Eat & DrinkFeaturesRadar: Dining Out

Radar: Dining Out

By Debbie AndersonNovember 26, 2019December 26th, 2019No Comments

By Meda Kessler and June Naylor
Photos by Ralph Lauer


The Wicked Bar’s custom tile work is softened by leather seating, including cowhide-covered chairs. Dine at the bar or sip on a specialty cocktail such as the Smoking Barrel, below, infused with the essence of mesquite.

Wicked Bar

Opening early this month on the lobby level of The Sinclair, Wicked Bar is the first of three food-and-drink venues to debut in this new downtown Fort Worth hotel. Seating 10 at the bar on stools wrapped in caramel leather and cowhide and an additional 50 or so at tables and banquettes, the space maintains the renovated 1939 building’s art deco style, with sleek black-and-white detail in brick, tile and marble. Small plates include tempura-battered and fried shishito peppers with tomato aioli for dipping; sliders covered in melted white cheddar and topped with smoky bacon, fried onion strings and truffle-infused mayo; and East Coast oysters on the half shell, served ice cold with tangy mignonette (a full oyster bar is expected to open in January). Other shareables include a steak tartare with quail egg and Wicked Eggs, a devilish trio. Bigger appetites can dig into the bone-in New York strip or a 32-ounce tomahawk chop that’s been dry aged for 28 days. The lengthy spirits list includes a wealth of tequilas, single malts and bourbons, with special attention to the brown liquors: You can enjoy a Texas whiskey flight, with pours of TX Whiskey, Herman Marshall Rye, Balcones Brimstone and TX Bourbon; and a World Tour whiskey flight, including Amorik (France), Jameson (Ireland), Toki (Japan) and Chivas Extra (Scotland).Wicked Bar is open 6:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Happy hour deals abound, 4-7 p.m. weekdays; open daily. Sundance Square, 512 Main St., Fort Worth, 682-231-8214,

Toro Toro

The modern and elegant ranch vibe of the renovated Worthington Renaissance lobby complements the new restaurant dominating one end of the ground floor. Toro Toro arrives in Fort Worth with the help of Denver-based chef-restaurateur Richard Sandoval, a Mexico native whose dining concepts span the globe. The stunning look and feel of the space created for the Latin American steakhouse — which also has locations in Miami and Washington, D.C. — is courtesy of the Bay Area design firm Wilson Ishihara. Brick, metal, leather and granite elements mesh with contemporary murals and a floating installation of stainless longhorn skulls — with dramatic results. The bar beneath the herd of longhorns unfolds into the hotel lobby and dining spaces. But the flaming heart of Toro Toro is the open live-fire kitchen delivering grilled meats and fish, with an adjacent raw bar serving up beautiful ceviche creations. Chef de cuisine Jason Harper closed his Colleyville restaurant Trio (its catering division remains open) to run the kitchen, offering winning dishes like charred octopus in peanut-habanero aioli; Niman Ranch pork belly in bourbon-tangerine barbecue sauce; brioche toast topped with oxtail and bone marrow in a red wine jam; and flame-grilled lamb chops teased with chimichurri with a hint of orange. Toro Toro is open for lunch and dinner daily, with brunch starting in January. The Worthington Renaissance Fort Worth Hotel, 200 Main St., 817-210-2222,

You’ll rarely catch chef Jason Harper sitting down at Toro Toro, but he took a break for a portrait session in front of one of the dining room murals.


Coco Shrimp opens its brick and mortar
in early December.

While South Main Street in Fort Worth has been in the spotlight, the adjacent Bryan Avenue is busier than ever. Brix Barbecue has
set up a smoker and Airstream near HopFusion Brewery at the corner of Bryan and Broadway avenues. Roots Coffeehouse opens Dec. 2 at 400 Bryan Ave.; Coco Shrimp also opens its doors Dec. 2 at 318 Bryan Ave. In January, look for chef Stefon Rishel to open his new restaurant, Wishbone & Flynt, at 334 Bryan Ave.


By Michael Hiller

Dry-aged duck breast is served on a bed of mushrooms. Photo by Allison David

Best place to celebrate with really special people

LAW at Four Seasons Resort and Club Dallas at Las Colinas

You already know the marquee restaurant at the Four Seasons is special, because everything at the Four Seasons is special. You can even make a day of it with a round of golf and a spa treatment. The dining room will be decked out for the holidays and will make everybody feel glamorous, an added plus when you’ve ordered way too much food (the Akaushi rib-eye and chicken-fried quail are showstoppers) and still order every dessert on the menu. The best thing about eating Christmas Eve dinner here? You can book a room at the hotel and then wake up to an over-the-top Christmas brunch the next morning. Open Christmas Eve until 9 p.m. 4150 N. MacArthur Blvd., Irving, 972717-2420,

Best place to celebrate when your crew is on special diets

True Food Kitchen

You know Christmas is about giving, even if your loved ones prefer the receiving side of the equation. Both sides balance out at True Food Kitchen, a specialty restaurant that cares about quality ingredients and knows how to satisfy the pickiest eaters. The menu offers broad appeal, from simple burgers to high-minded cauliflower polenta, salmon with farro and a lasagna with Bolognese sauce. The True Food chefs will customize anything to make it vegan, vegetarian, keto, paleo, gluten-free or accommodate whatever else a guest’s special diet requires. Everything is delicious, good for you and reasonably priced. Open Christmas Eve until 9 p.m. 8383 Preston Center Plaza, Dallas, 214-377-3333,

John Tesar’s bigeye tuna is part of his Feast of the Seven Fishes.
Photo courtesy of Knife

Best place to celebrate in grand Italian style

Knife, Feast of the Seven Fishes

John Tesar’s talents with dry-aged prime beef are exceeded only by his way with fish. If you miss Spoon, his acclaimed seafood jewel box, Tesar’s annual Feast of the Seven Fishes dinner will have you swooning. “This is my favorite dinner to cook all year,” says Tesar. “It’s a traditional Italian-American Christmas Eve celebration — seven courses, all featuring impeccably fresh seafood — just like I used to do at Spoon.” The $150 per-person dinner includes king crab “scampi,” diver scallops with brown butter and shaved black truffles, bigeye tuna with foie gras, plus a few other greatest hits from Spoon. Dessert also is part of the feast. 7 p.m. Christmas Eve. The Shops at Willow Bend, 6121 W. Park Blvd., Plano, 214-299-5943,