On my first night in Ft. Worth for the annual opera festival here I dined with a client at the recently opened BIRD CAFE (http://www.birdinthe.net/?page=welcome) just across from the Bass Hall (where the opera is) and we both fell in love with the wonderful and inventive plates to share as well as the friendly ambiance.
There is the paper on the table that I can always do without, but they have nice linens and great service; so I overlooked the white paper.
I saw one of my favorite winemakers on the list and ordered a glass of NOVY Blanc de Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley that was a superb dry white that went well with so may dishes. Our super server Tamara was oh so helpful in narrowing down the many choices.
We started with the Roasted BEET Salad with both purple and golden beets, chevre, ample greens and yummy Blackland Texas Honey.
Next came PIG & FIG which boasted beautifully crispy pork belly, Point Reyes Bleu Cheese, Golden Grits, Figs & BBQ sauce. The grits, it was explained, come from a West Texas homestead (no electricity) and are stone ground. The entire concoction was to die for.
I moved to a La Tarasque Cotes du Rhone 2010 Grenache as I liked that much more than the Heinrich Red mix of Zweigelt/Blaufrankisch from Wagram, Germany that Tamara let me taste.
Texas QUAIL was griddled and served over red cabbage with sweet potato corn bread. These little birds are as local as you can get and are always a treat.
COLLARD GREENS came with a dash of chili vinegar for spice with braised ham hocks over a traditional corn bread. This non-vegetarian veggie dish would turn any vegetarian in a sec.
We had seen a dish on the menu called MOTH BALLS, but our friend Darren who runs the opera had come over to say hi and warned us they were very rich.
Tamara was such a doll as she brought out two of these tasty decadent treats which are listed on the menu as a shout out to the Spotted Pig of NYC. They are ricotta filled pasta balls in a rich creamy parmesan sauce with EVOO, love and fried sage leaves. One ball, and you are full.
Our last choice was BANGERS & MASH as my guest was from the UK. Well, this is Texas style with a Cheddar Jalapeno Elk Sausage and another Wild Boar Sausage and a Dijon style and grain-style mustard, both of which packed a punch. These sat over a sweet potato-based mash of root vegetables that was good, but oh so not English. There was sauerkraut that was sublime and the whole dish was topped with tons of fried root veggie chips. WOW..I took a picture it was so pretty.
For dessert the French press coffees are fab, and we shared an okay PAVLOVA with excellent meringue, some whipped cream, a very rich Valrhona chocolate mousse and hazelnut crunch. It was just too rich for me after all the rich and involved dishes.
I know that BIRD CAFE is going to be a big hit in this town, and I'll be back for sure....