Nightlife, Things to Do
One day, craft beer lovers will look back on this time as something of a beer renaissance in Fort Worth.
In addition to newcomers Collective Brewing Project and Martin House Brewing Company, there's a Northside-based brewery that's making a name for itself with some creative and scientifically tested brews.
Full disclosure: I had never visited a beer brewery before stopping by the Panther Island Brewery recently, but it had the look and feel that I imaged it would. The brick and mortar exterior is unassuming, but charming in its own vintage-industrial way. When I stepped inside I saw several large stainless steel tanks and a maze of piping that took up a third of the openair factory floor. Panther Island founders Mike Harper and Ryan McWhorter were hustling around the floor. As I found out later, the duo always keeps the doors open, partly to welcome random visitors, and because the space is hopelessly too large to air condition.
We settled around the bar area to talk beer. Harper handed me a pint of their Allergeez, an American Wheat Ale. A mildly sweet, full bodied flavor with not-so-subtle camomile notes greeted my lips. I usually don't associate the word "delicious" with a beer, but it certainly came to mind here.
McWhorter came from a background in sales and made his first brewing attempt with a Mr. Beer kit he bought from Walmart. Then things grew from there, he said. Harper spent a couple of years at Starbucks and a ‘90s cover band called The Dick Beldings. It took me a minute to remember that the principal in Saved by the Bell was Dick Belding. Great name for a band.
Things took off a few years back when McWhorter asked Harper to start a brewery with him. Not one to take such a daunting project lightly, Harper enrolled in beer school where he "nerded out" on the intricacies of beer making.
"I went to vermont to study in the American Brewer's Guild and got a certificate in brewing science and engineering," Harper recalled. "The program was a little shorter than six months. We spent the last week Vermont doing hands-on things with big brewing systems. I like details, but they got down to the minutia of water temperature and how temperature affects the head of a beer."
For now, Harper and McWhorter are focused on their beer and their customers. When asked if they have plans for mass distribution in the region, they said their focus is local for now. You can find their Allergeez, Cannonball (a Scottish Dark Ale), IPf'nA (Imperial Indian Pale Ale), and Boom (Summer Blondge) at Magnolia motor lounge, Poag Mahone's, Rodeo Goat, The Pour House Sports Grill, The Brass Tap, and Craft and Growler. Each beer offers a unique take on a classic style. Harper is working on a hopless IPA and McWhorter has plans to capture his favorite candy, Butterfinger, in beer form.
A few weeks after my meeting with Harper and McWhorter I stopped by the cantina in the Fort Worth Food Park. I was excited to see the Boom and Allergeez on tap and struck up a conversation with the bartender. He was quick to praise the service he gets from Panther Island, something Harper and McWhorter had repeatedly told me was important to them. Even more importantly, he said Panther Island Brewery beers were quickly becoming crowd favorites.
posted on: Wednesday, Aug 13, 2014 12:00 AM
Dining, Special Events
Something lunch, something new, something seafood, something moo.
This year I have developed what I consider a solid strategy to take on DFW Restaurant Week. I plan to dine at one restaurant in each of four categories inspired by a rhyme intended for brides, but adjusts nicely to fit my gluttonous purposes. Given that many area restaurants are participating from August 11th through 31st, I think that this is a mission I can eagerly accomplish.
The three-course meals range from $25 for lunch to $35 or $45 for dinner depending on the venue. To add to the enjoyment, portions of the proceeds from Fort Worth area restaurants go to the Lena Pope Home. If three courses leaves you wanting more, presenting sponsor Central Market is offering up a fourth course at participating restaurants. Take your receipt to the information desk to collect your Fourth Course Certificate when you spent $25 or more at any DFW Central Market.
A special three-course lunch menu is offered at only $25 per person at these establishments. All three also offer separate dinner menus in the evening at $45.
Bonnell’s Fine Texas Cuisine: Lunch menu includes a smoked prime rib sandwich and chocolate amaretto cake for dessert.
