Eats Beat

New chefs, a new find and lots of Legal Draft at this patio restaurant in Arlington

“Beer can chicken” marinated in Arlington-based Legal Draft beer at Ventana Grille.
“Beer can chicken” marinated in Arlington-based Legal Draft beer at Ventana Grille.

Southwest Arlington has a great little restaurant find.

If you’re not a golfer, you might not know about Ventana Grille, the city-owned restaurant at a golf course just off U.S. 287 near Eden Road between Kennedale and Mansfield.

In a city that craves chef-driven menus made with local pride, Ventana steps up with an updated gastropub menu including dishes made with Arlington-based Legal Draft beer.

The new Ventana menu offers dishes ranging from a short-rib-cheddar grilled cheese sandwich ($12) to steaks, burgers and buttermilk-battered chicken-fried chicken or steak ($13).

Chefs Johnny Evans and Branndon Green trained under former Ventana chef Luigi Cinelli and also with Dallas chefs. Evans has worked at Fearings in Dallas, Green at the local Wolfgang Puck restaurants.

The “beer can chicken” marinated in Legal Draft ($13) is an easy winner. A roasted half chicken with a lager taste was matched with tri-colored carrots and loaded mashed potatoes.

Appetizers include wings, sliders and an above-average plate of nachos with queso, a dish originated in Arlington in 1976 at the old Arlington Stadium ballpark.

(It’s true. Until then, nachos were served with melted grated cheese instead of queso.)

Ventana’s side house or Caesar salads are $4, so a complete dinner with salad is less than $20.The restaurant has a club dining area and a vast patio overlooking Tierra Verde Golf Club, known for its wild roadrunners.

Ventana is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily at 7005 Golf Club Drive, south of Eden Road; 817-548-5047,

Columnist Bud Kennedy is a Fort Worth guy who covered high school football at 16 and has moved on to two Super Bowls, seven political conventions and 15 Texas Legislature sessions. Since 1985, he has also written more than 2,000 “Eats Beat” columns about Texas dining, restaurants and food.