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Openings: Tre Mogli ready to roll out the pasta and more

It’s been almost 10 years since we first met Stefon Rishel of Max’s Wine Dive in Fort Worth. He’s as personable and passionate about food now as he was back when he’d make little off-the-menu items to test on people sitting at Max’s bar. Now part of the Trident Restaurant Group, Rishel is opening another concept May 10, this one just steps away from his successful Wishbone & Flynt on Fort Worth’s bustling South Main Street. It’s been a long haul for Tre Mogli Cucina Italiana, which is located in a seasoned two-story brick building. Old buildings mean construction challenges, but the result is a lovely 7,500-square-foot space with a second bar and private dining rooms upstairs. Designer Misty Vento says ’50s glam is the look she was going for with the dark interiors, plush booths and swanky glass sconces. Rishel and his team are making sure the food is the star of this show: All pastas and breads (don’t miss the focaccia with whipped ricotta studded with black truffles) are made in-house. The wine list features a lot of Italian labels. Bar manager David Jennings is meticulous about his ingredients and flavor profiles, so look for some interesting cocktails, especially the Ricco Sfondato, a variation on a vodka martini with caper-stuffed olives and drops of olive oil floating on top. Rishel served his Cacio e Pepe Fritters with vodka tomato cream sauce at the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, and they’re even better than we remember. That same sauce is used in the Vodka Tomato Pasta, a simple dish of sauced rigatoni topped with basil and pecorino Romano cheese. For big eaters, there’s the fork-tender Porkchop Milanese, a Niman Ranch tomahawk chop topped with arugula and served with a charred lemon.

Tre Mogli Cucina Italiana, 401 S. Main St., Fort Worth, tremogli.com

Above: Porkchop Milanese is Rishel’s take on the northern Italian specialty, which typically uses veal.
Top:  Stefon Rishel, with red hair, credits his hardworking Tre Mogli staff for making things happen: from left, general manager Justin Faram, chef de cuisine Alex Drury and bartender David Jennings. Photos by Meda Kessler

Above: Chilled Asparagus is now the vegetable of our warm-weather dreams. Below: Eggplant Dumplings get a tableside bath of a flavorful broth that makes you want to drink the bowl.  Photos by Meda Kessler

Openings: The Beast & Co. soothes our savage appetite

We took along one of our favorite adventurous eaters to help us work our way through the menu of this new Magnolia Avenue restaurant — and kudos to our server and to executive chef Michael Arlt for not raising their eyebrows at how much we ordered. The Snacks menu got us started, and we polished off the creamy Chicken Liver Paté with little dollops of homemade chow chow on grilled bread. Ditto for the Smoked Fish Board, with our only quibble being we wished the horseradish-creme fraiche had more zing. From the Salads & Small Plates menu, don’t miss the Chilled Asparagus, a perfect warm-weather dish of white and green spears served with a cold egg, salty ham and a garlic puree. Once we broke open that creamy yolk, all conversation ceased. The Orecchiette, sauced in a white Bolognese made with boar, could easily have been a meal in itself. Yes, we were full, but we soldiered on with entrees of Rabbit Saddle, not often seen on local menus, and the Eggplant Dumplings. A wrap of country ham helped keep the rabbit juicy, as did the small pool of rich jus. The flavorful dumplings got a tableside bath of a slightly spicy coconut broth. And our leftovers — yes, we did not eat every bite of our feast — held up well the next day. There was no way we had room for dessert, so of course we ate a Buttermilk Tart with blueberry sauce and Chantilly cream. Our cocktail report is rather lacking as we saved all of our calories and room for the food. Sorry, not sorry. One other note: We enjoyed the eclectic soundtrack, and apologies to anyone who might have heard us quietly singing along.

