Tuesday, February 18, 2014
See a list of new restaurants in Fort Worth’s booming restaurant scene
We're seeing a trend of shared plates.
FORT WORTH Anyone else dizzy from all the restaurant activity in Fort Worth? It seems that every time I turn my head or check social media, there’s a new restaurant opening. So let’s catch up.
Little Red Wasp is brought to us by the same team behind Grace, and they serve “Knife and Fork” sandwiches, salads and a selection of entrees. On the weekends, you’ll find dishes like short ribs eggs Benedict and chilaquiles on their brunch menu, which is offered 11 a.m. until midnight.
A “made from scratch” mentality drives the menu behind Chef Marcus Paslay’s Clay Pigeon, which opened in the former Lambert’s space on White Settlement Road. The menu at Clay Pigeon focuses on seasonal and local fare.
AF+B adds to the dining corridor of Crockett Street in the West 7th area. AF+B takes the neighborhood tavern concept and elevates it to modern elegance. The food is straight-forward, with some items that are deceptively simple and rely on carefully-sourced ingredients. Some dishes are true standouts in their originality, like the chorizo Scotch eggs, lamb tartare and crispy little quail. Chef Jeff Harris, formerly of Bolsa in Dallas, heads the kitchen. I was ecstatic to find this out because Bolsa is one of the few restaurants I’ll drive to Dallas for, but I feel like just a little of the Bolsa magic is missing in the menu. Don’t get me wrong, there are very solid offerings on the menu and I will be back; but I’m not completely won over, and it’s unfair to judge after just one visit. Maybe their newly offered brunch service will change my mind.
Bird Cafe has a prime perch on the edge of the new Sundance Square, and they take advantage of the space with a patio overlooking all the action. The small, shared plates distinguishes the menu at Bird Cafe. The cocktail menu receives as much attention as the food, with much care given to execution. Can I just say their Bird Mule (their take on the Moscow Mule) is one of my new favorite drinks? I’ve much, much more to say about Bird Cafe which I will hopefully write up soon after another visit (all in the name of research!).
In what probably has been the most anticipated and hyped opening, Cane Rosso finally laid roots in Fort Worth. After teasing us with their mobile food truck at Times Ten Cellars and a brief pop-up experience at Swiss Pastry Shop, they finally opened on Magnolia in the former Ryan’s Grocery spot. Tales of long waits to get in have kept me away, but I have to admit I’m dreaming of my meal there, which will start with the salumi misti followed by a Paulie Gee and a Bella Mella for dessert.
Another Dallas import that arrived in Fort Worth early January was Velvet Taco. This spot has seemed perpetually packed since it opened. Velvet Taco combines the humble street taco with global flavors. Look for fillings like roast pork bánh mì, crisp tikka chicken and Mediterranean flank. You can also get any filling in a lettuce leaf, which is great because I’m not a fan of their corn tortillas. Their crisp tots and local egg along with roasted corn were standouts for me. They have a popular “backdoor chicken” special on Mondays: $10 for a rotisserie chicken, roasted corn side, tortillas and Korean barbecue sauce for $10 (normally $20).
Fort Worth’s Thai food options expand with the opening of Happy Bowl Too and Spice. Happy Bowl Too opened in the Chicotsky Center on West 7th and is the sister restaurant to Happy Bowl Asian Restaurant. On a recent lunch, I found the food to be good but the service was a bit awkward; I’ll chalk it up to being new and will re-visit soon. Spice recently opened on Magnolia in the thriving Near Southside. Spice is brought to us by the same family who owns Thai Select, which is one of my frequent lunch spots. Spot-on flavors, good spice levels, decent prices and a pleasing presentation are my what keeps me coming back to Thai Select, so I’m looking forward to seeing how Spice measures up in comparison.
Adding to the openings on Magnolia, the bar Proper recently opened. Soon to open is the restaurant 24 Plates, which bills itself as a modern global tapas restaurant with a seasonally rotating menu of 24 dishes. Look for them to have outdoor seating as well. (Fort Worth’s unseasonably cold winter has me dreaming of patio weather!)
Kona Grill opened this month in the West 7th area and they bring an Asian twist to Modern American fare. Pizza Snob in the University area opened last month with a build-your-own pizza concept.
Look for BITE Restaurant in the space previously occupied by Deluxe Grill in Montgomery Plaza. James Beard featured Chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin parted ways with Pakpao in Dallas and will now head the kitchen at BITE. In looking over the concept and menu, I’m a little disappointed the emphasis won’t be on Thai cuisine but rather the same modern American type dishes that most menus seem to favor these days. BITE will feature small bites meant for sharing in the $8-$14 range as well as big bites (entrees) in the $16 – $30 range. Featured small bites include lamb meatballs with a foie gras crème sherry and wild mushroom artichoke truffle flatbread with manchego cheese. The big bite menu includes a seared Long Island duck breast with black cherry demi glace, scallop and grits, braised short ribs with a balsamic glaze and house-made lobster ravioli.
If you’re a fan of grass fed-beef, Burgundy Pasture Beef will soon open a storefront on West 7th in the old Four Star Coffeebar space and they will be serving burgers.
So there you have it. I’m noticing a trend towards shared plates, which is a fun idea on paper. However, chefs: Please make the dishes truly shareable, some dishes meant to be “shared” are quite tricky to parse out. Also, looks like modern American is here to stay for awhile. I certainly wouldn’t mind a few more restaurants tipping the balance into the more affordable mid-range (vs. fine dining) and maybe venturing out of the modern American comfort zone.
Have you visited any of these restaurants? What have your experiences been?
Pegasus News Content partner - Eat This Fort Worth