For a couple of months now, Dagwoods Grinders & Growlers near Ridgmar Mall has been developing a following with its large, inventive sandwiches and its craft-beer-friendly bar, which has a good representation of North Texas beers.
So when you see the sign for Dagwoods Fire Grill Tap, opening soon (a soft opening is possible as early as Nov. 9), but it would be a good idea to check before going) on Fort Worth’s Foch Street, you might think, “Oh, more sandwiches.”: But there’s a lot more to FGT than grinders.
Chef David Hollister, whose resume also includes Gas Monkey Bar N’ Grill and Yucatan Taco Stand, held a media preview Wednesday at Dagwoods FGT. The menu is expansive, and although it does include sandwiches, there are also Texas barbecue items, steak and seafood entrees, more than a dozen offbeat starters and some imaginative sides.
Hollister has gathered several of the starters together for something he calls “Redneck Charcuterie,” although “redneck” might not be a highfalutin’ enough term for a board that features such items as Akaushi beef bacon and tarragon remoulade. The board also includes chicken-fried deviled quail legs, jalapeño-cheese sausage, pork cracklins with champagne-pickled mustard seet, grilled sourdough, sherry pickled onions and, along with the remoulade, a balsamic caramelized onion jam and a cranberry mustard for sauces.
Everything was good, but the clear winners on this board were the Akaushi beef bacon and the sausage, although the sausage packs enough of a heat punch that you might want to save it for last so that you can clearly taste the other items.
Hollister’s twist on queso fundido comes in the form of thickly textured melted Oaxaca cheese, Cascabel chorizo, the pickled onions featured on the board, and Cyprus-salt-dusted goat cheese that’s prepared in such a way that it resembles small truffles. The Oaxacan cheese was excellent (its thick enough that you’ll need a fork to apply it to a tortilla or a chip), the chorizo zingy. The preview version of the salt-dusted goat cheese was way salty, but we suspect that the restaurant will adjust this a little before opening.
Akaushi smoked brisket — this place is big on Texas Akaushi beef, which comes from a Japanese breed of cattle known for well-marbled cuts low in cholesterol — was wonderfully tender, with Hollister’s signature black pepper rub, which left a pleasant and lingering aftertaste. Coffee steak chimichurri was a perfectly cooked medium, but it was the mildly spicy chimichurri sauce that put it over the top. A guajillo bourbon creamed corn side had an agreeable pungency. Miso-sesame brownie egg rolls were filled with rich dark chocolate and topped with a perfect accompaniment, a sprig of fresh mint.
Hollister and general manager Carlos Cueva (whose background includes Brownstone and Buttons) say that they’re going for a Woodshed Smokehouse/Katy Trail Ice House feel with the restaurant, which is more about the food than the setting since Dagwoods FGT is neither on a river nor a trail. Vegeterians should note that the menu is light on veggie items, but Hollister says that dishes can be prepared vegetarian on request. Prices range from $8 to $26, according to Cueva.
Dagwoods is at 843 Foch St., next to La Familia.
The team has another new restaurant, Common Ground Grill & Tap, that has been doing a limited-menu soft opening this week. It’s at 3201 S. University Drive, a block south of Berry Street in the corner of an apartment building at west. Devitt Street and University.
We’re not the only people who saw “Common Ground” and thought “coffee bar,” but when you notice the “Grill & Tap” part of the sign, it’s clear that there’s something else going on here. And the limited menu has such items as Akaushi meatballs, pan-seared shrimp and a “Common Burger” with, you guessed it, Akaushi beef.