Stirr, 3028 Crockett St, FW. 817-770-0947. 10am-12am Sun, 11am-12am Mon-Wed, 11am-12am Thu-Fri, 10am-2am Sat. All major credit cards accepted.
Stirr’s second North Texas location (the original’s in Deep Ellum) landed in the coveted two-story corner spot on Crockett Street and University Drive vacated by Kona Grill earlier this year. Kona survived an admirable five years in the food and lifestyle complex with a reputation for churning and burning restaurants. Like its predecessor, Stirr also offers a menu that’s wildly eclectic, and the average person would be forgiven if she believed that nothing substantial had changed but the signage.
The pricing at Stirr also varies from really reasonable to grossly expensive. Appetizers hover around the $13 range, and dinner can average over $30 for one. The ale fondue ($11) from the “shareables” menu did serve three generously. And there was some scraping of the cute little cast-iron skillet to reach the last of the sumptuous, perfectly salty, beer-kissed melted pot of smoky gouda and cream cheese served with two-inch chewy pretzel bites.
Also from the appetizer men, the ahi tuna tartare was a perfect tiny tower plated with impeccably fresh tuna, spicy mango pico, and creamy avocado. The peanut ponzu and Sriracha mayo added depth and spice to the fish and sweet-tart mango. I’m not sure I’d classify this as a “shareable,” because one diner at my table of three threatened to fork anyone who came near her app.
There are a couple of lunch items that were well-priced, including the brisket-stuffed baked potato and the Power Lunch, half a sandwich with a choice of salad or soup. The grown-up grilled cheese, with a smattering of ham, a few pieces of sweet pear, and melted gruyere cheese, was absolutely on point. The buttered sourdough bread was reminiscent of Texas toast, and although we wished for more salty ham and sweet pear, the richness of the cheese on buttery bread was sublime. The perfect accompaniment to grilled cheese: The tomato-basil bisque, a beautifully balanced take on tomato soup that was fragrant and comforting, saw three grown women dunking bits of the sandwich into the soup like toddlers.
The brisket within the massive baked potato was a pleasant surprise. The red rim around the edges and the smoky flavor of the meat tasted moist and tender, with just enough of it to balance all the potato’s trimmings – sour cream, butter, bacon, and smoked cheddar.
Sides included truffle-infused Kennebec shoestring fries, which arrived presented in a little silver cone. The appetizer smelled strongly of the earthy truffle but tasted mostly of salt. There was nothing wrong with the crispy fries, but I was hoping for something more truffle-y. The I’ll Melt with You mac ’n’ cheese was unforgivably bland – the kick from the alleged poblano pepper in the creamy cheese sauce never materialized. This would be a great dish for the kids’ menu.
The drink prices were horrendously expensive, even given the trendy area. The Thyme for Change – housemade blueberry simple syrup, lemon, and gin – was undeniably as cool and tasty as it was striking. The lower-cal Straight to Health with fresh lime, tequila, and a cutesy sidecar of Topo Chico was exceptionally refreshing. Had we dined three hours later, the cocktails and tuna appetizer would have been half-price, bringing the deal to well within a normal working budget.
I did appreciate Stirr’s laid-back vibe and pleasant service. And I love the upstairs bar/enclosed patio.
Ale fondue $11
Ahi tuna tartare $15
Brisket-stuffed potato $10
Power Lunch $9.99
Kennebec fries $5
I’ll Melt with You mac ’n’ cheese $7
Seasonal cheesecake $12
Straight to Health $15
Thyme for Change $12