Where to Eat
After being cooped up for more than a year, you're ready to go out to eat again. You've got some catching up to do. Several new restaurants have opened lately, plus you want to visit some old faves. Where to begin?
This month’s Where to Eat combines new arrivals with longtime favorites. Here are six places to hit up after getting your vaccine:
After staying closed for most of 2020, the café at The Modern returns, with a new menu and new chef. Wolfgang Puck Catering has taken over the restaurant, and with that change comes new chef Jett Mora, who trained under Puck. By Café Modern standards, Mora's menu is ambitious, with appetizers such as fava bean fritters, and dates stuffed with chorizo and pimento pepper-tomato sauce. Entrees include pan roasted salmon with avocado butter and bengali curry; a marinated flank-cut beef bowl with chili garlic rice and housemade kimchi-pickled veggies; and an eggplant, portobello, and fontina cheese melt. The brunch menu includes birria migas and a pork belly benedict.
Little Red Wasp
Because of the pandemic, several downtown restaurants have closed over the past year. But Little Red Wasp is still going strong, after nearly eight years. The more casual spinoff of fine-dining spot Grace still specializes in sandwiches and hearty entrees, served quickly in an upbeat, diner-inspired environment. The cheeseburger and fried chicken sandwich are faves, and the Cobb salad, dotted with chopped bacon and avocado, might be the best salad downtown. For bigger appetites, there's spaghetti and meatballs, beer-battered fish and chips, and newer dishes such as pork shank carnitas and mac and cheese topped with pulled pork.
For years housed in a ragtag gas station east of downtown, this vegan-friendly Mexican spot recently upgraded to a brick-and-mortar location on the west side, taking over the space previously occupied by Mariposa's Latin Kitchen, at 5724 Locke Ave. The menu is made up of tacos, burritos, and other Tex-Mex staples, in both vegan and traditional varieties. Birria tacos are a major hit here – both the beef version and the vegan version, made with shredded jackfruit. The restaurant now serves alcohol, including margaritas, beer, and cool cocktails, such as a frozen Jack and Mexican Coke.
Maria's Mexican Kitchen
Several Mexican restaurants have opened in Fort Worth lately. This stylish entry in the TCU area comes from Felipe Armenta, the local restaurateur who also owns Pacific Table, Press Café, The Tavern, and others in Dallas and San Angelo. Maria's, which takes over the old Hoffbrau Steak & Grill House at 1712 S. University Dr., is named after Armenta's mother, and many of the recipes were hers. Enchiladas are the star: There's the unique crab enchiladas, stuffed with jumbo lump crab and topped with a creamy almond sauce, along with chicken, short rib, and mole enchiladas. Elsewhere, there are slow-roasted BBQ beef ribs, a ribeye seared over hot coals; and chicken, skirt steak, and shrimp fajitas, served with black beans, rice, guac, pico, and housemade tortillas.
After more than three decades, this cozy French restaurant in the museum district remains one of the city's top spots. Nestled in a warm, inviting space built in the style of a Tudor home, Saint-Emilion serves a fixed price menu of classic bistro dishes, from coq au vin, chicken thighs braised in red wine with mushrooms, bacon, and onions; to snails and pâtés; to perfectly cooked beef filets and frites so good, you’ll never eat plain ol' French fries again. Owner Bernard Tronche maintains an extensive wine list, too, and a full bar.
Newly opened in a west side strip mall at 5822 Camp Bowie Blvd., this family-run gem serves Mexican and Tex-Mex dishes with tiny, interesting twists. Start with an order of guacamole or white queso covered in leaves of spinach, both served with excellent corn tortilla chips and good salsa. Entrees include carne asada tacos, with meat still simmering when it hits your table; brisket enchiladas with guajillo chili sauce; chicken, beef, and sausage fajitas; and nachos piled with jumbo shrimp. Breakfast is served all day and includes breakfast tacos, huevos rancheros, and red or green chilaquiles. Cool little spot.