Eats Beat: High-flying Bird Cafe slow to take wing

Posted Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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kennedy We know more now about Bird Cafe.

And we know it will be much more than we ever dreamed.

Until this week, we only knew the owner, name and chef of the new restaurant opening in December in the century-old pub space across from Bass Hall.

Otherwise, we had to trust that a Shannon Wynne restaurant from former 62 Main and recent Meddlesome Moth chef David McMillan would be something special.

Now, we see the menu. It’s very reminiscent of the Moth, Wynne’s Dallas gastropub.

“Share plates,” meat potpies and a few dinner platters fill the menu, all with suggested beer pairings.

Entrees ($12-$19) include a steak-and-frites, pub fish-and-chips, roast chicken with asparagus or an all-natural burger.

But the more interesting dishes are the small plates ($9-$17), paired with beers and meant to be ordered in multiples and shared for a variety of flavors.

Shrimp-and-grits comes with jalapeño gravy, or there’s also a lamb sausage-and-grits dish with roasted-lemon chutney.

Beef marrow is paired with a salsa verde, and British bangers-and-mash sausages are made here with elk and boar.

The menu also offers oysters on the half-shell, mussels five different ways and either steak or rabbit potpie.

“We used the term gastropub before everybody and their brother used it,” Wynne said with a laugh.

“A lot of people just put schlocky food and beer together and call it a gastropub. We try to focus on the pairings and the chef-driven menu.”

When Bird Cafe was announced, Wynne wondered aloud how to differentiate it from the Flying Saucer Draught Emporium, the craft-beer bar-and-grill that filled the space before moving to a larger patio location a block away in the former 8.0 Bar & Restaurant.

Where the Saucer’s menu has burgers, pizzas, sausages and pretzels, Bird serves craft beers with roasted quail, baby-back ribs or poached-salmon salads.

Bird has 15 craft beers to the Saucer’s 80, Wynne said.

“We’ve tried to take some of what we do at the Moth and Lark on the Park [his acclaimed restaurant at Dallas’ downtown Klyde Warren Park] and bring it together in a way that feels good for Fort Worth,” Wynne said.

Watch for it at 155 E. Fourth St.; 817-332-2473, birdinthe.net.

• The other new Sundance Square Plaza restaurants will open one-by-one over the next few weeks, beginning Friday.

But the biggie is already open: Del Frisco’s Grille.

The casual cousin from the prime steakhouse chain opens for its inaugural lunch Wednesday after a Tuesday dinner premiere.

The grille also will serve brunch Saturday and Sunday.

Del Frisco’s Grille opens daily for lunch and dinner at 154 E. Third St.; 817-887-9900, delfriscosgrille.com.

Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com. 817-390-7538 Twitter: @EatsBeat Facebook: Bud Kennedy’s Eats Beat Get alerts at RebelMouse.com/eats

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