Readers’ choice: Kent & Co. Wines, 1101 W Magnolia Av
Critic’s choice: Kent & Co Wines
Flipping through Kent & Co’s massive wine list is like perusing a phone book full of delectable selections from around the world. The bar offers 260 varieties of vino by the glass, and the prices are reasonable considering the swanky evirons. You can snag a bottle of Rombauer Chardonnay for around $40, have a glass, and take the rest home.
Place to Buy Fresh Fruits and Veggies
Readers’ choice: Central Market
Critic’s choice: Project 44 Farm, 419 Cherokee Lake Ct, Granbury
Margret and Ben Fields grow peppers, lettuce, tomatoes, and other organic produce on three acres of clean, green, blue-sky country in Granbury. But what makes this farm amazing is that the Fieldses give 90 percent of the produce away to food pantries across North Texas. Sure, you can buy plenty of butter crunch lettuce and free-range eggs to take home. But the goal of this nonprofit farm is to feed needy families with produce that’s not normally available to them.
Critic’s choice: Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ, 1700 N Las Vegas Tr
Zone out while driving on Las Vegas Trail, and you just might miss this place fronted by a rustic shack. This former house with warped floors is home to a first-rate barbecue joint. We love the place’s spicy sausage, which is served in plentiful amounts in a snappy casing. Everything else is good here, so it only makes sense that the links are top-notch as well.
Critic’s Top 5:
1.) Revolver Taco Lounge and Campestre Chula Vista are owned by the same people, but the two places have very different vibes. The former is a chic, West 7th lounge, and the latter is an off-the-beaten-path far-Northside gem with the best view in town. Another thing the two places have in common is a dedication to creative, authentic Mexican cuisine made from scratch by honest-to-goodness abuelas. The empire of 3.) Salsa Limón (multiple locations) has expanded to a TCU-area storefront. The place’s kitchen has an unflinching devotion to quality ingredients. The El Capitan taco is a gooey, tender must-try. Speaking of restaurants with new locations, the popular 4.) Taco Heads food trailer (700 W 7th St) has spawned a brick-and-mortar location on the Near Southside. The enormous, booze-soaking tacos taste heavenly at any hour, but they’re especially tasty at 3 a.m. after a long night of drinking. 5.) Juanito’s Taqueria (415 Hemphill St) is the star of Hemphill’s taco corridor, serving traditional Mexican street tacos fast, using fresh ingredients with just the right amount of greasy, spicy, comforting flavor.
Readers’ choice: Shinjuku Station, 711 W Magnolia Av
Critic’s choice: Asia Bowl & Grill, 2400 Lands End Blvd
For sheer, bewildering variety, there’s no beating this unassuming eatery in a strip mall near Ridgmar Mall. Besides the Chinese and Japanese staples (including sushi), this restaurant serves up a plethora of other Asian dishes, ranging from Filipino pancit bihon to Malaysian coconut curry to Vietnamese pho to Indonesian ramen noodles. We wouldn’t be surprised if Indian dishes started popping up on the menu. Diners with a sweet tooth should definitely try the vanilla shrimp, served with pecans and broccoli glazed with honey.
Readers’ choice: Blue Sushi Sake Grill 3131 W 7th St
Critic’s choice: Ume Sushi & Korean BBQ, 4750 Bryant Irvin Rd
This establishment in Cityview doesn’t wear coolness on its sleeve like the aggressively hip Shinjuku Station or the self-consciously upscale Blue Sushi Sake Grill. However, Ume’s rolls are just as good and at prices that won’t break your wallet. Check out the kitchen’s creamy and spicy Sunny Roll or the Wow Roll, which comes with a live fire show. The Korean dining options here are a nice bonus, too.
Readers’ choice: The Great Outdoors Sub Shop, 3204 Camp Bowie Blvd, Ste A
Critic’s choice: East Hampton Sandwich Co., 1605 University Dr
This Dallas-based chain made it to our side of the county line this year, and the people in the TCU area have reaped the benefits. The place’s high-quality sammies range from the classic (ham and Swiss) to the unusual (asparagus and Gruyère). While the $16 lobster roll might be pricy (for non-TCU students), it’s worth the investment.
