News, Notes and Observations
Compiled by Meda Kessler and June Naylor
Photos by Meda Kessler
Welcome back, Café Modern
While we’re waiting for the restaurant, now part of Wolfgang Puck Catering, to get fully staffed and bring back Friday-night dinners, we’re more than happy to sit by the glass wall and gaze out at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth’s reflecting pond for lunch and brunch. (Light bites and cocktails are available on the terrace, with cocktails and music from 5 to 7:30 p.m.) It might be humid and hot outside, but inside the museum, it’s cool and comfortable. New chef Jett Mora is showing us his love for bold flavors and globally influenced dishes with his take on a beef bowl featuring marinated flank steak, chili garlic rice, kimchi pickled vegetables with Korean dipping sauce and a fried egg, pictured above. We loved the fava bean fritters, too, with their crunchy shell, below. Another nice shareable plate is the buttered mini po’boy sandwich made with crawfish salad.
3200 Darnell St., 817-840-2157, themodern.org
Pascal Paviani joins Saint-Emilion
The most exciting news since owner Bernard Tronche announced the reopening of his flagship dining spot Saint-Emilion in the Cultural District back in March is word of chef and Paris native Pascal Paviani recently joining the team, which also owns Paris 7th. After working at his own place on the Caribbean island of St. Martin, as well as kitchens from Paris to Michigan, Paviani moved to North Texas to be near family. He’s hit the ground running, ramping up S-E service to include Wednesday night wine dinners. Accommodating 24 guests, the program features a new wine region each week. You have to be quick to book a seat; they sell out within two to three hours of being announced. Watch for posts on instagram.com/st.emilion.paris7th to find out when reservations are available. Open for dinner through Sunday.
3617 W. 7th St., 817-737-2781; reservations via RESY link at saint-emilionrestaurant.com
While there are those hearty souls who believe that eating hot and/or spicy foods in the summer cools you down, we’re in the opposite camp. Much as we love hot coffee, a steaming bowl of ramen and bring-the-heat Thai food, we bid those things adieu for the season much as we do our sweaters and jeans. But chilled noodles are a good thing (we also love a cold pasta salad). Cold soba noodles with a dipping sauce is a simple dish but a summer staple. Tsukemen allows you to have it both ways: The noodles are chilled; the broth is warm and more flavorful than you typically find with ramen and a bit saltier, but in a good way. At Kintaro Ramen, chef Jesus Garcia gives you some additives to play with: a bit of vinegar, a shaker of togarashi and chile sauce. As your broth begins to disappear, you’ll also get some hot dashi to replenish it. Wabi House on 8th Avenue also serves a tasty bowl of tsukemen. Slurp away.
2801 W. 7th St., 817-887-9013, kintaroramen.com/fort-worth
Mariachi’s Dine-In: We’re eating all the things
The Locke Block has come to life with the opening of Mariachi’s Dine-In. (Neighboring Pizza Verde is still under construction.) We’ve vowed to stray from our favorites and try more items from the vegan menu, as well as make our way through the classic menu. We’re rarely disappointed with our selections, and our new favorite might be the Grilled Piña Burrito, pictured, stuffed with pastor, little chunks of grilled pineapple, rice , cheese and chipotle crema. We also like the Pastor Taco Burger for something different. Those chunky fries come with a nice, spicy ketchup. All the more reason for a cold beer from the full bar.
5724 Locke Ave., 682-760-9606, mariachisdinein.com
What’s for lunch? Provender Hall is our daytime destination
If you don’t want to brave the crowds thronging the Stockyards in the evening, remember that Provender Hall is now open for lunch. We go just after the 11:30 a.m. cattle drive; lunch ends at 2 p.m., but you can avail yourself of a limited snack menu till dinner service begins. Our leisurely repast typically starts with oysters, the smoked trout dip or both. While the starters make a great meal, we typically can’t pass up the grilled romaine heart with the add-on of some poached shrimp, pictured. If we’re feeling decadent, we order one of Provender’s specialty cocktails.
122 E. Exchange Ave., 817-782-9170, provenderhall.com
he Rabbit Hole Pub takes over VIPs
We were happy to see construction activity on White Settlement Road that didn’t involve 1) a new bank 2) a drugstore/pharmacy 3) a wrecking ball. Instead, the former Vip’s Lounge has undergone a thorough makeover and airing out as it’s now known as The Rabbit Hole Pub. The sister bar to The Mad Hatter Neighborhood Pub on Carroll Street, The Rabbit Hole features the same friendly staff. With new garage doors, slide-up windows and 1,800 square feet of patio space, The Rabbit Hole definitely feels and looks different than the place locals lovingly referred to simply as Vip’s. Spirits and beer are on the menu; and yes, there is a pool table, along with other pub games. It’s also dog-friendly, open early (7 a.m. to shift workers) and philanthropy minded, as numerous charity events are planned. Owner Chris Jordan is well-known for donating time and needed supplies to such nonprofits as the Humane Society of North Texas.
3237 White Settlement Road, facebook.com/rabbitholefwtx