The big news in the Fort Worth foodie-verse is that Waters: Bonnell’s Coastal Cuisine (2901 Crockett St, 817-984-1110) is moving out of the West 7th development and headed to Sundance Square. I can’t say I blame the Bonnell decision makers. Imagine moving into a nice house in a developing area and then having to watch greedy developers hand over your neighborhood to frat boys, sorostitutes and Affliction shirt-clad douches one storefront at a time.
The West 7th area is also about to lose the outstanding Revolver Taco Lounge (2822 W 7th St, 817-820-0122). The authentic haute Mexican eatery is moving into the space on Forest Park Boulevard that once housed the beloved Sera Dining & Wine.
I have no doubt that two other restaurant owners are panting with excitement to move their new, slick concepts into the soon-to-be abandoned spaces. But I have a hard time believing they’ll be comparable to the places that left.
Speaking of new restaurants replacing great ones –– it’s not all bad news in that neck of the Fort. Cork & Pig Tavern (2869 Crockett St, 817-759-9280) slid on into the building where AF&B used to be … and where I used to be so happy.
I had something of a psychotic break the first time I revisited the space, which still looks a lot like its former tenant. It was kind of like seeing some other family living in your best friend’s house. I blacked out, and when I came to, I was breathing into an empty brown bag, lying on the ground.
“Is Pamela working the bar? Oh, and what are your oysters today,” I asked the hostess, while hyperventilating and pouring sweat.
Cork & Pig is the fourth restaurant in town by Chef Felipe Armenta, who is also the head spatula-wielder at The Tavern (2755 S Hulen St, 817-923-6200), Pacific Table (1600 S University Dr, Ste 601, 817-887-9995), and Press Café (4801 Edwards Ranch Rd, Ste 105, 817-570-6002). He owns two other iterations of Cork & Pig, one in Odessa and another in San Angelo. The map of Texas is like a game of culinary Monopoly to this guy. That’s not to say he doesn’t deserve to build a sprawling restaurant empire –– he does.
The Armenta menus are never too challenging, but they’re always an amazing mix of upscale comfort foods like deviled eggs and gussied-up chicken sandwiches with trendier dishes that rely on fresh ingredients and perfect execution from the kitchen.
On my recent lunch visit, my guest and I started with the cheddar bacon biscuits ($6) with a jam made from blueberries, cherries, Dublin Dr Pepper, and spiced rum. The biscuits were a little dry and uninspired, but one dollop of that delicious compote changed their complexion in an impressive way.
The ahi tuna burger ($15), with a silken, seared sushi-grade piece of fish topped with a piquant Asian slaw as colorful as a Jackson Pollack painting, plus avocado, served in a buttery brioche bun, was a kaleidoscopic mix of textures and spice. The Napa Valley pizza ($14), a mélange of wild mushrooms, Kalamata olives, kale, mozzarella, and garlic, was a wood-fired masterpiece. The crust crackled with dough bubbles and char marks on the perfectly cooked crust.
It’s going to take me some time to readjust to the Cork & Pig replacing one of my favorites, but at least there’s some hope for West 7th.
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