I am back in Ft. Worth, Texas again for my almost annual jaunt here for the superb Ft. Worth Opera Festival (this year Dog Days, Hamlet, Traviata and workshops on 8 new short operas) and since I loved the new Bird Café so much last year I returned again to the adorable spot just across the street from Bass Hall (opera house). This time I was escorted upstairs on arrival to the quieter 2nd floor, called the Rookery, where I was the only person at 540pm, but it filled up within an hour. I had not noticed the bird pictures and paintings on the walls last year and now had a huge one over my table of an adorable scarecrow, with a dead crow hanging from it. The Indian music was nice and later it turned to a Caribbean lilt (with bird sounds). The floor had several Eastern carpets as well as a large fireplace at one end and long narrow windows giving a very airy and light feel.
I perused the menu of small plates, none of which is small, and decided on 3 choices. My server Nick guided me first to the Bird Green Salad which is a wondrous mix of greens, avocado, broccoli, pistachios, sunflower seed and sprouts and feta cheese with a superb Balsamic Tarragon dressing. I enjoyed a split of Le Grande Courtage Brut Rose sparkling from Nuit St. Georges in Burgundy which was dry and refreshing and lasted through my next course, the awesome Texas Vintage Steak Tartare. I'm not sure what vintage it was, but the delicious meat mixed with mustard, capers, shallots and seasonings sat on several pieces of slightly toasted pumpernickel bread (with raisins, which I did not care for with the meat) and had a gorgeous raw quail egg on top just cracked open at the very top, so the egg oozed out when you turned it over onto the meat. Fried Crispy Shallots were a superb crispy touch on top as well.
I have only one thing (other than the raisins in the bread) that I dislike here and it is the large white paper sheets on the table instead of cloths; I would rather just have the table top.
For my main course I ordered a superb glass of Aviary Chardonnay 2012 from Napa that had gorgeous legs in the large Spiegelau crystal glass, but was served way too cold to enjoy all the flavors. I warmed it up in my hands and it was the ideal temperature when my Crisp Sweetbreads arrived with Tennessee Sorghum and Fire Glazed Cider. These two sauces were most novel and the antithesis of each other on opposite sides of the row of crunchy crispy perfectly battered and fried sweetbreads. The glaze was slightly sweet and honey-like while the sorghum was spicy and really just the right touch to the awesome little glands tender as could be and lightly sprinkled with some sea salt (which is used well in most of the dishes here, witness the tartare).
I skipped dessert as I remembered it was not too good the year before, and enjoyed a huge pot of their superb French press coffee before heading across the street to the opera. I love coming to Ft. Worth for the opera, to eat and always to bump into so many friends.