Restaurant Reviews

Brewed in Ft Worth

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Occasionally a restaurant comes along that surprises me with it’s ability to create an atmosphere of elegant relaxation but also reassures me that creative, tasty, affordable food creations are still possible for those of us who DON’T have $200 to drop on dinner. Brewed is that new place for me.

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It has a very eclectic interior design, from the comfy and cozy …

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to the artistic and creative …

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to the downright beautiful.

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There are many nooks and crannies in this restaurant that I would love to just sit and hide in for hours with a good book and a hot cup of coffee. They make this place feel “homey” and comfy so that you will stay and enjoy yourself. And that’s what great restaurants do – they make you feel welcome and comfortable enough to stay as long as you want. A great restaurant is not just about the food and service – it’s about the ambiance and feel of a place. Great restaurants know that they need to create a space where people can have the time and space to enjoy their great food. Brewed does this very well.

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We started with the appetizers. D Magazine rated Brewed’s Mac N’ Cheese as the best in Dallas. It was really, really good. With Texas aged Cheddar, smoked Gouda, and Parmesan, covered in a Bechamel sauce, bacon, and roasted tomatoes, it really stands out from most other Mac N’ Cheeses. While I still think Hatties has the best in Dallas, this one is a close second.

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The chef has a cool tradition and signature – every day, he creates a new flavor of farm fresh Deviled Eggs. On our day, he served jalapeno cumin. They were fantastic. Highly recommend.

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The great thing about Brewed’s food philosophy is that they get the best fresh, local ingredients and make everything from scratch. It is a great example of what is called the “Farm to Table” movement in restaurants. All of their meats are fresh, with no dyes or chemicals or hormones. You can tell, too.

I had the  Bangers and Mash. The sausage had just the right combo of herbs and heat, the potatoes were buttermilk and were amazing. This was a very good, simple dish that really highlighted their attention on fresh, tasty meats.

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My wife had the BBQ Pot Roast with broccolini and mashed potatoes. The Pot Roast was so tender, she only needed her fork to cut it. Also, the BBQ sauce was just right – not too sweet, not too spicy, and not so much that it took away from the flavor of the pot roast. It was just right. To be honest, I was a little jealous I hadn’t ordered it as well.

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 All of their milks and creams are from a farm in Waco, and all of their cheeses come from Waco and Ft Worth. The attention to quality and detail really makes the food that much better. This was also the case with their Caramel Vanilla Latte. I couldn’t get over how balanced and tasty this Latte was.

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We saved the best for last. The Dulce de Leche Bread Pudding. This thing was the best dang bread pudding I’ve ever, ever had. It was a knot of homemade, hand twisted bread lined with caramelized sweet milk and some sort of sugary goodness, paired with a cream cheese ice cream. Do. Not. Miss. This.

Go to Brewed whenever you make  it to Ft. Worth. You won’t be sorry. It is a great mixture of a fun, relaxing, beautiful atmosphere paired with tasty, local, creative food. The service and attention to detail were solid, and all of these made the difference between a “good” place and a “great” place.

HATTIE’S

An Affordable Gourmet Dinner in Dallas?!  Where?  Hattie’s, of course.

Hattie’s

You all remember the Hattie’s Breakfast post?  (See below)  Well, we had to go back.  While reading their dinner menu over our breakfast that day, we promised each other to come back for dinner.  They have TEN Entree options for under $20, and 6 of those are under $15! But don’t let the prices fool you – this food is legitimately gourmet, having a creative and innovative Head Chef who uses the best ingredients.  Read a few of these entrees, and tell me you don’t just drool a little….

  • Homestyle, bacon wrapped Meatloaf, with wild mushroom Gravy, Mashed Potatoes & Seasonal vegetables.  For $14!  Personally, if you wrap anything in bacon I’m sold, but wrap beef with bacon?  Come on…you can’t resist that.
  • Jalapeno-Stuffed Bacon-wrapped Quail, with a Balsamic demi-glaze on a sweet Potato mash with braised greens. Again, you can’t miss when using bacon. And it’s not the cheap, fat, thin bacon, but the thick lean bacon.
  • Spice-rubbed Australian Lamb Chops, with rosemary-Dijon sauce , Artichoke & Potato-puff Pastry, & glazed baby carrots. Ridiculous, right?  This is a Serious dinner menu.

