The Shops at Clearfork is like a rich folks’ Field of Dreams. It has everything Fort Worth’s ruling class loves: nice restaurants, tony boutiques, luxury furniture stores, and more. The developers, Simon and Cassco Development Co., plucked away some of the city’s highest-end retailers (Neiman’s, Tesla) from their previous, comparatively plebian locales and gave them a home among their own kind –– like the Jane Goodall for prohibitively expensive retailers.
For those of us on the low-to-middle rungs of the economic strata, there ain’t much to do at the Shops besides maybe catch a movie and go to the Starbucks. (Rich people love chai.)
The closest thing to a bang-for-buck eatery in those extravagant environs might be B&B Butchers & Restaurant (5212 Marathon Av, 817-737-5212). Sure, you can spend $78 on one (extraordinary) piece of meat. But, as I recently discovered, you can also escape without having to hock a vital organ.
In addition to its chic white tablecloth dining rooms, the place also houses a butcher shop where you can get excellent cuts of meat and enjoy an only relatively expensive sandwich.
The small six-table conjoined location trades in nostalgia. The walls and floors are covered in vintage-looking white tile, red-and-white checkered tablecloths, the menu of about 15 sandwiches and housemade sides is printed on rolled-out butcher paper, and the staffers don white aprons and black pillbox hats as though they had been cast in a retrofuturistic sitcom about meat. And just so you don’t forget meat is the star, thick slabs of it surround you, aging in a see-through glass refrigerator.
I’m a sucker for a good egg salad sandwich, and B&B’s version (a compassionately priced $8.50), with lettuce and beaming tomatoes on a fluffy house-baked onion roll, was superbly fresh tasting, creamy, and well seasoned. If that offering was on the messy side, the Pain de Jambon ($11.25) was decidedly uncluttered. A pristine portion of French ham was cloaked with a neat layer of sliced gruyere. A thin dollop of mayo was spread over a hero roll to add some fat and cut the dryness of the bread. The twice-baked potato salad ($3.60), a deconstructed bake potato with bacon and cheese, was decadent and ample. Other sides, crackers, and drinks were available in serve-yourself refrigerators.
The butcher’s shop is a nice place to grab a bite to eat, but B&B’s main campus is geared toward those who prefer the Robin Leach experience. The elegantly appointed dining room is bathed in natural light pouring in from floor-to-ceiling windows. The wood floors, brick walls, comfy banquets that encompass the room, glass-encased wine closet, cursory animal heads, and ornate-looking chandeliers all convey a message of relaxed luxury.
My guest and I started with the appetizer tuna tartare ($19), a modest tower of avocado, cucumbers, and wakame seaweed salad with a bright, acidic ponzu sauce pooling beneath. It would have been a travesty to visit B&B without sampling one of a variety of aged beef we admired at the deli –– 28- and 55-day in-house aged USDA prime, Wagyu, and certified Kobe for those keeping score. The kitchen’s lunch portion of filet medallions ($26) was tender, silken, and cooked a perfect medium rare, and was served with a creamy truffle aioli. The gloriously excessive Butcher Shop Burger ($15) was a kaleidoscopic mammoth of house-ground, perfectly seasoned beef, gooey white cheddar cheese, applewood-smoked bacon, red onions, tomatoes, and mayo –– and clearly was designed with a snake’s unhinged jaw in mind.
You don’t have to be wealthy to enjoy B&B, but it sure would be helpful.