Waters: Jon Bonnell’s venture into coastal cuisine in West 7th includes choice of Creole Black Drum or the succulent lobster roll.
The Capital Grille: Lunch options include clam chowder to start followed by the dry aged sirloin with roasted pepper, fresh mozzarella and arugula salad.
Restaurant week is the perfect time to get a taste of some newcomers that may be on your list to explore.
Bite City Grill: Start with soy BBQ shrimp and finish off with the heavenly aerated cheesecake.
Clay Pigeon Food and Drink: First course options include an artfully plated compressed watermelon salad that sits on a bed of goat cheese as well as the summer corn soup topped with a pickled peach relish.
These restaurants offer excellent steak options on their Restaurant Week menus, but their seafood preparations steal the show.
Eddie V’s: North Atlantic lemon sole begs to be finished off with the dessert course of hot “Bananas Foster” butter cake.
Grace: Dinner includes a selection of artisan cured hams to start as well as a pan seared hake (a sweet white fish) served with sweet corn succotash.
Fort Worth abounds with beefy options and downtown takes center stage.
Del Frisco’s: Get the best of both worlds with a duo filet served with Béarnaise sauce and peppercorn gravy.
Mercury Chop House: Dinner includes a choice of 6-ounce filet or braised short ribs served with a mushroom risotto round for entrees, and there is even an optional course of a tenderloin beef martini served with mashed potatoes.
Reata: The $35 dinner menu offers bacon wrapped tenderloin served with a rich ancho demi sauce; add a wine pairing to all 3 courses for only $20 more.
As you strategize, keep in mind that some restaurants participate for only the first week (August 11 – 17) while others take advantage of one and two week extensions. Reservations can be made through opentable.com or by calling the restaurant directly. Visit the DFW Restaurant Week site for the full list of participating restaurants across Fort Worth and Dallas.
posted on: Saturday, Aug 9, 2014 12:00 AM
Over the next six months or so, the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth will do quite a bit of aesthetic globe-trotting. From the undeniable artistry of the Japanese film director, producer, writer and, last but not least, director, Hayao Miyazaki -- currently being celebrated in Miyazaki at the Modern: Masterpieces of Animation -- to the gritty, unsparingly honest art scene born of 1980s New York in Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s – the Modern has perhaps never travelled as far and wide over the contemporary art landscape.
For Miyazaki at the Modern, running through August 23, the museum has worked hand in glove with the Lone Star Film Society’s ArthouseFW division. Together, the two institutions are presenting as much of the protean life’s work of Miyazaki as possible, given the undeniable fact that his creative output came over the course of 60 years. Miyazaki has become synonymous with the distinctively Japanese cinematic story-telling technique known as “anime.” In fact, so successful was Miyazaki at his particular craft, that he often invited comparisons to that other global shogun of all animation: Walt Disney, along with Britain’s Nick Park, and that other master of child-like, imaginative film-making, Steven Spielberg. To many in and out of cinema, Miyazaki is considered the ultimate master, the animators’ guru.
With last year’s dramatic announcement of Miyazaki’s stepping away from the animator’s easel, this retrospective of his work takes on even greater weight. The lushness of the classic, 35mm format will be used to present the Miyazaki screenings. One of Miyazaki’s masterpieces, Spirited Away, will be screened on August 16 in its purest form: An undubbed iteration (done in Japanese, complete with English sub-titles).
A mere month after the conclusion of the Miyazaki at the Modern show, opens the museum’s fall spectacular: Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s. A special exhibition organized by the museum’s supremely talented and visionary chief curator, Michael Auping, this show will laser-in on the at-times harmonious and anarchic, and chaotically creative art scene of 1980s New York. An incubator of some of the last 50 years' most innovative and provocative art, New York in the 1980s became an alchemic cauldron for so much of that world, informed by cartoons to consumer trends, high and low culture to street art. The art scene, spawned on New York’s meanest and most tony streets, was, in Auping’s words, the “wildest…loudest, and the most intense” of anywhere in the world. This exhibition will show it all, from the City’s “Bad Boys” to art inspired by latter day expressionists, through inspired graffiti masters. The museum will devote a staggering 25,000 square feet to this show, allowing it to accommodate massively scaled iconic works by, among others, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Laurie Anderson, Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel, Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Robert Mappelthorpe, Kenny Scharf, among many others.
