Much has been made over Brownstone since it opened last summer in West 7th in Fort Worth. It anchors a conspicuous corner of the flashy new development, and it comes with a celebrity chef whose fame was made A) in Dallas; and B) on TV's Top Chef.
Expectations have run high, and chef Casey Thompson has worked hard to deliver. For the most part, her food has lived up to its billing. She's sourcing local and regional ingredients when possible, and she's doing dressed-up comfort food as well as most folks in town.
Complaints have primarily centered on the setting itself, and particularly on the noise factor: The acoustics are simply bad. You can't hear yourself think during dinner, especially as the dinner hours grows later and people drink more and talker louder. It can be deafening, at which point you don't care what you're eating.
Our experience has been that the attentive service and good food makes up for a lot of discomfort. But for our money, brunch is the best bet at Brownstone. The food reaches stunningly good heights and the noise level stays reasonable.
One of my favorite meals this fall was had recently over Sunday brunch at Brownstone. Deviled eggs were a special that morning, and though it seems like summertime picnic fare, we dove in - and were delighted. The creamed yolk filling had a perfect balance of tang and spice, with a crumble of the house-cured bacon on top.
Grandmother's biscuit pan came in two parts: a cast-iron skillet crowded with three big, fluffy biscuits; and a plate filled with two eggs cooked exactly to order - over easy - and a pair of slightly spicy sausage patties. Alongside was a homemade blueberry preserves that I ate with a spoon.
Unable to resist, we had a side of grits, texture-rich but yet creamy with butter and pepper-jack cheese. The quality of these surpassed anything we've had, thanks to the use of stoneground yellow corn grits from Homestead Gristmill near Waco.
From the lunch part of the menu, we chose the daily fish offering, a gorgeous snapper filet that was topped with Creole-style shrimp and served with a "winter succotash" of root veggies and cauliflower.
We keep talking about what we'll have when we return. Top of the list: the brisket-and-potato hash, topped with an egg and chili hollandaise, along with bread pudding French toast, served with eggs, bacon and fruit jam.
For anyone working off a big Saturday night, Brownstone's brunch drinks will do the trick. There's a bottomless mimosa ($5), made with freshly squeezed OJ, as well as a Wake-Up Call ($8), a blend of Tito's vodka, housemade bloody mix and pickled green beans with spicy seasonings.