by Trey Moran
Chef James Robert and Co-Owner Keith House have brought their popular Austin based Fixe Southern House to The Shops at Clearfork in Fort Worth. Chef Robert has taken on the task of reimagining southern favorites and staples. The menu is based on his family recipes and his experiences growing up in Louisiana. There are touches of old southern charm mixed in with a modern look and feel throughout the restaurant.
In the middle of the main room is a wide beam, pergola type structure draped with strings of lights giving it a back yard type feel. You can watch the magic happen in the large open kitchen from just about any seat in the house. On the night we visited the background music was a nice selection of classic southern rock that fit nicely with the mood. The place has a modern but homey feel. It’s a very comfortable atmosphere. But then there is the food.
One should not start a meal here without sampling the biscuits. Soft, tender, golden brown and steaming fresh from the oven biscuits. They don’t make them until you order them and I think I could eat a dozen of them. These are served with whipped Steen’s butter (sweetened with cane syrup) but be sure to order a side of the apple butter, house made preserves and n’duja, a spreadable pork salumi. There are several great items to share and start your meal. Deviled eggs with pickled cabbage and smoked trout row have a nice bite to them.
Try the Jack Salad with roasted pear and a crispy chicken skin or the Smoked Trout Dip served with rice crackers. Sweet tea pickles, pickled beets, catfish and beef tartar round out the selections. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.
If you are wanting something a little more substantial they have you covered. Durock Pork Shoulder with potlikker pinto beans, mustard greens, jalapeno-kale emulsion is a very hearty dish. Buttermilk Fried Chicken with honey will satisfy any deep fried cravings you may have. A Lobster and Crawfish Pot Pie that I have not yet tried but can’t wait to dig into. You really can’t go wrong with either fish selection. The halibut is served with fingerling potatoes, beech mushrooms and a smoked trout roe gribiche and the ‘blackened’ red snapper, is served with rock shrimp, bone marrow, toasted farro, butternut squash, hot & sour nage. The “blackening” is really a black garlic and squid ink meringue that gives the fish an almost burnt look. Don’t be fooled, it’s delicious. There is also a duck breast, prime strip steak and a massive 32oz Tomahawk Ribeye with oyster mushrooms and caramelized onion jus.
Many of the side dishes are as impressive as the main entree’s. Anson Mills Antebellum Grits served 3 ways: garlicky kale, farm egg, romesco and salsa verde; Texas shrimp, freeze-dried corn, shrimp butter and bottarga; Texas quail, pickled pears, pecan granola, BBQ consommé. BBQ bean with burn ends and my one of my favorites here, Roasted Sweet Potatoes seasoned with bbq spice served with whipped burrata.
If, after all this, you still have some room left and haven’t quite fallen into your food coma there are some desserts that you must try. The Brioche Donut with honey ice cream is massive but as light as a donut can be. Blackberry Cobbler with a perfectly flaky crust and white chocolate ice cream is addictive. The inventive Carrot Cake Tres Leches was a nice surprise but the portion was very small. It’s paired with a goat cheese ice cream that is extra creamy. There is also a Buttermilk Pie which is next on my growing list of things to try here.
While I have not made it to Fixe for lunch yet there are a few things that have caught my eye. Pimento Cheese with beef fat focaccia, Corn & Crab Hushpuppies, Fixe Burger and a Fried Chicken Sandwich just to name a few. Lunch hours are 11am -2pm Monday through Friday.
Brunch is served 11am to 2pm on Sunday with the full menu (a combination of the lunch and dinner menus) along with a Soft Boiled Egg Benedict, Brioche French Toast and Soft Scrambled Eggs.
Fixe has just expanded their Happy Hour to 2pm to 7pm Monday through Saturday. They offer $8 plates, $5 beer, $9 wine and $7 select cocktails. Other cocktails not on the menu are $3 off. This is in the bar and patio area only.