Tuesday, February 7, 2023 Feb 7, 2023
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Restaurant Review: Village Kitchen

The restaurant above the marquee at Highland Park Village is reborn.
By Todd Johnson |

Like many a Park Cities society maven, sometimes all you need is a little nip and tuck to feel refreshed. Such is the case with the newly rechristened Village Kitchen. Formerly known as Marquee Grill, the Highland Park Village restaurant opened to much press and middling reviews in 2011. Sure, the place was glamorous. And, yes, it had former Top Chef contestant Tre Wilcox working in the kitchen. But nothing clicked. The food—a mishmash of Texas, Southern, and Asian flavors—was inconsistent and void of identity. Wilcox eventually left to be a restaurant consultant. The Marquee needed both a new chef and new direction. Enter former Pyramid Restaurant chef André Natera. His new menu at Village Kitchen is littered with every trend of the past two years: lobster rolls, deviled eggs, kale salad, mac and cheese. Sure, it reads contrived. But, damn, if the food isn’t tasty. As Natera and co-owners Brian Twomey and Mark Hearl explain it, they wanted to create a cozy neighborhood restaurant with food that they themselves would want to eat on a regular basis. Hits included a burrata and pickled veggie flatbread with chunks of smoked brisket from local barbecue favorite Pecan Lodge, grilled flat-iron steak accompanied by matchstick garlic Parmesan fries, and crushed avocado bruschetta with oven-dried tomatoes and crumbled queso fresco. No, the food isn’t a culinary revelation. For a casual neighborhood haunt like Village Kitchen, though, it’s a satisfying makeover.


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