Eat DrinkFeaturesRadar: Dining Out

DINING OUT

By September 30, 2020 No Comments

RADAR

By Meda Kessler and June Naylor

OPENINGS

Greg Kalina (dark jacket) and Paul and Lisa Pardo have partnered with chef Thomas Dritsas to open Stone House Restaurant in Colleyville.

Stone House Restaurant

The charming stone cottage along Colleyville Boulevard has a new lease on life, now that Stone House Restaurant calls it home. The 1945 landmark, long occupied by a spa or salon, is now a destination for food, wine and cocktails. Look for culinary and service elements to be special, thanks to the pedigree behind them: GM Greg Kalina and chef Thomas Dritsas bring with them combined decades of experience from the Del Frisco’s Restaurant Group. Owners Lisa and Paul Pardo may be familiar faces to locals from their ownership of the late Coal Vines in Southlake, and Lisa’s long residence in Colleyville (she pays homage to her hometown with photos of the city’s founders in the private dining room). Construction, with Paul acting as contractor for the project, has kept them busy. “We kept the bones of it in place, but it needed a lot of work,” Lisa says. This included attaching the garage and turning it into a kitchen, and adding a spacious outdoor area with fire pits and a covered porch that can be enclosed for year-round dining. Focusing on the wine program has been a fun venture: “We’re starting with 50 bottles on the list, and it will grow. We want customers to tell us what they’d like to add, rather than us tell them what to drink,” she says. Among shareables on the menu, you’ll find butter bean hummus, blue crab empanadas and roasted Parmesan oysters; New York strip, lamb sirloin and shrimp and grits are among the entrees. The signature cocktail — called The Boulevard — is a pineapple martini using infused vodka. Open for dinner only (reservations are advised), Monday through Saturday.

5201 Colleyville Blvd., 817-576-2629 or 817-576-2626, stonehouse-restaurant.com

Moxie’s Grill & Bar ready for action inside and out

While the Moxie’s concept was founded by Tom Gaglardi, who happens to own the Dallas Stars, only the multitude of flatscreens offer a suggestion of sports bar. It’s casual, yet we wouldn’t feel out of place in cocktail attire, although shimmying up and onto one of the plush banquettes might pose a challenge. Moxie’s also is spacious, encompassing both the Cafe Express spot and a former Hallmark store. Look for lots of glass walls, natural lighting and a soft contemporary design, plus a large covered patio with its own televisions. The menu offers everything from health-conscious bowls to steaks to poutine (French fries and warm cheese curds bound with hot beef gravy and finished with chives). On a cool fall day, spicy beef vindaloo with excellent naan hit the spot, along with a glass of riesling. The fried chicken sandwich is stacked high with a flavorful slaw and tender white meat; the side of fries disappeared quickly. For dessert, the Key lime pie is a winner. And Scottish salmon featured a healthy portion of ancient grains with seasonal vegetables (the turnips, of all things, were quite delicious). If you’d like to put the bar staff through its paces, we suggest you order the smoked mezcal. Open daily for lunch and dinner, as well as weekend brunch.

Southlake Town Square, 1472 Main St., 817-764-2767, us.moxies.com

The fried chicken sandwich is a handful, and we bet you won’t leave a single crispy fry on your plate.

TAKEOUT

Roll-your-own sushi, anyone?

Tokyo Cafe and Shinjuku Station, two sister restaurants in Fort Worth, now offer a sushi kit with a how-to video for takeout. Kevin Martinez, chef at Tokyo, and Nick Carmell, his counterpart at Shinjuku, star in a simple video that walks viewers through ingredients and prep, as well as offering a glimpse inside each restaurant. Each order includes a container filled with ice and two kinds of salmon, tuna, crab and yellowtail (all wrapped in protective plastic). A large to-go container is filled with small portions of chile mayo, pickled ginger, wasabi, sesame seeds, sambal and togarashi, rice, nori and prepped veggies, along with the essential bamboo-stick sushi mat. “We’ve sold packages like this to friends who wanted to learn to make their own sushi. Then we thought, ‘Let’s do this for customers and make our own tutorial,’ ” says co-owner Mary Ho of the idea she hatched with husband Jarry Ho. A server who has been to film school crafted the video, which can be found on YouTube. “It’s no Hollywood production, but it’s fun. It’s mom ‘n’ pop sushi 101.” Each kit, $85, makes six rolls. Guests must order by phone 48 hours in advance and pick up at 5 p.m., before the restaurants’ dinner service ramps up. The kits are available Tuesday through Saturday.

