Sunday, November 23, 2008


Amazing Grace

Fort Worth diners rejoice because the much anticipated Grace Restaurant opened its doors this week and it is fabulous!! I was lucky enough to visit on two separate occasions - once for cocktails with the ladies and once for dinner with my father and husband. The vibrant energy of the well-designed restaurant can be felt immediately upon entering. To the left is the dining area and to the right, is the bar area. Both very spacious and inviting and both with separate personalities. The decor is modern yet the wood tones incorporated throughout the restaurant keep it from feeling modern to the point of being over the top. Grace is located on the ground floor of the Carter Burgess building with the entrance near the intersection of 6th and Main.

Both the restaurant and the bar were buzzing last Wednesday night - only three days after opening. I, along with four colleagues, enjoyed cocktails on the comfortably chic patio that faces Main Street. There was a great selection of cocktails and I chose the pear martini ($12) which was fantastic! Made with Grey Goose pear vodka and topped with a splash of champagne, how could a girl go wrong! When we got hungry, we moved inside to sit in the bar because food is not served on the patio. We tried the kobe pigs in a blanket ($9), the sloppy joe sliders ($9) and the
eggplant and parmesan croquettes. Of the three, I preferred the kobe pigs in a blanket. Downtown Fort Worth has needed a chic, sophisticated destination for martinis or a glass of wine and now it has one. Think Sex and the City, baby!

I returned to Grace for dinner on Saturday night and once again, there was an energy felt when we arrived that I have not felt at other Fort Worth restaurants. Our server, Jaime, did a great job of explaining the menu and stressing that there were no rules. She made our dining experience seem adventurous rather than formal or stuffy. We started with a jumbo lump crab cake ($15). I appreciated that it was served with a whole grain mustard rather than remoulade sauce. Although we did not order the braised bacon appetizer ($10), I got to sample it and it was delicious. It was remarkably tender and flavorful.

Next, I enjoyed the lobster and roasted pumpkin bisque ($9) and my father enjoyed the organic chicken noodle soup ($7). Both were very good choices, especially in light of the chilly weather. FWJoey opted for a salad - the Iceberg “Wheel” ($8) - which was loaded with bleu cheese. If you love bleu cheese, this is the salad for you, but if you do not, skip it. FWJoey loved it and commented that the quality of the bleu cheese was something special.

For entrees, FWJoey had the 8oz filet ($29) topped with bleu cheese ($4) - yes, more bleu cheese! ARdad had the 8oz filet topped with cognac peppercorn sauce ($2) and I had the Meyer Ranch Natural Filet ($34) with espresso horseradish sauce ($2) served on the side. I sampled all the steaks and thought mine was the best because it seemed more flavorful. It was cooked exactly right and I savored every bite. I found that the horseradish sauce was unnecessary so it was hardly touched.

Our side items included the mac and cheese ($8) and the ricotta dumplings ($7). Though both were very good, the stand out were the dumplings. They were light, yet loaded with rich flavors that melted in your mouth. The mac and cheese was made with rotini noodles and a variety of white cheeses, topped with panko crumbs. It did not taste like your traditional mac and cheese, which is fine with me but may not satisfy some diners. For dessert, we shared the red velvet cake. The cake was firm, yet moist and the cream cheese filling was smooth perfection. What a great way to end a great meal.

I think Adam Jones has accomplished with Grace, what Tim Love hoped to accomplish with Duce which is an upscale, modern steakhouse. The energy and atmosphere place it at the top of my "let's go to " list. Who's up for happy hour?

777 Main Street, G200
Fort Worth, TX 76102
(817) 877-3388

Saturday, November 08, 2008


Good Times at Craft in Dallas

The women of our law firm were treated first class this week as we headed to Dallas to record our very first radio show. When the limousine arrived to pick us up, I knew I was in for a fun evening! Once in Dallas, we recorded the show (The Shivaun Palmer Show on Biz Radio) then headed to the W Hotel for cocktails and dinner at Craft.

The scene at the Living Room Bar was slightly dull. Not too many trendy folks enjoying cocktails. Granted, it was early and it was a Tuesday, but I still expected more of a hip, happy hour crowd. Regardless, we had a wonderful time sipping pear martinis and cucumber & mint martinis. YUM!! Big thanks to Shivaun for treating us to these fabulous adult beverages! They were a perfect appetizer!

Moving now from the Living Room to Craft. From the second we walked into the chic, but minimally decorated, restaurant, the servers were at our beck and call. Our head server, WShane, played a large part in deciding what we ordered. Each food item at Craft is plated separately but served family style in the middle of your table.

Here is what we enjoyed per WShane's suggestion...

First course:
- Baby Spinach & Applewood Bacon Salad ($12) - Simple flavors. Good, but no Three Forks Salad at Silver Fox.
- Peekytoe Crab & Green Apple ($16) - Sweet and delicious! Definitely the first course winner.

Second course:
- Alaskan Halibut & Red Wine Shallots ($31) - Probably the best halibut I have ever had. FWPaige, this one's for you!
- Beef Short Rib & Root Vegetable ($29) - Extremely tender and tasty if you like pot roast.
- Buffalo Tenderloin & Blueberry ($48) - This was my least favorite entree because the sauce was too sweet. The overwhelming sweetness made it impossible to appreciate the flavor of the tenderloin.

Side dishes:
- Caramelized Onion & Gruyére Risotto ($14) - To die for! This was probably my favorite side item with the assorted mushrooms a close second. Although risotto is a heavy side item, to be eaten in moderation, at least one order should be shared among a group!
- Assortment of mushrooms ($18) - Loved the mushrooms! The assortment included baby shitake mushrooms (which are my fave), oyster, abalone, hen of the woods and trompette royale.
- Spaghetti Squash ($12) - topped with parmesan cheese and baked. Some enjoyed it, but I found it too sweet for my liking.
- Brussels Sprouts ($12) - I do not think I had ever tried brussels sprouts. They tasted very green and healthy. Not bad, but nothing dynamite.

Instead of ordering dessert, we each enjoyed a cup of coffee. While sipping, WShane, brought out some complimentary treats that included carmel cashew popcorn, mini fudge brownies (sinfully delicious) and mini oatmeal cookies! They also gave us complimentary muffins to take home and enjoy for breakfast. Very impressive!

Overall, the Craft experience was positivly lovely. I really enjoyed some of the food, but I must say...Craft was missing a "WOW" factor. I am glad to have gotten to go, but if I were returning to Dallas for a special meal, I don't know if I would return to Craft right away. Dallas has so many wonderful restaurants that I would probably try something new such as Kenichi or N9ne Steakhouse.

Craft - Located in the W Hotel
2440 Victory Ave
Dallas, TX 75219
(214) 397-4111

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