Photo provided by 18th and Vine

Restaurant Review: 18th & Vine

The flavor of Kansas City barbecue in Oak Lawn.

Maple and Throckmorton doesn’t have the same ring as Kansas City’s famed cradle of jazz, but with the October opening of 18th & Vine, owners Kimi and Matt Dallman brought a taste of that city’s barbecue to a quiet corner of Dallas. They enlisted chef Scott Gottlich as a partner, and his cheffy touches are all over the menu. The space is awkwardly divided, and on a quiet night the feeling can be like marbles rattling in a big box. But the decor is fun, with old vinyl and photographs of Count Basie and Dizzy Gillespie. The Roost, a low-ceilinged bar and live-music venue upstairs, brings warmth. The place just needs a little living in. What it has already is the smell of good barbecue, which you catch from the parking lot. A combination plate’s ribs had a hard, shellacked coat, unpleasantly unyielding, but brisket was absurdly tender—and no false promises from a peppery bark and smoke ring the color of rare steak. An entrée of smoked grouper with wild mushrooms, pit-roasted baby beets, and sunchoke purée was a brilliant example of how Gottlich asserts his voice without breaking continuity. Salads are no forte, but aside from over-salty collards, sides such as jalapeño-cheddar grits and a starter of crispy-puffy potato skins with cheese, chives, and pork belly held the culinary real estate they should. And if the end-of-meal slot was fraught with unevenness, one may need only go a few steps for some sweet tunes as remedy.

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