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Eats beat: A small bite of F+B, now at Blue Mesa Grill

Posted 9:30am on Friday, Jan. 18, 2013

Former Sissy's chef Jeffery Hobbs' new Fort Worth restaurant is months away.

But a completely different restaurant -- Blue Mesa Grill -- offers a taste.

Hobbs, known for his work at Suze and upscale fried-chicken emporium Sissy's, is planning menus for the new American F+B in the West 7th shops.

In the meantime, he helped Blue Mesa with a special grazing menu for its Texas Best Showcase of regional foods.

Through Feb. 10, Blue Mesa will serve Hobbs' small plates made with regional cheeses, such as a huitlacoche-pepper "Mesa-dilla" with Dublin-based Veldhuizen cheddar, or a cinnamon-apple sopaipilla with Waco-based Brazos Valley Cheese.

"It was a no-brainer to do something special for Texas food," Hobbs said by phone from his current office at Dallas-based Consilient Restaurants, owner of Fireside Pies and the F+B.

"Blue Mesa has never served huitlacoche" -- it's listed on the menu as Mexican truffle -- "and the chefs are very excited to be doing something new," Hobbs said.

Blue Mesa is serving a different Texas appetizer menu each month over the next five months, all organized by Sharon Hage of the former York Street in Dallas.

The new F+B has been compared to the company's The Porch in Dallas, but Hobbs said the menu will be new and will focus on the restaurant's centerpiece, a 5-foot-tall wood grill and rotisserie.

He described the menu as a "celebration" of American bar-and-grill fare, something more contemporary than the updated Southern cooking at Sissy's.

Hobbs' career has taken him from his first job at Olive Garden to Dallas' Celebration Restaurant, Toscana, the Hotel St. Germain and il Sole.

F+B will open next door to Fred's Texas Cafe and across the street from chef Jon Bonnell's coming Waters -- Bonnell's Fine Coastal Cuisine; 2869 Crockett St., consilientrestaurants.com.

The Houston Press weekly has assembled an ambitious list: "30 Essential Texas Restaurants to Visit Before You Die."

The list includes familiar Texas favorites -- Gaido's in Galveston, the Blue Bonnet Cafe in Marble Falls, Perini Ranch Steakhouse south of Abilene -- and three local restaurants.

Two are within three blocks of each other: Cattlemen's Steak House ("a monument to Texas' Wild West" sensibilities) and Texas icon Joe T. Garcia's (singled out for its history and also for the lunchtime chiles rellenos).

Also among the 30: the original Babe's Chicken in Roanoke. The complete list is available at www.houstonpress.com

Bud Kennedy's Eats Beat appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in DFW.com Weekend. 817-390-7538

Twitter: @eatsbeat

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