R Bar & Grill: Your Destination

Located in the Arlington Hilton, chef Michael West’s baby is elegant and tasty.
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Posted July 16, 2014 by LAURIE JAMES in Eats
Along with a Bee’s Knees signature cocktail, R Bar & Grill offers a caesar salad with fried green tomatoes. Lee ChastainAlong with a Bee’s Knees signature cocktail, R Bar & Grill offers a caesar salad with fried green tomatoes. Lee Chastain

Over the years, the Arlington Hilton Hotel has been home to several ground-level bars. Most of them, including the late, not-too-lamented September’s Lounge, were known more for cocktails and hookups than food. Enter: baby-faced Britain-born Michael West. The chef has helped transform the mostly bar setting into R Bar and Grill, with a menu heavy on fresh, local (or at least regional) ingredients.

For starters, the plantain and yucca chips with the housemade salsa was a nice change from plain corn chips. (Be warned: When a server asked a guest and me if we wanted chips and salsa as we studied the menu, she neglected to mention the $4 price tag.) The crispy chips were kissed by the delicious house grill seasoning, and the spicy salsa recipe reportedly comes from the home kitchen of one of the cooks.

The elotes, another appetizer, weren’t served traditionally as grilled corn on the cob. The corn was spiced, grilled, and then cut off the cob into a bowl with crema, lime, and a little chile powder, with cojita cheese sprinkled on top. The dish was therefore a lot easier to eat than grilled corn on a stick, and the chile-and-lime mixture was delightful.

There are all kinds of tapas-like eats at R Bar, including a bahn mi sandwich, street tacos, and wood-fired pizza. Our server recommended the Texas redfish, grilled and served with brussels sprouts, a chimichurri sauce, and cannellini bean succotash. The perfectly cooked fish had a flavorful char on the outside courtesy of the grill spice, and the brussels sprouts were wonderful dipped in the spicy chimichurri. However, the mixed bean succotash mostly remained on the plate –– it wasn’t inedible, but it wasn’t that great.

On the opposite end of the flavor spectrum, the Cowboy rib-eye was a giant cut of nicely marbled beef, almost fork-tender and ridiculously juicy. There wasn’t any steak sauce at the table, but the beef was tasty with just the grill seasoning. The unfussy, classic presentation was actually a little surprising, considering that the restaurant is not a steakhouse and considering the dearth of Arlington restaurants that make a really great steak. The beef came with a scrumptious fist-sized order of beer-battered onion rings.

Because my dining partner and I weren’t sure of the size of the sides that came with our dinners, we each picked a salad. We soon discovered they’re almost meals in themselves. The BLTx is Chef West’s take on the classic wedge, with some yummy bacon and grape tomatoes along with the pungent blue cheese. The caesar came with four large slices of fried green tomatoes standing in for the croutons. Perfectly cooked so the breading was crisp but the insides somewhat solid, the tomatoes sat off to the side of the plate so as not to wilt the rest of the salad. The garlicky, slightly spicy dressing was a pleasing change of pace.

R Bar offers only a few desserts. The chocolate pie arrived parfait style, with layers of luscious chocolate cream filling, homemade whipped cream, and a crunchy graham cracker-style crust. The filling and whipped cream were excellent with or without the crust.

Of course you could skip dessert entirely for a craft cocktail. Although R Bar’s cocktail menu isn’t as extensive as, say, Bird Café’s, R’s “tailored” drinks list includes some tantalizing items, such as a Bee’s Knees: Bombay Sapphire gin, lemon soda, and honey.

With a few notable exceptions (including Olenjack’s Grille and Cacharel), Arlington is short on restaurants with style. My hometown is even shorter on places that serve a great steak and source ingredients locally.

 

 

R Bar & Grill

2401 E Lamar Blvd, Arlington. 817-640-4711. 11am-11pm Sun-Thu, 11am-2am Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.

Elotes …………………………………………………………..   $6

BLTx salad…………………………………………………….   $7

Cowboy rib-eye ……………………………………………. $26

Chocolate pie ………………………………………………..   $6

Bee’s Knees cocktail ………………………………………   $7

 


3 Comments


  1.  
    Marcie H

    Thanks for telling us about this place. It is true that Arlington seems like a place with few restaurants “with style” but you have profiled some interesting ethnic, lunch places and “Ma and Pa” cafes which have good food at affordable prices. The effort shows. I am beginning to find Ft. Worth a little too expensive for moderate quality meals, these days.




  2.  
    skeptic

    Go to “Division Street Diner-”- best kept secret in town!




  3.  
    Tanisha Wright

    The redfish is not grilled it’s pan seared. And there are no mixed beans. And you get five croutons not four. I have ate there plenty of times. And i order redfish all the time. Every time i eat there i get the redfish i learned from the waitress one of the cooks call himself the redfish king. When he cooks it i swear it the best. I have ate it when other cook it good. But when he cook it season very well. My boyfriend like the Cooper street tacos and Kobe burger.





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