Well another year has drawn to a close and it’s been a good year for eating in Fort Worth. I’d just like to recap some of my favorite places from last year. This is by no means meant to be an exhaustive list just some standout meals and restaurants from last year that I haven’t already covered.
Talk about primo real estate in Fort Worth, you’ll find The Woodshed overlooking the banks of the Trinity River. Chef Tim Love opened the Woodshed last February and it’s been going strong ever since. With a menu that’s all at once familiar yet exotic the Woodshed can please the most discerning foodie and those just looking for some good ‘cue and beer. Elk sausage, antelope tacos, ribs, all are favorites and Woodshed gets extra points for making veggies like acorn squash taste amazing as well. It’s a great place to spend an afternoon or an evening out with friends.
I’m embarrassed to admit that I’ve never been to this Fort Worth French dining institution until last year. We went for our anniversary and “Oh la la!” did it ever live up to its reputation. We enjoyed an impeccable meal with brilliant service and we even got a small lesson on French wines. If you have the occasion do yourself a favor and try it.
The Tavern is one of my go-to spots for lunch, dinner, and brunch. They always deliver a great meal that’s well prepared. Their salads are some of the best in town and their brunch is always a solid bet as well. Along with their usual menu items every day of the week they have a special for dinner, my favorite is the Wednesday pan seared scallops special.
It’s all about the burgers and brew at Rodeo Goat – 15 kinds of burgers to be exact and 20 beers on tap. These aren’t just any burgers, Rodeo Goat makes their burgers painstakingly with as many ingredients made in house as possible. Chef Keith Grober uses a handmade meat blend of two specific cuts that are fresh ground daily. You could take a tour around with the world with the different styles of burgers offered. The Ravi Shankar puts an Indian spin on the burger with curry and peanut butter while the Caca Oaxaca takes us south of the border with chorizo ground in with the beef, pico, queso fresco, and a fried egg completing the experience. So far I’ve only tried the Caca Oaxaca but I know I’ll be back for more.
I’ve been eating alot of Thai food this year and Thailicious has fed my addiction quite beautifully. Upscale yet comfortable decor greets you in this popular strip mall. My love of the Red and Green Curries have prevented me from ordering much else except for their Mango Sticky Rice dessert. Lunch is a great time to check them out and their numerous specials. If you’re lucky you’ll also see hear the Buddhist monks that frequent the place chant a blessing.
After several visits to the Vine I’m still waiting for them to come into their own a little bit more. The food I’ve tried has always been delicious even if the portions are a little on the awkward side (for example not a good ratio of pita to hummus). The haloumi (fried cheese) is one of my favorite appetizers they serve. I still haven’t managed to try their pastitsio which they only serve at dinner because they are out by the time I go for dinner. Even though the service sometimes falls short this little spot is the kind of place you root for because the people that run it are gracious and charming (the owner’s accent doesn’t hurt either). If you do stop by, save room for the baklava and Turkish coffee.
Standout curries and efficient service have made Thai Select one of my favorite lunch spots. However, they also serve equally delicious dinners, the salmon special is my favorite. The food they serve is a refreshing change from the many chain restaurants in the area and they just expanded their dining area.
I have to mention Movie Tavern because it’s become one of my default date spots with my husband and we visited them alot last year. The food is not bad and it’s nice to sip on a glass of wine while watching an action movie. The Thai Chicken Flatbread and Kobe Beef Sliders are good options. The location can’t be beat and your date can continue after the movie at one of the many restaurants or bars in the West 7th area.
Stir Crazy Bakery
I know I’ve already written about Stir Crazy Bakery but I have to mention them again because their baked goods are nothing short of brilliant. I ordered a vegan cake for my son’s birthday and it impressed his friends and us (11 year old boys can be pretty tough customers). Truly my favorite cupcakes and cakes in town, I just wish my waistline would allow for them to be a more frequent indulgence. Do yourself a favor and check them out if you haven’t already.
When it comes to Tex-Mex I can’t really claim to have found that perfect spot. I’m quite picky but if I had to choose a place La Familia would be it. The flaming margarita gives them an edge over other places in town. They serve their margs with a sugar cube soaked in Everclear that’s then lit on fire. One of my favorite things about eating there is that they bring you a little bowl of soup before the meal (it’s the little things). With their expanded dining room this restaurant has grown significantly since the days they were on the other side of W. 7th and owner Al Cavazos would shake your hand as you entered.
Chef Kevin Martinez (Tokyo Cafe)/Chefs Underground
Tokyo Cafe is another spot which I frequent often. Whether I’m in the mood for sushi, a bowl of miso soup, or fish and chips there’s always something new to discover and try at Tokyo Cafe. Over the past few years I’ve had the good fortune to befriend Chef Kevin Martinez of Tokyo Cafe and can I just say he’s one of the nicest guys around. This guy lives and breathes food and his enthusiasm is palpable once he starts talking about the dishes he’s creating (BTW look for a new Spring Menu at Tokyo Cafe soon). Chef Kevin Martinez started a group called Chefs Underground where basically a group of chefs get together and cook a meal and serve it family style. I was lucky enough to be invited to one of these gatherings and it was an amazing experience to rub elbows with wonderful chefs from throughout the D/FW area and taste their amazing food.
Don’t forget to check out some of my other favorite places from this past year: Swiss Pastry Shop, Revolver Taco Lounge, Fireside Pies, Lanny’s Alta Cocina Mexicana, LIve Oak Music Hall & Lounge, Shinjuku Station, Brewed, and the Firestone and Robertson Distillery Tour.
What were some of your favorite restaurant from last year? What restaurants are you eager to check out this year? I’ve got The Flying Carpet Cafe, Little Lily Sushi, Mi Cocinita, and Red Door Bistro on my list so far.