Like any city, Fort Worth has its highs and lows with openings and closures. Right now, the word is "openings." We're so on right now that it feels like a new restaurant opens just about every week.
That makes this month's Where to Eat easy. Here are our eight new arrivals:
Arrieros Mexican Food
Cozy Mexican restaurant at 4400 Benbrook Highway takes over the space recently vacated by longtime neighborhood fave Nueva Esperanza. Lunch and dinner options include standard enchiladas and fajitas, along with several surprises, such as the crispy tacos come stuffed with potatoes. The restaurant's specialty dish is Costillas Salsa Verde, comprised of pork ribs drizzled in a spicy green salsa and topped with cactus. Arrieros is even open daily for breakfast, with huevos rancheros, chilaquiles, and breakfast tacos made with housemade corn tortillas.
Fort Worth is now officially in on the rolled ice cream trend, thanks to the arrival of Chills 360, which recently opened in the Warehouses at Foch, at 1005 Foch St. Rolled ice cream, also known as "Thai-style ice cream," is like a souped-up version of Coldstone Creamery, in which ice cream mix is poured over an icy cold disc until it freezes. Then it gets rolled into cool-looking pinwheels and doused with toppings. This is the third location; other stores are in Rockwall and the original in Deep Ellum.
CRU Food & Wine Bar
One of the many new arrivals at The Shops at Clearfork, CRU is a small, classy wine bar from Dallas with an absolutely huge wine list, comprised of at least 300 bottles from around the world, plus 50 more by the glass. The menu focuses on gourmet pizzas, cheese flights, and shareable plates such as goat cheese beignet and crab and avocado bruschetta. When Sunday brunch launches in a few weeks, dishes will include steak and eggs and a crab cake benedict topped with housemade herb hollandaise.
In the vein of Pizza Snob and Pie Five comes this Virginia-based fast-casual pizza chain, which just opened its first Texas location, at 724 Grapevine Hwy. in Hurst. The restaurant sticks close to the formula of other Neapolitan-style quick-serve pizzerias: pizzas are oven-baked at high temperatures and are ready in just a few minutes. There are more than 40 toppings from which to choose, from steak to asparagus, plus a half-dozen pizza sauces.
Arlington's fine-dining scene gets a major boost, courtesy of this new steakhouse, an offshoot of the downtown Fort Worth original. Housed on the ninth floor of the Brookhollow Two office tower at 2221 E. Lamar Blvd., better known as the former Cacharel space, the restaurant is all class: wood paneling, piano bar, killer views. The menu includes steak, lamb shank, pan-seared foie gras, and seafood. There are salads, too, including one named after owner and chef Zack Moutaouakil. Called the "Zack Attack," it features chilled shrimp and jumbo lump crabmeat with mixed greens and a champagne balsamic vinaigrette.
Two years in the making, the latest branch of the Mexican-food mini-chain is now open in downtown's historic Kress building, at 604 Main St. At close to 10,000 square feet, the downtown location is twice as twice as big as the Tanglewood store, which opened earlier this year, and will seat up to 400 people on two floors. The limestone tile floor and original "Kress" signage are cool remnants of the building's original occupant, department store S.H. Kress Co., which opened in 1936. Meso Maya comes from the same Dallas-based group as El Fenix, but the menu is more upscale, focusing on Oaxaca- and Puebla-inspired dishes with gourmet ingredients, along with craft cocktails.
Khanh's Vietnamese Restaurant
Excellent new Vietnamese spot in south Fort Worth, at 6901 McCart Ave., comes from the same family behind popular north side haunt Lieu's Vietnamese Restaurant. The strip mall façade here gives way to a charming dining room decorated with flowers and colorful Asian art. Boasting more than 100 items, the extensive menu covers all the Vietnamese essentials, from vermicelli to broken rice, but zeroes in on pho, with more than a dozen varieties. A plus: Freshly made shakes come in uncommon flavors such as honey dew, jack fruit, and pineapple.
Texas Republic Bar & Kitchen
New spot in Foch Street Warehouses, at 941 Foch St., comes from Sam Sameni, who helped open nearby Landmark Bar & Kitchen and the now-defunct Brownstone, one of the first restaurants in the repurposed West 7th area. Take the "Texas" part of the name literally; the place is huge. The main bar is 8300 square feet. A rooftop bar, slated to open next year, will be an additional 6000 square feet. In the kitchen is a familiar face: Clint Connaway, former executive chef at Waters Bonnell's Coastal Cuisine. His menu includes bar food standards with "Texas twists," such as waffle-crusted chicken tender and a pizza topped with barbecue brisket.