Okay ladies and gentlemen, its time to put your fancy pants on. We're headed on a trip to an upscale restaurant, that is also a hole in the wall, that is also on many gourmands' bucket list, and is also one of the top ten new restaurants in the United States according to this blog* and Bon Appetit**.
*The other nine are here in Fort Worth.
**The other nine from BA are not here in Fort Worth.
The Hole family (get it?) went to Ellerbe Fine Foods (EFF) to celebrate numerous events, the most important of course, was the free meal for yours truly so this review could be provided. There has been much talk amongst local foodies and people who just generally prefer eating over not eating, regarding EFF. It is either the best restaurant they've been too, or it doesn't live up to the hype. Before discussing my meal, I think its important to address this issue. EFF, like many new restaurants we're seeing in town is an upscale restaurant that isn't a steakhouse. For many, that's unusual and the idea of paying a high restaurant tab and not getting a filet mignon confuses people. However, what EFF lacks in steaks, it more than makes up for in carefully considered and prepared dishes which use a variety of ingredients that many have not experienced before. So lets get into exactly what that means....
The visit involved a highly adventurous attitude from the entire family. We had four different starters, five different entrees, and 3.5 desserts. To begin with, we had a Scott Farm Heirloom Tomato Panzanella, the Doak Farm Pears and Brazos Valley Blue salad, Warm Red Wine Crimini Mushrooms and Housemade Rye Crisps and the Rabbit Terrine. I didn't get to try the Tomato dish, but it was reportedly delicious. In fact, they were all delicious and none of the food made it back to the kitchen. We also had the crimini mushroom dish. To begin, I hate mushrooms. They taste like alien eyes. Why people eat them is beyond me. The EFF mushrooms are working to change me. I didn't get a sense of any alien eyes and the flavors were very vibrant. The pear and blue cheese salad was also very good. It tasted like a great version of a typical steak house salad.
I had the rabbit terrine and will attest to the uniqueness of it. A rabbit terrine is made by setting a trap under the Easter Tree to catch a fresh rabbit. Terrine is french for "pate" which is french for "smeared". The Easter rabbit smear was delicious by a 2 -1 vote. One person was afraid the crunch in the terrine was possibly rabbit foot. We confirmed that it was something else.
For the entrees, we each tried a different dish, and, with one exception, I had a bite of all of them. We had the Langoustine (inbred lobster), the Veal Involtini, the Chili rubbed Wild Boar (my dish), the Paneed Redfish and the Duck Confit. The Langoustine came with a delicious homemade pasta and sauce that was easily one of the most flavorful pieces of any of the meals. The Redfish was also very flavorful and came with a few delicious green beans. The duck was tender, flavorful and came with gruyere bread pudding that disproved my hatred of soggy bread. Finally, the Chili Rubbed Wild Boar. This was my dish and was by far, my favorite item of the entire evening.
The boar is served with mesquite bean blinis (food thong), crispy nopalitos (cacti), and a house made jelly. My fancy pants were stretched tight after I licked the plate clean. The boar was tender and fell apart at the touch of a fork. I've never had mesquite beans or blinis but I think they both could cure a minor disease based on their deliciousness. The fried cactus bites, while spiky, were delicious as well. This dish wasn't what earned EFF a "best restaurant in the universe" award, but it will when that award comes out.
We also had desserts. I used the menu to give the details above, although the entrees and starters are still vividly dancing around in my vast mind. But there was so much to take in and this sponge of a mind I have was filled with funny jokes about rabbit smears and images of Wylie Coyote falling on cacti, that I can't remember all the details about dessert. I know we had ice cream that was more flavorful than anything you can buy in a store. We may have also had some bread pudding and some sort of pumpkin thing. It was all delicious but it was good food overload for me. This meal should have been spread out over about three days so that I could fully enjoy the awesomeness that was Ellerbe Fine Foods.
If you haven't been, the holidays are approaching and this place would be a wonderful place for a Christmas/Holiday event. That is, if your idea of a special meal doesn't require your traditional steak place. They do offer a steak at Ellerbe Fine Foods, but there is so much more to explore here.
If you've been - let me know how right or wrong I was. EFF earns a three hole rating because its not scary in any way when you approach but the unique menu, and the use of an old gas station keeps it real, yo.
Ellerbe Fine Foods is located at 1501 West Magnolia Avenue and is not open on Sunday or Monday.
The website is Ellerbe Fine Foods.