The Beast & Co., 1010 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-945-1461, thebeastandco.com

Openings: Paris Coffee Shop back in business

The transformation of the historic Fort Worth cafe has been an intensive one for new owners Lou Lambert, Chris Reale and Mark Harris, especially the building itself. But the familiar neon sign has been restored to working order, and lettering by artist Sarah Ayala picks up on the midcentury vibe. Inside, the dining room layout will look familiar to regulars, but everything has been updated: furniture, lighting — with some things making a nod to Paris’ past. The two-tops on either side of the pony wall have individual sconces and pendant lighting. Additional counter seating is available in the back of the room, with more of the orange Formica and blue tile accents. Horseshoe-shaped booths line up along the west wall. Newly framed vintage photographs line the long hallway to the private dining room in the back. The menu now includes dinner, with entrees such as pan-roasted redfish and a grilled rib-eye with herbed butter and Parmesan fries, plus cocktails. But the cafe feel remains thanks to the daily blue plate specials and breakfast all day, which includes a lox platter. There are some healthy-ish options from executive chef Gerardo Herrera including a pistachio pesto hummus served with raw veggies. But it’s going to be hard to pass up the Dutch babies for breakfast or the Monday special of fried chicken with a chilled glass of wine. Look for a mid- to late-May opening. 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday with brunch Saturday and Sunday.

Paris Coffee Shop, 704 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, facebook.com/ParisCoffeeShopftw

Above: Fried chicken with mashed potatoes — a meat and two — is Monday’s Blue Plate Special at Paris Coffee Shop. Below: The shrimp cocktail with a handful of crackers makes for a light but filling meal. Photos by Meda Kessler

DALLAS

Above: Dover Piccata is deboned at your table. Below: Linguine Vongole is the authentic version of fresh clams
in a garlic white wine sauce over pasta. Photos courtesy of Carbone 

Carbone and Carbone Vino: Double your pleasure

It’s been awhile since a buzzy, indoor-outdoor restaurant with a New York City pedigree opened in the Dallas Design District, and now there are two. The bright, airy Carbone Vino bookends the casual side of a covered patio that it shares with its more formal sibling, Carbone. Vino is full of simple pleasures such as deck-fired pizzas and fancy Italian wines served as 6-ounce quartinos rather than typical 5-ounce by-the-glass pours. The sophisticated Carbone resides on the opposite side of a leafy privacy wall dividing the patio. Carbone’s menu focuses on high-brow, East Coast Italian food. We adore the bone-in veal Parm and the housemade fresh pastas, especially the spicy rigatoni vodka, another Carbone specialty. You’ll need reservations for Carbone (not Vino), but don’t reach for the phone; neither restaurant has one, which means you reserve through the website or an insider who knows a guy. What’s more New York than that? Open Tuesday through Sunday for dinner only.

1617 Hi Line Drive, Dallas, carbonedallas.com

Hudson House continues its local expansion

Vandelay Hospitality Group’s newest Hudson House restaurant, open in Irving, is light-filled and airy, with a cocktail bar up front, a raw bar in the middle and a shaded patio to the side of the shotgun space. Good choices from the menu of straightforward Americana include fresh oysters with yuzu mignonette, a New England-style lobster roll, a double-stacked cheeseburger and tempura-battered shrimp whose sweet, fiery heat proves irresistible.

5904 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, 214-217-0055, hudsonhousehp.com

Photo by Michael Hiller

Sea bass ceviche with pineapple and citrus. Photos courtesy of The Mexican

The Mexican

There’s something to satisfy everyone at another new Design District spot. The Mexican owner Roberto González Alcalá is a native of Monterrey. His family owns tortilla company Mission Foods. The cocktail lounge was bustling when we arrived, mostly with men and women dressed to the nines. The menu is a crowd-pleaser, especially if you begin with the sea bass ceviche with pineapple and a jolt of serrano pepper, then move on to the beef filet and bone marrow tacos. The cigar lounge is fabulous, and so are the drinks; try a margarita made with one of the many mezcals from the restaurant’s deep collection.

1401 Turtle Creek Blvd., Dallas, 214-210-5700, themexican.com