Restaurant Reviews DFW

Bar Manzanilla Joins Irving’s Big Beat Dallas

With the popularity of the Toyota Music Factory, Irving is quickly becoming DFW’s newest art and nightlife district. Visits and outings to Irving/Las Colinas are expected to exponentially increase with the opening of Big Beat Dallas this Thursday.

Big Beat Dallas is an amalgamation of a Texan’s two favorite things; food and live music. It is a project ten years in the making by Billy Bob Barnett,  founder of Billy Bob’s Texas, one of Dallas’s most famous country dancing clubs.

Upon opening this Thursday, Big Beat Dallas will be home to five original restaurant and bar concepts, seven live music stages, an open-air plaza, and a rancher’s market. Big Beat Dallas will also host live music performances every single night.

One of Big Beat Dallas’s five new restaurants is Bar Manzanilla. Bar Manzanilla is a coastal taqueria and tequila bar offering guests a variety of cocktails and dishes with impeccably fresh ingredients. I had the privilege of trying Bar Manzanilla last week at an exclusive media preview lunch. Based on my experience, I can say that Bar Manzanilla is most certainly promising.

First and foremost, if you plan on going out to Big Beat Dallas, I would highly suggest going the Lyft route or parking somewhere nearby. The parking garage was nearly packed to the brim. I can’t even imagine how it will be once the pavilion officially opens to the public.

To kick things off, I tried their house mule. It came served in authentic Mexican pottery and was jam-packed with ginger and lime flavor. As a lover of mules, I was fully satisfied with the taste and presentation of Bar Manzanilla’s version. However, given the drink’s price, I would’ve preferred a larger serving.

Bar Manzanilla’s mule, served in authentic Mexican pottery (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For appetizers, my party and I ordered the Campechana Ceviche and the Chicken Tinga and Cheese Nachos. The ceviche was thick and had the consistency of tomato soup. The chunks of shrimp, scallops, octopus, and crab were plentiful, giving the dip a perfect amount of meatiness.

Campechana Ceviche (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Normally, I don’t care for nachos, but I think that’s because a lot of restaurants make them greasy and oily. Bar Manzanilla’s Chicken Tinga and Cheese Nachos were a marvelous exception. Rather than the typical tortilla chips slathered with Velveeta, Bar Manzanilla’s nachos come baked, topped with Queso Oaxaca, avocado, crema, and pulled chicken. The chicken was seasoned and cooked to where it had the perfect amount of spice and sweetness. Despite being topped with so many ingredients, the chips remained crisp and didn’t get chewy and floppy as most nachos do.

Chicken Tinga and Cheese Nachos (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

For the main course, I ordered the Beef Barbacoa tacos. These tacos contain slow braised brisket, guajillo aioli, queso fresco, shredded cabbage and avocado with radish. The combination of the ingredients made for the most savory tacos I had ever tasted in a bar/grill style restaurant. Albeit somewhat Americanized, these tacos were hot, fresh, and flavorful.

Beef Barbacoa Tacos (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

To wrap things up, my party and I ordered the Avocado Creme Brulee and the Coconut Tres Leches. The Avocado Creme Brulee may sound a bit eccentric, but it was surprisingly very good. Although the taste is very discernable from that of a traditional creme brulee, the avocado still allowed for creamy, custard-y goodness.

Avocado Creme Brulee (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

The Coconut Tres Leches cake was also quite delectable. Personally, I prefer coconut products in place of dairy products, so I was excited to try this. Although the portion appears to be small, it is just the right serving size to where one won’t feel uncomfortably full upon finishing.

Coconut Tres Leches cake (Photo credit: Alex Gonzalez)

Overall, I was highly satisfied with my visit to Bar Manzanilla. If Big Beat Dallas’s other restaurants are able to match Bar Manzanilla’s quality and service, the new music and dining epicenter is guaranteed to be a nightlife staple for years to come.

Big Beat Dallas will be having grand opening events beginning this Thursday through Sunday. For a full list of festivities, be sure to check out Big Beat Dallas’s event calendar.