Leslie Brenner reviewed Mexican Sugar: Expect major crowds at this "stylish" Shops at Legacy spot. Margaritas are "well-mixed [and] not-too-sweet," and while chips and salsa don't land on every table (Tex-Mex this is not), "if you ask for them, you'll get a basket of thin house-made chips glossed with oil and a pot of very good warm red salsa." Skip the ceviche, "ho-hum mussels" cooked in tequila and chorizo and "soggy-skinned" roast chicken; better options are "overstuffed tacos" served on "excellent corn tortillas" made in-house, "a thick bone-in pork chop slow-roasted to perfect, juicy pink," and "consistently satisfying" tortas including a carnitas version that's "almost like a Mexican French dip." [DMN]
Teresa Gubbins went to AF+B: Consilient's new Fort Worth restaurant is "a fun exercise in perfectionism," from the "well-tooled" service and well-chosen music to the "perfect French fries [and] accompanying house-made ketchup." Chef Jeff Harris offers dishes that reflect "his rustic sensibility," like "perfectly cooked" blackened snapper over white beans and kale and "a worthy vegetarian entree combining barley with butternut squash." Hot sauce-glazed quail and chorizo Scotch eggs make great bar snacks. Desserts from pastry chef Laurel Wimberg reflect "a masculine stick-to-your-ribs personality," like a brownie-like black walnut chocolate pie or sweet potato-coconut fritters. [DFW.com]
Scott Reitz reviewed The Local Oak: This friendly O.C. spot "has plenty of charm to lure in customers from the neighborhood," and bacon lovers will find plenty of it here: It's all over the "refreshingly short 12-item menu" including inside dishes like "massive slabs of seared meatloaf" with green beans and mashed potatoes, perched on top of excellent burgers, and "even candied and served in a metal bucket." Spam sliders are "some of the best drunk food to be had in Dallas these days" and lightened-up enchiladas are "surprisingly good." Overall, "there's an earnest quality to the cooking here ... that's willing to let simple dishes be simple for their own sake." [Observer]
Robert Philpot checked out So-Cal Tacos: The Grapevine brick-and-mortar version of the popular food truck offers a "lighter-touch, fresh-taste approach" to the taqueria. Marinated steak or al pastor tacos on flour or corn tortillas are some of the best options; grilled salmon tacos need more salmon and less sweetness from a honey-chipotle dressing. Vegetarian tacos "could have used a little more imagination." Queso has a "creamy, stick-to-the-chip thickness," and complimentary salsa "had a nice roasted kick." Service by "knowledgeable cashiers and servers" is "impeccable." [DFW.com]
ELSEWHERE: Fort Worth Weekly tried Shannon Wynne's Bird Cafe and went to Nonna Tata; City of Ate checked out the new Lockhart Smokehouse in Plano; TMBBQ went to Spicy Mike's Bar-B-Q Haven in Amarillo.
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[Photo: Garrett Hall/EDFW]