Friday, January 2, 2009
Best Bites: Dining out in Dallas-Fort Worth January 2
Rockwall gets new French and Japanese.
Big doings in Rockwall:
Cote D' Azur is a new French American restaurant opened in mid-December at the Harbor in Rockwall by friends Joe Hernandez and Arturo Cardoso. Hernandez, a financial advisor, brings the money smarts; Cardoso is a chef with 28 years experience who worked for many years at Cacharel in Arlington.
Their menu stars Frenchy classics such as Coquilles St. Jacques (sauteed scallops on a bed of fennel confit), escargot on croute, and magret de canard -- roasted duck breast with sweet potato puree on pomegranate sauce -- but nicely priced, with most entrees coming in under $20.
I'd go just for the Belgian endive and watercress salad with apple, walnuts, and Roquefort cheese. The decor includes a marble fountain in the center of restaurant with a pianist in the evenings.
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Kyoto Japanese Steakhouse is the second branch of the same-named Kyoto that's been in Rowlett for more than five years. It embodies the combination hibachi-sushi bar concept that's swept across the suburbs of Dallas -- from Hibashi near the Galleria to Geisha off George Bush Turnpike in Plano to Shogun in McKinney to Edohana, a chain with five branches.
Kyoto owner Tom Mach explains why the concept has become so hot:
"Hibachi is healthy, but it's also that customers like to watch the chef," he says. "They get to tell the chef how they like their food cooked. You can see how fresh the ingredients are. When you see somebody prepare your food in front of you and see how good the quality is, that makes a big difference."
Mach, who began working in the restaurant business when he was 15 and has been in it for more than 25 years, chose Rockwall because he wanted a convenient spot for customers who were coming in from Heath, Greenvill, Forney, Terrell, and the like. "For quite a few years, we were the only Japanese restaurant in Rowlett," he says.
Meanwhile in Fort Worth
Well known as a live-music venue, the Aardvark in Fort Worth is expanding its profile by launching itself as a restaurant, too.
"We're coming up on our 10-year anniversary in February," says kitchen manager Ryan Harvey, who was previously with 29 Degree Tavern, which recently went under with the demise of Bennigan's. "The owner, Danny Weaver, approached me and said, 'We're right across from TCU, maybe we can start doing food'."
Weaver and Harvey also noted that there was no barbecue around the campus and decided to try doing their own version, including smoking their own meats, creating a rub, and concocting their own sauce. "We're real happy with our brisket," Harvey says. They're open at 11 a.m. and stay open all day, with a menu that includes hamburgers, Texas chili, mini-corndogs, beer-battered onion rings, and fried pickles.
"That's our most popular item right now, fried pickles," Harvey says. "And of course, you gotta do wings."
Thanks to Erin Rice for tip!