Good to Meat You
Traditional steakhouses and old-fashioned butcher shops may seem like things of the past, but both will be resurrected, in 21st-century fashion, when B&B Butchers & Restaurant opens at The Shops at Clearfork on Nov. 20.
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The restaurant/butcher shop combo comes from Houston, where owner Benjamin Berg opened the first location two years ago. Over the course of multiple trips to Fort Worth — where beef for his restaurant is processed — he fell in love with the city and soon decided to open a second location here.
“I wasn’t looking to expand,” Berg says. “But the more time I spent up here, the more I got to know the city and the more I realized it would make a great fit. Fort Worth has such a rich history in the beef and cattle industry. It makes perfect sense to open here.”
The upscale steakhouse will specialize in Texas and Japanese Wagyu, as well as dry-aged USDA prime beef, all of which will be hand-cut daily in the adjoining butcher shop. Featured appetizers include Wagyu carpaccio, brisket ravioli and house-smoked lamb bacon. For entrees, just about every cut of beef imaginable will be available, from chateaubriand for two to Kobe beef ribeye. There’s also a handful of seafood dishes, including a 10-ounce South African lobster tail. At lunch, there will be burgers, pizza and sandwiches.
Overseeing the kitchen will be executive chef Christian Marentes, a Fort Worth-based chef who spent time at Bob’s Steak & Chophouse and Sam and Harry’s in D.C.
B&B’s will occupy a massive slice of Clearfork’s footprint. The dining room and butcher shop alone are nearly 7,500 square feet. A mezzanine will offer additional seating, along with an outdoor patio that overlooks the shopping center’s park area. “Our design is a little more urban and contemporary than your average steakhouse,” Berg says. “But it still maintains classic steakhouse characteristics — there’s dark leather and dark wood everywhere you turn.”
The butcher shop will be open daily, offering hand-cut steaks, house-cured prosciuttos and made-to-order sandwiches.
A hallmark of the Houston location is a shuttle bus — or rather, a custom-designed Mercedes-Benz Sprinter van nicknamed “Rare Force One” — that transports diners to the restaurant from various locales. Fort Worth, too, will have a shuttle, although pick-up locations and cute shuttle nicknames have not been announced yet. 5212 Marathon Ave., Fort Worth, www.bbbutchers.com.
Another coup for Clearfork: The first Fort Worth location of CRU Food & Wine Bar will open this month at The Shops at Clearfork, in a space next door to Starbucks. The restaurant is known for its extensive, globe-trotting wine collection, comprised of more than 300 bottles. Wine is also available by the glass and is kept fresh via a state-of-the-art wine preservation system known as the Le Verre de Vin System. CRU’s lunch and dinner menus will focus on gourmet pizzas, cheese flights and shareable plates such as goat cheese beignets, beet carpaccio and crab and avocado bruschetta. Sunday brunch dishes will include steak and eggs and a crab cake benedict topped with housemade herb hollandaise. Maybe a better reason to go on Sundays: Wines by the bottle are 1/3 off. CRU is scheduled to open in early November. 5188 Marathon Ave., Fort Worth, www.cruawinebar.com.
Distill My Beating Heart
Fort Worth will soon be home to the largest whiskey distillery west of the Mississippi, thanks to Firestone & Robertson Distilling Company, opening this month in southeast Fort Worth. Occupying the lush 112 acres of the historic Glen Garden Country Club, the distillery marks a turning of the tide for the Fort Worth-born company, whose incredibly popular TX Whiskey practically sells out the second area liquor stores put it on their shelves.
Shortly after opening their original operation on West Vickery Boulevard in 2012, owners Troy Robertson and Leonard Firestone realized that location wasn’t going to cut it; they needed more room to keep up with demand. Hence this second, much larger location, nicknamed Whiskey Ranch (the original distillery will remain open for tours and tastings). Visitors will not only be able to sample and purchase bottles of TX Whiskey, but also get a ringside seat to how it is made. Most of the action takes place in the stillhouse, where guests can view the 45-foot-tall condensing column, made of solid copper and outlined in thick-glass viewing ports.