Tokyo Cafe, 5121 Pershing Ave., Fort Worth, 817-737-8568, tokyocafefw.com; and Shinjuku Station, 711 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-923-2695, shinjuku-station.com

ROAD TRIP

Black Cur Steak adds to the Coleman dining scene

Chef Laurie Williamson, co-owner of the Coleman restaurant and five-bungalow lodging called Rancho Loma and a 2020 James Beard Award semifinalist, showcases more of her cooking talent at the new Black Cur Steak. Sitting adjacent to Rancho Pizzeria, which Laurie and Robert Williamson opened in downtown Coleman in 2015, the steak bistro offers a smart menu of small and large plates. An early sampling found beautiful oak-and-mesquite-grilled cuts like an 18-ounce prime rib-eye (from 1855 Black Angus beef), served with crunchy, wisp-thin onion rings and sinful kale gratin. The 6-ounce hanging tender — also known as the butcher’s tenderloin — comes with super-crisp frites and rich Gorgonzola aioli. Go for the beef but don’t pass up the poached branzino topped with tiny sweet tomatoes, shaved fennel and capers. Seafood starters (which easily pass as smaller main dishes) include meaty crabcakes in a satiny beurre blanc. Laurie’s passion for pasta shines in the ricotta gnocchi bathed in Bolognese. All wines come from Fredericksburg-based Alexander Vineyards (the Williamsons sold their interest in Rancho Loma Vineyards last year), purveyor of boutique European varietals. Intriguing pairings include a sensational white Bordeaux with the gnocchi, an old-vines tempranillo with that rib-eye and a picolit, a Northern Italian white — similar to Sauternes — with the pecan bread pudding topped with a crisp caramel crown. Beer and cocktails also are available. True to form, the interior vibe is understated and stylishly comfortable, with seating for up to 40 at the bar and simple banquettes and dark walnut tables crafted by Robert. Vintage tin ceiling tiles complement the rustic brick and concrete. Behind the bar hangs a massive portrait of the family’s late dog, Rio, a black mouth cur and bistro name inspiration. Open for dinner Thursday through Saturday (Sunday brunch to come).

414 S. Commercial Ave., Coleman, 325-625-1870, facebook.com/BLACK-CUR-STEAK

Meat eaters will find plenty of options, but seafood also is an option, including the branzino topped with tiny tomatoes, fennel and capers.
Photos by Robert Williamson

EVENTS

Eat. Drink. Cowtown.

We had stashed away our stretchy eating pants in light of this year’s cancellation of the Fort Worth Food + Wine Festival, but we might just have to pull them out of storage to continue to support local restaurants. During Oct. 9-25, look for special curbside and delivery deals from participants — bakeries, bars, breweries, restaurants — to celebrate the week originally scheduled for the festival. Organizers say all proceeds go to the restaurants, and that they are continuing to show their support with promotions and their restaurant employee relief program, through which they’ve provided more than $100,000 to qualified applicants. Visit eatdrinkcowtown.com for more information.

Photo courtesy of Fireside Pies

Fireside by Pyles

Noted Dallas chef Stephan Pyles is partnering with Fireside Pies on a menu of seasonal dishes with that special Pyles touch. Appetizers and mains include Smoked Tomato Gazpacho topped with Italian pico and garlic croutons, Chipotle Short Ribs with Pappardelle Noodles and Oaxacan Clayuda (a large flour tortilla topped with cumin-kissed black beans, queso fresco and avocado), plus several pizzas, including a Vietnamese rice paper pizza and a keto-adherent chicken crust pizza. The menu for dine-in and takeout already is available in Dallas and arrives this month in Grapevine and Fort Worth, where Pyles is scheduled to make a personal appearance Oct. 1.

