This popular Bishop Arts restaurant straddles the line between Lone Star whimsy and kitsch both on and off the menu. It’s certainly not a shy place. On our last visit, a particularly raucous crowd was throwing back Sassy Saras (a sweet and spicy cocktail made with vanilla vodka, pineapple rum, and red jalapeño) amid Tillman’s glam-meets-mod yeehaw trappings. It was a rollicking vibe complemented, perhaps a bit too well, by executive chef Cody Brandt’s menu of everything-is-bigger flavors. Some dishes, such as the sweet jalapeño gnocchi blanketed in bell pepper relish, grilled corn, wilted arugula, cotija, pepitas, and—deep breath—an indulgent harissa cream sauce, suffered from ingredient overkill. Other offerings flourished. A Frenched rack of pork was perfectly cooked. The Texas peach salsa and agave gastrique played well together. A Southwestern spin on the classic Caprese salad sounded worrisome: Texas heirloom tomatoes layered with house-made queso fresco, fried epazote, pecan pesto, and jalapeño-cilantro vinaigrette. But it was a lively starter. And leave it to Tillman’s to transform tater tots into an appetizer. A goat cheese-potato mixture gave the tots a silky, rich finish. The pungent truffle oil was one obnoxious touch too many. But no one seemed to mind Tillman’s occasional missteps as patrons around us popped tots and clinked cocktails as if the party would never end.
For more information about Tillman’s Roadhouse, visit our restaurant guide.