I am embroiled in a never ending quest to pretend to be classier than I am. I read the Panache section of the Star-Telegram. I watch Frasier and recite the Crane boys' quips. I even go to fancy places in a nice suit and judge everybody I see. But sometimes I really have to confirm my faux-fancy by heading to a wine bar, eating some dish with obscure ingredients like olives and basil, and drinking wine that tells people, "you would drink this if you knew what it was but you are probably ordering an Australian Cabernet Sauvignon because you think the label is cute, and that's why you will never be me." All of that, just in the bottle.
So the wifey-poo (Muffy) and I (Biff) went to dinner at Zambrano's in an effort to reconnect to our superiour lifestyle. So great is it, that I used an extra 'u' in superiour.
Zambrano's is a wine bar just north of the new luxurious Omni Hotel that truly exemplifies what Fort Worth is all about (Mr. Omni, please email me at email@example.com to contact me about me free stay so that I may review you). Its on Houston street in the hip area known as SoDo. You know its hip because its far enough from the main parts of Sundance Square that only hip, dangerous people venture there. Also, there is a coffee shop that's rarely open. All the area needs is some converse shoes, decorated with the art of some brooding, crying teenager.
But amidst all the hip dripping off the building in SoDo, is a fancy little wine bar with a patio and an intimate interior. As we entered, Seth (pronounced and spelled, Cef) greets you and corrects you politely for calling him Seth eight times. You have the option of sitting at a table outside, a table inside, or the bar. Cef, being very aware of our importance sat us in the VIP section that I cannot tell you more about.
The place was a bit empty with one other couple but it wasn't so quiet that the people could hear us judging them. We were delivered a wine menu that exceeded the regular menu and received excellent advice on a wine by our wine steward, Gaston. Gaston is not his name, but he didn't give me a name to call him by.
Gaston presented us with a pleasant wine and after conversing expertly in Vino (the language of wine), he was convinced that we weren't one of...those people. You know, the people at the other table who were "enjoying" their cab. I guess they wanted to upgrade from their jug of white zinfandel.
We started with the tomato bruschetta and a side of smoked gouda. Those of you who have had bruschetta are thinking in a sarcastic tone, "wow, you had bread with tomatoes on top, how fancy are you." I'm serrano jamon, tomatoes, melted brie and basil fancy. How is that for you? That's bruschetta from the Planet Fancy, here to upscale your life from "US Weekly" to "The New Yorker". And the smoked gouda came with a collection of what us in the society life call, olives and bread. Muffy and I greatly enjoyed both dishes. In fact, the bruschetta was terrific and easily blew away any other bruschetta that has or ever will exist. I know, somebody is going to comment with, "I had a good bruschetta at Olive Garden...." ... ... Sure you did, Rhonda.
We were then convinced by Gaston, to order the Signature Pizza. The Signature Pizza comes with all sorts of things I generally avoid - artichoke hearts, mushrooms and black olives. Why would somebody eat something containing the word 'choke' in it? Because apparently they first ate it on a pizza from Zambrano's and never realized how amazing it could be. The pizza dough at Zambrano's is made daily and is fantastic. The crust is thin, crispy but pastry-esque. Muffy described it as though she were eating a pastry angel. It was delicious.
Many of you are thinking, "A-ha, you are a fraud sir, because fancy people don't eat pizza." We used forks made of gilded c-notes. So there.
At this point, the restaurant had become quite full. The place had a number of tables full, yet the place was not overly loud or distracting. Muffy and I could discuss the merits of the need for a working class without yelling. I am telling you this because I believe it would be an ideal date place. Plus you may see me there and you can feel like a big player when you say, "I know that guy, he's from the internet." That'll impress her.
Running into micro-celebrities aside, Zambrano's is a cool place to go. As I said before, its just north of the gorgeously built, icon to Cowboy Culture, Omni Hotel (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can sit on their large patio and watch conventioneers stumble by, have a nice date, or go with a group and enjoy a casual meal in a nice setting.
I know I have probably given you the idea that Zambrano's is some stuffy place where you have to wear 7 Jeans or tuxedos to get in. You can wear neither. Cef and Gaston prefer you wear something, and personally I wouldn't be seen out after dark in anything less than my black tuxedo, but you're not me.
Head to Zambrano's and let me know what you think. With the Omni opening up, this place is probably going to start getting a lot busier so get there soon so you can look down on those who go later as cliche and trend followers.
Zambrano's is located at 910 Houston Street. There are a few clubs nearby that provide valet parking and I think you can use them for the restaurant. You can also have your chauffeur drop you off at the front or park around the corner.