I popped in 303 Bar and Grill in Oak Cliff last night for a few bites. Up until now I had only beer and shots at the bar. Oh, the beer and shot special for happy hour is the best drink combo in all of North Texas. The deal is $3.75 for any draft beer, and there are a few decent beers on tap (hey, local brewers… this is a sales lead) and a shot — all for the price of what some charge for a beer at happy hour. That is worth the price of admission alone.
Although only about six months old, the bar and grill has this terrific old neighborhood vibe that is both welcoming and refreshing.
I was pleased to see Chef Eric Spigner in the kitchen. We had spoken a few times but I had not tried his cooking yet. I knew the chef had worked some pretty marvelous places in South Carolina and made his way to Texas to be with family. Spigner had mentioned that he had French cooking roots, but has a love for Italian and Southern cuisine and it his mission in life to marry the two together.
“It makes sense to me, think about grits and then think about polenta,” said Spigner.
Makes perfect sense.
Chef Spigner is the third chef in 303’s rocky beginnings. The restaurant is located next to the new Gloria’s on West Davis and Madison in a renovated house-turned-taqueria. There was formerly another abandoned home next door that was razed to make room for parking.
Adam “Baz” Bazalduae was opening chef but didn’t stay long citing concept conflicts with the owner and ran over to work at Stephan Pyles. Then hired was Chad Starling formerly of Saint Ann. That didn’t fare too well either. Third time was definitely a charm because Spigner seems to be in his element and quite happy working the 303 kitchen. And isn’t that what life is all about?
Being fairly new to the area, Spigner is still trying to get his local sea legs together, but has done a wonderful job locating fresh and local ingredients so far. He puts his groceries to good use and cranks out some spectacular dishes.
In speaking with some of the guests, they were emphatic and waxed poetically about each dish they particularly enjoyed. That is always a great testimony.
The few dishes I sampled were spot on fantastic as well and made the trip to the near Bishop Arts area well worth the short jaunt. The prices for everything are far less than you might expect with nothing over $20. I heard rumors of a terrific Saturday and Sunday brunch at 303 as well. I will be back for that brunch.