Everyone knows that familiar quip: "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out." Well, at Witten's Grill & Sports Pub in Hurst, you might first go for the superb pool tables, only to find surprisingly good food "breaking out" of the kitchen.
Before addressing the grub at the 4-month-old Witten's (no relation to Dallas Cowboys star Jason Witten), you can work up an appetite by shooting a game or three of pool.
The four professional-size Brunswick tables ($10,000 each) allow the cue ball to travel so swiftly down the table that your inner hustler, Fast Eddie Felson, is bound to come out.
By the time you've smacked that eight ball into the corner pocket and wandered past Witten's signature collection of 11 autographed pro-athlete jerseys hanging on the wall (Nolan Ryan's No. 34 is there, with career stats -- 324 wins, 5,714 strikeouts, seven no-hitters -- written on it with a Sharpie), Jenny's signature egg rolls (two for $3.49; four for $5.99) will have arrived at your table.
Who would have guessed that a sports pub in a sleepy Hurst shopping strip would produce some of the most memorable egg rolls recently sampled? A perfectly greaseless cylinder, this roll bursts with a crunchy bundle of rice noodles, crisp cabbage, shredded carrots and peanuts, all kick-started into the upper deck by a smoky, sweet-sour Asian dipping sauce.
Witten's wings (five for $4.99 through 20 for $17.99) may be predictable in their presentation, flanked by the obligatory carrot and celery sticks and round dish of ranch dressing, but there is nothing like flawless execution to make one overlook cliché.
These wings are unusually plump and succulent, and pack all variations of tang and zing thanks to their Buffalo, Cajun and Asian coatings.
Meanwhile, the "handmade" mozzarella sticks ($5.99) actually play more like assertive, breaded wafers with the welcome taste of eggplant Parmesan. Each one is like a grease-free veggie meal.
Of the four entrees sampled, Jenny's peanut butter-glazed chicken ($8.99) is the most daring in evoking the earthy, peanut-sauce taste common to most satays -- only this chicken lacks that dish's trademark skewers. The sloppy joe ($6.99) is a lusty hot mess of a sandwich, guaranteed to send bits of saucy ground beef dribbling down your chin with every bite.
Although the fish in the tilapia dinner ($9.99) sports appetizing grill marks, its balsamic-glaze reduction leaves a naggingly metallic aftertaste. Witten's burger ($6.99) offers a substantial disk of meat, but it ends up playing slight second fiddle to its sidekicks of addicting, pepper-dusted waffle fries and a perfectly toasted, chewy sweet-sourdough bun.
As it turns out, a meal at Witten's becomes much more than mere fuel between hotly contested rounds of pool.