Sunday, May 19, 2024 May 19, 2024
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Restaurant Review: Olenjack’s Grille

The Arlington restaurant's menu is a gastronomic ramble.
photography by Kevin Marple

Like taking the lid off a simmering pot of pure Texas, Olenjack’s Grille unveils an approach to contemporary chargrilling that embodies all the hat and cattle those other guys seem to have missed. Less salt dependent than its country cousins, the restaurant—helmed by chef-owner Brian Olenjack—relies instead on goat cheese, roasted garlic, and grits as resonant as a Sunday sermon. The menu is a gastronomic ramble, starting with grilled lamb lollipops over sweet-potato polenta and finding its way home to hatch-marked meats that are as mature and reliable as a firm handshake. Along the way, chef Olenjack drops in a bombshell or two: think flash-fried antelope ribs with jalapeño jelly over smoked sausage grits. But it’s his shrimp and grits with bacon, andouille sausage, and bitter mustard greens over goat cheese grits that continues to hold that hard-won spot at the top of the menu. Chef Olenjack’s sea scallops alone should earn him millennial bragging rights. Served over creamy, grilled-corn polenta, the scallops’ pan-sear, quiet seasoning, and velvety center showcase the mollusk in a way that is the stuff of fishermen’s fantasies. Notably absent from Olenjack’s menu are traditional green vegetables. Sure, the mustard greens at the center of the shrimp and grits count, and the grilled asparagus and sugar snap sides will do in a pinch. But let’s face it: no one comes here looking for broccoli.

For more information about Olenjack’s Grille, visit our restaurant guide.