Eats Beat: A French-Mex Paco & John? Call it Paco et Jean

Posted 4:36pm on Tuesday, May. 06, 2014

Paco & John Mexican Diner is gearing up.

Familiar for morning chilaquiles and lunchtime tacos or tortas with frites, the tiny cafe has added French dishes on weekend nights.

Yes, French. Owner Francisco Islas knows the cooking style from his other job at Bernard Tronche’s Saint-Emilion, and Islas said Cinco de Mayo gave him the idea.

“We have this whole holiday built around Mexico vs. France, so we offer a choice,” he said, planning this week’s menu with dishes such as sea bass, duck or pork tenderloin in a choice of sauces.

For example, there’s rabbit in leeks-cream sauce or pasilla chile, or a choice of sea bass in lemon butter or Veracruz-style. The price is about $15, including escargot and a Caesar.

(Part of the bargain: Paco & John is BYOB.)

In June, Islas will open Thursday nights for a new weekly mussels special.

He calls the new items “international Mexican.”

Paco & John is open weekdays and Saturdays for breakfast and lunch, Fridays and Saturdays for dinner; 1116 Eighth Ave. (at West Rosedale Street), 817-810-0032;

Cameras at Campisi’s

Campisi’s Restaurant had special guests this week.

NBC’s Today came to the Fort Worth location, but this time it wasn’t for the crab claws or Sicilian-style rectangular pizza.

Today will feature Campisi’s host Austin Underwood on an upcoming show, maybe on a Mother’s Day or Weekend Today.

Underwood, 36, of Fort Worth, and fiance Jessica Smith have touched hearts among customers with their engagement.

Childhood friends, both were born with Down syndrome.

Underwood has worked at Campisi’s almost from its opening, greeting diners and also contributing a banana pudding recipe.

Today cameras showed him greeting customers and sharing a toast with Smith.

“Best hire I ever made,” David Campisi said.

Late choices for Mom

Many restaurants are booked for Mother’s Day, but a few good choices remain.

The Wild Mushroom Steak House in Weatherford will offer a special menu until 5 p.m., featuring dishes such as chocolate-chip-banana-pancakes ($11), a strip steak-and-eggs ($28) or “Highway 180” chicken-and-waffles ($10); 1917 Martin Drive, 817-599-4935,

Ferré, near Bass Hall, has a set three-course, $30 menu including a choice of six entrees such as roast pork with a raisin-apple-cider sauce, chicken saltimbocca or grilled salmon; 215 E. Fourth St., 817-332-0033,

At midweek, many restaurants still had tables available between 10 and 11 a.m. or after 1 p.m. Buffets such as Vance Godbey’s and Blue Mesa Grill will take tables first-come, first-served.

One surprise: Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse has more availability than the newer Grill.

The steakhouse specials include filet mignon or crab-cake eggs Benedict ($28), banana-mascarpone French toast ($26) or a mushroom-spinach-Gruyere omelet ($24); 812 Main St., 817-877-3999, outdoor balcony; 812 Main St.,

Bud Kennedy's column appears Wednesdays in Life & Arts and Fridays in 817-390-7538 Twitter: @EatsBeat Get alerts at

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