We spent the better part of the morning checking out a few new restaurants in the DFW area. One of the better finds was in Keller and run by the former chefs of Cool River, Bob Stephenson and Carlos Arevalo. Both chefs have an illustrious background; Stephenson alone has opened nearly 40 restaurants, but this would be his first to actually own.
FnG Eats is in the former City Hall restaurant space in Keller that was run by season two Top Chef contestant Otto Borisch. The space has undergone complete revamp and is now much more comfortable and easily managed by Stephenson, who said that he can see pretty much everything going on in the restaurant from any vantage point. He will be able to sauté a few veggies and seconds later greet guests as they file into the door. And file they will. This restaurant is good.
The clean lines and cool shade of the restaurant invites guests to stop in and relax. During several evenings of soft openings (which benefitted local charities) Stephenson noted that his guests were prompted into conversation, and little if any time was spent on cell phones. This is how he envisioned it would be.
The menu is tight and clever. There is little room for extraneous items that will be overlooked, making each dish a winner. Stephenson wanted to relay his playful sprit and imagination. Chef spends his off time competing nd teaching poetry slams throughout the country, and it is this spirit that shines. His take on the modern Banh Mi sandwich is called Mini Mi which amounts to roasted BBQ pork, Curtido, House pickled jalapenos mounted on a baby bollilo bun and smattered with root crisps and fresh cilantro.
Oddly named but delicious none the less is J.A.C n Roqamole which is a fantatic appetizer made of (J.A.C.) a different take on pimento cheese with jalapeno, Granny Smith apples and a very sharp cheddar, flanked by a house-made quac (Roqamole) with Point Reyes Blue Cheese, Avocado, Poblano, Scallions and freshly made tortilla chips. Note that the guacamole is made fresh to order as most things are in the restaurant.
There are plenty of salads to choose from, and several are manly enough that anyone could enjoy of the six offered at lunch. We tried the Beef Tipped which consists of beef tips, A-1 vinaigrette, cheddar and Swiss cheeses, red onion and sweet 100 tomatoes. Extreme on the satisfaction scale.
For lunch there are plenty of burgers and sandwiches, and we enjoyed a curious turkey and bourbon cranberry on wood smoked focaccia. This sandwich will make it to our REM cycle.
In the evening check out FnG’s fish and chips, steaks, and what promises to be one of the top contenders for chicken fried steak this year – made with pounded fresh venison and chili mushroom gravy. The pork chop from Seaboard Farms is also an early contender for something wonderful.
In addition to the food, the beverage program is chef driven and there are some fantatic cocktails being pumped out of the restaurant with the assistance of the kitchen staff. That means the use of fresh herbs and veggies along with wicked concoctions that until now has been vacant from menus in that section of the universe.
Our dessert of choice is the “Taste Coaster” banana split that is made with scoops of fresh Henry’s ice cream that Stephenson had made up especially for the restaurant. One scoop is made with Girl Scout Thin Mints supplied to Henry by Stephenson, and the other made with cookie dough, bacon and jalapeno. The latter is what offers such a joyous coaster ride across the palate.
If you are in the Keller area, you owe it to yourself to check out FnG Eats. If you are not in the area, you might think about setting up that GPS and aiming it towards a delicious meal.FnG Eats 201 Town Center, Keller (817) 741-5200