Last night, before the opera, I was treated to dinner by the director of the opera who has been a dear friend of mine for nearly 30 years. I've been to GRACE before (www.gracerestaurant.com) and it's always special with Darren as everyone greets him from the owners to the bus boys, and he is always schmoozing with opera patrons, as well as being approached by folks to congratulate him on the amazing job he has done here in Ft. Worth. I would head to Grace no matter what, but to be there with one of Ft. Worth's "rock stars" is truly a treat.
I saw several new dishes on the menu and was immediately attracted to them. North Dakota BISON TARTARE with charred onion, quail egg, pickled teeny mushrooms, and pecorino cheese was a delicate plate with superb, yet subtle flavors. I asked our server Tyler which wine he recommended (by the way, anyone would be attracted to him as well as the dishes on the menu!!) and he suggested a smooth and bold Les Cadrans de Lessegue 2010 St Emilion Merlot from Bordeaux that was ideal. The beautiful soft warm sourdough puffs of bread arrived with irresistible butter topped with sea salt.
I also tasted Darren's superb KONA KAMPACHI with American caviar, yuzu, and white soy, but since I had had this previously, I knew it was delicious, but not too large. It's probably the lightest dish on the menu, perhaps even in town!
For main courses Darren ordered the simple Meyer Ranch FILET with horseradish sauce which also comes with a gorgeous head of roasted garlic. It's a great steak, but I could not resist the ingenuity of the just on the menu "PASTRAMI on RYE" which is a gorgeous presentation of Smoked BEEF CHEEKS with mustard seed slaw, Brazos Valley Gouda and a Rye crumble on top. It was, as Texas is, a large but amazingly exciting and tasty portion loaded with flavors that impressed and filled my palate; Darren agreed. I chose the Emilio Moro 2010 Tempranillo from Ribera de Duero in Spain which was a perfect pairing as well, recommended by the sommelier.
We bypassed dessert to head to the opera and still more people were approaching with praise. How nice to have a great meal and be here at this superb festival with a very special friend.