Hickory's Wagyu Beef Brisket

Restaurant Review: Hickory

Kent Rathburn brings his take on a barbecue joint to Plano.

Kent Rathbun’s new burger and barbecue venture blends rusticity with the slick look of a sports bar. Think reclaimed wood and waitstaff in denim, whiskey-barrel tops sleekly spot-lit. What’s special is the attention to methods and sourcing. Meat lovers should go straight for the brisket, Rosewood Ranch Wagyu with peppery bark and deep, sweet smoke flavor. An order of “chef’s choice” landed us lean strips and burnt ends that showcased Wagyu’s richness. A calamity, then, that the burnt-ends chili on its eponymous burger was barely detectable, taking a backseat to roasted poblanos and smoked cheddar. Smoked turkey and shaved rotisserie pork didn’t hold a candle, with seasonings that distracted. Sides were, for the most part, terrific: green apple-chayote slaw, tart and refreshing; deep-fried Brussels sprouts, magically crispy; mac and cheese, its creamy sauce of smoked Texas cheddar infused with Shiner Bock and folded with house-cured, smoked beef bacon and a chiffonade of spinach under Parmesan cornbread crumbs. Less fortunate was the muddled mixture of jalapeño-Jack blue-corn grits with roasted tomato butter. Our cobbler was thick with plump seasonal berries. Was it too late to order a smash, where they’d join house barrel-aged whiskey?

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