Since 2008, the Fort Worth dining scene has matured with Grace. The showpiece of industry veteran Adam Jones, and center stage for Executive Chef Blaine Staniford, Grace is a welcome respite from the norm traditionally found in, what many still (incorrectly) consider, a “cow town.”
As elegant as the Princess of Monaco herself, Grace is comprised of glass and steel, more likely to be found in New York or Los Angeles than Fort Worth. Boasting an extensive domestic and international wine list, Chef Staniford continues to serve some of the best beef in the DFW Metroplex. He has expanded his spring menu to including multiple variations of seafood, a welcome surprise I discovered at a dinner they hosted for the media last night.
Passed appetizers showed thought and poise, particularly the butter poached oyster with Alaskan king crab. A picturesque display, individual oysters were served in-shell, atop a bed of seaweed and rock salt. These particular bivalves were procured from the Northeast, illustrated by their medium-dense texture and subtle hint of salinity. A perfect complement to the sweetness derived from the crab.
A particular favorite included two derivations of tartare, the first being a Kona Kampachi, consisting of cured egg yolk, yuzu and white soy, topped with American sturgeon caviar. Perfect for spring, this “designer yellowtail” was light and sweet; an ideal appetizer to pair with a crisp white while waiting for a table.
The North Dakota bison tartare took on a more familiar role. Served with charred onion, pickled mushrooms, shave pecorino and a raw quail egg, the bison was rich, tender and full of flavor. The quail egg bound the dish together, while the shaved pecorino added a pleasant nuttiness, further proving that this particular tartare was unique.
Just in time for spring, citrus beets took hold as the most colorful dish of the evening. The orange, purple and crimson vegetables were perfectly cooked and complemented with a blend of crumbled blue cheese, avocado and pistachio.
For those seeking freshly made pasta, Chef Staniford has a few new items to showcase, of note being the Oregon mushroom risotto, topped with shaved black truffle. A finicky dish to prepare, the risotto was exquisitely cooked and the well-marbled truffles provided subtle decadence.
Finally, a whimsical play on a New York City favorite: Pastrami on Rye. Kobe beef cheek was prepped with black peppercorns and coriander, then strategically smoked for two hours over pecan wood. Braised slowly for over twelve hours, this dish was a labor of love and commitment. The ultra-tender pastrami was displayed atop a thin layer of Thousand Island dressing and adorned with a mustard seed slaw and Brazos Valley Gouda. One of the best of the evening.
There is no question that the Fort Worth culinary scene continues to evolve, and Adam Jones comprehends what people desire. Boasting a vibrant bar scene and a business casual atmosphere, Grace is destined to continue its cornerstone status in Fort Worth. The spring menu is inventive, and its festive nature is sure to please those desirous of leaving the cold behind.