Crockett Row, 2949 Crockett St., Fort Worth, 817-769-3590; 1285 S. Main St., Grapevine, 817-416-1285, firesidepies.com

EVENTS DALLAS

Fine dining chef Kent Rathbun steps out of the kitchen and into the smoke

Kent Rathbun’s latest project, Rathbun’s Curbside BBQ, sells ’cue by the pound or by the plate, all from a trio of wood-fired smokers that Rathbun and his team set up at weekend pop-ups or at private catering events. The offerings are more than what you’d find at a traditional backyard cookout. In addition to slow-smoked brisket, ribs, sausages and whole chickens, the oak- and hickory-fueled pits turn out exceptional lamb chops, tomahawk rib-eyes, thick-cut pork chops and, if you time your visit just right, lobsters, cedar-planked redfish and Verlasso salmon. “Calling it a curbside barbecue is a huge understatement,” says Rathbun, who created Abacus restaurant and now co-owns the restaurants Shinsei, Lovers Seafood and Market, and Imoto. “We’re chefs, so of course we also make all the sauces, rubs and pickles, just like we do at the restaurant.” Each Saturday afternoon, Rathbun and his team anchor their mobile operation in a dedicated parking lot at Luther Lane and the Dallas North Tollway. On the third Friday of each month, the smoking and grilling move to Maplewood Private Social Club at 2615 Inwood Road. “At both places, we run the whole thing like a block party, so there’s music, barbecue and a lot of fun.” Customers typically place their orders in advance online, then stop by to pick up their food. Rathbun said he and his team cook plenty to accommodate walk-up business, too, but the online orders help him better anticipate demand. “It’s gotten crazy since we’ve started to come out of quarantine. Sales have absolutely exploded. It may look like the Three Stooges out here, but we know how to cook and we know how to have fun.” Learn more at rathbunscurbsidebbq.com.

Photo by Michael Hiller

Amanda Freitag

Rise + Thyme

NYC chef Amanda Freitag and business partner Hospitality Alliance have opened this seasonally inspired American cafe in downtown Dallas. The breakfast-and-lunch spot serves salads, sandwiches, pastas, patty melts and tacos, plus pastries from Big D’s La Casita Bakeshop and breads from nearby Village Baking Co. “Clearly the world has changed in the months since we first started working on this restaurant, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how excited I am to be able to open Rise + Thyme in Dallas,” says Freitag.

AT&T Discovery District, 211 S. Akard St., Dallas, 972-268-7605, risenthyme.com

Yardbird Southern Table & Bar

After COVID-19 sidelined a planned March opening, this new Southern charmer finally brings its crispy fried chicken and waffles, black-eyed pea hummus, shrimp and grits, and terrific bourbon-based cocktails to the ground floor of a new downtown high-rise across from Klyde Warren Park. This is the fifth in the Yardbird henhouse; other locations include Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Singapore and a forthcoming spot in D.C. Former José Andrés chef Jonathan Thompson is in charge of the kitchen. Yardbird serves lunch and dinner daily, plus weekend brunch.

2121 N. Pearl St., Dallas, 469-208-2441, runchickenrun.com

Lobster mac and cheese
Photo courtesy of Yardbird

LaVui Vietnamese Restaurant

The team behind Oishii, one of the city’s most popular sushi restaurants, has broadened their portfolio with the opening of this tiny Uptown spot named for Vui, chef-owner Thanh Nguyen’s mom. The restaurant serves food “my mother would be proud of serving,” Nguyen writes in a letter printed on the menu: “simple, elegant and always delicious.” LaVui offers traditional Vietnamese dishes such as shaken beef, clay pot stews and vermicelli bowls, but it also serves a variety of inventive spring rolls that combine subtle elements of Japanese maki sushi rolls, such as thinly sliced raw seafood and soy sauce with snappy, full-flavored Vietnamese ingredients like pickled vegetables and bright sauces.

5321 Maple Ave., Dallas, 469-776-8212, oishiirestaurants.com

Michael Hiller is a Dallas-based restaurant and travel correspondent.