Some husbands buy flowers for their wives; others name their new restaurants after them. Little Red Wasp, the second downtown Fort Worth venture from restaurateur Adam Jones, opened Tuesday night, a block away from his first, the fine dining spot Grace. Both are named after his wife, Caroline.
"My dad used to call me little red wasp," says Caroline, who helped conceptualize and design the restaurant. "Back then, I was a fiery little redhead." Little Red Wasp is Grace's more casual cousin. Prices are lower, the atmosphere is more relaxed. It's an anomaly in this pocket of downtown, where Grace and three opulent steakhouses within a block of one another — Ruth's Chris, Del Frisco's and Capital Grille — wrestle for big spenders.
"This area of downtown needs something like this," says Caroline. "Something simple, quick, easy and approachable."
Hammered out by Adam Jones, Grace chef Blaine Staniford and general manager Jason Miller (Grace's former bar manager), the menu spotlights sandwiches — "knife and fork" sandwiches, LRW calls them, including a Reuben with a housemade cabbage slaw, an ahi tuna sandwich and an all-beef Angus hot dog topped with housemade chili.
Heavier entrees include a New York strip, spaghetti and meatballs and braised short ribs; entree prices range from $10 to $36.
A wine list comprises more than 50 bottles, from Meridian, Texas, to Spain, and there's beer. Boy, is there beer — nearly 100 just in bottles.
The atmosphere in the 3,700 square-foot space is upbeat, playful even. You can sit in a pitch black booth under attractive white oak wood paneling, but why would you when right next to you is a Michael Thonet-style bentwood chair, splashed in flashy bright red? For the ultimate hair-down experience, snag a seat on the patio. From this perch, you can see nearby patio diners at Capital Grille and Del Frisco's, who surely aren't having as much fun.
Little Red Wasp will be open for dinner this week, lunch starting next week and weekend brunch starting Sept. 21. It'll be open late, too, until midnight daily.
· Little Red Wasp [Official]