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Food and Drink

Restaurant Review: 18th & Vine

The flavor of Kansas City barbecue in Oak Lawn.
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Photo provided by 18th and Vine

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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