Smothered chicken. photography by Kevin Hunter Marple

Review: Doug and Bruski’s

Surely it’s no coincidence that “Doug and Bruski’s” sounds a lot like “Dave & Buster’s”—especially when you factor in the sports-bar ambience, the 10 beers on tap, the seemingly dozens upon dozens of TVs big and small. But Doug and Bruski’s takes a more upscale, adult-centric approach than the other D&B, with more lounge areas and fewer kiddie games. A surprising number of middle-aged folks seem to stop in after work for drinks and “zoof” fries, an upscale version of the Snuffer’s favorite.

It’s just the (middlebrow) ticket for the Shops at Willow Bend, the once-tony mall pining for customers. Doug and Bruski’s strives to cover everyone, with an exhaustingly large menu. Pasta, entrées, sandwiches, homey specials, burgers, quesadillas, chicken lettuce wraps—it’s all here. But the comprehensiveness seems almost a guarantee that no one thing will be really good.

Best to stick with the obvious. Burgers, yes; chicken salad with fruit and sherbet, no. What a weirdly executed dish, with bites of chicken tumbling like dice over an anemic layer of greens, cubed cantaloupe, none too fresh, and an excessively large scoop of raspberry sherbet melting into a soupy puddle.

Burgers were half-pounders, served on broad buns with good, thin fries. Topping treatments such as blue cheese or red onion marinade made them something special. Prime rib sandwich summoned visions of juicy red meat; in reality, the meat was shaved into slices, splayed on a mushy roll, and sloshed with au jus.

The homey dishes were uneven. Meatloaf, a special, wasn’t a bad brick of meat, despite the overly crunchy exterior and assortment of fillers such as shredded carrot. But even with mashed potatoes and vegetables, it didn’t seem worth $9.95.

Foodies will remember that the Shops at Willow Bend once housed The Mercury, a shrine to fine dining. But high-end dining didn’t sell, leaving foodies to lament the passing of those aspirations. That’s not the fault of Doug and Bruski’s. No point in shooting the messenger. 6121 Park Blvd., Plano. 972-202-4599. $$.

Update: Doug and Bruski’s has closed.

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