M Bistro, 2600 W 7th, Ste 153, FW. 817-338-0066. 10am-9pm Sun, 11am-10pm Mon-Fri, 10am-10pm Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Some meals stick with you.
They might stick with you because you had the good fortune to encounter a chef at the top of his craft, a kitchen at the top of its game, and a menu of classics expertly prepared, with just enough innovative touches to tug and tease the corners of your memory whenever the meal comes to mind.
Or it might stick with you for being so rich, so inappropriately decadent, that you stumble back to the office reeking of truffle oil, lips glazed with melted butter, ready to cash in your 401k if it meant you could go home for a nap and a shower.
A recent visit to Montgomery Plaza’s new M Bistro managed to do both, delighting the palate with forbidden flavors while simultaneously inducing the kind of guilt and shame one typically gets from doing something really fun and naughty.
Chef Steve Mitchell, fixture of the Fort Worth scene, has launched his new project with a kind of culinary defiance, an almost retro embrace of “new” American bistro cuisine that bucks recent trends away from trans-fats and glutinous carbs. Truffle oil and butter are lead players in a cast that features blue cheese, tobacco onions, brioche buns, and garlic toast, lined up like aging Hollywood starlets trying to make a comeback.
We remember them fondly, but we’ve mostly moved on to greener pastures dressed with extra-virgin olive oil and quinoa. Still, Mitchell writes a compelling script, with just enough of that new jazz to warrant one more trip down memory lane.
An appetizer of fried calamari, for instance, was decked out with sautéed onions and jalapeños, fajita style. The tender strips of squid were armored in a breading thick enough to hold its crunch, and the peppers were hot enough to make your hair hurt. A squeeze of lemon completed the sauce – a bath of lemon oil served alongside added nothing but calories.
Instincts balk at lobster bisque in this day and age, particularly for an inland lunch, but the chef’s take was an unexpected pleasure and a bargain to boot. A rich, golden brown stock with a swirl of cream hinted at all those foodie-bits of the lobster we see them eating on the Food Network. The lobster liver – the tamale – was in there somewhere, and it tasted great. Next to the cup of bisque was a stack of garlicky rounds of baguette and a perfect pile of rosy chunks of claw meat to dredge through the soup.
Rational thinkers might have ended their meal there, having taken in more than enough calories already to carry them into the next day – but my guest and I had been charmed enough to order a brace of sandwiches.
The grilled cheese seemed specially designed to short-circuit fitness apps. Brie, provolone, and Texas goat cheese – a combination no one has dared to imagine before – smushed and oozed around sliced green apples and strips of crunchy bacon. The hot, delicious mess was piled between grilled sourdough bread and dwarfed by a pile of (stop me if you need a break) homemade waffle-cut fries, bejeweled with blue cheese crumbles and (of course) more bacon. I would be tempted to describe the portions as “generous” if they were any less lethal.
Compared to the grilled cheese, the Flaming Rooster looked like a diet plate. Instead of too much of three cheeses, it had too much of only one – a pepper jack that served to cement a pile of sweet pickles to a plump grilled chicken breast. A little pico de gallo and a Dijon aioli rounded out the (relatively) modest morsel. A similarly gargantuan pile of potatoes adorned the second sandwich, this time homemade potato chips drizzled liberally with truffle oil and parmesan cheese.
Maybe this is all right up your alley. Maybe you’re the sort of person who can eat like this all the time without having to ask your liver for forgiveness. For the rest of us, M Bistro will, by necessity, be a rare treat – perhaps the sort of thing we’d order up from the warden for our last meal on Earth.
Lobster bisque (cup) $5.50
Grilled cheese sandwich $8.50
Chicken sandwich $9.50