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Save room for the crème brulée at Winewood Grill. Photo by Patrick Holden Jr.

Winewood Grill,1265 Main St, Grapevine. 817-421-0200. 11am-9pm Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Thu, 11am-11pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted.

 

While Dallas and Fort Worth have been battling for the title of beer capital of North Texas, Grapevine has quietly become the epicenter of all things wine. The city boasts an annual wine festival, an urban wine trail featuring nine wineries, and a score of restaurants and shops dedicated to connoisseurs of the grape. Winewood Grill is a newish addition to the mix, and the year-old restaurant’s extensive vino list includes entries from South America, Italy, France, and the American West Coast. There are four selections from Texas, included as a nod to the area.

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But the food and atmosphere at Winewood are what make the drive to Grapevine worthwhile. The brunch menu offered a taste of the larger bill of fare, with burgers, salads, and fish, along with the glorious goodness of brunch favorites. As an added bonus: The bar serves up bottomless mimosas or a really tasty $3 Bloody Mary.

The smoked salmon appetizer was a cute take on deconstructed lox and bagels. A generous portion of house-smoked salmon was plated with hard-boiled egg, red onion, capers, and a drizzle of crème fraiche made tart with a bit of citrus. There were slabs of crostini on which to pile your goodies, but those were almost an afterthought. If you’re not a red onion fan, ask for those to be omitted because a lot of the delicious dressing ended up onion-flavored.

Our table of three ordered heavily off the breakfast side of the menu. The butter-poached crab and lobster Benedict was a gorgeous-looking mélange of crab and lobster, spinach, and tomato atop two English muffin halves. The accompanying hollandaise sauce was absolute creamy, lemony magnificence. Because of the strong flavor of chopped red pepper (either in the dish itself or leaking over from the accompanying potato, onion, and pepper hash), I didn’t get the full taste of the tender, butter-poached lobster. But the hollandaise was plate-scrapingly good.

The chicken-fried ribeye took up most of the plate, leaving little room for the accompanying poached eggs and breakfast potatoes. The beef cut was a nice change from the sometimes tougher meat used in CFS. The fried coating didn’t stick well to the surface of the meat and came off in clumps, but the blanket of bacon-kissed gravy glued things back together. That gravy in combination with the over-easy eggs and the meat was a surprisingly satisfying combo.

Shrimp and grits is a brunch favorite, and while the menu disclaims that the four jumbo shrimp were prepared Cajun-style, I was unprepared for the actual level of heat that permeated both the grilled shellfish and the grits. The blackened shrimp were perfectly cooked, but there was no relief from the spicy shrimp atop the highly seasoned grits.

Red pepper-heavy breakfast potatoes accompanied the brunch entrées, along with a ramekin of mixed fruit drizzled with a sweet yogurt and poppy seed dressing. The dainty dish was almost enough to serve as dessert, until a review of the sweets menu convinced us to try the crème brulée, a perfect crunchy caramelized sugar crust topping a thick, luscious vanilla custard that fell somewhere between a mousse and a pot du crème in texture.

Winewood Grill manages to balance cool elegance (thanks to oversized, high booths and a significant amount of natural light) with warm vibrancy (courtesy of fireplaces at each end of the room and the dark wood décor). The height of the booths blocked a lot of the noise, so conversation was easy, and the din of a fairly full restaurant was kept to a minimum. Although the restaurant’s situated in a complex that includes a Mexican restaurant, a Bob’s Steak and Chop House, and a Fireside Pies location, Winewood is not an afterthought destination.

Winewood Grill
Smoked salmon    $13
Butter poached crab & lobster benedict     $14
Chicken-fried ribeye and eggs    $16
Jumbo shrimp and grits    $22
Crème brulée    $7

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