The thing I did not like about our dinner at Hattie’s was that we had to choose just one entree.  I wish they could have brought out a huge plate with samples of all the entrees, because they all sound so good.  Go ahead – read their menu and tell me I’m wrong…you can’t. Read it at    http://www.hatties.com/food.html

This was a surprise dinner for Carissa, but I had been planning it for a week, and I swear I was staring at their menu all week trying to figure out which entree I wanted.  It’s a tough choice.  You gotta know that going into Hattie’s.  But don’t worry – you won’t ever suffer from buyer’s remorse.  Everything on their menu is as good as it sounds on paper.

Tony, the owner, was on the ball greeting new guests, making the rounds on the tables, and was a very gracious host.  We started off with two appetizers.  Carissa had the Tomato Bisque with mini-sourdough grilled cheese.  It is quickly becoming our new favorite, and has an amazing flavor.

Tomato Soup

I started off with Shaved Beef Medallions, with Cornichons and paprika-Goat cheese with Italian dipping sauce, served on sourdough baguettes. This was simply incredible. I’ve never had food this fancy taste this good – this absolutely delivered. Creamy beefy tangy goodness, all on a piece of warm bread.

Beef Medallions

Like I said, Tony took care of us.  After we decided on our entrees, he then suggested one of their flagship red wines, and it paired very well with our meal.  One of the things I like  about Hattie’s is that they don’t go out of their way to overcharge you, but find ways to get you great values while getting you some of the best food and wine out there.  An example of that is their Justin Isosceles Wine.  I had never heard of it before (which meant I wasn’t going to have to pay $90 for a great bottle of wine!), but it was very highly rated by Wine Connoisseur magazine, and was the first of it’s kind into their Top 100 Best Wines list. I recommend you try it!

Wine

Carissa had the Jalapeno-Stuffed Bacon-wrapped Quail with Balsamic demi-glaze on a sweet Potato mash with braised greens. It was sweet, savory, and spicy…and incredibly good. Take a look.  Sorry about the quality of some of these pictures – the mood lighting isn’t the best for picture taking, and we didn’t want to lug our Nikon into the restaurant.

Quail

Phillip had a medium rare Beef Tenderlion with Giant Asparagus and Balsamic roasted onion glaze.  It was absolutely perfect. Moist, tender, savory, spicy…everything you would hope for in Beef Tenderloin.  It was Wagyu beef, which is the American equivalent of Japan’s Kobe beef. So good…

Beef

We also had their 4 Cheddar Cheese Macaroni, which was legit.  Carissa and I kept eating it despite how stuffed we were.  It had those awesome little bread crumbles on the top, which added a nice texture.

Next was dessert.  Carissa definitely picked the best dessert.  She had this Peach Strawberry Fried Pie with Coconut Ice Cream.  Unbelievable!  It was a piece of warm, peachy, strawberry doughy goodness, and I had trouble keeping my hands off of it, especially since it was drizzled in white chocolate and strawberry sauce.

Dessert 1

My dessert was good too – just not as good as Carissa’s (not that I’m bitter, or anything…)  It was a Pecan Chocolate Coconut  pie with Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. It was gooey and chocolaty and tart.  Very tasty.

Dessert 2

In fact, Hattie’s has a fabulous dessert menu. It was difficult to chose just one each. Every option looked delicious. Take a look.

Dessert Menu

Let me just be clear, if I have failed to do so already – Hattie’s is one of the best restaurants in Dallas, and their food is actually affordable, even if you are in college (and I know a lot of you who read this are!). Their service is consistently superb, and all of their waiters and waitresses, managers, hostesses and busers have smiles on their faces and are willing to do whatever they can to give you a great experience.  A place that serves quality and creative food is a given, but a place that serves that food in such a way that makes me feel special, like we are the only couple in the place… that’s why we go out to eat.  And that place is Hattie’s.

Try Hattie’s for your next date spot – I promise you, your expectations will not only be met, but surpassed.

HATTIE’S

Hattie’s is located in the Bishop’s Art District.  If you have never been to this part of Dallas, you are missing out on some unique, eclectic, and fun restaurants and stores.  We will be doing a review of the Bishop’s Art District soon – keep an eye out.

$$PRICE$$ – We actually had a three-course meal for less than $50, so you could actually get in and have a great meal (2 entrees) for less than $30 for brunch. For dinner, expect to pay between $15-$25 a person.

We showed up on Valentine’s Day morning, so I knew it would be packed.  I called ahead to make a reservation, but Terri (the GM)  said they were booked all day.  I think she could tell I was disappointed, and said that if we could be there right when they opened (11 AM), she could get us a table.  This was just the first instance of a restaurant and staff going out of their way to give us a wonderful experience at Hattie’s.

