Signs of Civilization
Is there anything more agonizing than dating? If you younglings think I’m talking about your pimply dramas, fuggetaboutit. I’m referring to the cold, cruel world of being a food-addicted, neurotic writer on the wrong side of the big 3-0 whose idea of dressing up means putting on sweat pants without holes in them. But I’ve been hitting the snooze button on my biological alarm clock too often. So, a few nights ago, I got gussied up and met my potential Chow, Mate in the outer reaches of Fort Worth’s McSprawl, where I found true love — and I’m not referring to my date (well, not yet, anyway).
A few months back, I mischaracterized north Fort Worth, near Keller, as a “barren culinary landscape” (Bacon Burgers, July 6, 2011). As it turns out, I just hadn’t spent enough time exploring that part of the Fort. I’m not suggesting that North Beach Street is the new Avenue des Champs-Élysées, but the area is developing at an impressive rate. My new favorite spot in that neck of the woods is Two Brothers Bistro, an eclectic Greek/Cajun restaurant. Fortunately for me, there’s enough great food on Two Brothers’ menu to wash the taste of crow out of my mouth. Acting, for once, like a civilized adult, I successfully fought the urge to plant my face in the plate. (I’m going to invent one of those bracelets — like the WWJD — to remind myself to chew.)
Two Brothers, like everything in the North, is set in a strip mall. But it boasts a huge bay window, and the sleek décor was elegant enough to make me forget there was a tanning salon as well as an esthetician in the same shopping center. The atmosphere is unpretentious but unmistakably upscale. The menu is kind of all over the place — featuring classic Greek, Cajun, and steakhouse fare — but everything was well-prepared and flavorful.
We decided on a sampler of four appetizers ($16) of dolmathes, spanakopita, hummus, and tabouli. My date had never eaten at a Greek restaurant, so I felt very cool and worldly describing the various dishes. The highlights were the fresh, moist dolmathes, served in a pool of zesty lemon and cream sauce, and the delicate, flaky spanakopita, a layered spinach pie that crumbled on the fork like a light quiche.
As we were ordering, our adorable server (one of the owners, as I later found out) actually encouraged us not to fill up on the appetizers. I figured he was either underestimating how much food I could put away or trying to subtly suggest that I had the glare of a bird of prey about to swoop down on some carrot-noshing rabbit (I get that look sometimes). As it turns out, he was just really enthusiastic about our entrée choices — as he should have been.
The problem with doing double duty as food columnist/date was that I didn’t feel comfortable telling my companion what to order. The potential beloved requested extra time to decide, so I ordered first. Result: we both ended up ordering fish. My grilled Norwegian salmon ($17) was oily, flaky, and downright luxurious. Its honey Dijon mustard sauce added a little sweetness, which provided a nice offset for the garlicky julienned veggies and aromatic basmati rice pilaf. The components worked harmoniously, and the presentation was stunning and meticulous. The tilapia ($16), served with a French country-style Provencal sauce, was more subtle in its flavor but equally successful. The sauce’s browned-butter base brought out the natural sweetness of the generously portioned fillet.
The date went pretty well, and we’ll be seeing each other again. I must have disguised my bestial table manners — that or my date was cool about sharing a meal with a wild animal. Regardless, if you want to really impress someone, Two Brothers Bistro is the way go — but be sure to wear your nice sweat pants.
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