Live! Arena is the best game experience at Texas Live! Oh, yeah, it’s also a restaurant

Facebook Live: Texas Live! in Arlington hosts its grand opening

The Star-Telegram's Robert Philpot broadcasts live from the grand opening of Texas Live! in Arlington.
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The Star-Telegram's Robert Philpot broadcasts live from the grand opening of Texas Live! in Arlington.

The Star-Telegram checked out every restaurant at Texas Live! Read other reviews here.

In the center of Texas Live! is its “living room,” Live! Arena, although it’s a pretty big living room that can fit a 100-foot-wide “media wall,” which can either show one event very large or several events at once (the Cowboys-Panthers game on Sept. 9 was surrounded by several other NFL games and a Rangers away game). It does not, immediately, look like a restaurant. But then you notice that there’s a hostess station with a menu.

Live! Arena has several seating levels (just like an arena!), and reservations are strongly suggested for game days. There are minimum “spends” on game days or rail seating ($50 minimum on food and drink) and group tables, all the way up to a $600 minimum for a round downstairs booth that seats eight or nine people. That’s pre-tax and tip. See why reservations are strongly suggested?

We were seated on the periphery during a non-game day lunchtime visit, with a pillar partly blocking our view of U.S. Open Tennis on the big screen, but we were there to try the food, not to watch TV. Turns out you need a reservation for six to be in the inner circle=.

We liked the sound of “Onion Ring Tower” ($7.95), which came with a blue-cheese dressing and a Thousand Island-esque sauce. Although the rings themselves looked a little prosaic, we liked their crispy coating. The onion flavor was a little harder to detect, but we really didn’t mind, and I didn’t find it necessary to resort to the sauces too much.

A Nashville Hot chicken sandwich ($11.95) came with a thick, buttermilk-marinated fried chicken breast, and had a strong dose of Nashville heat. A spare serving of slaw topped the chicken. The loaded chimichanga ($11.95) was about the size of a baseball bat — OK, that’s a slight exaggeration, but only slight — with an abundance of well-spiced chicken. The crispy tortilla stood up well to the cheese sauce and pico poured on top. But it could have used more refried beans. The beans were poured at each end of the roll, and they were cold.

Live! Arena is more about the experience than the food, but at least the food was above average. If we return, though, it’ll be with enough people to fill one of those inner-ring booths. And enough money to sit there.

Texas Live! opens smack in the middle of the Texas Rangers Globe Life Park and the Dallas Cowboys AT&T Stadium, the evening ending with concerts by Eleven Hundred Springs and The Toadies.