Chompin’ at the Bite
In the wake of Fort Worth’s booming restaurant scene, it’s to be expected that some restaurants will fail. Over the past four years, the prime corner space at No. 153 in the 2600 block of Montgomery Plaza has turned over three times: first as Mac’s Bar and Grill, then Monte’s Corner, and then Deluxe Bar and Grill. There are plenty of inexpensive and chain eateries in Montgomery Plaza, but so far, with all due respect to Gloria’s, there hasn’t been a casually elegant restaurant that’s survived.
Enter: Chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin and Bite City Grill. Chef Eddy has worked all over the world, most recently in Dallas. Bite is the James Beard-featured chef’s newest baby. “We know there were some other places here before us, but we can only control what we do,” he said via e-mail. “ ‘I do what I love, and I love what I do’ has always been my success.”
The Thai chef’s all over the map when it comes to what influences the menu. The one thing all the plates have in common is exquisite attention to detail in the presentation and flavors with a tendency toward mash-ups that are original and mostly delicious.
The lemongrass coconut clam appetizer was plainly Thai inspired, with basil and lemongrass in a coconut broth. But the dish took a little side tour to the European continent with the addition of some Spanish chorizo cubes. The clams were a spectacular success, although we wished we’d had a little more of the homemade baby baguettes to dip into the slightly spicy, lemony broth.
Sometimes the culinary adventure doesn’t work quite as well, and that was the case with the soy-barbecue shrimp and blue cheese coleslaw. The shrimp were cooked perfectly, and the mild soy-barbecue glaze was nice, but something about the coleslaw and the blue cheese chunks just didn’t mesh.
Bite City offers only nine entrées, each paired with an appropriate starch or veggie. The prices are below many of the other small plates with the exception of some exotica like the diver-scallop risotto. Three golf ball-sized scallops, cooked barely past medium rare, came with a lemongrass risotto spiked with delicate herbs and parmigiano-reggiano cheese. The light, barely seasoned bivalves matched well with the creamy, cheesy risotto, which provided a little texture and salty flavor.
The grilled salmon truffle was also excellent, with soft, savory polenta blanketed by a subtle miso truffle cream sauce, mushrooms, and cubed squash. The salmon was cooked perfectly and garnished with a little of the skin, which was fried crisp.
By comparison, the seared Long Island duck was just not as good as the other two entrées, although “average” here is better than “best” at many other restaurants. The duck was served medium rare, atop a parsnip-and-cauliflower purée that didn’t add much flavor. Fortunately, the duck was also accompanied by a delicious blackberry-and-raisin demi-glace, some broccolini, and wilted spinach.
Bite has a cutesy cocktail menu (the handcrafted drinks are named for the signs of the zodiac) and a hefty wine selection. But there were only a handful of desserts, of which the winner, hands down, was the sorbet trio –– lemongrass, mango, and cabernet, all plainly house-made and each better than the last. The lemongrass was more savory-sweet than tart. The mango was basically just puréed fruit, simple and flavorful, and the cab was an interesting combination of plummy fruit and spice.
Bite City Grill is now open for lunch, with soups, salads, and sandwiches in place of the entrées. Early or late, though, diners will be able to enjoy Bite’s other spectacular change — in décor. Half the space is decked out in cozy, chic semicircular booths and banquettes in soothing neutral tones. The back half of the restaurant features a giant bar, large-screen televisions, cocktail tables, and sleek black couches.
Bite City Grill
2600 W 7th St, Ste 153, FW. 817-877-3888. 11am-10pm Sun-Thu, 10am-11pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Lemongrass coconut clams …….. $13
Soy-barbecue shrimp ……………… $8
Diver scallop risotto ………………… $24
Grilled salmon truffle ………………. $19
Seared Long Island duck …………. $24
Sorbet trio ……………………………… $8