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Much-Anticipated Oak Cliff Restaurant Encina Will Open This Week

Expect dishes like beef cheek pastrami, turkey leg confit, and more from chef Matt Balke

an overhead show of several dishes, the central is which is a large turkey leg on a bed of greens
The turkey leg confit at Encina.
Kathy Tran

Encina, a new down-to-earth restaurant focused on Southern food and fresh ingredients, will open on Friday, October 9 in Oak Cliff.

The restaurant is a partnerships between Matt Balke, former executive chef of Bolsa, and Corey McCombs, who worked front of the house with Stephan Pyles at Flora Street before it closed earlier this year. The new restaurant, at 614 West Davis Street, will focus on Texan, Californian and Southern cuisine, with a particular emphasis on unfussy food executed to perfection and made with seasonal ingredients. Encina is the Spanish name for holm oak, a species of tree native to the Mediterranean. Holm Oak was also the original name of the small Texas town of Uvalde, where Matt Balke grew up.

“I tend to start with one certain ingredient and create a dish around it,” Balke said, “We have farmers who visit with me on a regular basis and present fresh produce and product for inspiration. We are focused on serving simplistic, familiar dishes that offer value and are well executed, consistent and made with quality ingredients.”

Encina’s opening menu includes starters like beef cheek pastrami with pimento cheese, black eyed pea fritters with spicy carrot slaw and shrimp ceviche served with cucumbers, avocado and crackers. Entrees include turkey leg confit, veal bratwurst with apple mustard, and ricotta gnocchi with mushroom broth and braised leeks.

The cocktail menu, created by McCombs, mirrors the food with simply-made, seasonal beverages garnished with herbs and flowers from local farmers. Options include the Reading Wood Black, named after the Quaker shepherd who founded Uvalde in 1855, mixed with Woodford rye, coffee-infused bitters, and sweet vermouth.

When it opens later this week, Encina will focus on happy hour and dinner service, from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, and until 11 p.m. Saturday. McCombs and Balke expect to add brunch at a later date. For now, the restaurant is closed on Sundays.