As anyone who’s strolled through downtown Fort Worth recently can tell you, Sundance Square has undergone an extraordinary transformation. What was once mostly a surface parking lot is now a one-acre pedestrian plaza, complete with a wave pool, a concert pavilion and outdoor seating.
The news is exciting for food lovers, too: The newly constructed buildings anchoring the plaza will all have restaurants, further ramping up the quality and diversity of the already vibrant downtown Fort Worth dining scene. Taco Diner – the latest location of the popular Dallas-based mini-chain – is expected to open in March. Bird Café, the latest concept from restaurateur Shannon Wynne (The Flying Saucer) will open in next month.
Meanwhile, the first of the new restaurants to descend upon Sundance Square Plaza is already off to a terrific start. Del Frisco’s Grill, which opened on October 29, is the casual cousin to the upscale Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, the third in North Texas after locations in Dallas and Southlake. The menu still features those signature (and pricey) Del Frisco’s steaks, but there are also more affordable salads, flatbreads and entrees – which makes it perfect for both the paupers and the princes in your group.
We stopped in on a recent afternoon for late lunch, when – despite the advancing hour – well over a dozen tables were still occupied. With its stained concrete floors, brushed metal bartoops, and exposed wooden beam ceilings, the space is a model of contemporary restaurant cool.
We started with two appetizers, or “Food to Fight Over,” as it’s termed on the lunch menu: The deviled eggs are plump, chilled, and pleasantly mustardy, and they come drizzled with a truffle chive vinaigrette; anyone who regards this dish as a relic of 1950s Tupperware parties needs to try this version immediately. We were also fans of the Buffalo-style grits cake – a kind of hybrid of a potato croquet and a risotto cake, topped with crumbles of a blue cheese and buffalo-style sauce. It’s a cheesy, unwieldy mess – do not make the mistake of trying to lift one with your hands, as I did – but you won’t be able to stop eating it.
The lunch menu includes a nice range of salads, as well as larger entrees, like the sole francese and ahi tuna steak. We opted for the fish tacos, topped with roasted corn, avocado and a spicy-sweet serrano-honey vinaigrette. Even better was the lamb burger, served on a brioche bun, and topped with tomato, tzatziki sauce and a thick stack of arugula.
Considering its prime Sundance Square location, not to mention its impressive wine list and craft cocktail menu (we can’t wait to try the “Apt. 5D,” which contains Tito’s Vodka, muddled strawberries, lemon sour, simple syrup, and a dash of balsamic), one gets the sense that Del Frisco’s Grill is going to especially popular with both the after-work crowd and out-of-town visitors; pre-Bass Hall snackers and couples out on a date.
The best news of all then: They take reservations.