their restaurant Shinsei, recently opened Lovers Seafood and Market in the space formerly occupied by Rex’s Seafood.

Greg O’Neal of Philosophy Design took 3,000 square feet and created an intimate space that seats 79. It has a calming, open air feeling with hemp ropes, herringbone millwork, shiplap lumber walls, wood stain patina, and retrofitted crystal liquor decanters that provide enchanted lighting. The outdoor patio accommodates and an additional 40.

After leading Boot Ranch’s kitchen in Fredericksburg, former Abacus chef Aaron Staudenmaier has returned to Dallas. He created a menu that is pleasing not just for the traditional seafood lover, but also for the diner that enjoys whole food, plant-based, vegan fare.

Dining vegan at a seafood restaurant? It is not only possible, but also welcomed at Lovers Seafood and Market.

“I’ve got a kitchen filled with fresh ingredients, Staudenmaier said. “We can make dishes that would please a vegetarian or vegan.”

Staudenmaier proved his skills to me at a recent dinner that showcased some of the restaurant’s signature dishes. While my dining companions sampled grilled shrimp dip, gumbo, tuna poke, and freshly grilled fish, I enjoyed phenomenal avocado toast, Special K and quinoa tabbouleh salads, and a special vegetarian chef’s creation.

Within the past year, Dallas diners have been scouting restaurants that serve avocado toast, a simple but tasty dish. Lovers Seafood and Market is not like other restaurants that just smear smashed avocado on a piece of bread — theirs is truly a work of art and a delight to your taste buds. This item appears under the “Share It” section of the menu, but I would suggest you tell your dining companions to order their own. I didn’t share mine and you won’t want to either. The lightly toasted, seeded multi-grain bread topped with avocado, grilled corn, roasted poblano peppers, and pickled onions was a symphony of layers with each vegetable playing a beautiful part.

The Special K salad, comprised of massaged kale dressed with cashews and sesame seeds, was filling and would please any veggie lover. The quinoa tabbouleh dressed with parsley, mint, and cherry tomatoes was a hearty protein-packed grain salad.

Going off menu, Staudenmaier created a colorful cruciferous and root vegetable dish: Brussels sprouts, colorful beets, and toasted walnuts topped with a sesame dressing.

Lovers Seafood and Market serves more than fresh fish and veggie-friendly fare. They have Wagyu beef, roasted chicken, and sandwiches. Sides and desserts created by Pastry Chef Ty Bohoney are served family style. The restaurant features a full bar, as well as a market where customers can buy fresh seafood and shellfish to take home.

“We couldn’t be more excited to share our new concept with Dallas,” Rathbun and Fearing said in a release announcing the opening. “We’re looking forward to providing our friends, neighbors, and the entire city with great food, drinks, and the freshest market catches in a fun and relaxed setting.”

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