Readers’ choice: Buffalo Bros, 3015 S University Dr
Critic’s choice: Trinity River Tap House, 2725 W 7th St
The quality of the food at this sports bar can vary somewhat, but there’s no doubt about the kitchen’s ability to do chicken wings right. Its succulent bad boys are fried crispy enough to stand up to even a heavy-duty sauce like buffalo or honey-barbecue, but do yourself a favor and order them as a brunch item when you can experience the pure glory of their crust with waffles and gravy.
Critic’s choice: Blue Cherry, 12400 Timberland Blvd, Keller
There are lots of good places to get fro-yo in Tarrant County, but do any of them offer Korean barbecue as well? You might think not, but that means you haven’t seen this organic coffeehouse that also serves burgers, bagel sandwiches, boba tea, smoothies, and Japanese noodles. Other yogurt places might brag about their range of toppings, but here you can top your yogurt with bulgogi. How can you beat that?
Readers’ choice: Vickery Café, 4120 W Vickery Blvd
Critic’s choice: West Side Café, 7950 Camp Bowie West
The big “Country Cookin’ ” sign out front ain’t lying. If you order the hamburger, fried chicken, Western omelets, mac ’n’ cheese, lemon pie, or any other dish from the wide assortment at West Side Café, you might suspect they’ve kidnapped your grandma and put her to work in the kitchen. And you won’t care because the food is so good.
Readers’ choice: Lucile’s Stateside Bistro, 4700 Camp Bowie Blvd
Critic’s choice: Billy’s Oak Acres BBQ
Billy once limited his chicken-fried steak to certain days of the week, but requests were so frequent that it’s now a daily menu item. The new lack of exclusivity in no way diminishes the demand or desirability of this delectable chunk of deep-fried beef and the tasty sides that go along with it. Throw in the caramel-drizzled banana pudding for dessert, and you’ll have gorged on a spread that would make a condemned man do a jig.
Critic’s choice: Handley Antique Mall and Café, 3129 Handley Dr
When you first enter the antique mall, you won’t see a kolache but you’ll probably smell one. The café is at the back. Follow your nose. Don’t be surprised if you find a table or two filled with blue-collar workingmen. The kolaches at Handley Antiques draw everyone from tenderfoots to blue-haired old ladies to construction workers. While digesting, you might even poke around and find an old treasure or two to take home.
Readers’ choice: Torchy’s Tacos, 928 Northton St
Critic’s choice: Revolver Taco Lounge, 2822 W 7th St
The queso fundido consists of fire-melted cheese with shrimp, poblano pepper, and crispy longaniza served with tortillas, and it’s decadent enough to make you almost feel guilty when devouring it. Almost. The only problem: Revolver Taco is threatening to move to Dallas, taking its queso fundido with it. Will this Best Of award convince them to stay?
Critic’s choice: Original Mexican Eats Café, 4713 Camp Bowie Blvd
The Original has been serving great Mexican food since 1926, and they’ve figured out a thing or two about making bueno salsa rojo. It’s all in the seasoning, folks. Many Mexican restaurants serve a salsa that looks and tastes like watery tomatoes. At the Original, you’ll taste the garlic, salt, chile, onion, and other seasonings that make their recipe numero uno. You don’t survive in this town for 89 years without knowing a thing or three about salsa.
Critic’s choice: Los Paisanos Restaurante Y Taqueria, 1446 N Main St
A recent visit to Los Paisanos shocked a regular patron –– the salsa verde tasted sweet … as if … surely not … someone … added … OMG! Tomatillos! The patron felt sad and betrayed. Paisanos has traditionally made its excellent verde with jalapeños, garlic, and water and shunned the tomatillo that gringos like because it dilutes the zing. Fortunately, the restaurant had merely hired a new cook who wasn’t aware that she was now cooking in a “no tomatillo zone.” Soon the salsa was back to normal, and by “normal,” we mean the best around.
Critic’s choice: Amy’s Restaurant, 1537 N Main St
When you eat at Amy’s, you’re sure of one thing –– you’re getting a genuine, fresh meal. And it’ll be made by a real woman named Amy who makes her dishes from scratch using two genuine hands on a real stove with real pots and pans. Her steaming bowls of menudo should be patented for medicinal purposes.