At Nikko Southlake, go for the sashimi but try everything
While we’ve not had a chance to try the omakase (chef’s choice tasting menu) at this welcome addition to Southlake Town Square, we’ve sampled our way up and down the hot and cold menu. Sitting at the sushi bar gave us a chance to chat with one of the chefs, who patiently showed us the fresh fish that became our sashimi lunch (get a large platter to share, or pick and choose from a list of about 15 options). From the hot menu, we like the wagyu dumplings and the kabocha — deep-fried Japanese pumpkin. The carpaccios — hamachi and salmon belly — on the cold menu are all quite good thanks to the housemade sauces such as the gochujang vinaigrette and herb-spiked yuzu. Salads, soups and intriguing veggie dishes allow you to put together an interesting multicourse experience. The dining room is modern but serene, and there’s a private dining room in the back. Dinner is available daily; lunch is served Friday through Sunday. The omakase requires reservations and is available Thursday through Sunday only.
Southlake Town Square, 1420 E. Southlake Blvd., 469-369-1839, nikkosouthlake.com
Roots and Water offers wine lovers a new experience
This Dallas-based wine shop has expanded to Southlake’s District 114 development at Kimball Park with the same carefully selected collection of wine and champagne. Roots specializes in older vintages from California and around the world, along with limited-production “cult” wines and some gems that won’t break the bank. While the retail store is open to everyone, Roots also has a private club next door. A yearly membership gives you access to a nicely appointed space where you can sip and sample with fellow wine lovers and enjoy club perks including wine tastings and special buys. Manager Blake Maso has brought in a top-notch master sommelier, Barb Werley, former wine director at Pappas Bros. Steakhouse in Dallas and a veteran of some of the top restaurants and resorts in the country. Expansion plans include an outdoor patio, Maso says.
District 114, 2102 E. State Highway 114, Southlake, 972-327-3382, rwsouthlake.wine
3rd Street Market: Bread bar, soup, coffee and more
A former sports bar and grill is now home to a market/bakery concept from husband-and-wife team Trent and Dena Shaskan, who also are founders of Icon Bread and Mockingbird Food Company, respectively. Dena also is a former chef at Café Modern and a longtime caterer. The third partner is Dixya Bhattarai, a nutritionist/food blogger/dumpling maker (Hao & Dixya), who is overseeing the Indulge cooking studio and tea room — indulgefw.com — inside the market. All three also are partners in The Table, a market concept in Fort Worth’s Near Southside neighborhood. (These people are busy.) The large new 3rd Street space is filled with the heady aroma of fresh-baked bread and coffee. Trent’s sourdough is sought out by bread fans; he sells regularly at The Table and at The Clearfork Farmers Market. You can sit at the bar or a table or grab a spot on one of the comfy couches and order a snack of a quarter loaf of warm sourdough — choose from the three daily offerings — with butter or olive oil, a housemade spread and sea salt. Open for breakfast and lunch, 3rd Street also serves a Puerto Rican-style breakfast, pastries, locally made cold-pressed juice, coffee, wine and beer. There’s also a small menu of Dena’s sandwiches, soups and salads. And Dena says there will always be vegetarian/vegan offerings. Look for fresh produce, pantry goods, giftables, cookbooks and more, along with a grab-and-go section including packaged cheese-meat boards. Planned hours are 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Mon.-Sat.; expect a September or early October opening. Watch the website or social media for updates.
Sundance Square, 425 W. 3rd St., Fort Worth, 3rdstreet.market
Savor and celebrate Mexico’s heritage with a special dish at Don Artemio
Fort Worth’s Don Artemio celebrates the dish dearest to the Mexican heart, chiles en nogada. The seasonal treat was created in 1821 to celebrate Mexico’s independence from Spain. It’s seen occasionally on menus north of the Rio Grande and served in Mexico as the traditional Diez y Seis de Septiembre dish. Artemio founding chef Juan Ramón Cárdenas’ recipe is just slightly less intricate in preparation than mole. Poblano chiles are roasted and filled with a mixture of ground beef and pork, onion, crushed tomato sauce, roasted fruits, plantains, pine nuts and crushed, blanched almonds. The crowning glory is a velvety white nogada sauce — crema blended with sherry, finely crushed almonds, clove and cinnamon. The dish is then topped with pomegranate seeds, chopped walnuts and minced parsley to mirror the green, white and red of the Mexican flag. The balanced flavors and textures are delightfully sweet, spicy and savory. Served at room temperature (heating would break the sauce), it’s best enjoyed with a bright, fizzy flute of champagne. Don Artemio’s Festival de Chiles en Nogada lasts through Oct. 16, extending the celebration of Mexican Independence Day, Sept. 16.
3268 W. 7th St., Fort Worth, 817-470-1439, donartemio.us
Bring on the Beef
This off-the-beaten path restaurant/bar in Westland has finally worked through its permitting issues and is ready to fire up the flattop for your dining pleasure. General manager Gigi Howell’s menu — like the restaurant itself — pays homage to family members and their Westland roots. Appetizers include deviled eggs, salmon patties and fried green tomatoes; the burger menu has six options, including the Cheryl and Bo, named for Gigi’s aunt and uncle. All burgers come on a sweet sourdough bun (there’s a gluten-free option) and are served with hand-cut white or sweet potato fries. Onion rings are available, too. There are a few other sandwiches, a salad and a kids menu. And, of course, there are lots of desserts, including a Big Red float and a blackberry cobbler with Henry’s buttermilk ice cream. A small brunch menu includes a breakfast burger and a bacon-egg slider made with FunkyTown Donuts’ maple bacon confection. On our late August visit, the back 40 (it feels that large) was still a work in progress, but the covered patio was looking good. The custom kitchen, which is built into a shipping container, has a large fold-up window for counter service. Inside, the full bar offers beer, wine and cocktails.
9901 Camp Bowie West Blvd., Fort Worth, jdshamburgers.com
Chef Jon Bonnell’s new restaurant, with a scheduled opening of Sept. 9, is located in what was the Aardvark, another TCU icon, that closed in 2017 and was known for its live music. Bonnell and his team, however, are all about the food, with an appealing menu of fancy and classic burgers — choose from a “fatty” or a “flatty” — and brisket using beef raised on Bonnell’s ranch in Tolar. Also on the menu are snacks, including elote fritters, sandwiches, baked potatoes, salads and an intriguing selection of milkshakes (booze optional). The spacious restaurant with indoor/outdoor seating promises to be a hot spot, especially during TCU football season. A mural of actor Sam Elliott by artist Juan Velázquez already has drawn a crowd.
2905 W. Berry St., Fort Worth, 817-349-8722, jonsgrille.com