The American Express Centurion Lounge in Dallas: Good Food and Great Drink

American Express opened its second U.S. Centurion airport lounge this month. Dallas Fort Worth is the second location after Las Vegas. There are more lounges to come, including San Francisco.

I visited the Dallas facility on a recent connection, and absolutely loved it. I wrote about the facility itself yesterday. It’s the best U.S. airport lounge I have been to. Here’s now the scoop on their food and beverage offerings.

First, know that they’re serious about their cocktails here, the waitress helping me in the restaurant shared her favorites and impressed on me the processes involved in mixing their drinks. Cocktails are by Jim Meehan and wines are curated by Anthony Giglio. These aren’t the rail drinks in the major airline lounges, or the premium drinks I get by showing my non-US elite card and scoring drink chits.

Notably, the food is by local celebrity chef Dean Fearing, and predominantly featuring a Southwestern flair. Some of the items on the buffet while I was there around lunchtime:

  • Charred tomato salsa
  • Spanish rice
  • Borracho black beans
  • Spinach queso enchilada
  • Pulled chicken enchilada casserole with roasted green chile sauce
  • Sweet corn soup
  • Smoked barbecue brisket tacos

The food was good but not great, I was as happy with it as with anything I’d find in the terminal and certainly preferred over the meals that American offers for sale in its lounges (though the Cuban pork sandwich at Washington National is surprisingly tasty). I wouldn’t rate the food up there with the First Class Lounges that Lufthansa has in Germany — it’s very good lounge food, but it isn’t Do &Co.


About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community Milepoint.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. I think anyone who only visits the USA airline lounges and doesn’t travel internationally will be SHOCKED by these offerings!

    It’s enough to make me get an AMEX Platinum card. AMEX should take advantage of all this great press and run a nice sign-up promo.

  2. I am here now and this really reminds me of an upscale hotel’s club lounge. Attendants are really great, friendly, and well trained. Everyone is very friendly. The brisket is holy smokes delish. I will definitely be seeking this lounge out instead of the AAdmirals clubs when I have layovers at DFW.

  3. I hope this gives the domestic lounges a run for their money. The lounges we experience here in the US is truly shameful. If it weren’t for awesome first class lounges by CX and Qantas, I highly doubt we’d be having such experiences.

  4. I’m really disappointed after the great pictures of the lounge
    I hate this kind of food so for me no matter what quality it is I’ll head anywhere but this lounge to eat
    Ill take the Qantas First Class lounge in Sydney and a number of others instead
    I’ll be found at Pappadeaux in DFW escaping the Centurion celebrity chef upscale taco bell buffet bar
    Hope they rotate with other cuisines in the future
    meh at present

  5. @D Wonderment – of course this does not compare to the Qantas first class lounge in Sydney, the Lufthansa First Class Terminal etc. But it’s great for a US lounge.

  6. Gary, perhaps you shared this in one of the earlier posts and I missed it – why are they doing this? What’s the business case? Is this to drive customers to get the Platinum card? It can’t be to drive us to Centurion because many people try to get invited and fail.

  7. Silly question but I noticed this somewhat glaring omission on the lounge website and your post…do they really not serve beer? Brisket and no Shiner Bock? Surely there must be a TX law against that.

  8. Hi You mentioned “” the premium drinks I get by showing my non-US elite card and scoring drink chits.””
    Which airline offers these chits or are they only handed out in the 2 American Express lounges. I have non US Plat and have not heard of this benefit.

    Thanks

  9. @xcalx – I believe he is referring to elite status within a OneWorld member airline that is NOT AA. For example I believe Gary has mentioned he has BA Gold. Thus he would get lounge access and premium drinks at Admiral’s Clubs even on domestic itineraries as part of the OneWorld lounge reciprocity agreement.

  10. CW Thanks. I have OW saphire and when I have been in AA lounges in the US I have only been offered house wine or standard tap beer free, everything else was charged for. I have never seen any “drink chits” at any Oneworld lounge.

  11. I’m wondering over time if the Amex lounges get big enough nationwide if American will dump the free access with the Platinum Amex cards
    Probably a long way off if so

  12. Are the drinks and food free or do they charge? I’m betting the complimentary access to AMEX platinum cardholders is only temporary to build a following, then they will charge for it once they have demand and a bigger network.

  13. D Wonderment, when I went to the Vegas Centurion lounge a few months ago, it was not complimentary for Platinum card holders. They wanted to charge $50 for entry so I went to the Admirals Club. They’re probably trying to generate more interest for now.

  14. Eric,
    There is a Priority Pass participating lounge in Las Vegas that many have access to with the Amex Platinum card and some select Chase credit cards I believe
    One just has to sign up in complimentary Priority Pass program if their credit card offers it
    Is a small lounge but just a few doors away from the Centurion lounge and nice enough

  15. Like all romances, it’s all champagne and fireworks coming out of the gate.. Let’s see if they keep it up over time, what with this being essentially a FREE benefit to many cardholders (not sure what the Plat/Cent penetration is with AMEX, but its’ got to be at least 5% overall)..and I wonder if they will get a lot of takers for 50$, when they know how good the drinks and food are? I mean, I could easily drop 30-40$ at some local in any airport for pupu’s and a few drinks over the course of 1-2 hours, why the heck wouldn’t I just head over to this lounge and get quite, tv watching, drinks delivered, free internet, etc..

  16. David, as a Centurion card holder I can tell you that the business case is to retain Platinum and Centurion card holders. We lost lounge access to the United lounges a couple of years ago and have recently lost lounge access to American Admirals Clubs. Delta lounge access is much more restrictive than in the past as well.

    They will need to open quite a few more lounges to get us back to where we were.

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