The Rustic’s Diamond H Ranch Quail

Restaurant Review: The Rustic

Music and food often make a tasty combination.

FreeRange Concepts is doing its best to re-establish eatertainment in Dallas. The company, owned by Kyle Noonan and Josh Sepkowitz, opened Mutts Canine Cantina, a dog park with booze and bites, and Bowl & Barrel, a bowling alley with fancy food and beer. They partnered with Texas Country music artist Pat Green and opened The Rustic, a ginormous beer hall with a live music stage. Surrender your eardrums at the door, every night, concert or not, the clamor of the raucous crowd ricochets off hard surfaces. We picked several of the 400 seats in the backyard on a glorious Texas night. The menu of casual sandwiches, salads, appetizers, and entrées, developed by esteemed chef Sharon Hage, former Bolsa executive sous chef Matt Balke, and Noonan, is a great read. But the quality of the food described fell below my expectations. Thick beer batter obliterated any potential taste of cactus in cactus fritters, and wild boar meatballs were anything but wild: merely bland, room-temperature spheres atop a purée of black beans. Selections from the wood grill fared better. The kitchen cooks over a variety of woods, a unique offering. I tried Texas quail, a black-pepper skirt steak, and a smoky half chicken roasted over a beer can. I left impressed with only a side dish of firm white hominy covered with melted cheddar and bits of smoked ham. The bar offers almost 40 Texas beers and a nice selection of Texas wines. The scene is vibrant, boisterous, and, given the other options in town, a delicious spot to catch a concert.

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