What Fort Worth needs is — another barbecue joint?
No, really. Honey Smoke Pit is just what Fort Worth and West Seventh Street needed: a new barbecue place, bringing a still-unproven restaurant space back to life with a combination of credible Texas barbecue and ample craft beer.
Don’t start lining up. Honey Smoke Pit’s chef, chuck-wagon cook Rodney Lambert, is fresh off the madhouse opening of Smokey Mae’s in Mansfield, so he’s trying to keep Honey Smoke Pit running at a steadier pace and ramp up business in Montgomery Plaza.
Lambert is back home in Fort Worth, where he started at the old Deer Creek BBQ, Cowtown BBQ and Fred’s Texas Cafe locations.
Honey Smoke Pit keeps a little bit of all those restaurants: pork ribs with a little spice in the rub, juicy brisket with good bark, half-pound burgers and Lambert’s signature sides such as jalapeño-bacon mac-and-cheese, seasoned “ranch hand” beans and panko onion rings.
A “Big Shot” platter ($17.99) comes with brisket, ribs, homemade sausage, turkey and sides. It’s easily enough to feed two.
There’s also a “three-way” sandwich ($12.99) stacked with brisket burnt ends, shredded rib meat and sausage, plus slaw and onion rings.
Regular sandwiches cost $8.99, platters $11.99. Other sides include crisp, fresh green beans, sweet-potato fries, red-cabbage coleslaw or fried okra.
The barbecue comes off a commercial Southern Pride smoker designed for use in cramped spaces like the Montgomery Plaza mixed-use apartments, Lambert said. (The smoke scrubber works so well that you barely smell barbecue outside, which is bad for the restaurant but good for residents.)
Burgers come in third-pound or half-pound sizes, and there’s also a brisket burger ($7.99-$9.99).
Desserts, served in a hot skillet, include bourbon-pecan cobbler, peach cobbler or banana-bread pudding.
The former steakhouse/crab restaurant in Montgomery Plaza has been home to six different concepts, most recently M Bistro. The owners are the Nguyen family of Blu Crab Seafood House in Ridglea.
Lambert and Smokey Mae’s parted ways because “it’s crazy big,” he said — “it’s hard to produce quality barbecue at that rate of speed. They’ve got a good guy out there now with a commercial background, and they’re doing a good job.”
Don’t be confused: Honey Smoke Pit isn’t the craftwork level of Heim Barbecue or BBQ on the Brazos. But it’s excellent barbecue with above-average sides, in a pleasant setting close to West Seventh Street shops.
Nobody yet has complained that Fort Worth has too much barbecue.
Feast on films, paella at The Modern
The Modern Art Museum is offering a special “Film Feast” of movies about food on Labor Day weekend, and two of the events include Café Modern’s cooking.
A special paella dinner with Spanish wines Sept. 2 combines the movie “The Trip to Spain” and a three-course dinner for $79.
Café Modern’s menu that night will include a seafood paella; a game paella with Cornish game hen, pork and sausage; an olive-artichoke salad with Spanish vinaigrette; and flan.
The event kicks off Aug. 31 with a $99 cocktail reception and movies (“Garlic Is as Good as Ten Mothers” and “Yum, Yum, Yum! A Taste of Cajun and Creole Cooking”).
Chefs Denise Shavandy and Scott Kaiser will serve appetizer portions of gumbo, roast turkey, timpano and various appetizers.
Last call for Restaurant Week
DFW Restaurant Week continues the remainder of August, offering $20 lunches and $39-$49 dinners through Aug. 26 with $4-$10 of each dinner going to charity.
Fort Worth restaurants still available through next week include Max’s Wine Dive, Silver Fox Steakhouse and Texas de Brazil, all $39; and Capital Grille, Del Frisco’s Double Eagle, Eddie V’s Prime Seafood and Ruth’s Chris Steak House, all $49. (Capital Grille also serves the $20 lunch.)
Other nearby restaurants available next week include The Classic at Roanoke ($20 lunch, $39 dinner), Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse in Southlake ($39), The Melting Pot Fondue in Arlington ($39), Silver Fox Steakhouse in Grapevine ($39) and Restaurant 506 at the Sanford House in Arlington ($49).