Note that Japanese refreshments (Taiyaki and green tea punch) will be offered in the museum’s main lobby following the showing of Nausicaa. In addition refreshments and a special gallery dialogue will be conducted following the showing of Kiki’s Delivery Service. Tickets are $9 ($8 for Modern members, and $6 for Lone Star members or Modern Reel People, $5 for kids under 12, and its free for ArthouseFW pass-holders). Advance ticket purchases can be made through lonestarfilmsociety.com, or through the Modern’s general number: 817-738-9215. More information: http://www.themodern.org/.
Urban Theater: New York Art in the 1980s, September 21-Jauary 4, 2015. The Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, 3200 Darnell Street, Fort Worth. General admission (includes special exhibition admission): $10 for adults, $4 for students with ID and seniors 60-years and above. More information: 817-738-9215; http://www.themodern.org/.
posted on: Thursday, Aug 7, 2014 12:00 AM
Who doesn’t like being in, on, or around water? After a recent trip to Austin (and that city’s gorgeous Lake Travis), I returned to Fort Worth feeling a little, well, water-deprived. Fortunately my drought didn’t last long after I heard about a summer event held every Thursday called Rockin’ the River and decided to check it out.
I’ve been a big fan of the Panther Island Pavilion since seeing the Fort Worth Music Festival last May. Panther Island, now its own district just north of downtown Fort Worth, stretches along the Trinity River and the view of the skyline, just blocks away from the Pavilion, is unbeatable.
This evening was mercifully cool and lots of folks were out running or biking along the river. Actually, there were more people in the water than around it. The folks at Kayak Fort Worth have a booth set up where you can rent every kind of boat/flotation device imaginable. Parking and admission to the event is free, and beer starts at $3 a bottle. Not bad.
The “Rockin’” part of the evenings are not to be missed. This Thursday make sure to check out Uncle Lucius, an Austin-based rock group whose music is steeped in the blues, and country singer Brandon Rhyder on August 7. The stage leads right up to and faces into the river, so the only way to get a good “seat” is to get wet. Once the sun goes down, the party moves to shore with more live music and a fireworks show at 9:30pm.
There’s only two weeks left to catch this great outdoor event, so watch the video below and mark your calendar for this Thursday or next to get outside in Fort Worth for Rockin' the River. Panther Island will be sprawling with people again August 31 for the Clearfork Music Festival, and there’s nothing stopping you from checking out this great scenic enclave any day of the week.
posted on: Tuesday, Jul 29, 2014 12:00 AM
Arts and Culture
The Amon Carter Museum of American Art could wait no longer. It is currently showing through September 7 Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist, the first important look-back in at least 20 years of the irrefutable artistic talent of Archibald Motley. Though Motley’s paintings have carried broad appeal for a very long time, the artist still has managed to dodge wide-spread notoriety – even after his death in 1981.
If there is anything to blame for Motley’s relative obscurity, it is that the bulk of his work – mostly portraits and various cultural tableaux -- is so prized that it has stubbornly remained in private hands, preventing even the most avid of museums from building up any substantial Motley collection.
The Carter show looks at a 40-year slice of Motley’s output, generally filled with splashy colors that belie the occasionally sobering socio-historical backdrop to much of his oeuvre. Through 43 varied canvases, the exhibit traces all the important chapters in Motley’s career, especially from 1919-1960. Particular strong points of the exhibition are Motley’s treatment of the African-American neighborhoods, often taken from his very familiar, and native, Chicago. The Windy City was the stage for Motley’s depiction of hard-times and a more relaxed existence, both walking hand-in-hand. Everyone within these Chicago communities is examined, with Motley paying equal attention to the disenfranchised and the misbegotten -- as in the recently arrived migrant workers, many from the deep South -- to the cossetted elites.
