When it comes to bar-and-grill concepts, Fort Worth’s near-west-side’s cup runneth over with choices.
Take your pick: The Pour House, Bar Louie, Reservoir. And now along comes upstart Deluxe Bar & Grille. Should you add it to your rotation? Perhaps not quite yet; a recent visit shows the spot needs a bit more polish before it’s ready to roll with the West Seventh Street big dogs.
It’s hard to resist comparisons when talking about the restaurant, however, which is partly owned by Sushi Axiom, just like its predecessor, Monty’s Corner, was. (A group called Innovative Restaurants also owns a share of the place.) And before that, the disappointing Mac’s on Seventh presided in this space. Unfortunately, Deluxe also has many of the same problems, including a largely uninventive menu and an oddly sterile environment.
On a Friday night, we settled into a banquette underneath the requisite bank of flat-screen TVs.
Despite being situated on the building’s corner, which allows for more windows and light, the dining room was dim on excitement during our happy-hour call.
Two-dollar pints can absolve many sins, though, and over our Shock Tops, plus a Revolver Blood and Honey ($5.50), we took a look at the menu, a hodgepodge of the best of American food hits, circa 1990.
You got your flatbreads, your roasted chicken, something called a Santa Fe burger. You get the picture.
In fact, our meal got off to a delicious start, with an order of avocado beer fries ($8.50), even if they resembled more fritter than frite. The puffed fellows arrived on a plate alongside a Sriracha-mayo-type sauce. Crispy on the outside, the pillowy dough surrounded slightly warm slices of avocado.
More carbs seemed the logical next thing to order, and they came in the form of the Avegilina flatbread ($9), focaccia piled with sautéed julienned slices of red pepper, pesto, goat cheese and smoked fontina. The large blobs of goat cheese annihilated any notion of another cheese here, yet the result was a tasty if familiar flavor pairing. But there was no reason why the flatbread should have been as greasy as it was.
The herb-roasted chicken ($14.50) was a half-chicken with a dry breast and overly oily dark meat. Served with serviceable mashed potatoes, it was a miss.
So too was the night’s special, at $22, an overpriced portion of prime rib-eye that sported picture-perfect (too perfect?) crisscross grill marks and an unfortunate blackened coating, usually more suited to fish. This, combined with a fatty slab of beef, was a recipe for disaster. The accompanying sweet potato was mired in butter overload, and the blue-cheese coleslaw had decent flavor, even if it missed the decadent mark by a mile, with barely any of the cheese detected.
Deluxe offers a weekend breakfast, which may just be the ticket for taxed west-siders tired of venturing down Hulen to get food before 10 a.m.
Chef Aaron Nelson has a good résumé, with stints in Dallas at The Screen Door and The Commissary, but he’s at the helm for the first time at Deluxe.
Let’s hope he rights the ship before … well, you know the rest.