For many Fort Worth restaurants spring marks an end and a beginning. Gone are the thick, heavy, gluttonous winter dishes, scrubbed in favor of more light-on-your-feet fare, ideal for springtime nibbling.
Here are 10 Fort Worth restaurants with new spring offerings:
Aventino's Italian Restaurant
It's not always easy to eat light at an Italian restaurant. At classy West Side spot Aventino's, you'll find some of the city's best lasagna and pasta with a menu of a dozen sauce options, from alfredo to marinara. But owners Chris and Erica Hight typically include a fish dish for lighter appetites. This spring, it's orange roughy, pan-fried over sauteed spinach and mushrooms and served in a pool of not-too-heavy white wine butter sauce.
Cannon Chinese Kitchen
Just shy of a year old, this hip Chinese restaurant, whose kitchen is manned by executive chef Scott Kaiser, has rolled out several new dishes for spring. Among them: baby bok choy in "XO" sauce, sweet steamed buns filled with Niman Ranch pork, sauteed mushrooms wrapped in soy paper in a rich truffle broth, and a citrusy chicken salad spiked with pea tendrils and persimmon and topped with crispy noodles.
Clay Pigeon Food & Drink
Acclaimed farm-to-table restaurant from chef Marcus Paslay has unveiled a handful of spring-inspired dishes. There are seared diver scallops served with potato gnocchi and house-made bacon, as well as lightly fried risotto balls with charred green onion pesto. Special attention must be paid to the wood-grilled duck breast, sliced into medallions and served over a bed of wild rice, quinoa, spring veggies, and finished with a bourbon reduction sauce.
Horseshoe Hill Cafe
The latest restaurant from chef Grady Spears is themed as an homage to his signature dish, chicken-fried steak, and it's true he has that covered. His basic menu features chicken-fried steak done five ways. But it's not all about CFS. For spring, Spears has introduced several new items including cute egg salad sliders, a salad with green beans and blue cheese, and fried asparagus in a crunchy Shiner Bock batter.
La Perla Negra
Downtown restaurant-bar has expanded its cuisine from Cuban to Latin American and has a new chef in Fabian Alvarado, who previously was at Bearded Lady and Le Cep and who once manned a food truck for chef Tim Love. Alvarado has only been on the job a few weeks but has already revamped the menu, introducing such items as a Peruvian pepper chicken sandwich, redfish tacos, and an avocado jammed with seared tuna.
Top-rated contemporary French restaurant from husband and wife David and Sandra Avila recently unveiled a new and very spring-like eight-course discovery menu. Among the highlights is an unusual savory crème brûlée with seafood, containing snow crab, onions, Parmesan, and lobster. There's also a smaller four-course menu, featuring some of the same dishes, available every night except Saturday.
Quaint, eclectic, Near Southside bistro from chef-owner Vance Martin has thrived for seven years, due in no small part to its willingness to keep the menu in a constant state of flux. Comfort dishes come and go with the seasons and Martin's whim. This spring brings several newcomers, some heavy, some not: coffee-crusted salmon, double lobster ravioli, and light-on-the-tongue duck sausage bites.
Mariposa's Latin Kitchen
Since opening their charming west side spot four years ago, mother-daughter team Irma Gamez and Crystal Padilla have stuck to what to what they do best: tamales, enchiladas, and tacos, stuffed and topped with imaginative ingredients. Sunday marks a new beginning, as the gals are launching brunch on Sundays from 11 am-3 pm with an exciting menu that includes eggs Benedict with house-made arepas in place of boring ol' English muffins, plantain pancakes, migas, and a cactus-filled frittata.
Formerly a branch of Fireside Pies, this gourmet pizzeria has weathered changes in name and ownership (and its sibling in Atlanta recently closed), but it remains a West Seventh hot spot. Its pizza menu has literally 13 pies, one of which changes from month to month. May's featured pie is the El Cubano, a Cuban sandwich in pizza form, made with an unusual sauce of mustard ricotta, flecked with whole grains of mustard, topped with pork and ham, Gruyere cheese, and diced bread and butter pickles.
For light spring grazing, seafood's a no-brainer choice, and Jon Bonnell's West Seventh ode to the sea is often the first place Fort Worth diners consider when they're in the mood. In addition to fresh oysters, ahi tuna tartare, and other breezy bites are new-to-the-menu dishes such as market fish with cherry tomatoes and herbs, and Arctic char with lemon herb couscous, cucumber-fennel salad, and paprika yogurt crème fraîche.
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