Wood & Grain Bistro, 1424 Airport Fwy, Ste J, Bedford. 682-503-4646. 7am-3pm Sun, 7am-2pm Tue-Fri, and 7am-3 pm Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Fort Worth loves a good breakfast/brunch place. Old school cafes like Ol’ South Pancake House and Montgomery Street Café, along with dozens of taco joints have been slinging early and late desayuno for decades. Of course, chains like Blue Mesa and Snooze, the latter with its decidedly New York City vibe, came in and upped the ante –– weekend brunch served with booze (perhaps to help tolerate the long waits to be seated).
Wood & Grain Bistro’s entry into the Bedford breakfast/lunch/brunch scene a few months ago might seem a little anticlimactic. For starters, there are no mimosas or giant Bloody Marys on offer, but there are biscuits, gravy, and more. The restaurant is owned by the husband-and-wife team of Bee Vang and Nancy Dang, and a lot of love and thought went into the strip-mall eatery.
I generally shy away from a $4 cup of coffee (food writers’ budgets are tight), but the beauty of the order-at-the-counter environment is that you can see somebody’s giant whipped cream-crowned mocha as it’s being prepared, and then, of course, you have to order one, as I did with the Nirvana mocha. The plain coffee is diner-quality stuff that will appeal only to those with iron stomachs. But the ambrosial mocha offered a mellow sweetness, rich with chocolate syrup, caramel sauce, and whole milk. Dessert before breakfast is amazing.
If there is a litmus test to a brunch place, it’s how well the kitchen can prepare Eggs Benedict. Wood & Grain’s traditional Benny was perfectly cooked but could have benefitted from a little more of the tasty, creamy hollandaise sauce. The home-style potatoes were gloriously crispy on the outside and slightly fluffy within. Wood & Grain touts their biscuits, and one of the Bennies is served on a biscuit instead of the traditional English muffin. But my dining companions and I ordered the savory breakfast goodie as a side and found it a little too redolent of rosemary to be paired with the mingled flavors of smoky ham and slightly lemony hollandaise.
Steak and eggs are a truck-stop guilty pleasure but are a little risky to order at a cutesy brunch place, because who orders steak and eggs anywhere but at a diner? But the thin steak proved to be deliciously tender, not the least bit chewy, and seasoned as perfectly as any cut of meat at a good steakhouse. The over-medium eggs were obviously cooked next to the steak and carried over a bit of au jus flavor. The whole dish was crowned with more of the yummy hollandaise.
The kitchen’s short-rib hash was an elevated twist on classic comfort food. The ratio of buttery short-rib meat to hash brown-style spuds and sautéed onions was perfect. The small amount of chopped red pepper provided some nice flavor contrast, and a soft-cooked egg oozing over the crispy-fried top united the entire dish. Someone in the kitchen definitely knows their way around a grill top, which is impressive for a Pintrest-cute place in the Mid-Cities.
The RumChata French toast made with challah bread was a sweet delight. More like a dessert than actual breakfast food, the soft egg bread soaked up the rum-flavored batter perfectly. The entrée arrived covered with powdered sugar and a side of good syrup –– that was almost overkill, and skipping one or the other topping might be wise.
There was a lot of the menu we missed because brunch sounded good –– sandwiches, fried chicken, salads, and salmon. Was I sad that I couldn’t enjoy a giant bacon-and-pepper-and-olive-topped Tito’s Bloody with brunch? A little. Did it matter? Not really. Wood & Grain’s fast-casual, fancy diner-style kitchen definitely provides a great meal without booze, any day of the week.
Wood & Grain Bistro
Nirvana mocha $4.50
Classic Benny $10
Steak and eggs $14
RumChata French toast $10
Short-rib hash $12