Nothing is off limits on Motley’s canvas, not visual treatises on sexuality, race, or gender. Not to mention, Motley was not timid about treating more hot button issues of his time such as racism and the horrific scourge of slavery.
The exhibit is so rich that it also includes the New Orleans-born, Motley’s exceptional visualizations of everywhere from Mexico in the ‘50s through Paris in the throes of the Jazz Age.
And don’t forget the 'Art in the Dark' related event to the main Motley show: The Carter is planning, on August 7th, to host a four-hour community program where patrons can come and enjoy films, music, art-making, and tours, all of which takes their jumping off point from the Motley exhibit. And you don’t even need a reservation.
Details: Archibald Motley: Jazz Age Modernist. Through September 7 at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, 3501 Camp Bowie Boulevard, Fort Worth. More information about this and other goings-on at the Carter: 817-738-1933; www.cartermuseum.org.
Archibald J. Motley Jr. (1891–1981) Black Belt, 1934; Oil on canvas; © Valerie Gerrard Browne
Collection of the Hampton University Museum, Hampton, Virginia
Barbecue, 1960; Oil on canvas; © Valerie Gerrard Browne; Collection of Mara Motley, MD, and Valerie Gerrard Browne Image courtesy of the Chicago History Museum, Chicago, Illinois
posted on: Tuesday, Jul 22, 2014 12:00 AM
Dining, Family Friendly
Fort Worth offers plenty of kid-friendly dining options that are sure to please everyone in your family. Whether you’re looking for kid favorites like burgers and pizza or something more adventurous, Fort Worth restaurants have got you and your family covered.
A visit to Ol’ South will start your day off right with their hearty breakfasts that include German pancakes, crepes and waffles. This classic eatery has been serving their breakfast specialties in Fort Worth since 1962 and not much has changed since then.
Another casual breakfast spot is Cafe Brazil with an eclectic menu that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cafe Brazil offers a special from Sunday through Thursday where kids eat free free from 5p.m. - 10p.m. with the purchase of an adult entree.
Chadra Mezza & Grill
Chadra Mezza & Grill offers a Mediterranean influenced daily lunch buffet with enough options to please everyone in your brood. Our family loves their Monday night Pizza and Pasta Buffet.
If you’re in search of a fast-casual bite Mamma’s Pizza, a Fort Worth favorite, offers a daily lunch buffet. They also have a mini-arcade.
Sweet Tomatoes offers options beyond the salad bar which will have plenty of options for Mom and Dad. Kids will enjoy their pizza, soups, pasta and self-serve frozen yogurt.
Kincaid’s is a true Fort Worth original serving up a classic half-pound burger in a cozy country store atmosphere.
M&O Station Grill
If you want a side of Fort Worth history with your burger, visit M&O Station and check out the Leonard Museum next door.
Rodeo Goat offers a modern and adventurous take on the burger with gourmet toppings but they can also keep it simple for the kiddos (lunchtime is the best time to visit). There’s a few games indoors and out on their large patio.
Tommy’s Hamburger Grill
This longtime Fort Worth favorite serves up hamburgers along with kid-friendly favorites like tater tots and corn nuggets. Parents can go the burger route or select healthy fare like grilled chicken sandwiches or fish tacos.
Food Truck Parks
Fort Worth Food Park
At the Fort Worth Food Park, the first Food Park in Fort Worth, you’ll find a few outdoor games to complement the outdoor seating and rotating fleet of food trucks.
Clear Fork Food Park
You can take in a nice view of the Trinity River from the Clear Fork Food Park located just off of the Trinity and near the Fort Worth Zoo. In warm weather their covered pavillion with ceiling fans helps keep diners cool.
One of the most popular spots in town is the Central Market patio with a play area, ample outdoor seating and live music on the weekends. Your family can select meals from their huge selection of pre-prepared foods.
