Critic Leslie Brenner's been playing fairly nice lately — though John Tesar might disagree following that three-star review of Oak — but she's taken the gloves off for Ida Claire. This week she filed a review on Addison's new Southern restaurant from the folks behind Velvet Taco and Whiskey Cake, and it wasn't pretty.
The critic starts off by saying the restaurant feels like a chain — "a distinct corporate aftertaste" — and it goes further downhill from there:
... There are clunky crawfish ravioli swimming in a lot of heavy tomato- butter sauce; blackened sea trout that came to the table nearly raw inside on more than one occasion; and a sliced Wagyu sirloin clobbered by a heavy-handed, salty gravy (this was the shallot and ginger pan jus promised on the menu?) That came with anoverdressed, clunky okra-and-wild- mushroom salad. Half a chicken grilled over pecan wood evaded its "bird of paradise" menu moniker; I couldn't find the dark meat that was no doubt in there somewhere, and the chicken was set over a sauté of kale, wild mushrooms, cipollinis and creamer peas overwhelmed by raw garlic.
And there's more: Brenner declares a muffaletta sandwich "the foulest thing I've tasted in some years," and dubs the desserts "sweet, crude and heavy-handed." (She did enjoy the burger, however.) It seems the general Dallas dining public would disagree: Ida Claire currently has a four-star average rating on Yelp, and a 4.6 (out of 5) on OpenTable.
In other, less eviscerating reviews this week: D's Eve Hill-Agnus went nuts for Uchi, and Scott Reitz raved about the fancy, imported canned seafood options at Expo Park's new Eight Bells Alehouse (but skip the crappy bread and go for crackers instead). Meanwhile over in Fort Worth, Malcolm Mayhew declared the chicken-fried steak at chef Grady Spears' new Horseshoe Hill Cafe "outstanding," whether it's slathered in cream gravy or served with a mole-topped enchilada.