A new Italian restaurant recently opened in Sundance Square, and even if the joint served SpaghettiOs for the time being, local foodies probably wouldn’t mind; not because Fort Worth palates are sub-par, but after waiting about a year for Ferré Ristorante e Bar to open, we’d choke down just about anything to once again be allowed to enjoy the charming space in which the Tuscan bistro sits.
The building formerly housed Angeluna, and until closing a little more than a year ago, the Mediterranean eatery was darn near the prettiest spot in town, with paintings of angels by local artists all over the walls, fantastically subdued natural light, and a nice view of Bass Performance Hall across the street. And the cuisine was out of this world too.
The new tenant is the second Ferré: The other, the original, is in Dallas and, by all accounts, is still thriving. At the Fort Worth location, the service is friendly, knowledgeable, and quick, and the no-frills food, an array of traditional Italian fare, is good to excellent. And it’s much less expensive than Angeluna’s.
A solid starter at $10, the risotto fritti — four deep-fried balls infused with truffle oil — had a puffy, creamy consistency and a decadent, buttery flavor. The fried calamari was serviceable, but the salads more than made up for the lukewarm squid. The verdura (greens, walnuts, goat cheese, pears) held its own against the normally overpowering balsamic vinaigrette dressing, and the Indiva e pancetta, with watercress, pancetta, and gorgonzola, delivered a nice balance of saltiness from the soft Italian bacon, and sweetness from the cheese.
The manzo pizza (grilled kobe steak, leafy greens) had a nice, subtle, wood-fired taste, mainly because of the lean crust and smoky blue cheese. It was also big enough that a party of four could snag a couple of slices each. The gnocchi e ricotta was another no-nonsense, effective dish. The shaved fennel tied the sausage, tomatoes, and pesto cream together perfectly, and the whole thing was substantial without being too dense. Or at least it didn’t taste that way — who knows how many zillion calories it may have held. Speaking of heavy, the Arragosta pasta dish required a strong constitution. Albeit smooth and mouth-watering, lobster in carbonara sauce in general doesn’t exactly make for the lightest entrée.
The anitra con le prugne was the highlight of the experience: braised duck legs cooked with prunes, peppers, and squash purée. The meal looked like a sloppy brown mess, but the succulent, sweet meat slid right off the bone and definitely redeemed the lackluster presentation.
Another plus for Ferré is that the space looks nothing like it did in its former incarnation. Instead of joining the bar with the dining room like Angeluna, the new restaurant separates the two, and instead of Angeluna’s nearly all-white hue, which complemented the angel theme but could be a little overbearing, Ferré opts for chestnut wood and teak wood, giving the space an intimate, warm, early-evening feel, even in the middle of a sunshiny afternoon.
It ties together the whole rustic theme and also serves a purpose: Ferré isn’t Angeluna, but it is as inviting.
Ferré Ristorante e Bar
Risotto fritti $10
Calamari fritti $11
Verdura (salad) $7
Indiva e pancetta (salad) $8
Manzo pizza $13
Gnocchi e ricotta $13
Anitra con le prugne $19