The moment you walk into Hattie’s, you see quality and incredible taste.  The GM was there to greet us, along with the owner, who was speaking with guests.  The waiting room had black-on-white leather chairs and beautiful bay windows.  The interior design literally makes you stop and stare.  People who were walking past the windows kept stopping to look in.

The bar is fully stocked, with some great wine, mixed drink, and liquor options. It also had a clay bust of “General Hattie – not sure who that is, but he fit right in. The top hat was a nice touch.

The dining room is stunning.  It has a classic look, with a beautiful tile floor, tasteful artwork, and an incredible textured ceiling.  We just kept looking around during brunch at all the beautiful detail of this room.

Our server was on top of it during our meal.  We had brought coffee in from Espumoso’s (review already up on our Coffee page), and the folks at Hattie’s said that was just fine.  Our waiter got us the right silverware for it, and we never had any piece of trash, sugar packet, or To-Go cup on our table longer than 2 minutes.  The only complaint we had was that our coffee took a little long to get refilled, but considering the rate at which we consume coffee, I honestly don’t blame them for missing it.  They started us off with a choice of complimentary Banana bread or Sourdough bread.  We went for the Banana bread, and it turned out to be better than my homemade Banana bread.  Hattie’s makes for a beautiful setting, even if you are just having Banana bread. Take a look:

They had these huge beautiful wooden serving cabinets with all of their silver, porcelain serving dishes, crystal glasses, breads, and various table necessities.  They gave the dining room a lot of character, and I liked how that keep that stuff out of the kitchen, separate and clean.

We split a Tomato Bisque soup as an appetizer.  We have had a lot of Tomato soup in our lives – this was by far the best.  The flavor, texture… everything was perfect.  Honestly, it made us angry, not only because it was so good, but also because we knew we would write a review and confess that their soup beats the mess out of our Tomato Soup recipe (recipe already posted on the Home page).  It came with this great Sourdough grilled cheese sandwich as well.

Carissa had a Manchego cheese, Crab, and Herb Omelet, served with country sausage and breakfast potatoes.  It was truly delicious.  Phillip had Bacon-wrapped fried Oysters covered in a spicy cream sauce, served over fluffy eggs with thyme and breakfast potatoes.  It is difficult to describe how good this was.  Anything wrapped in bacon is always good, but this meal took it to an entirely new level.  We can count on one hand the times when we have had a breakfast this good.

Carissa’s breakfast

Phillip’s breakfast

While waiting for our breakfast, I have to admit that I regretted my breakfast choice when I saw these babies being served to another table.  Homemade from scratch Belgian waffles served with boneless fried chicken.  I smelled it first, and being a chicken-centric person, I never knew chicken could smell so good.  I guess I will have to begin pouring Maple Syrup on all my chicken going forward.

Chicken and Waffles

We finished off our meal with Grapefruit Sorbet and Key Lime Pie.  The Sorbet had a really clean and subtle flavor, and was a perfect way to end such a heavy meal. The Key Lime Pie had a great balance of sweet and sour, rich and light

Grapefruit Sorbet

Key Lime Pie

This is our new favorite restaurant.  Everything – from the service, friendliness of staff, quality and creativity of food, and the setting – everything beat our expectations.  The GM checked on us to make sure we were taken care of, and the owner walked up to each table to ensure everyone was satisfied.

I cannot recommend this place highly enough.  You will feel good supporting a restaurant this good.  Considering the price and quality of the food, this place is a n0-brainer.

Hattie’s is located at 418 N. Bishop Ave.  Here’s their number and website.  Phone – 214-942-7400  Site – http://www.hatties.com  Check out their dinner menu.  I stared at it for 20 minutes and could not decide which dish I wanted.  All of it looks so good.  If you try it , and leave a comment and let us know about your experience.

Taverna

There are two Taverna restaurants in the DFW area – one in Dallas, off of Knox-Henderson, and one in downt0wn Ft. Worth, just off of Sundance Square on Throckmorton Street.  There is also one in Austin, TX.  We had brunch at  the one in Ft. Worth, so this review and the pictures are of the Taverna there.

$$PRICE$$ – We  had a four-course meal for less than $60, so you could actually get in and have a great meal (2 entrees) for anywhere from $25-$30 for lunch. For dinner, expect to pay $20 per person.

