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There’s a lot to love about Crockett Hall. Photo courtesy of Facebook.com

I never went to the old Food Hall at Crockett Row, even though this publication has written about it on several occasions. Therefore, I can’t compare the newly revamped version of the West 7th venue, now simply called Crockett Hall, to its former self. I will say that the current place, which opened this past March, is like a superior version of a mall food court, having booze, large-screen TVs, and shops outside the vast dining space. It will be a great place to gather and watch the big game once the current pandemic comes under control, though you’ll have to ask a vaccine researcher when that’ll be. Crockett Hall’s 15 food stands make it a nice place to grab whatever you might be in the mood for.

What has changed? With a few exceptions, most of the eateries within the venue are new to the place. They’re also all under the same management, so they’re no longer competing for your attention, taking the pressure off you when you’re choosing whether you’re in the mood for burgers, pasta, or something else. Also, the entire place has a liquor license, so if you want wine with your pizza or beer with your barbecue, you can order those at the same counter instead of having to take your food over to a bar and place your drink order. The biggest change is probably the price point, as all the dishes are now between $9-15, competitive with most mall food courts.

The actual food, on the other hand, tends to be a cut above. Clayton’s Grill has a sinus-clearing South Texas burger with jalapeños and habaneros, but I was more impressed with their San Antonio Crunch burger, so named because it sports a slice of cheese deep fried in a crust of crushed Flamin’ Hot Doritos. I’m not sure I’m a fan of the taste of Doritos in a burger, but even with the fried cheese, the sandwich was satisfying without making me feel stuffed. On the other hand, portion size was a problem with the meatball parmesan I had at Joey’s Hot-or-Cold Sandwiches. It came in an unusual round shape and was loaded with more cheese than any extra-cheese pizza I’ve ever had. This wasn’t exactly to my taste, though I did find the cheese helped with the structural integrity of the sandwich as I took my time finishing it. The focaccia-like bread was flavored with poppy and sesame seeds instead of the traditional rosemary, which helped.

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To give my arteries a break, I had a classic ahi tuna poke bowl at Aina Poke Co., one of the holdovers from the old business. The soy dressing was drizzled over both the greens and the rice served on either side of the fish, which was its own pleasing touch beside the decadent but healthy fatty tuna. I had two perfectly lovely pasta dishes at different places. The fettuccine Alfredo from Piccola Italia was not at all watery or powdery but luscious and brightened with sprigs of parsley. (You’ve likely had bad Alfredo from a school cafeteria, and it’s not fun.) The seafood mac ’n’ cheese from Cheeseapalooza could have used a thicker cheese sauce but more than made up for it with its complement of lobster, shrimp, and crawfish. The portions of both are bigger than they look, and neither would have been out of place at a restaurant with linen tablecloths.

My chicken and mushroom pot pie at Polly’s Pot Pies had a fine filling, but the show was stolen by the sumptuously flaky crust. The accompanying Caesar salad had real parmesan cheese grated over the top, not a necessary thing for a side dish but a good one nonetheless. The only outright disappointment I had at the hall was the sausage plate at Not Just Q. The links have jalapeño and cheddar cheese in them, and I’ve never cared for cheese inside sausage. This didn’t win me over, with the cheese giving the meat a strange, grainy texture.

I was gratified to find that the triple chocolate cheesecake at Val’s Cheesecakes was not overpoweringly sweet the way I find so much cheesecake. Dialing back the sugar allowed the powerful chocolate flavor to come through. If you prefer to drink your dessert, the Q Old Fashion I ordered from the bar had flavors of smoke, maple, and orange playing around the bourbon in a pleasing manner.

Crockett Hall is scheduled to bring in additional places for shawarma, gourmet popcorn, and Mexican food next month as well. Right now, the pandemic means that the food stands are taking only card payments, though the interior is so big that I wouldn’t worry too much about eating indoors. I dream of better days ahead, when I can sit at the bar or in one of the comfy chairs that Crockett Hall has off to the side and relax in disease-free worry.

Crockett Hall

3000 Crockett St, FW. 11am-8pm Sun-Thu, 11am-9pm Fri-Sat. All major credit cards accepted

Crockett Hall

Meatball parmesan (Joey’s Sandwiches) $9.50

San Antonio Crunch burger (Clayton’s Grill) $9.50

Classic ahi plate (Aina Poke Co.) $12.95

Sausage plate (Not Just Q) $13

Triple chocolate cheesecake (Val’s Cheesecakes) $6

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