If the thought of a new gastropub in the West 7th Street corridor fills you with nothing more than a vague sense of fatigue, you are certainly not alone. You might be understandably suspicious of tired terms like “trendsetting spirit” and “mixology program,” conjuring a phantasmagoria of focus groups and demographic analysts gunning straight for your wallet. Mash’d, with its moonshine-infused menu threatening to elevate hillbilly “cuisine” to the level of contemporary Americana, seems to have all the ingredients for one more forgettable conceptualized-to-death disaster.
But, boy-howdy, would you be wrong. Though the moonshine theme is omnipresent, its effect is understated. There are no possums or polecats on the menu, just an eclectic mix of traditional standards (wings, ribs, fried chicken) and fusion favorites such as charred shishito peppers and bulgogi tacos. Of course, Mash’d is loaded with moonshine. The back of the menu is devoted to over-the-top cocktail concoctions that take non-illicit, off-the-shelf corn-mash spirits everywhere they might ever want to go. Mash’d also has a respectable selection of wines and draft beers.
The restaurant itself is cool, shady, and inviting. A generous patio abuts an indoor/outdoor bar with glass garage doors to accommodate the seasons. The interior is casual and contemporary, with high ceilings and comfortable seating. (Parking at West 7th is no longer a monumental pain in the ass, but if you expect your visit to take more than two hours, you will want to bring your ticket with you for validation.)
My guest and I arrived around 6 p.m. at the start of a busy holiday weekend. Happy hour was in full swing, but the hostess seated us promptly. The service was cheerful and attentive, never pushy. Our server was knowledgeable and happy to answer our questions. For a restaurant open only a few weeks, the level of competency was impressive.
Based on our server’s recommendation, the Pot of Goat featured local goat cheese baked with pink peppercorns and mixed berry jalapeño marmalade. Swirl it together until pink and sop it up with crostini, and it’s a great starter to share with anyone who doesn’t mind you double-dipping.
The shepherd’s pie was nicely seasoned, but my guest and I agreed it was a bit greasy for a summer evening. The ground beef was assertive, with plenty of black and cayenne pepper, but the top crust of mashed potatoes didn’t crust and the bottom crust of puff pastry didn’t puff. We regretted not ordering the house-brined fried chicken dinner as recommended by our server, whose judgment we found in all other respects to be sound.
The bulgogi tacos made with Akaushi beef were much better. If you’ve never tried Akaushi (which Mash’d also uses for its burgers), these Asian-flavored soft tacos would make for a perfect introduction –– they are well-worth a visit to Mash’d on their own. This Akaushi’s almost buttery flavor paired perfectly with the house-made relish of onions and jalapeños. The side of lemon rice was fine, but you might want to skip it to save room for dessert.
The dessert menu is small, but everything we tried was excellent. The scotch cake was a layered olive oil cake with a butterscotch filling. Made in-house and topped with fresh fruit compote, the cake was big enough to share –– but you probably won’t want to once you taste the scotch.
The chocolate pot de crème was a chilled bowl of dark chocolate and hazelnut butter that tasted like Godiva bought out Nutella. It was topped with chopped pistachios and a whipped cream kissed with Firefly moonshine. Our server thoughtfully brought out two spoons with each dessert.
If there’s a downside to Mash’d, it would be that there are way too many TVs in the dining room. Across one scrolled what appeared to be a live Twitter feed connecting telepathically with diners at the original Mash’d, in Frisco. Some Fort Worth diners would consider this something of a faux pas.
2948 Crockett St, FW. 817-882-6723. 4-10pm Sun, 4-11pm Mon-Thur, 4pm-close Fri-Sat. Reservations and major credit cards accepted.
Pot of Goat $9.95
Shepherd’s pie $13.95
Bulgogi taco $13.95
Scotch cake $7.95