Las Vegas restaurant group brings dinner and a show to Dallas’ Epic building with opening of terrific new La Neta Cocina y Lounge

La Neta Cocina y Lounge, a modern Mexican restaurant with Las Vegas roots, has opened in Dallas’ Deep Ellum’s Epic development. Judging from a recent visit, you’ll want to put this on your Must Visit List right now.

La Neta offers terrific Margaritas and other tequila-based cocktails, but it’s dishes like oversized tacos, lobster enchiladas, shaved Brussels sprouts salads and large, shareable plates of seafood paella and a 30-ounce tomahawk rib-eye that draw the buzz.

The menu for the Dallas location adds some twists you might not expect on a Modern Mexican menu. The Hot Mess, for example, is an oversize, gooey, butterscotch cookie baked to order in an iron skillet.  Then there’s “Mac & Cheetos” a cheesy side dish topped with crumbled orange Cheetos, a taco stuffed with a whole lobster, an oversized birria taco filled with an entire long-bone short rib, and a “24 Karne” skirt steak taco with truffle fondue, crispy onions, and pieces of 24-karat gold.

La Neta Cocina y Lounge’s corporate chef Lanny Chin created La Neta’s menus, adding that a few unique-to-Dallas items like that skillet cookie and Rosewood steaks to the Texas menu. Christian Galvan, a Whiskey Cake veteran, runs the Dallas kitchen. (Chin helmed the short-lived Slanted Door in Las Vegas)

A 30-foot-wide indoor faux tree is the centerpiece of La Neta Cocina y Lounge’s main bar, a forest canopy theme that informs the restaurant’s entire decor.

La Neta is one of the few DFW restaurant and bars that succeed at each half of that mission — not a surpise given that the team behind La Neta (led by restaurateur Ryan Labbe) learned in Vegas knows how to pull off a restaurant and lounge without overstepping into night club territory.

Labbe, who has worked with Vegas hospitality pioneers The Light Group, Wynn, Hakkasan, and Drai’s, also operates or co-manages F&B programs at The Cosmopolitan, The Palms, and Pendry San Diego. Insiders say additional Labbe concepts are in the works for Dallas.