Sorry Spiral Diner but North Oak Cliff just might become the carnivore capital of the Metroplex. Lockhart Smokehouse and Smoke have drawn meat lovers from all over for their riffs on barbeque traditionalism while celebrated Plano butcher Matador Meat & Wine is due to open a second store in the under-construction Sylvan-Thirty complex at I-30 and Sylvan Ave. Now, while everyone waits for Matadors tri-tips and tenderloins, we have Waldron Lodge which just opened a beef-marrow bones throw away from Lockhart on 7th Street in the Bishop Arts District.
Situated in an old house that has been transformed into an eatery, Waldron Lodge has a small but comfortable porch with views of all the Bishop Arts hubbub. The chef is Beau Johnson, who has appeared on Iron Chef and most recently was working in Houston, and the place subtitles itself with the words game, fish, bar but theres nothing too exotic on the menu -- no snake, no gator, no kangaroo. Certainly, if you want to totally play it safe with the seared salmon or a rib-eye, you can. Or you can go wild with the pulled-boar BBQ, elk sausage or the rabbit sausage stew.
We tried the duck tacos ($10), three corn tortillas ladled with duck, pickled red onion, orange chipotle sauce, cotija cheese. Tasty if not especially filling. A far better choice is the Lodge bison burger ($10, comes with a side of sweet potato fries), a spicy yet sweet blend of bison, caramelized onions, cheese, mixed greens, and garlic aioli. Because its so much leaner than beef, bison can sometimes be dry but that certainly is not the case here.
The one misstep is the choice of bread: a pretzel bun. Ill admit I dont quite understand the pretzel mania that has swept through the snack-food world but even pretz-aholics might draw the line with this one as it was far too salty. Even the friendly and helpful server even acknowledged it and said that theyre usually not so salty.
Over on the safe side, the salmon ($16) was given some culinary personality with flecks of pancetta, smoky tomato sauce, and cilantro. It was spicy but not so much to overwhelm the flavor of the fish.
There are only two desserts available: German chocolate cake and cast-iron apple pie. We went with the pie ($6) which comes with a big dollop of ice cream. It wouldve been better with more crust (its mostly apples and ice cream). If you just have to have applie pie, a better bet is to walk over to Emporium Pies (around the corner in another old house that has been rehabbed) and get a slice of their deep-dish apple with cinnamon streusel.
Also, the commercial country music playing over the sound system was a bit underwhelming. Some true country might have been more fitting.
Still, one things for sure, if king carnivore Anthony Bourdain returns to Dallas, he may never leave Oak Cliff.