Leslie Brenner and Scott Reitz both reviewed The Establishment: Both critics agree that despite some missteps in execution, the Knox Street restaurant counterpart to cocktail bar Smyth shows great promise. Both are impressed by the interior, with Reitz proclaiming it "a real looker," though Brenner isn't thrilled with the deafening noise level on the weekend. She found her first meal there "carefully executed and visually stunning," but the food on subsequent visits was uneven, with carelessly shucked oysters and some dishes that were "lacking in finesse." Reitz gushes over a few dishes including a "perfect" seared halibut with spring peas and stracciatella cheese with strawberries and beets, but says the charcuterie could use some work. He declares the desserts "clunky" and Brenner agrees, calling them "almost uniformly disappointing." Overall, Brenner awards just two stars but says chef Brent Hammer is doing "some of the most interesting — and promising — cooking going on in Dallas today," and similarly, Reitz proclaims The Establishment "one of the most interesting restaurants to open in the Dallas area in some time." [DMN/Observer]
Mark Vamos checked out CrushCraft: This fast-casual spot in the Quadrangle hits three high notes: "Good, fast and cheap." Papaya salad is "squeakily fresh, the flavors distinct and assertive," and CrushCraft's version of drunken noodles is "a fine rendition." Pad thai is "the real deal" and infused with deep flavors from the wok, and "khao soi, a Chiang Mai-style soup of egg noodles in a curry chicken broth," is "profoundly satisfying, with a serious heat that builds slowly." The fact that "nothing costs more than $9.25" is the icing on the proverbial cake. [DMN]
ELSEWHERE: Teresa Gubbins reviewed the new Colleyville outpost of Matt's Rancho Martinez; SideDish went to The Standard Pour; TMBBQ trekked to Bubba Moses Pit BBQ in Dawson; DFW.com's BBQ Safari hit Tommy's BBQ in Irving; Fort Worth Weekly checked out Brodard's Asian Express & Boba Tea in Arlington; The Barbecue Fiend tried Mr. Blackwell's Smoke Ring BBQ in Mesquite.
The Establishment. [Photo: Sonhui G./Foursquare]