The Slow Bone was Jack Perkins’ love letter to barbecue. The Mockingbird Diner, then, is his place of worship for chicken-fried steak. Perkins, also of Maple & Motor, and Jeana Johnson, former chef of the now-closed Good 2 Go Taco, have joined forces for the first time in this light-filled A-frame, reminiscent of a white clapboard prairie church, that serves up home cooking and a warm welcome for weary Love Field travelers and Medical District employees.
Despite its modern aspect, the design pays attention to expected elements—U-shaped counter, booths, glass-walled pie display—as does the menu, which does straightforward diner food best. An unfussy sandwich of sliced meatloaf topped with mashed potatoes on a poppy seed bun, crispy fried chicken with a well-seasoned crust, and cheese enchiladas topped with Texas chili and fresh pico de gallo are pure comfort at lunch.
When green bean casserole is gussied up with French beans or yellow squash is too briefly sautéed in oil, they disappoint. With such an elevated space, you expect elevated food. Lunch doesn’t quite deliver that something extra. But breakfast, where Johnson’s voice is strongest, does. The breakfast tacos on pillowy house-made flour tortillas, stuffed with bright yellow scrambled eggs and Luscher’s sausage, cubed ham, or chorizo, could make a choir sing.