Visitors can also sip on a sample and lounge on a wraparound patio. A retail shop will offer F&R products and goods from other Texas artisans, and a courtyard area will offer scenic views of downtown. The distillery is scheduled to open mid-November. 2601 Whiskey Ranch Road, Fort Worth, 817-840-9140, www.frdistilling.com.
A Proper Reintroduction
Near South Side neighborhood bar Proper will roll out a brand-new drinks menu this month. It’s been a long time coming, says owner Lisa Adams — four years to be exact. “I don’t want Proper to be one of those places that you go to and look at the menu and see the same thing, day after day,” she says. “It’s been four years since we’ve changed our menu. It’s time.” The menu launches mid-November and will feature dozens of new artisan cocktails. Leading the Signature Cocktail list will be The Lady of the West, whose worldly contents (Diplomatico Blanco rum, chamomile tea, Dolin Blanc Vermouth, Cointreau Noir, Scrappy’s Cardamom and Angostura bitters) were inspired by a family member. “It was inspired by my great-aunt — a vaudeville singer and entertainer.”
Another drink, Spanish G&T, is a gin-based twist on a popular drink in Spain. Its star components are dehydrated seasonal fruits and spices or citrus peels. “We can convert non-gin drinkers to gin-drinkers with this because it’s just so good,” Adams says. “We build this in a wine glass like they do in Spain. The aromatics are lovely when you drink it out of a wine glass.” 409 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth, 817-984-1133, www.propermagnolia.com.
More Restaurants in Roanoke
One, two, three new restaurants have opened recently in once-sleepy Roanoke, all within a few feet of one another. The long-delayed Craft & Vine Taproom & Eatery opened last month on the third floor of a new building in the Old Town area, originally with the intent of allowing visitors to pour their own beers and wine. But Texas law prohibits patrons from serving themselves, so a bartender does the pouring. A cool touch: interactive tablets embedded in a long bar allow you to learn about each of the restaurant’s 47 tap beers and 17 tap wines. The menu from former Café Pacific chef Bill Trevino is comprised of small and shareable dishes, from “Nashville hot” red snapper to chicken and waffles drizzled in chipotle agave syrup to charcuterie boards. An outdoor covered deck looks west, perfect for sunset viewing. 310 S. Oak St., Roanoke, 817-464-8181, www.craftandvine.restaurant.
Across from Craft & Vine is Foster’s Sushi and Seafood, opened a month ago by restaurateur newcomer Kimberly Foster, who mixes the cuisine of her Korea homeland with sushi, poke bowls, salads and a handful of American dishes. Also housed in a brand-new building, the sleek spot is outfitted with nearly a dozen TVs, giving it a dude-friendly, sports-bar vibe. 311 S. Oak St., Roanoke, 682-237-7992, www.fostersushi.com.
Finally, there’s Wise Guys Pizzeria, found next door to Foster’s, in the same newly constructed building. It’s the second location of owner Kevin McNamara’s local mini-chain (the original store is in Grapevine). The menu consists of both thick and thin-crust pizzas, draped in a housemade tomato sauce; pastas; huge calzones; and apps such as chorizo meatballs with Hatch chile cream sauce and mac and cheese studded with a double-shot of pork: bacon and pepperoni. 311 S. Oak St., Roanoke, 682-237-2201, www.wiseguystx.com.
Meso Maya opening downtown
A second Fort Worth location of upscale Mexican restaurant Meso Maya is opening Nov. 6 in downtown's historic Kress Building. The restaurant, which is taking over the two-story spot last occupied by the Fox & Hound pub, has been in the works for close to two years and was originally slated to arrive before Meso Maya's Tanglewood location, which opened this year on Hulen Street.
At close to 10,000 square feet, the downtown location will be twice as big as the Tanglewood store and will seat up to 400 people on two floors. The ground floor will hold the main dining room, while the second floor will be used primarily for private parties and special events. Most of the design elements left behind by Fox & Hound have been replaced, says general manager Jimmy Brooks.