The Woodshed Smokehouse
The Woodshed provides a casual and mostly outdoor dining experience with lots of picnic tables and a few games. They serve a variety of smoked and barbecue dishes.
This casual spot near TCU serves up pizza, salads and sandwiches in a funky atmosphere.
Cane Rosso’s specialty Neapolitan pizzas will please both kids and parents with a variety of topping options. You’ll also find sandwiches and pasta on their menu options and don’t forget to save room for one of their dessert pizzas.
Tacos and Burritos
Fuzzy’s Taco Shop
This local chain started on Berry Street nearly 13 years ago and they’ve been going strong ever since with multiple locations throughout Fort Worth. Fuzzy's has a laid back environment with quick service making it a perfect spot for a speedy refuel with baja-style tacos, burritos, quesadillas or nachos.
Freebirds gives your family a fun and fast dining option with their selection of burritos, tacos, nachos and quesadillas.
Introduce your children to vegan cuisine at the eclectic Spiral Diner. Sshh, you don’t even have to tell them the food is good for them with plenty of kid friendly options like ‘Sketti and meatballs, Grilled Cheese or a Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwich.
To satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth, plan a visit to Melt Ice Creams. This craft ice cream shop on Rosedale in the Near Southside scoops up happiness in every house-made waffle cone.
Curly’s Frozen Custard
The covered and misted patio at Curly’s Custard make this a great spot to enjoy one of their frozen custard treats. Their menu also features kid-friendly fare like hot dogs and frito pies.
posted on: Monday, Jul 21, 2014 12:00 AM
Family Friendly, Special Events
Fort Worth’s night sky will be lit up on the Fourth of July with several fireworks displays going on throughout the city. There are several venues in Fort Worth offering spectacular fireworks displays for you and your family to enjoy.
Panther Island Pavilion
Panther Island Pavilion presents Fort Worth’s Fourth, a free family friendly festival that ends in one of the largest fireworks display in North Texas. Gates open at 2PM and you will find Jet Ski and Flyboard shows, performances from the Dallas Cowboy’s Rhythm and Blues Dancers and several live music performances. The festival is free however, if you would like access to shaded seating, craft cocktails and entry into VIP tents you can purchase a VIP Pass for $25.
Kids can participate in the free activities at the Kid Zone which include pony rides, face painting, zip lines, quad jump, water slides and bounce houses. If you’re looking to cool off they are also offering free tubes and life jackets (on a first come, first served basis) so that you can take a refreshing float in the Trinity.
Panther Island Pavilion has lined up plenty of food and drink vendors since they don’t allow outside coolers into the festival. The eclectic mix of vendors should please just about anyone with options like street tacos, pizza, Cajun, tamales, corndogs and hamburgers.
The fireworks show begins at 10PM and blankets and lawn chairs are welcomed into the festival.
Concerts in the Garden
Concerts in the Garden presents three days of fireworks beginning Wednesday July 2 and ending Friday July 4. The Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra will play rousing patriotic music to go along with the stunning fireworks display. The Old Fashioned Fireworks Picnic has become a tradition for many in Fort Worth and you can choose between lawn and table seating options with prices ranging from $21 - $46 (children under 12 free).
Coyote Drive in
If you want a lot of bang for your buck visit the Coyote Drive-In for their Fourth of July festivities. From July 1-3 at 9:30PM the Coyote Drive In, Fort Worth’s only drive-in, will pause the movies to feature a fireworks display. They will also have live music playing before the movies. On Friday July 4 the fireworks show starts at 10PM.
Photos by: Genius House Media
posted on: Thursday, Jul 3, 2014 12:00 AM
There are few things in the culinary world more ridiculously corny, and yet as comfortingly appealing, as the Japanese hibachi restaurant. First popularized 50 years ago by the now-ubiquitous Benihana chain, the hibachi experience changes little from city to city, and from generation to generation. Diners still sit family-style, around an open, hibachi grill. After placing your order – chicken or beef or shrimp or some combination therein – a chef emerges and starts slicing, dicing and cracking so-lame-they-are-brilliant jokes for your entertainment.
