Fort Worth - special occasion
I've reviewed many of the threads for special occasions, etc., but all the restaurants seem to be close to Dallas. We need something on the west side of the metroplex. Anniversary dinner, on Saturday or Sunday night (Jan 1 or Jan 2).
We eat anything that's done well. Budget $100-150 for 2 and we're not big drinkers. Modern Southwestern would be good, no Asian, and not a steakhouse. Upscale with good service but not pretentious. I don't have a jacket with me, just a shirt and slacks.
Someone recommended Bonnell's but it looks pretty meaty. Also suggested Lonesome Dove. Any other ideas?
Lili’s. I truly enjoyed the eclectic, retro nature of the space.
Arriving at the 5:30 opening time on a Saturday, I was surprised to see 4 or 5 tables with people already seated . We were seated in the original dining area, shotgun in nature. One brick wall has tables, filling the length of the room, under an old, fading mural relating to Mrs. Baird’s bread days. Across from that wall is a half-wall in both length and height with about 4 tables. Behind that half wall (glass panel runs along the top) is the busy kitchen.
We started the meal with an order of Lobster Corn Dogs - it sounded interesting. It wasn’t, but it was exactly what the menu said it was and I should have known better. The homemade mustard was a loose, dark grainy mustard with a nice, somewhat mellow flavor.
Moving on to the entree, I ordered the Petite Beef Wellingtons - again, it sounded interestingly curious. And I was much happier with this selection. Two golden puff pastries arrived sided with 5 or 6 tempura battered and fried asparagus spears. Cutting into the pastries displayed beautiful 2x2 nuggets of rare/med-rare tenderloin. The inside of the pastry was a bit soggy, but easy to cut around. The remaining pasty and tenderloin was completely complaint free. (One word of advice - upon arrival, cut into both pastries to keep the second tenderloin from cooking further.) The asparagus...... these were a “find” and made me very happy. I don’t know if they’re offered as a small plate, but I’d be perfectly content with a big pile of these medium sized spear-babies - maybe with some cheese and fruit!!! :) (Now I think I’m making up my own menu!).
My friend had the Crab Stuffed Tilapia which was quite good with flavor. Expecting a filet atop a mound of rice, drizzled lightly with sauce, it arrived with a good amount of the lemon cream sauce. My friend ate about 3/4 before saying “enough” due to amount and richness of the sauce. A taste left me in agreement with the creamy, rich assessment. The tilapia was cooked properly. As to the crab, it was negligible and mostly lost in the sauce, as were the vegetables. This was a luscious plate where less (sauce) would have worked to a better end.
Service was appropriately attentive and when the bill arrived, I came to realize what a class act this restaurant is. (While waiting for the app to arrive, I had walked over to the new “piano room” to see what it was about - traditional dining area with full bar and of course, a piano. While there, I met and chatted briefly with Vance, the very (literally) personable owner - he spoke to me by name as we were leaving. Once our app had been cleared, Vance stopped at the table to ask how we enjoyed it. Hesitating with a response, he said “so you didn’t love it”, apologized and walked away.) Reviewing the check at meal’s end, an adjustment had been made for the appetizer. I was impressed.
As we exited the restaurant an hour or so from entering, both rooms were filled. Avoca Coffee was across the street beckoning me over for a dessert of Dude, Sweet Chocolate molasses fudge. It was difficult, but I resisted! On the drive home, discussion of the meal was a consensus that each of us would happily return and have no reason *not* to recommend what we ordered (with notation and less the corn dogs! ;) ), but would probably order differently ourselves. I’ve heard the lunch burgers are the best in town!
Yes, I went and it was fine. You should try it. Be warned that the big plates are big. I think shorts would be OK ...
Have you tried Cat City Grill, also right there? I went for brunch--pretty good.
More casual & close by is Yucatan Taco Stand--are you the one who told me it had opened here? ;) I really do love the shredded garlic beef nachos ... I've now made myself hungry for them.
Thanks for the tip on the big-plates! It's always worthwhile knowing those details - it'll open up possible sharing and more options for small plates. (The desserts look phenomenal!)
I haven't been to Cat City, but love brunches (my favorite meal), so will keep the brunch option in mind. I like Yucatan, but haven't been to the one on Magnolia. A friend enjoys the paella which we share due to large size, particularly if an app is ordered as they are also large. Love the empanada app as a full portion for me. The included "garnish" salad is excellent. The papa rellenos (app), no flavor and the chili relleno was just plain boring.
Nonna Tata is fantastic family style (grandma's cooking) Italian. But not sure if their limited open hours and minimal seating will suit your needs.
Although, I think "Dallas Dude's" suggestions are all excellent
1400 W Magnolia Ave, Fort Worth, TX 76104
My go to list in FW special ocassion:
Lanny's, Lonesome Dove, Grace (as beauiful as the name sounds), Bonnell's. Ellerbe to me is more a lingering afternoon meal. Brownstone is small plates and more casual.
Grace is heavy on beef but has many items to choose from including FW's best wine list/ sommelier.
Ellerbe's - seasonal menu
Haven't been, but a neighbor was complimentary of Eddy V's.
Brownstone - know nothing of it except it's there.