1650 E Randol Mill Rd, Ste 100, Arlington. 817-769-151. 11am-10pm Sun-Thu, 11am-2am Fri-Sat.
All major credit cards accepted.
In the overstimulating, macrobrew-sponsored, indoor-outdoor fiesta that is Texas Live, Troy’s was meant to be the upscale restaurant – the joint kissed by the patronage of one of our favorite local sports heroes and, more importantly, the franchise not owned by that guy from the Food Network shows. To wit: The website touts the “elevated menu” of some of Troy Aikman’s “personal favorites.” And the price points definitely nudge Troy’s into upmarket territory. The good news is that the bill of fare is interesting. It’s like the United Nations got drunk one night and laid out a bar food menu with flavors from Germany, the Middle East, Mexico, and all over Asia – a cod banh mi shares space with a kimchi-accented Korean burger, poke tuna nachos, a lamb burger, and churros.
On a bar menu, my dining companion generally defaults to wings as the appetizer, and there are three different flavors from which to choose. Unfortunately if you order the nine-piece wings, you are allowed to pick only one flavor. The standard Buffalo wings were meaty and moist, and they packed just the right amount of heat. Nine wings made for a decent-sized appetizer, although the blue cheese dressing was not housemade and left a lot to be desired.
My Korean barbecue burger turned out to be a tastebud-dazzling combo of sweet, soy-heavy bulgogi glaze over a remarkably juicy patty, combined with some not-so-latent spice from the kimchi-coleslaw topping. The server didn’t ask my cooking preference, so it’s lucky I prefer my burgers medium. Between the moist burger and the tangy, juicy slaw, this sandwich turned into a knife-and-fork experience. Upgrade from regular fries to sweet potato fries – the savory spud’s great flavor was courtesy of giant flakes of sea salt on top, and the sweet potatoes complemented the bulgogi sauce.
One nice thing about the menu is that there are several legitimately healthy vegetarian options. The kale and spring green salad looked beautiful, but the kale pieces were cumbersome and hard to eat. Despite needing a knife as well as a fork to eat the field of greens, the flavor of the black currants (a nice upgrade from raisins or craisins), the mellow richness of toasted pine nuts, and the sharp bite of the Cotija cheese paired beautifully with the tart bite of the accompanying vinaigrette dressing.
The tomato, avocado, and Cotija salad, ordered as an accompaniment to the burger, was a case of expectation colliding poorly with reality. The salad turned out to be three tiny avocado slices, three tomato slices, and a sprinkling of the cheese atop a relatively large plate of lettuce. I don’t know why, but I pictured something much more elegant – or at least with a proportionate lettuce-to-good-stuff ratio.
There’s no arguing that Troy’s is pretty. The fancy/rustic interior leads out to several pleasant patio spaces. Parking is free at Texas Live on non-game days. Since both Arlington stadiums were built without full parking (assuming a sell-out), don’t plan on being able to park reasonably close if one or both sports teams are in the house.
Troy’s, and by extension, Texas Live, is primarily a tourist venue. The monopoly of MillerCoors products means that the menu is short on local brew options, and that’s a real shame. Troy’s isn’t taking advantage of the full spectrum of the two Arlington breweries, the Mansfield craft brewers, or even many of Fort Worth’s finest. There are plenty of selections from Revolver here – but the Granbury brewery was swallowed up by MillerCoors’ craft division three years ago, so, go figure. Selections from Legal Draft, Division Brewing, or any other local independent craft brewery would elevate that expensive menu and might actually help visitors capture a hint of Arlington ingenuity buried under the giant, glittery carnival tent.
Korean barbecue burger $14.95
Kale and spring green salad $10.95
Tomato, avocado, and Cotija salad $4.95