No surprise: Texas Monthly’s 2015 “Where to Eat Now” includes an intimate French restaurant.
Surprise: It’s in Fort Worth.
Praising Sandra Avila both for her cooking and for her devotion to diners, the magazine ranked Le Cep Restaurant among Texas’ best new restaurants of 2014.
“Perhaps the greatest novelty of dining here is that the chef is actually in the kitchen, as opposed to on TV or at some posh gala,” the magazine reported.
Le Cep is described as a “small, new, refined” restaurant in a “gracious” contemporary dining room.
It’s the latest of an avalanche of good reviews for Le Cep, now a regular weekend sellout in only its third month.
“Honestly, we’re a little overwhelmed,” said Sandra’s husband, David.
“The most flattering thing is when customers who have been to Paris or lived there say they feel like they’re with friends.”
TM also gave two Fort Worth restaurants honorable mention: Clay Pigeon Food & Drink, now open for lunch some days, and Righteous Foods, the new Lanny Lancarte II healthy-natural cafe.
It’s the sixth consecutive year a Fort Worth restaurant has made the “best new” list.
Other recent winners: Little Lilly Sushi (2013), Woodshed Smokehouse (2012), Shinjuku Station (2011), now-gone Brownstone (2010) and Ellerbe Fine Foods (2009).
Revolver on target
Another best-of list led off with a familiar Fort Worth favorite.
Revolver Taco Lounge, the Rojas family’s interior-Mexico restaurant in the Cultural District, not only was named to the “Favorite Tacos of 2014” list by Dallas’ Taco Trail blog, but was described by author José Ralat-Maldonado as “the best taqueria I’ve been to yet in Texas.”
The Rojas family plans a new Deep Ellum location with former Fort Worth sushi chef Jesús García.
New gameday lineup
Olenjack’s Grille in Arlington forges ahead this weekend without its namesake chef, but with a full house of diners for the college football championship game.
Chef Ryan Gallagher had worked closely with former chef Brian Olenjack and now assumes full kitchen control. Olenjack’s had not planned game specials by midweek, but will be open regular hours and offer the usual game shuttle.
Elsewhere near AT&T Stadium, both Bodacious Bar-B-Q and Marquez Bakery and Tortilla Factory will be open Monday till 8 p.m. as usual, although Bodacious will close earlier if sold out. Customers can place advance special orders.
Candlelite Inn will close for the day after lunch Monday.
Bud Kennedy’s column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com. 817-390-7538