Capacitor in Flux

The Science Lab Bar & Grille is still a work in progress.
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Posted November 13, 2013 by STEVE STEWARD photos by Lee Chastain in Eats
The Lab Rack, a flight of shots, is served in a smoking beaker.The Lab Rack, a flight of shots, is served in a smoking beaker.

Back in October, The Food Network’s restaurant rehab/rebranding show On the Rocks visited ailing TCU bar and grill XII (originally Whiskey XII, later XII Whiskey), making it over from a cavernous, purple-painted sports bar into a cavernous, wood-paneled bar and grill themed around a fake periodic table. Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it. Unfortunately, the food isn’t one.

OK, that’s not entirely fair, because the Science Lab’s menu has some good to great ideas, and the atmosphere, while not entirely perfect, is a dramatic improvement upon its predecessor. Where XII’s wall-to-wall purple-and-televisions aesthetic left a lot to be desired, the Science Lab is now a lot cozier; the wood finish on the walls is a good counterpoint to the picnic tables that serve as primary seating. The walls not covered in wood display a booze-centric periodic table, its hand-painted letters signifying elements like “margarita” and “martini,” both of which are apparently symbolized by “M.” I would’ve liked to have seen beeron or tequilium on the chart, but as the song goes, you can’t always get what you want. This was especially applicable if what you want is a lettuce wrap. Our waiter had to bear the bad news that they were down to the last piece of lettuce –– it had been allocated for the cheeseburger we’d ordered.

Accompanying the chicken-bacon-apple waffle sandwich are Bunsen’s Baked Brisket Mac (right) and loaded Potassium fries.

Accompanying the chicken-bacon-apple waffle sandwich are Bunsen’s Baked Brisket Mac (right) and loaded Potassium fries.

Lettuce shortage notwithstanding, the service at the Lab was great, though the dinner was marred by a somewhat lengthy cook time. After splitting an appetizer combo called The Supercollider (the fried corn nuggets were gooey and heavenly, the fried jalapeños were not, and the less said about the wings the better), my guest and I waited almost 30 minutes for our entrées. Thankfully, our server was diligent in keeping us up to speed and amending the kitchen’s woes as best she could.

Maybe “woes” is too strong a word, but on top of the long wait, the stuff I ordered came out pretty much lukewarm, a bummer, since Bunsen’s Baked Brisket Mac sounded so promising. Served with a perfectly thick and crunchy slice of Texas toast, the Lab’s version of mac ’n’ cheese came topped with pile of shredded pork brisket. The dish was certainly cheesy, and the brisket would’ve been an excellent component if its execution had been any good –– as it was, the pork was pretty dry. This is the kind of simple dish that in its heartiness should be amazing. The Science Lab needs to check its formula and do some more testing.

The Marie Curie Sautéed Veggies amounted to another good idea on paper only. The roasted Brussels sprouts disappointed, lacking the delicate, caramelized sweetness that makes them so delicious when roasted. Instead, they shared the same weird tang of the asparagus (and never mind the cauliflower), and both were ultimately pretty bland. The same could be said about the Einstein with cheese –– for a half-pound burger, the patty looked pretty small, but perhaps that’s because it came out well done. At least the accompanying fries were good.

In lieu of the lettuce wraps, our server suggested the Skewers Von Braun, six lemon-marinated chicken skewers served on a bed of sweet potato strips. When the skewers arrived bedded on nothing but a bare plate, the server explained that in the wake of the show, the menu had gone through a bunch of revisions, with many items still in progress. However, she later returned with a plate of crunchy, freshly fried sweet potatoes.

The Science Lab Bar & Grille has a lot of promise. Its various science-y specialty drinks are sure to captivate cocktail fans, but the food leaves a lot to be desired. Overall, the Science Lab’s edibles need more trials.

 

The Science Lab Bar & Grille

Bunsen’s Baked Brisket Mac ……. $6

Marie Curie Sautéed Veggies …… $6

Einstein w/cheese ………………….. $7


12 Comments


  1.  
    tiffany jackson

    This is all a lie the day they came in a took pics of the food we was still closed he didn’t even taste the food so regretting inghis article is a lie




  2.  
    jeff.prince

    Tiffany, the person who takes the photos is not the same person who dines in the restaurants anonymously and writes the reviews.




  3.  
    Jim

    Are you kidding, that brisket mac and cheese is awesome. Oh and it’s beef not pork. I’m not sure if that’s looks bsd on you or on them, but a FOOD CRITIC should know the dif even if it’s good or bad. Anyhow won’t stop me from going back for some beefy cheesy goodness!!!




