We are all here for a weekend with friends and opera at the new Ft. Worth Opera Festival and last night headed around the corner from the Bass Performing Arts Center (a gorgeous hall) for dinner before Madama Butterfly. Our top choice was one of the best downtown spots for years, REATA (www.reata.net) named for the ranch from the movie Giant. We were greeted by many friendly smiles and ushered up to the 4th (top) floor where a busy bar (catch the guy with the red outfit, matching cowboy boots and hat!) was hosting a hot happy hour. We headed inside the glass domed dining area with views of downtown (and low noise levels!) to be greeted by our darling server Audrey and soon after by public relations manager, Kitty, who wanted to be sure we were happy!
It was hard to choose, but Will went for the spicy, yummy, exciting (he said it was the best ever) TORTILLA SOUP with Chicken & Avocado. It was called a "cup" but came in a huge bowl. Welcome to Texas, where we learned the portions are always monstrous. I opted for the SMOKED QUAIL with JALAPENO CHEDDAR GRITS & Molasses BBQ Sauce. The meat was deliciously smokey and tasty and the grits cheesy and gooey and the whole thin was quite filling. We had a bottle of L'AVENTURE Stephan Vineyard ZINFANDEL 2001 forom Paso Robles that was quite spicy and huge (15.8% alcohol).
The 4th floor has hide covered chairs and simple wood tables, but the other dining rooms are amazingly decorated (they can accommodate like 600 seated!). The first floor has a glass enclosed and soundproof private area in the center for those who WANT to be seen, and several other more private spaces. Don't miss the display of cool chaps which include Hoss Cartwright's from Bonanza; do miss the dummy of James Dean.
Our entrees were the same; the house specialty of PAN SEARED PEPPER CRUSTED TENDERLOIN (10 ounces each--but they looked at least a pound!) with RED PEPPER MASHED POTAOES, superb Green Beans and a Port Wine Sauce. At $31, it might be pricey, but well worth it. The slightly sweet port sauce was an amazing foil to the spice on the crust and when combined made for a mouthwatering steak dish that was a highlight to our day, especially after the mediocre BBQ RIBS we had at ANGELO's here in town for lunch (supposedly the best in the area!). Needless to say the Zin was excellent with the filets.
Dessert was NY FRIED CHEESECAKE in a Phyllo triangle with Creme Anglaise & Caramel. It was delish, and filling and too much (and not as good as the Cheesecake Spring Roll I had in NY just three weeks earlier!). The coffee was great and came with requisite sugars in a red(well, pink), white and blue display (with a hint of yellow)--WELCOME TO TEXAS.
Tonight we dine again and hopefully will eat less so we can enjoy the world premiere at the opera more!