You know those restaurants where you had a great experience, went back but had a not-so-great experience?  Taverna is not one of those places. We are never disappointed or dissatisfied, but always leave pleased with the quality of the food and the level of service.  Also, I like that it is still relatively a well-kept secret – that makes us feel like it is our place. I have to tell you that we are bias toward Taverna.  This has been a favorite of mine for a long time, and we had one of our first dates here.

The layout and design inside gives you a romantic and intimate feel.  Here’s a picture.

Inside Taverna

Inside Taverna 2

They have a great bar with a lot of great wine selections, and they make some good mixed drinks as well. Bellinis and Mimosas on Sunday Brunch for $1 when you buy an entree.  This was the place where we first had Sequoia Grove Cabernet, one of our favorites.  The waiters will help you pair entrees with wine, so if you like wine but don’t recognize any on the menu, they have some experienced waiters who can help you navigate through.  Here’s a shot of the bar

Taverna Bar

They have a beautiful interior, and they are so confident in their quality and food that they give you a window into their kitchen.  All of the specials are new every day, and they are not afraid to use truffle oil, which makes every meal better.  The music is complimentary to the rest of the atmosphere – Frank Sinatra, Michael Buble, Etta James…classic.

Kitchen with a view

The first thing you need to know about Taverna is that their coffee is quality – not burned or acidic or too bold, but dark, rich, and smooth. All of the cups, silverware, plates and glasses are classic and elegant, so that even having a cup of coffee makes for a beautiful table.

Coffee

We started with a lobster bisque soup as an appetizer, and it is quality.  It has such a balanced flavor and good texture, and the homemade croutons are tasty as well.

Lobster Bisque

We also broke down and got a few Mimosas and the Chef’s Focaccia bread with extra Virgin Olive Oil and Balsamic vinegar.  It was a good way to start our meal. The Mimosas clean the palate, and the bread has this really good herbally-cheesy-crunchy flavor.  I wish I knew how to make it.

Mimosas and Focaccia

I chose from the Valentine’s Day menu.  But don’t worry – they have a Classic Egg’s Benedict on their menu.  Instead of salmon, you can choose Ham, Bacon, or Crab meat. I love Egg’s Benedict, especially with Salmon, and this dish was very well prepared.  The breakfast potatoes had bacon in them – bacon, people!  The Hollandaise sauce was perfect, and the asparagus was steamed just right – not too soft, not too crunchy.  If you like Egg’s Benedict, you will love this.

Eggs Benedict

Carissa chose a bacon, onion, and Manchego Cheese Frittata.  A Frittata is basically scrambled eggs poured into a cast-iron skillet with all the ingredients, and then baked in the oven.  It is light, fluffy, and very flavorful, and though the picture does not do it justice, it was really really good.  They put something in their eggs that take them to that next level.

Frittata

You can’t go wrong with Taverna.  If you are looking for somewhere nice, casual, and laid back, this is the place.  Grab a pizza cooked in their wood burning copper oven, and enjoy.  Or if you are looking for a nice, elegant, romantic dinner, this is the place.  Their Bruschetta is the best in town.  You know when you go to a restaurant, have a meal, then a week later you are craving that same meal again?  That’s how we are with the Risotto al Vin Santo – asparagus, prosciutto, and shaved aged pecorino.  If you are looking to try something unique, their Fiocci al Gorgonzola e Pera (Gorgonzola and Pear-filled pasta with Walnuts and Arugula, served with a sweet cream sauce) will honestly make you moan awkwardly at the table.  If you are looking for something sweet, their desserts are simple, elegant, and very balanced in sweetness and flavor.  Their General Manager, Andreas, came to our table to make sure we were happy with everything, and spoke with everyone in the restaurant.  The assistant General Manager, Gary, checked on us as well, educated us on the restaurant, and told us about upcoming events in the Ft.Worth area.  He made our experience so much better.  Our server, Stephen, did a good job of serving us (as a former waiter, I’m a pretty critical judge), and told us where they got their coffees, truffle oils, and other ingredients.  He was very helpful.

Dessert

Taverna – the perfect restaurant choice for any occasion.  Try it out and let us know what you think.  Leave your suggestions and comments, and ideas for other restaurants you are interested in.  I hope you enjoy.

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5 thoughts on “Restaurant Reviews

  1. Pingback: uberVU - social comments

  2. Thanks for both Hatties reviews…..went last Saturday expecting brunch, but didn’t realize they just had the lunch menu.

    All the better anyway:
    My wife had the tomato bisque and buttermilk chicken salad, and I had the Bison Reuben w/sweet potato fries. All Delicious. Skipped dessert for a coffee drink and toffee bar at Espumoso’s.

    Good advice!

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