Yet no matter how many times I’ve seen the same tricks – the egg that is tossed into the air, but magically lands in the chef’s shirt pocket; the stack of onion slices set afire, so that steam pours out of the center like a locomotive – the best hibachi restaurants nonetheless make me feel like a wide-eyed little kid all over again. Sure it’s goofy and trite, but it’s also a fantastic way to enjoy a night out with a large group of friends or to celebrate a birthday or graduation.
Although Fort Worth doesn’t have a Benihana (the closest ones are in Las Colinas and Plano), there are a number of locally-owned hibachi restaurants that serve up all the familiar charms. Located at Bryant Irvin Road and Loop 820, Edohana offers both a hibachi and a full sushi / sashimi menu. (A second Edohana, on Hulen Street, only offers sushi.) Meanwhile, Japanese Palace – the very first restaurant to introduce the hibachi concept to Fort Worth – continues strong after nearly 40 years in business.
And for a more upscale than usual hibachi experience, point the car north to Hanabi Hibachi and Sushi, located near Alliance Town Center. The large, handsomely decorated space is divided between hibachi seating and traditional restaurant seating. There is also a swanky bar near the front, where each weekday afternoon you can take advantage of happy hour specials, from sake to sushi.
But it was the hibachi experience we were after, and on our recent lunchtime visit, Hanabi did not disappoint. Our meal started with a simple miso broth, mildly flavored with scallions and slices of dried mushrooms. We especially liked the salad that followed, crisp iceberg lettuce tossed in a gently sweet vinaigrette.
Then came the main event. Our chef sent eggs sailing through the air (and – in one mishap – sent one falling to the floor). He worked lively wonders with the flames, frequently shooting them high into the air.
And our main courses proved far more refined than you often find at hibachi restaurants. The fried rice, easy on both the butter and the soy sauce, was a light variation on what can often be a greasy, glommy mess. My scallops were flawlessly cooked, charred on the exterior, silky soft on the inside. My companion’s filet mignon tossed was juicy and buttery, lightly coated in a sauce that strikes a fine balance between salty and sweet.
All told, it proved a perfect break from the grind of our workweeks: We left with our bellies full and smiles on our faces. The hibachi tradition may be celebrating its fiftieth anniversary, but some things never get old.
posted on: Thursday, Jul 3, 2014 12:00 AM
Just in time for a wee bit after the longest day of the year, a.k.a. the summer solstice, the Amon Carter Museum of American Art is beckoning everyone to join the venerable Fort Worth art temple outdoors for a bit of cinema at the best of all possible prices – free.
Officially known as an “outdoor film series,” that formalistic name doesn’t begin to capture the easy-going, family-fun the Amon Carter has in mind for all those who attend the June 26th screening of Toy Story. This 1995, G-rated, Pixar-instant contemporary cowboy classic is just about the perfect movie for all ages. And it will unfold outside, just as the sun takes the day’s final bow behind the last bit of Fort Worth dusky sky.
Toy Story is just about the most frothily entertaining bit of culture to build an entire evening around, starting with a picnic dinner spread out on the Amon Carter’s bountiful lawn. For the best of all possible lawn dining, why not let one of the numerous food trucks parked on-site help fill that picnic basket with all the right noshes. And for those revelers interested in taking in a bit of what the Amon Carter’s original mission has always been, namely the display of primo American art, everyone is invited to ooh and ahh over some of the museum’s masterpieces by Frederic Remington and Charles Russell before taking the museum lawn as the adventures of Buzz Lightyear and Woody flicker joyously across the big, museum-lawn screen.
