Everybody is offering dining tips these days, even a Los Angeles computer bot that searches newspaper reviews to auto-answer questions.
So it’s no surprise that mortgage bankers are publishing dining tips for Fort Worth and Southlake, with decent results.
The Chase bank chain teamed up with the 38-year experience of New York City-based Zagat Survey to list “favorites” for new home buyers in both cities, and wound up with sort of a “what’s hot” list.
That’s tougher in Southlake, where so many restaurants are new. But the straightforward Zagat Survey list, compiled from genuine user comments, covers both old and new, from burgers to fine dining.
Zagat and Chase’s list of Southlake “favorites” leads with two Texas steak-and-seafood restaurants: Dallas-based Kirby’s Prime Steakhouse and Houston-based Truluck’s, the latter because the happy-hour menu is a “terrific value”; “go when on an expense account.”
(Kirby’s has a free shuttle from hotels within 10 miles, an extra plus for moving out-of-town holiday guests.)
For burgers, Zagat and Chase picked Fort Worth’s iconic Kincaid’s Hamburgers (like “off your backyard grill”) and Dallas’ Snuffer’s Restaurant & Bar (two words: cheese fries) both with Southlake locations.
Brio Tuscan Grille, an Ohio-based chain, is an automatic pick for its patio scene and beautiful dining space in Southlake Town Square.
Also among Southlake favorites: locally owned, chef-driven Malai Kitchen and Howard Wang’s China Grill, maybe the two best Asian restaurants in Tarrant County.
For casual dining, the list includes hometown Del Frisco’s Grille and the Dallas-based Coal Vines pizzeria.
For pub food: the Houston-based Ginger Man.
Bbq and — ramen?!
The Fort Worth “local favorites” list has more off-the-beaten-path restaurants, probably because that’s what Fort Worth diners really treasure.
The only top-dollar restaurant on the “hot” list is Clay Pigeon Food & Drink, local chef Marcus Paslay’s dark and handsome restaurant on the White Settlement Road outskirts of the Cultural District.
The Chase bankers and Zagat voters picked two bustling Dallas-based bar-and-grills: HG Sply Co, the new, chef-driven bar-and-grill in the WestBend shops on the Clear Fork of the Trinity River, and Social House, with a spiced-up Texan bar menu in the West 7th shops.
Also on the “favorites” list: not one but two ramen shops. Hanabi Ramen & Izakaya and Oni Ramen are four blocks apart in the Cultural District, so pick your favorite.
Chase passed along mortgage banker Tim Barnes’ very simple reason both were included: “I love the ramen at Oni or Hanabi. … It’s a short walk from the branch.”
For casual dining on the list, Zagat offers West Magnolia Avenue newcomer Heim Barbecue (for its signature bacon burnt ends) and two Cultural District favorites, Fred’s Texas Cafe and Taco Heads.
The list also includes Melt Ice Creams on Magnolia Avenue, staying busy even in winter serving chocolate-marshmallow or coconut-dark chocolate flavors. Melt was recently featured on the Cooking Channel for its taco sundaes.
(I’d have included Press Cafe and the new Gus’s Fried Chicken as what’s-hot destinations, but that’s not a bad list.)
Village Cafe & Bakery is new in Colleyville, filling a former bakery space on Village Lane.
The new shop adds paninis, sandwiches and salads, offering a pleasant coffee-or-lunch cafe away from busy Texas 26.
The full menu will be launched next week. For now, the cafe is offering 13 sandwiches or paninis (the grilled cheese is popular), wraps and grilled-chicken or chicken Caesar salads.
A few sausage croissants and breakfast baked goods are available, with more on the way.
It’s open at 9 a.m. daily except Sundays; 85 Village Lane, 682-325-4080.