Chef Eddy Thretipthuangsin has barely been in Dallas-Fort Worth a year and already his career has seen some brisk action.
In 2013, Thretipthuangsin (pronounced “three-tip-WANG-sin”) arrived in Dallas to become chef of Pakpao, and he quickly helped owners Richard and Tiffanee Ellman put their Design District restaurant on the map. His upscale version of Thai food, with dishes such as braised short ribs with curry and tamarind duck, scored raves from critics and ethnic-food fans alike.
Six months later, he and the Ellmans parted ways and he wasted no time rebounding with a new restaurant: Bite City Grill in Fort Worth. However, if you expect to find Thai food at Bite, you’re missing the point. While there are Asian accents galore, Chef Eddy is out to prove he can do more.
The menu is described as modern American cuisine, and spans the globe from a Middle Eastern appetizer to an Italian semifreddo dessert. It’s an exciting fusion of flavors that feels worldly, yet represents the personality of the chef. No one other than Chef Eddy could assemble this exact combination of dishes and influences, and in that respect, it’s a treasure.
He folds in Asian ingredients seamlessly, and by doing so, refreshes familiar dishes. Charred octopus ($10), a popular item these days, comes with a novel ginger aioli. Clams ($13) are steamed in a broth of basil, lemongrass and coconut. Caesar salad ($9) is drizzled with a miso dressing.
But as a graduate of Le Cordon Bleu and with a family history in restaurants, he’s at ease with other cuisines and classic French techniques. His baba ganoush ($7), an appetizer of roasted eggplant with caramelized onion, served with warm triangles of pita bread, would feel at home at any Middle Eastern spot.
He offers four flatbreads with a variety of upscale toppings, all excellent. One had mushrooms and artichokes ($14), cut into appealing chunks, covered with a thin sheet of Manchego cheese. Another combined braised short rib ($13) with onion and a lush horseradish cream. The crust was cracker-thin, with a firm, crisp bottom.
The menu is a thoroughly modern document, which means many shareable starters plus a small collection of entrees, from grilled chicken ($16) to shrimp pappardelle ($17). There is a burger ($15), of course, topped with white cheddar cheese and accompanied by decadent truffle fries. A lunch menu offers an assortment of sandwiches with upscale ingredients such as broccoli rabe.
Diver scallop risotto ($24) featured a prototypical treatment, with scallops boasting a browned crust on the edge. The risotto — almost pure white, yet spiked with colorful, perfectly cubed bits of carrot and celery — was as comforting as baby food.
He likes to pair big, manly proteins with soft, delicate sides such as the seared duck ($24), cut diagonally into rare, tender slices and set atop an incredibly creamy puree of parsnip and cauliflower. One of his trademarks is meatballs made from meats other than beef. At Pakpao, he used ground chicken. Bite had lamb meatballs ($9), drowned in an overly rich foie gras sherry sauce that seemed like a waste of foie gras.
Chef Eddy’s brother-partner Chris runs the front of the house and is an attentive host, but service was young and a bit stilted. We were handed a drink menu and forced to wait for our food menu, with the excuse being that the server would walk us through the dishes. We ended up feeling pressured to order one of their fascinating line of cocktails named after Zodiac signs.
Just as Chef Eddy has rebounded, so it seems has the location in Montgomery Plaza where Bite City resides. After short-lived stints from Monty’s Corner and Deluxe Bar & Grill, the restaurant has been handsomely redone, with the dining room opened up and embellished with woods, bamboo and unique twig lighting fixtures. Here’s to the space and its new master doing each other some good.