Watel's *** out of ***** [DFW]
I heard that Watel's is a French restaurant that is daring and serves offal (organ meats), so I adventured there for a taste during restaurant week.
I am a daring eater and I've eaten everything from sea slugs to snails (escargot) to Amazonian river rats (agoutis). I know that organ meats can be scrumptious if cooked right but downright nasty when cooked wrong. That is because certain organ meats can have a bloody odor/taste that reeks of a slight fishy odor kinda like an open wound in a hospital. Certain foods require a really skilled chef to prepare. The difference between eating a nasty snail that tastes like mud and a scrumptious kibble of escargot lies in the chef's culinary skill.
I wanted adventure and Watel's did not disappoint me there. This is what their menu looked like; brains, sweetbreads (thymus gland), liver, etc. I ordered the liver. It had that fishy odor/taste. I couldn't finish it, but I didn't want to waste it. So, I took it home, added some spices to it and stir fried it with some rice (I made Louisiana dirty rice).
The lobster gaspacho was OK. It was not spoiled, but it was definitely not very fresh. It had a hint of fishyness. Honestly, the average diner probably would not notice it though. The dessert was OK. The mixed drinks were OK. They did not have a blender so they were limited in their scope of mixed drinks that could be served. If you go there, order wine, not mixed drinks. They have good wine pairings.
The service was good.
I felt like I was dining in a French country home.
You see, everyone can serve tough, chewy overcooked liver. Luby's serves it everyday for less than 10 bucks a dish. However, it takes a world class chef to cook up liver medium-rare. That's because liver can smell kinda fishy if not done right. Honestly, the chef was not bad, just not world class. The regular (non-restaurant week) menu was reasonably priced, so this is totally forgivable. If you're in the neighborhood, stop by for some nice French country style home cooking. Order their normal stuff. Think La Madeleine. Just don't try their organ meats. You don't need to call ahead for a reservation. They were not full to capacity during restaurant week and I honestly don't think that they ever will be. They're good, but not great. I give Watel's of Dallas 3 out of 5 stars.