Monday, March 5, 2012

D. Jay's Kountry Grill

Does it seem like there's an East/West divide here in Fort Worth?  How many of you go to the East Side of the Fort regularly?  How many of you go to the East Side only when you're headed to the Whole Foods in arlington or to buy Affliction t's in dallas?  Exactly.  Well mom, and my two other readers, I'm here to tell you that the divide shall be broken by this review.  After you finish reading this, walls will come down, trips will be made, and pants will no longer fit.

D. Jay's Kountry Grill, formerly D. Jay's Kountry Kitchen (on John T. White) is now open at 1023 Woodhaven, just north of I-30.  The restaurant takes up a good amount of space in its strip center, and once you see the menu you'll understand why.  D. Jay is the lady on the right in the picture below and she is one of the friendliest restaurateurs in the City.  If you want to feel like you're eating in somebody's home go visit her.


The restaurant is a mix of soul food and classic Americana dishes with entrees ranging from fried chicken, to meatloaf, cornish game hens, pork chops and probably an ox tail every so often.  D. Jay also provides a daily list of sides that would swamp most kitchens.  And, she serves the second best banana pudding I've had in my entire life.  But more on that later.

The lunch plate comes with your choice of entree and three sides.  That's right - three sides.  At the beginning of the line are two chalkboards listing the days choices.  I may be exaggerating, but I think there are close to sixty options.  Granted, I can't count.

When it comes to ordering, I have deduced that there are only two options:  do you get the items you see in front of you on the cafeteria style line, or the items you don't see in front of you.  Intrigued?  You should be.  Some of the items, both entrees and sides, are made fresh or are back in the kitchen.  With many of the fried entrees, other than fried chicken, the chef will fresh fry your order if you don't see it out front.  My two trips included a fried catfish entree and a chicken fried chicken.  Both came out fresh and piping hot.  But that brings up a point you've all been wondering about.  Why do we have a chicken fried chicken when we already have fried chicken fried like chicken?  Wouldn't the name Chicken Fried Steak Fried Chicken be more appropriate?  It really makes as little sense as these last few sentences. 

Both the catfish and Chicken Fried Steak Fried Chicken were fantastic, but I'd give the edge to the catfish.  The chicken was tender, juicy and well flavored, but the catfish had the great crunch you don't see in all restaurants and it allows more freedom with the sides.  With the chicken you are almost required to order mashed potatoes.  Not so with catfish.  I've also tried the meatloaf which was very well seasoned but a little dry.  Granted, meatloaf is a tough dish to because everybody is thinking of their mother's meatloaf.  So unless your mom is D. Jay, the meatloaf will be different than what you like.  My mom always put ketchup, brown sugar, benadryl and bourbon in mine so I may be biased.

Meat Loaf, thinking about D. Jay's meatloaf.

On to the sides.  You can already feel the divide dissipate can't you?  I can't remember all the sides I've had, but here is what I can remember:  Green beans, green beans, green beans, mashed potatoes, three cheese macaroni, non-green beans, fried okra and some other stuff.  The greens aren't completely coated in bacon grease but I think they use a little fat to make them taste delicious.  The fried okra was crispy and freshly made and the other stuff was great as well.  The macaroni was a bit dry on my first visit but another diner disagreed with me.  As you know, I don't normally acknowledge people who don't agree with me, but it seems relevant to this review.  From what i can tell, all the sides are pretty flavorful and more than any one person needs.

After all of that, if you haven't loaded up the family to head to D. Jay's, I have one more inducement.  Politicians should also listen up.  If you want to solve the problem of divided communities, all you need is this one little tool.  Banana pudding.  I know - disgusting right?  I've always hated that baby food stuff.  Ever since I had teeth I realized foods that were mushy were no longer necessary to my survival.  Well, here's the secret - deep down in our subconscious we are programmed to like foods that we don't have to chew.  It's purely evolutionary - I read about it in high school before it was banned.  So that's why a really good banana pudding, despite the nastiness of such an item, can bring us together.  We were all babies once and that base desire to eat whatever the little spoon airplane delivers into our mouth will bring us together. 

And D. Jay has a good one.  There are 'nilla wafers - when did you last eat one of those - and chunks of banana in a sweet creamy pudding concoction.  I've only had one version that was better but the lady who makes that isn't going into the restaurant business anytime soon.  So - begint the fanfare music - this is the best commercially available banana pudding I've ever had.  D. Jay, if you want a Texas Monthly style award to hang in the restaurant, please send in $25 and a frame to the FWHITW World Headquarters.  And a sheet of paper for me to use in my printer.

I think word is still getting out that D. Jay's Kountry Grill is open so this is the opportunity you've been waiting for.  Show your friends how hip you are by opening their eyes to a new place on the East Side.  The people working there are friendly and you're not going to leave hungry. 

D. Jay's Kountry Grill is located at 1023 Woodhaven.  Give them a try and let me know what you think.
D Jay's Kountry Grill on Urbanspoon


KimberlyDi said...

We'll try it out soon. You had my hubby at "fried catfish". We just tried out Shinjuku Station across the street from the Paris Cafe. Pretty good stuff.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Your hubby will feel rewarded if you two make the trip to D. Jays.

I haven't been to Shinjuku yet but a trip is imminent.

Thanks for commenting.

KimberlyDi said...

I can't complain about the food. Though it was hard to find since I didn't pay close attention to google map instructions. There isn't an exit off I-30 for Woodhaven. You have to take Brentwood Stair if you are coming from the West, I believe.

We both had the fried catfish. It was a big fillet and they did a great job of making it crispy which is difficult to do right with large fillets. It was good, if not almost great. I just prefer smaller fillets.

The sides were all good. I prefer a creamier mac n cheese but the flavor was good. Yams and the green beans were also great.

My only complaint is the awkwardness of ordering an item that has to be cooked. I wish they would take your order and what sides you want, let you pay for it and sit down to wait. They bring it out to you anyways. We had people behind us thinking that they had to wait, not knowing that we already placed our order.

The owner obviously was concerned about customer service and chastized several employees. They might have a few kinks to work out but it is a diamond in the rough.