360 West — June 2014
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Dining Out
Meda Kessler & June Naylor


Mixing wine and cars, in a good way • Redefining Vietnamese street food • A cool (and hot) coffee bar

Kent & Co. When Will Churchill and sister Corrie Watson open their much-anticipated venture on Fort Worth’s Magnolia Avenue this month, the Near Southside gets a trio of new services. Taking its name from the family’s 97-year-old car dealership group, Kent & Co. Offers a swanky setting where customers can drop off their vehicles for service and enjoy morning coffee and pastries. In the afternoon, they can sip on any of 250 wines from around the world. A wine cellar holds 33 private wine lockers and a sales inventory of 1,500 bottles, priced from $15 to $4,000 — buy to take home or enjoy on-site. Every wine can be ordered by the glass, or guests can enjoy several local beers on tap. There are root beer floats for the kids. Snacks include selections from The Magnolia Cheese Company, Vending Nut Company and Melt Ice Cream, and guests are invited to bring in food from local restaurants, such as Cane Rosso and Nonna Tata (Kent & Co. Supply service wares). The venue, once an office-machines building, has been lavishly renovated into a chic, rustic-modern space also available for private parties. The $2.5 million project, designed by JonesBaker of Dallas, delivers clean lines, ample natural light and a pleasing mix of glass, steel and wood in the main room, along with a patio that’s open-air in pretty weather and fireplace cozy, otherwise. Longtime customers will enjoy the murals featuring the siblings’ mom, Wendy Churchill, and their great-grandfather, Frank Kent. Look for bands to perform in the driveway during neighborhood festivals such as ArtsGoggle. On June 6, the grand-opening party brings Nashville’s Matt Wertz in to play. The service desk operates from 7 a.m. until 5 p.m., and the wine bar is open from noon until 7 p.m. daily. 1101 W. Magnolia Ave., 817-632-6070 or facebook.com/kcowines.

Pho District Saigon native Kenzo Tran turned heads when he opened his first Piranha Killer Sushi in north Arlington 13 years ago. His fresh view of Japanese and other Asian recipes gave diners new ideas about Pacific Rim cuisine, and his impressive reach extended to Fort Worth, Flower Mound, Austin and San Antonio. Now Kenzo turns his attention to Fort Worth’s So7, where — after two years of planning and research — he debuts Pho District mid-month, serving interpretations of the Vietnamese street food he has loved since childhood. Look for Vietnamese favorites, such as pho, to be ramped up Kenzo-style, with sliced choice filet mignon and red chiles; a vermicelli bowl, topped with crispy salmon and his open-ended Hanoian spring rolls; and bahn mi, augmented with chicken liver paté. Other offerings include caramelized pork belly with pickled mustard greens over tofu; chicken roti, a frenched chicken quarter that’s soaked in a five-spice marinade, cooked sous vide and quickly fried; and an untraditional dim sum, combining minced chicken, shrimp and wood ear mushroom, wrapped in rice paper and served steaming in its bamboo basket. Vietnamese beers will star on the beverage menu, likely to be popular on the 40-seat patio spanning the front of the building, facing Trinity Park. Below the stairs leading to Pho District’s upper level, the open kitchen is bordered by an eight-seat counter on one side, where diners watch four cooking lines at work. There’s room for 100 guests inside, where bold colors dominate the modern decor. 2401 W. 7th St., Suite 117, Fort Worth; phodistrict.com or facebook.com/PhoDistrictVietnameseStreetFood.


24 Plates It’s been slow going for this muchanticipated Magnolia May restaurant, but June looks to be the lucky month. We’re glad the weather has warmed up, as the back patio designed by Konstrukcio Studio looks amazing, with its horizontal-wood slatted walls and bar. Wood accent walls crafted by Fort Worth’s PalletSmart add to the contemporary but rustic feel inside, where a former flower shop and onetime Mexican restaurant are now one space. We are a bit jazzed about chef Beau Johnson’s 24-plates menu: Dinner is divided into small plates (akaushi beef meatballs, roasted kale sprouts, bacon-wrapped stuffed dates) and large ones (dry-aged pork belly with chimichurri, lobster roll, sea scallops with a saffron beurre blanc) and dessert. The lunch menu is designed for a faster turnaround, with a select dinner-menu items along with sandwiches, flatbreads and salads. Brunch will include stuffed French toast; breakfast nachos; and an intriguing house bacon board with five types of bacon served with toast points, sweet onion jam, red pepper jelly and cornichons. 407 W. Magnolia Ave., Fort Worth; 817-840-7670 or 24platesfw.com.

Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse Dallas-based Rafain Brazilian Steakhouse takes over the former Patrizio’s location in Fort Worth’s West 7th development with a meat-centric concept that features an all-inclusive fixe prixe menu. Expect an extensive salad bar, a choice of 17 cuts of meats and a dessert table, all for one price. Lunch will run about $25; dinner about $45. They hope to add a retractable cover to the patio. 2932 Crockett St.; 817-862-9800 or rafain.com.

East Hampton Sandwich Co. The Dallasbased sandwich shop heads to Fort Worth’s WestBend shopping center (across the street from University Park Village). With popular locations in Dallas’ Snider Plaza and Shops at Legacy in Plano, the casual restaurant serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. At breakfast, look for fried chicken and honey on an English muffin and Hampton’s Donut Bag. Among the specialty sandwiches are such offerings as a balsamic tenderloin; lobster roll; and goat cheese, avocado and spring mix with red pepper aioli. There also are seasonal soups and salads, and wine and beer will be served. Check them out at ehsandwich.com.

Redefined Coffee House Grapevine’s newest coffee shop is a treat for the senses. Jorik and Cat Blom — after extensive training from the owners of Fort Worth’s Avoca Coffee — turn out consistently good cups of java (using Avoca’s beans). The menu includes specialties such as a salted caramel latte, cold concoctions and hand-shaken ice teas. Jorik, a former bartender by way of South Africa and California, seems perfectly content to be working the espresso machine rather than pulling tap handles. There are a few snacks: cupcakes from Colleyville’s LeSara Cupcake Bar, including vegan and glutenfree varieties, and pre-packaged soba noodles from a local chef. The interior — completely made over since its days as overflow space for the tavern next-door — is inviting, with industrial-chic decor, dark walls and comfortable seating. There are plenty of plugs for electronics and a couple of tables for those who need to spread out. The surprise is a cozy elevated space in the back, complete with tufted fabric wall, round table and curtains for privacy. The space already has been used for small parties. Oh, yeah, and did we mention that one of the owners is Kenyon Coleman, the former Dallas Cowboys player? He and Daniel Molina are partners in ReDefined, and Kenyon’s wife oversaw the interior design. 220 N. Main St., Grapevine; 817-488-2828. Follow them on Facebook at Redefined Coffee House.



New Thai in town • Livin’ Lodge in Deep Ellum • Seattle doughnuts (and coffee)

Pakpao After founding chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin decamped to open Bite in Fort Worth’s Montgomery Plaza, Pakpao’s owners decided to team up with Food Network star Jet Tila to revamp their Design District Thai restaurant. Tila, a Los Angeles native and one of America’s foremost Thai chefs, says he’s reworking Pakpao’s menu, adding dishes like five-spiced pork belly, the noodle dish called khao soi and sticky rice with mangoes, plus regional dishes from Northern Thailand, Isaan and Bangkok. Tila’s cooking often reflects the L.A. neighborhood he grew up in, which he describes as a mix of Thai Town, Chinatown, Koreatown and Little Tokyo. Tila hinted that expansion plans are in the works, beyond a Pakpao sibling slated for Plano next year. “At this point, I am interested in creating concepts, not just one-offs.” 1628 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 120, Dallas; 214-749-7002 or pakpaothai.com.

Pecan Lodge Ending four years at the Dallas Farmers Market, Justin and Diane Fourton packed up the smokers and moved to new digs in Deep Ellum late last month. Pecan Lodge is often ranked among the best barbecue joints in Texas. Its expansive new location is open for lunch every day but Monday and serves until 10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Fort Worth’s PalletSmart built much of the furniture for the dining room and the large patio, which is partially shaded by – what else? – pecan trees. Cement floors, family photos and a bronze longhorn out front lend the space a roadhouse feel. The menu of slow-smoked brisket, sausages, ribs, traditional sides (okra, mac and cheese, slaw) and Diane’s fried chicken remains the same, though the Fourtons have added a third mesquite-fired smoker to keep up with growing demand. Pecan Lodge now serves beer and wine, plus there’s live music to help pass the time, should those hour-long ordering queues return. 2702 Main St., Dallas; 214-748-8900 or pecanlodge.com.

Top Pot Doughnuts Seattle’s beloved doughnut shop, best known for its glazed old-fashioned cake doughnuts and apple fritters, has opened its first branch outside the Puget Sound vicinity. Top Pot’s North Dallas location sells the same freshly roasted coffee and more than 40 varieties of “hand-forged” doughnuts you’ll find in any of its 16 Seattle-area cafes. Top Pot founder Mark Klebeck says they make everything by hand in small batches. Starbucks and Top Pot were partners until Top Pot decided to expand its own coffee roasting and retail operations. They’re already scouting for a half-dozen more locations, including Tarrant County. Says Klebeck: “We’ll be in Fort Worth before we move into Austin.” 8611 Hillcrest Ave., Suite 195, Dallas; 469-232-9911 or toppotdoughnuts.com.