This week, Dallas Morning News critic Leslie Brenner weighs in on Montlake Cut, restaurateur Nick Badovinus’ recently-opened Pacific Northwest-inspired seafood spot in University Park.
After basking in the delight of Badovinus’ "nautical" update of the former Spoon Bar & Kitchen space and the "souvenir Seattle Mariners baseball card!" sent out with the check, Brenner praised excellently prepared (if somewhat boring) fresh seafood:
With a few exceptions, there's not a whole lot of invention involved in the main-course plates; they're mostly pretty plain: a modest seared fillet, a ramekin of sauce, half a lemon and a little green salad garnish. One night it's a nicely seared fillet of Columbia River sturgeon with gribiche sauce, another night it's delicately flavored striped bass from Virginia with rémoulade. If it's something with a short season, like troll-caught Alaskan king salmon, grab it: It'll be gone before you know it. It's all about the natural flavor of the fish, simply prepared, carefully seasoned and (on all my four visits) perfectly cooked.
The Dallas Observer’s Foodbitch also scoped out Montlake Cut, and was decidedly more effusive with praise. Unlike Brenner, who found the restaurant’s beefier options "sacrilege in a fish haven," Foodbitch was impressed with "the quality of beef that a meat-slinger with Badovinus' buying power can get his hands on."
She also, of course, weighed in on the simply prepared fresh catches:
Mains arrive simply, either grilled, seared, pan-fried or baked. The belief in strong ingredients that stand on their own is truly pervasive throughout Montlake Cut’s ever-changing menu, as it is in Pacific Northwestern cuisine as a whole. The philosophy of letting the quality of the ingredients speak for themselves is one Badovinus subscribes to wholeheartedly. The cuisine should be "elevated in terms of restraint, rather than flourish," Badovinus says.
Elsewhere, Teresa Gubbins filed a review of Chef Graham Dodds’ Wayward Sons at the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Gubbins praises Dodds’ "gorgeous" salads and "vegan options conceived with a rare degree of creativity." She does, however, note "spotty" service.