Leslie Brenner reviewed Driftwood: The Oak Cliff seafood restaurant (which formerly earned four stars from Brenner under chef Omar Flores) has new ownership and a new chef, so clearly it was time for a revisit. Michael Martensen and friends are pushing oysters and absinthe here, and Brenner says the pairing "can be revelatory." Chef Kyle McClelland's menu is "concise, pricey and ever-changing," and plates are artful and beautiful. Raw dishes impress, but truffled snow crab "made less of an impression." Fish entrees are "likable," but "[McClelland's] fish cookery doesn't dazzle the way that of his predecessor Flores did." Brenner "found more thrills with a couple of meat dishes" including "a magnificent Berkshire pork chop." Service can vary "between friendly and attentive and borderline hostile," but desserts are "outstanding," and pastry chef Annika Loureiro "gives a real boost to Dallas' pastry scene." Three stars. [DMN]
Scott Reitz went to San Salvaje: Stephan Pyles' newest venture globe-trots across Mexico and South America, and the food is just as vibrant as the dining room. According to Reitz , "the most excitement at San Salvaje seems to come from the sea"; he cites a sea bass escabeche that's "perfectly seared and perched on Lincoln Logs of duck-fat-fried potatoes" and a whole fried red snapper "stuffed with a handful of deep-fried, pickled green beans" as standouts. Desserts impress, too, particularly "the lucuma suspiro, a slightly fruity custard topped with a passion fruit merengue." Overall, "San Salvaje feels like it's running like a well-oiled restaurant," and "a menu that unfurls in layers" will have diners coming back for more. [Observer]
Malcolm Mayhew checked out 24 Plates: This recent addition to Magnolia Avenue is "a stylish, energetic restaurant that specializes in shared plates." The food is "carefully plated and immaculately presented," and menu standouts include dry-aged pork belly ("tender, rich and thanks to an orange achiote, slightly sweet"), Akaushi beef sliders, smoked salmon crostini and G-Ma's Southern Style Popcorn, "bite-size portions of zucchini, fried potatoes, squash and okra, coated in a light, spicy batter." Skip the disappointing lobster roll and "the bacon-wrapped dates stuffed with feta cheese, in which a collection of strong flavors simply didn't work well together." The main dining room can be noisy, but there's also "a spacious, landscaped patio." [DFW.com]
ELSEWHERE: Daniel Vaughn checked out FM Smoke House; DFW.com went on a burger cruise and tried Le's Wok in Fort Worth's Near Southside; Fort Worth Weekly went to 24 Plates and revisited Michael's Cuisine; City of Ate checked out the dining options at three local Mediterranean and Asian markets; SideDish scoped out Central Market's Hatch Chile Festival.