  4.  
    adrian

    I must say i dont usally take time to write reviews or comments on restaurants but after reading this article i couldn’t help myself. This review is so wrong to start with and definitly is no where near the many experiences I’ve had at this place like jim above me states the brisket mac and cheese is awsome is no lie! I love this place me and my wife attend atleast 3 to 4 times a week. We know there food is great wont let one critics bad day/opinion keep us from enjoying this place the service is so beyond friendly and welcoming. All i can say is theres a reason why we’re regulars. Word of advice get out there and see for your self you wont b dissapointed! Dispite tha fact that we all have are bad days we know the chef here is great




  5.  
    Elaina

    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”
    “Now called The Science Lab Bar & Grille, the joint has a lot of things going for it.”




  6.  

    Hi Steve and Lee. Thank you for visiting The Science Lab Bar & Grille!

    Sorry to read about your opinion of the food experience, but very happy you believe the overall concept is a potential formula for success! Also, thanks for complimenting the server. I love your pictures, Lee!

    Since there are no lettuce wraps on the new Lab menu and there were none on the XII menu :) I’m not sure about that comment. But we certainly get your point… work on the kitchen. You got it! As far as design, the concept is just that… an idea. We can take it and run. I really like your idea! Tequilium. Beeron. What do you think about Jageronium? Now my brain is on that for the rest of the eve!

    Please visit another time as we get that cook trained. He is brand new. Regardless, it’s a poor excuse for what you experienced — and that’s on me. Your article alone has them on their toes in the back! We are committed to making sure everyone experiences something worth returning for again and again at TSL. Give us another (test tube) shot.

    The show premieres Sunday. I’m not sure when our episode airs, but I hope you appreciate their version of our story. Cheers!




  7.  
    Chow Friend

    Alright…I have to call bullsh on the comments above.

    I was one of the reviewers and let me say that Steve actually went easy on the place.

    I will agree that the place has potential. It’s a nice room…with possibilities of a good vibe, which maybe some background music would be nice to take away from awkwardness of being the only ones there.

    The service was very good even considering we were literally the only ones in the joint. The waitress was as friendly and helpful as possible, but it’s apparent the owners don’t set the employees up for success.

    As for the food…I will say it was one of the worst meals I’ve had in years. When I can barely finish half of a cheeseburger, you know something is wrong. The vegetables had some kind of crazy chemical taste to them. Brisket on the mac n cheese was definitely of the frozen variety and in some kind of ball of meat in the middle of the plate.

    You’re right, it wasn’t lettuce wraps…it was actually a salad that we ordered, one of 3 or 4 from the salad section on the menu. How do you not have lettuce when you have a salad section on your menu?

    I normally wouldn’t comment on a story like this, but after reading 7 comments on a story that hasn’t even made it to newstands yet(the previous 9 eats features have a whopping TWO comments combined), it’s apparent the owners are trying a little too hard to cover their asses and make the writer look bad.

    Like I said…he could have really ripped the place, but instead chose to give it a chance to grow(He’s a much nicer guy than me). Hopefully, the owners will take these reviews to heart and make a change, otherwise the Science Lab is an experiment gone way wrong. (sorry, I had to)




  8.  
    Alexis

    Wow i must say it seems as if someone pissed in ur coffee ;-) (chow) first off iam a frequent user of fw weekly however ive also visited this place u so passionately criticize pffft and i to have to disagree with whoever it was that reviewed the food. I attended this place and had an immaculate foodservice sorry u or whoever it is couldnt say the same however i do respect the fact that this artcle is soley based off ones opinion but i find it bothersome to see your post saying that “owners are trying to cover there asses” maybe your opinion on that to is wrong. As for me i never read the fort worth weekly from a “stand” as you also add to discredit the peoples opions of this place saying “it hasnt hit the stand yet” regaurdless if on the stand or not it is on the top of fortworth weekly website under eats so lets not assume that the opinions before or as you like to call it “trying to cover asses” are false just cause they dont agree with your ONE TIME VISIT OR OPINION:) im proud to say that i have visted this place more than once and absolutely love there new menu. The foodservice there has always been more than satisfying each time ive visited. i really must add that yes the crowd is alot more wilder and packed during evening’s and weekends boy wen i say it gets packed it gets packed i love the crowd and the waitresses are always friendly. Im sorry fw weekly i have to disagree with yall on this one. Just my honesest opinion as a customer.
    (SORRY I HAD TO) <<<<< SMH




  9.  
    Mike

    I have to agree with all the other comments in that the Mac and cheese is amazing! I don’t know what happened when this food critic ate there, but from my experience the Mac and cheese has always been on point. Definetly try this place if you are in the area





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