Colorado elk loin served with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms is one of Lonesome Dove’s exotic meat offerings. Kevin Marple

Restaurants

At Lonesome Dove Bistro, Tim Love’s Cowboy Bravado Is Earned

The chef proves he's still got the range with his Fort Worth flagship.

For a typical Lonesome Dove bistro experience, begin with the Stockyard Smoker cocktail, its whiskey and bitters infused with cherry-wood smoke that curls hazily under a glass dome. A campfire Manhattan, your server might call it. Chef Tim Love’s style has always been bold and unapologetic.

But my most recent visit to Love’s flagship reminded me that his cowboy brazenness is earned. His smart, modern takes rival anything we have in Dallas in this vein. Not everything was equally outstanding among the starters that highlight his no-holds-barred approach to exotic meats. But you can assemble a share platter of elk sliders topped with foie gras and blueberry jam on brioche, rattlesnake-rabbit sausage, and decadent blue-corn hushpuppies flush with lobster meat. A salad with ribbons of sweet, earthy parsnip, toasted walnuts, and blue cheese was unexpected and brilliant. Elk loin was gorgeous dark pink, with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms flash-fried into nuggets of umami intensity, spiced candied grapes, and a creamy salsify purée. There’s a lot going on in the plates, but they’re balanced by refined technique.

When I leaned vegetarian, I found spirited flavors in a chile relleno stuffed with a caramelized onion and sweet potato hash, set over black bean and sweet corn emulsions as smooth as crème anglaise. For a proper finale to your meal, bookend it with the warm ancho chile chocolate cake with local Mexican vanilla ice cream. It is absurdly intense, but the smoky, sultry flair is subtle. I’d drive this far and farther for a taste of this West.

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