Here is my 2013 scorecard from the first week and a half of KRLDs Restaurant Week. Dont worry, there is still time to get in on some of the restaurant action with a lot of the restaurants extending the week to September 1st, making it more like "Restaurant Month".
If you are not familiar with Restaurant Week, it is a fun, foodie charity event during which more than 130 local restaurants serve three-course dinners for $35 and $45 a person, with $7 to $9 of the proceeds going to the Lena Pope Home if you are dining in Fort Worth, and the North Texas Food Bank if you dine in Dallas.
This is a great opportunity to check out some of the nicer restaurants in the area without having to pony up the big bucks for a meal -- plus it is for charity!
I have not always had a good experience with some of the meals and restaurants participating in the event. In the past, I have had meals with extremely tiny portions, bad seats and restaurant staff not particularly interested in serving the lower fixed-priced Restaurant Week customers.
Last year I was really impressed with my dinners at both Capital Grille and Grace. So much so that my wife and I planned our next two special occasion dinners at both Grace (birthday) and Capital Grille (anniversary).
This year we decided to repeat Capital Grille and Grace (they were that good), and for a new restaurant to try we picked The Wild Mushroom Steak House and Lounge in Weatherford.
First up was Capital Grille on a Thursday night.
Capital Grille gave us our best Restaurant Week meal ever last year, so the expectations were pretty high.
We arrived on time and were seated right away at a nice table in the side dining room close to the bar and kitchen.
Like last year, the Capital Grille Restaurant Week menu had a huge selection, making you feel like you are ordering off the main menu. The Food portions were huge (I had an 18oz steak) and the included sides were served family style. The kitchen did get backed up so we did have a 15 to 20 minute wait for our main course, but the food itself was great.
Wait staff was professional and nice, but also seemed to be a little overextended with too many tables to handle at once.
We were disappointed with the Generous Pour wine promotion that we used for our wine pairings. They had the same promotion last year and we had really liked it. This year they changed the service from giving nice (generous) pours to very small samples of a selection of wines from California. I hinted at wanting larger pours, but did not get a response. So our glasses pretty much sat empty most of the meal.
So for this meal I am really torn on how many stars to give it. On one hand the food was excellent (except for the long wait for the main course), on the other hand the Generous Pour was the opposite of generous and a little misleading. I was hoping to chalk the wine service up to a bad night, but I asked around and found another party that had the same wine experience on a different night.
So I decided this year to rate the food and wine service separately.
Capital Grille gets a food rating of 4 out of 5 stars for Restaurant Week, but only a 2 out of 5 stars for the wine service.
Next up, The Wild Mushroom Steak House and Lounge on a Saturday night.
Again, we arrived on time and were seated right away at a nice table in the main dining room.
Wait staff was professional and nice. Food selection on the Restaurant Week menu was a little smaller than the Capital Grilles menu, but seemed to be a little more ambitious with things like a Porcini Flan with crab and black truffle dashi, and the option of a cheese course for dessert. Food portions were full sized and the main course included sides. We also did the wine pairing and were very happy to see full pours and an all French wine pairing.
Food and wine were both excellent, plus I really like the option of finishing with a cheese course. I have to say this meal was well worth the drive to Weatherford.
I give The Wild Mushroom Steak House and Lounge 5 out of 5 stars for both food and wine for this years Restaurant Week.
Last, but not least, we ate at Grace on Tuesday.
We arrived on time and were seated right away at a table close to the entrance.
Wait staff was professional and nice. Food selection on the Restaurant Week menu was the smallest of the 3 places we tried, with just 2 courses to choose from for the main course. Food portions were full sized and the main course included sides. The second course of Maine Diver Scallop and Berkshire Pork Belly is a must. We also did the wine pairing and were happy again to see full pours and a nice selection of wines, mostly from Europe.
Food and wine were both excellent, although we did have a long wait for our main course, and when it did come out it was on the cool side. I think the timing was just a little off due to a large party in the private dinning room.
Grace gets 4 out of 5 stars for both food and wine for this years Restaurant Week.
This has been one of the best Restaurant Weeks we have had, with the exception of the wine service at Capital Grille.