“We basically started from scratch,” he says.
The handsome interior is now dressed head to toe in dark-stained oak wood and is accented with massive copper drum barrel chandeliers and a cozy horseshoe bar. Some of the building's original elements have been saved or painstakingly restored, Brooks says. Mirrors near the front entrance, portions of the floor and original "Kress" signage hark back to the building's original occupant, department store S.H. Kress Co., which opened in 1936.
“A lot of the floor's original four-inch limestone tile is still intact,” he says. “And, to the left of the dining room, you can see some of the smaller-sized tile where the department store soda fountain once was.” Meso Maya comes from the same Dallas-based restaurant group as El Fenix, but the menu — overseen by chef Nico Sanchez — is a step up from El Fenix's old-school Tex-Mex. Instead, the restaurant serves Oaxaca- and Puebla-inspired dishes with gourmet ingredients, along with craft cocktails. Brooks says the menu will feature a handful of new dishes exclusive to the downtown location. 604 Main St. 469-348-0127. www.mesomaya.com
Downtown Korean spot Hoya Korean Kitchen has undergone a massive makeover. The restaurant’s sometimes confusing counter service has been replaced by — hooray! — table service. The menu, too, has been updated. In addition to its signature rice bowls, Hoya now offers revamped renditions of its ramen, bibimbap and bulgogi. Several authentic Korean dishes have been added to the menu as well, including japchae (stir-fried sweet potato noodles), soon tofu stew (curdled soft tofu in a spicy broth) and tteokbokki (spicy stir-fried rice cakes). At lunch, there are “combo boxes,” bento box-like meals consisting of miso soup, kimchi, dumplings, rice and your choice of chicken, tofu, beef bulgogi, pork, teriyaki salmon or short ribs. The bar menu has been expanded, too, and now features eight varieties of sake, Japanese and Korean beers and nearly a dozen wines. 355 W. Third St., Fort Worth, 817-378-4045, www.hoyafortworth.com.
In recognition of Veterans Day, restaurants owned and operated by Dallas-based Consolidated Restaurant Operations will offer a complimentary meal to all veterans and active duty military personnel on Saturday, Nov. 11. Participating restaurants include Silver Fox Steakhouse, which will offer an entree up to a $40 value; Cantina Laredo (free entree up to $20 value); El Chico (free entree up to $15 value); and III Forks (free entree up to $40 value). Proof of military service required.
In the Sack is now open downtown in the space previously occupied by Oliver’s Fine Foods. An offshoot of the Dallas original, it’s a combination liquor store/grocery store/restaurant with a cool twist: free delivery within a seven-mile radius. Repeat: This is a liquor store that DELIVERS. FOR FREE. In the Sack also offers a handful of ready-made take-home plates, from pastas to burgers, that can also be delivered. 415 Throckmorton St., Fort Worth, 817-720-7225, www.inthesack.com.
Taste of Northeast is happening from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Hurst Convention Center. The annual event will feature food and drink samples from more than 25 northeast Tarrant restaurants, such as Black Walnut Café, Crepes Bistro, Menchie’s Frozen Yogurt, Anna’s Mexican Grill and Applebee’s. There will also be live entertainment and a gift market. Tickets are $25 in advance, $30 the day of. www.tasteofnortheast.com
Popular south-side Caribbean restaurant Angie’s Bikkles has moved to a new spot in north Fort Worth at 5601 Basswood Blvd. The strip-mall space has less legroom but better parking than owner Maureen Hucey’s original spot in the hospital district. www.angiesbikklesrestaurant.com
Fans of authentic Greek food, take note: The Fort Worth Greek Festival is going down Nov. 10-12 at St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church. It’s like a big Greek food potluck: Church members serve homemade dishes such as dolmas, gyros, spanakopita, moussaka and flaming saganaki – cheese set ablaze with liquor and served on pita bread – against a backdrop of live music and dancing. Admission is $1 and all food items are purchased with tokens, sold for $1 each. www.fortworthgreekfestival.com