Condos and consignment stores dot the stretch of Highway 26 that swings into Colleyville, a bucolic town not far from DFW Airport, where cows graze in pastures in front of houses both grand and modest. I know Highway 26 well, especially on the side where it winds into Southlake Boulevard. Long before I moved to Dallas, I shopped by phone at Neiman Marcus Last Call in Grapevine Mills, the best location in the chain. I love, love, love that store and all the folks who work there.
To get to Colleyville from the Bass Pro Rd. exit on 635, one cuts across in Southlake at Kimball. The construction near the airport is nerve-wracking.
Bordered by the biker bars and wine emporiums of Grapevine and the bustling affluence of Southlake’s sprawling dining and shopping landscape, tiny Colleyville is going in its own direction. And that direction spells F-O-O-D, with a capital “I,” for “independent.”
Chef-driven one-offs are finding Colleyville, and they’re serving a lot more unique cuisine than the ubiquitous Mid Cities tomato-basil soup and gulf oysters.
French pastry chef/master chef Didier Viriot, his wife, Nanou, and their partner Jean-Loup Schyns have recently relocated Citrus Bistro to Colleyville from its former location at Preston and Royal in Dallas.
The new restaurant is dark, sophisticated and elegant. Its specialty is seafood. There is she-crab soup, which is extraordinary. The chef is also adept with sauces, salads, fish and vegetables – his Swiss-influenced sweet and sour braised red cabbage is delicious.
Desserts are unusual, and include Floating Island (oeufs a la niege, an egg white meringue whisked in a copper bowl over boiling water and served over sweet crème Anglaise), heretofore unknown in the Mid-Cities. Ditto the house’s Baked Alaska.. Beauty notwithstanding, the chef’s dark, rich Belgian chocolate mousse is my favorite.
Coffee and tea sweetener options are upgraded by the addition of health-conscious Truvia, the bar is well-stocked and the bartenders and servers are friendly. I’m not sure, but I think the lobsters in the tank near the entrance were conversing in French. The liquid soap in the bathrooms is from Marseilles.
5005 Colleyville Boulevard Colleyville (817) 281-6282
Next Woodfired Bistro & Vino Bar
The emphasis is on the vino at Next, which is directly across the parking lot from Citrus Bistro. Next’s owner and chef Ying Aikens, whose whimsical use of ingredients in constantly changing small and large plate selections, oversees a fresh culinary repertoire similar to what the West Coast calls “contemporary California cuisine.”
Next (nobody seems to know why it’s called that) is a casual fine dining concept, turning out flatbread pizzas with ingredients like candied figs, Serrano ham, goat cheese and arugula from her high-heat wood oven. The restaurant’s daily menu is ambitious and well-crafted.
Expect to dine on the likes of watermelon-raspberry gazpacho, porcini mushroom ravioli, Mongolian duck, crab napoleon, free range rack of lamb, pan-seared sea scallops, fried green tomato with crab Louie and pork belly carbonara. Like the rest of the menu, housemade desserts change daily. Recent offerings have included drunken rum cake and key lime cake. Gelatos are brought in from a local source in Dallas.
5003 Colleyville Blvd. Colleyville (682) 325-4046
Tribeca Americana Bistro & Lounge
Ah, Sage Sakiri. A smartass Jersey boy who’s been cooking in the Mid Cities for more than a decade, Sakiri is a chef whose quirky sense of ingredient pairing is rock solid and derived from a lifetime in the restaurant business.
His culinary canvas can be found in an upstairs location in The Village at Colleyville, where a failed steakhouse kindly vacated the premises a few years ago. Sakiri paints with broad brush strokes, turning filet mignon carpaccio with bitter greens and pecorino into an updated classic of what would usually be found in the dining rooms of fine East Coast establishments. An equal opportunity master of worldly cuisine; his foie gras medallion plated with melon and anise salad and fig molasses, smoked eggplant with Texas peach chutney or grilled octopus with shad roe taramasalata take the diner on an exciting journey. Have some risotto with crème braised leeks and a lobster claw, or a pound of Prince Edward Island mussels with beer, leek and carrot fume. We are talking seriously good food.
The half-brined Coata Rican style, bitter chocolate roasted chicken and matzo-stuffed breast of veal with shallot vermouth glaze are continents apart in influence, wildly underscoring a personality that defies definition. Freshly made pasta, ravioli or gnocci are turned into something special every day, depending on Sakiri’s mood.
“A recipe has no soul,” says Sakiri. “The cook must bring soul to the recipe.”
Sakiri’s menus would work anywhere; that he’s chosen to be in Colleyville makes him an enormous local treasure. His passionate take on food and fun is aided by the shenanigans of longtime associates Sal behind the bar and the elegantly-suited “V” on the floor.
62 Main St Colleyville (817) 788-3998
Around the corner and down the road from Tribeca, at far side of The Village at Colleyville, Godfather of Colleyville relaxed fine dining Morris Gandino has been pampering his loyal Colleyville following for more than eight years. Gandino, who operates the restaurant with his daughter, Julie Gonzalez, is a forty-year veteran of the restaurant business. I’ve dined at this charming restaurant many times, and I’m never disappointed.
The bread is freshly-baked every day, and it’s wonderful.
Ruggieri’s chicken parmagiana is properly breaded and sauced, and their lasagna is made with fresh spinach noodles. Fresh noodles, not the dried kind out of a box, are used in other pasta dishes here, as well. Hard-to-find sweetbreads, one of my favorite foods, are prepared with mushrooms, prosciutto and Marsala wine.
Ruggieri’s most gorgeous specialty is their cioppino, the classic Italian fisherman’s stew. Loaded with clams, oysters, shrimp, calamari and scallops – and light on the fish many places overuse as a filler – the presentation is punctuated with mussels and served in a lovely broth. At dinner, this wondrous dish costs a mere $19.95 – the price of a lobster roll in Dallas. If you happen to be out in Colleyville at lunchtime, it can be enjoyed for $12.95.
Desserts are made in-house and include a quartet of soufflés – chocolate, Grand Marnier, lemon and raspberry – that must be ordered at the beginning of your meal.
32 Village Lane Colleyville (817) 503-7373