Details: Sunset Cinema at the Amon Carter Museum of American Art presents: Toy Story. Thursday, June 26th from 6 p.m.-10 p.m. at the museum, 3501 Camp Bowie Blvd., Fort Worth. Lawn opens at 6 p.m. Museum tours from 7 p.m.-7:45 p.m. Film starts at 8:30 p.m. Blankets, coolers, and lawn chairs are all welcome (for lawn use only). Please leave at home alcohol, glass bottles, and, sorry, your pets. Food trucks will be parked at the Carter from 6 p.m.-9 p.m. And everyone is invited to do that social media thing and tag their individual Sunset Cinema photos with #ACMSunsetCinema. (And it’s never too early to mark down the Carter’s next Sunset Cinema screening, set for July 31st : It’s the 2002 Oscar winning-film version (PG-13) of the wowza popular musical, Chicago. More information: 817-989-5067; www.cartermuseum.org.
posted on: Thursday, Jun 26, 2014 12:00 AM
Sure, reliable, chain restaurants have their places, and so do chef-driven, upscale eateries. But I’ve always believed that family-owned and -operated restaurants are the glue that holds any dining community together.
It’s at these places where you’ll usually encounter food steeped in tradition, made from recipes that have been handed down from one generation to the next; where your eyes (and taste buds) will be opened to different cultures and cuisines; and where you’ll often usually find personal and deeply attentive service.
Fort Worth has a number of spots that embody everything that’s great about family-run restaurants: the Mexican staple La Familia, where owner Al Cavazos is usually at the door to greet you with a proper handshake; the Thai restaurants – Spice, Thailicious, and Thai Select – owned by the Thanpaisarnsamut family; and the German restaurant Greenwood’s, run by chef Peter Gruenewald and his wife Vlatka.
For many years, though, my favorite Fort Worth family restaurant has been Chadra Mezza and Grill, in the Paschal section of Fort Worth, where the Lebanese-born Nehme Elbitar and his wife Christina serve up a marvelous array of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes.
Like a lot of folks who live in the neighborhood, one of my favorite things to do is visit Chadra on Friday or Saturday night, and take advantage of its affordable buffet. For just $17, you can taste the very best this restaurant has to offer, including a roast leg of lamb, served on the bone and impossibly tender; wonderfully crispy falafel; ablama (yellow squash stuffed with ground beef and herbs); and what is for my money the best babaganouj (or smoked eggplant dip) around.
Good news for Chadra fans: the Elbitars have now opened a second Fort Worth spot, West Fork Grill, located inside the Frost Bank building on Summit Avenue. It’s only opened during weekdays, for breakfast and lunch; and at first glance you may think you’ve simply wandered into a corporate office building snack bar. (The food is served in to-go boxes, and there are only a handful of tables inside the café.)
But appearances can be deceiving, because this turns out to be one of the best and most satisfying casual spots around. The lunch specials, many of which are also featured items on the Chadra menu, change daily: on the day we visited, it was paprika-roasted chicken thighs, topped with a sauce of olives and tomatoes. The mild spice of the paprika, coupled with the sweetness and saltiness of the sauce, proved just the right balance, and the boneless thighs perfectly cooked. (The dish also comes with roasted potatoes and a side salad.)
But the menu also features numerous salads and sandwiches, including a wonderful gyro, with plump, nicely seasoned gyro meat, tomato and lettuce, topped with a bright slathering of feta and tzaziki sauce. Meanwhile, breakfast options include made-to-order omelets, breakfast tacos, and lemon-and-blueberry pancakes.
As if all this weren’t delicious enough, we finished our lunch off with something you’d never find in an office building cafeteria: three freshly made, light-as-air macarons, strawberry, chocolate, vanilla. The strawberry version, with a thin layer of jam at the center, was a particular knockout.
So whether you work in that part of town, or are here to visit Fort Worth and feel like tasting something a little off the beaten path, get yourself to West Fork Grill. And though alcohol isn’t available, you might nonetheless want to raise your glass and say a toast a la familia – in honor of all the local families who make Fort Worth Dining so tasty.
posted on: Monday, Jun 23, 2014 12:00 AM