Pacific Table is the second local restaurant from Chef Felipe Armenta, who also owns The Tavern Bar & Grill on South Hulen Street. The two menus are similar, featuring the messy roasted artichokes, meticulously cut shoestring fries, and luscious homemade desserts. While the Tavern’s vibe is warm and cozy (the place looks a little like a library), Pacific Table’s light-soaked room calls to mind sand and surf.
The fried calamari with rock shrimp starter was just about perfect. The daintily battered squid (both rings and tentacles) was accompanied by a few sweet onion strings, which added a nice flavor and texture contrast. The traditional garlicky aioli dipping sauce and a sweet-spicy chile sauce were excellent, although we finished the ramekin of aioli first. The chile sauce was just too spicy to overindulge in. One small sour note: The rock shrimp didn’t taste as good as either of the fried goodies.
The second appetizer, the little kale salad, turned out to be a mix of kale and frisée lettuce, with a slightly sweet dressing, some blue cheese bits, and avocado chunks. I was expecting more kale and less regular greens, but it was still tasty.
In Cowtown it shouldn’t be difficult to get a steak cooked like you want it. Pacific Table is one of the few restaurants where the rib-eye, ordered medium, came out warm, pink, and succulently tasty –– the first time. There was no “Oh, that medium sure looks well done” disappointment at the table. Rib-eye tends to be a fatty cut of meat. The generous serving was well-trimmed without a lot of external fat, although it was deliciously marbled on the inside. The beef was grilled with a simple, unfussy rub and probably half a stick of butter, which added a nice caramel crust. The succulent portion was served with shoestring garlic-rosemary potatoes, which were pleasantly salty, with the barest hint of rosemary and a good amount of garlic. And the chef managed the difficult tightrope for texture: The potatoes were both soft and crispy.
The scallop salad turned out to be an impressive mountain of frisée, along with mixed greens, avocado, raisins, slices of apple and jicama, and more kale. Buried beneath the tower of green were four immaculately grilled large scallops that had a perfect brown crust with a moist, translucent inside. The menu indicated the dish was served with a pecan dressing and pecans. What came out were actually peanuts. The change should have been stated on the menu or at least by the server, for reasons of allergies as well as customer preference.
There are only three items on the dessert menu. I was a big fan of the banana cream pie at The Tavern, so I thought the coconut cream pie would be the best bet. The custard had just a hint of coconut, not the fake artificial flavor. And chocolate chips were embedded in the graham cracker crust, giving the pie a surprising taste dimension.
The servers were all incredibly attentive and educated about the menu, which will feature some seasonal changes as fall approaches. The restaurant is tiny: several small tables with a giant bar in the middle. The menu is eclectic: Korean short ribs, trout almondine, and miso-glazed salmon share space with burgers and an oyster po-boy. Working with fresh ingredients (the menu touts chicken “humanely” raised on family farms), Armenta’s weird creativity runs rampant. The man makes a Brussels sprout salad look almost good enough to eat, and the plates are beautifully presented.
1600 S University Dr, Ste 601, FW. 817-887-9995. 9am-9pm Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Fri, 9am-10pm Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Calamari w/rock shrimp …………… $11
Little kale salad ………………………. $5
Scallop salad …………………………. $16
Rib-eye w/garlic rosemary fries .. $29
Coconut cream pie ………………….. $8