Leslie Brenner went to Waters Coastal Cuisine: Although the gorgeous West 7th dining room offers both "amplitude and grace," those two attributes seem to be lacking in the food at Fort Worth chef Jon Bonnell's new seafood venture. Oysters on the half shell are "marvelous," but dishes requiring actual cooking are less successful, like a "sloppy, sweet pad Thai" topped with Hawaiian snapper and "inedibly salty" ceviches topped with microgreens past their prime. Prized Copper River salmon is "grilled to the point of ruin," while King salmon suffers the opposite fate, coming out undercooked. For those that wish to proceed anyway, she advises snacking on oysters (and maybe the fried andouille and crawfish rolls) and a glass of wine and then going out for a burger. One star.[DMN]
Brenner did double-time this week, also checking out Cafe 43: Former First Lady Laura Bush largely masterminded the restaurant at the new Bush Presidential Library and while it isn't exactly a dining destination, "it's a pleasant way to refuel" if you're planning a visit. Dishes like gazpacho with avocado sorbet and carrot soup are clearly "designed to appeal to ladies who lunch," but better is the shareable housemade ricotta with tomato marmalade and crostini; entree-wise, skip the pedestrian smoked turkey Cobb and turkey pastrami sandwich in favor of wild salmon with succotash or grilled chicken perched atop quinoa salad. The best not-too-sweet dessert option is a bittersweet chocolate torte with nut brittle. Much like the food, service can be hit or miss; two stars. [DMN]
Scott Reitz ate at Taqueria y Carniceria Guanajuato: This Walnut Hill gem supplies some of the city's best taquerias, so it should come as no surprise that you can eat well here. Flautas "filled with bland but tender chicken" and tacos on small corn tortillas are worthwhile, but for the really good stuff come on the weekend. That's when you'll find carnitas, two kinds of chicharrones, and "clean, rich and restorative" menudo, a hangover cure that's "one of the best reasons for coming here." [Observer]
Teresa Gubbins reviewed TruFire Kitchen & Bar in Southlake: This "Mediterranean-Italian-American hybrid" avoids mediocrity with a "smart and up-to-date" menu that encompasses everything from a capable falafel platter to meatball sliders (tasty, if a bit "clunky"). Grilled artichokes "doused with garlic butter and crumbs" please the palate, as does a Latin Fire pizza with steak, avocado, caramelized onions and "diablo sauce." Top-notch mac and cheese with the unexpected flavor of butternut squash and an incredibly reasonable wine list embody "TruFire's aspirations to be approachable and yet a cut above." [DFW.com]
ELSEWHERE: The BBQ Safari went to Robinson's Bar-B-Que in Fort Worth; SideDish got drunk at Dallas Beer Kitchen; An Englishman in Barbecue Sauce went to Meshack's and Double S; Fort Worth Weekly tried the pies at Chelsea Pizza.
Waters in Fort Worth. [Photo credit: Robert Strickland/EDFW]