(Photo by: Kathy Tran)

Terilli’s Italchos are exactly what they sound like. (Photo by: Kathy Tran)

Our neighborhood loves to dine. We love to try new places so that we can talk about the finds and recommend them to friends. We know The Grape makes a delicious burger, and of course, Meso Maya’s Mexican food is great, but what about those unexpected dishes at some of our favorite restaurants. Check out these five local spots and the dishes that may surprise you.

Pop-up Vietnamese at Cosmo’s

Cosmo’s is a wonderfully divey bar hidden next to a nail salon at Skillman and Live Oak. While its neighbor Lakewood Landing may get all the accolades, Cosmo’s is happy to be the understated bar playing random VHS movies and serving cocktails, pizza and Vietnamese delicacies. On Monday nights, chef Jackson Tran creates a pop-up Vietnamese diner, with Banh Mi (sandwich), bun (vermicelli bowls), green papaya salad and pho. Banh Mi and Pho usually last throughout the week, but the most variety can be found on Mondays.

Queso at Lakewood Smokehouse

Drive past Lakewood Smokehouse and the smell of smoked meat makes you hungry. But the restaurant features a few dishes that are outside its normal barbecue repertoire. The restaurant recently received a shout out from the Dallas Observer for its exceptional burger, but the Brisket Loaded Queso is a beautiful thing as well. The cooks take their succulent brisket and combine pico de gallo and spicy queso, which arrives in a cast iron skillet. Let’s call it Dallas barbecue Tex-Mex fusion.

Chicken Fried Steak at Matt’s Rancho Martinez

Matt’s has a whole section on the menu for its much-heralded chicken fried steaks. But for a Tex-Mex transplant from Austin more known for enchiladas, margaritas and Bob Armstrong dip, the chicken fried steaks are no laughing matter. It’s Texas all the way: over-the-top size and the right amount of crunch. So for those times when the family needs to get their Tex-Mex fix but you are looking for something a little more southern, head to Matt’s. The steaks come topped with traditional gravy, chili and cheese, tomatillo sauce and the famous Bob Armstrong dip.

Meatloaf at Cock and Bull

While the British aren’t exactly known for their food, this British style pub in Lakewood is so much more than a windowless watering hole with bar food. The entrées at Cock and Bull are all solid, but the veal and mushroom meatloaf will remind you of the one your mom used to make. It comes with macaroni and cheese that can go toe-to-toe with any in Dallas. Also: haricot verts to make sure you get your vegetables in. Wash it down with a local brew, make a friend at the adjacent table and enjoymeals at the bar.

Nachos at Terrill’s

Terilli’s is old school East Dallas, and has literally been through fire to be one of our neighborhood’s favorite spots for a classy Italian dinner. The live piano, rooftop patio and old-world classics make for a special first date or birthday dinner, but a favorite dish is the Italchos. Think about Italian flavors married with Tex-Mex. Pizza chips are loaded with family red sauce, cheese and any other toppings you want. They are crunchy, flavorful, and just how Texans always wanted to eat pizza.