Thursday, August 9, 2012

Brownstone Kitchen+Bar

I wish I had reviewed Brownstone after my first two trips there.  Now I don't have many good things to say about the place. 

Originally, Brownstone was opened by Chef Casey Thompson in her hangover of Top Chef fame.  Chef Casey, as I call her, opened Brownstone Kitchen+Bar a couple years ago and it received great reviews.  The theme was southern but she focused on local foods and everything was prepared in house.  Late last year, Chef Casey announced she was leaving Brownstone because she couldn't handle Fort Worth's awesomeness.  Although she was probably never actually at the restaurant, we'll refer to her being there so she can receive the pre-leaving accolades.

When it opened the restaurant had southern style feel with unique flavor and a menu that had a local/fresh/organic feel which differed from all its neighbors.  For some reason it now seems like a bland amalgamation of its surrounding restaurants.  There are 7th street tacos (Revolver Taco Lounge), pasta carbonara (Patrizio's), chicken fried beef tenderloin (Tillman's), and bleu cheese burger (Fred's).  Maybe my mind is playing tricks on me but I remember this menu being much bolder and more unique than its neighbors.  They appear to be attemping to please everybody which gives it the feel of a high-end Chili's.

On my first two trips, "while Casey was there," my meals were fantastic.  In fact, I had only one complaint which I will address later.  From a juicy fried chicken entree to the short rib dish served with crisp brussels sprout leaves to the very delicious sausage and biscuit appetizer the food was superb.  Mrs. FWHITW and I had brunch and dinner there and loved it all.  We even abused a groupon coupon there. 

Then we went this weekend.  Although the hostess was nice and bubbly things went downhill quickly after our seating.  First, the service.  If we could get our waiter's attention, it was fruitless because he couldn't seem to remember anything.  They weren't busy mind you, he just never showed up and when he did he forgot why.  Meals with sub-par food is bad enough.  But try eating it without silverware.  Or something to wash it down with.

There were two "highlights" of the meal which I must point out.  The tomato and cucumber salad was fresh with a bright mint/watermelon flavor that was delicious.  And the chicken fried steak had a nice crust with a spicy kick. 
The Crawfish Mac n Cheese got mixed reviews due to a very chewy crawfish. 
But the cheesiness scored seven thumbs up.
I have much more to say about the "lowlights".  The fried mushroom appetizer was boring.  It came with a sauce that tasted like soy sauce but which the menu called Mongolian BBQ sauce.  Maybe Mongolian BBQ sauce is soy sauce but I think the Mongolians would disagree. In fact, Mongolian Monthly probably does an annual review of best Mongolian BBQ sauces in the country and the ones that taste like soy sauce probably lose every year.  How about the wedge salad - how can you mess that up?  Well, you can not serve it with a creamy bleu cheese dressing like the menu says.  Ever had a wedge salad with vinaigrette?  Nobody should.  It's like serving mushrooms with soy sauce.

And finally, onto my dish.  Loyal readers know I'm not that hard of a critic so take this for what its worth - the truth.  My chicken was dry.  The plate was too small to hold my dry chicken.  Until I got silverware this wasn't a problem.  Once I had silverware the rubbery, dry chicken kept sliding off the too small plate onto the table.  Eating was not helpd by the tough skin that tasted like bitter.  My lack of a drink to wash it down made the dryness more apparent.  I wasn't a happy camper.  And I've had better food camping.

Because of the waiter and the food, we opted to skip dessert.  But that's not the whole truth.  One previous visit we had dessert.  The waiter at the time told us, 'we have some chocolatey chocolate double chocolate cake left over."  Left over?  We asked if he had any desserts that weren't "left over" and the surprised look on his face should have told us everything we needed to know.  After correcting himself he brought us a slice of something that I only remember as dry and stale.  Apparently the desserts now come from Black Rooster Bakery.  That's good news for Brownstone, but if they are still serving stale, left over cake that is bad news for Black Rooster.  Dessert alone did not ruin the meal as everything else in those first visit was delicious.  But coupled with this last visit, I wouldn't hesitate to skip Brownstone in the future.

Its a shame that this was my experience because the Drifting Bistro Truck at the Fort Worth Food Park is from a Brownstone sous chef and has terrific food.  Maybe he is spending all his time in the truck and they need his services at the restaurant.  It's also a shame because if Brownstone fails they'll probably replace it with a Macaroni Grill or a Chili's- shudder

Brownstone is located at 840 Currie Street in the West 7th Development.  Let me know what you think.

Brownstone Kitchen + Bar on Urbanspoon


Anonymous said...

We had similar results when my gf and I visited for lunch one Saturday about 2 months ago. Waitress was cheerful and bubbly, but notably absent and disinterested. We chose to split a $15 hamburger and the best thing I can say about it was the price(insert sarcastic wit here). Overall not a pleasant experience and as much as we dine out, Brownstone hasn't come up again in our 'where to eat' conversations.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

after writing I did some more research. Apparently, the original Brownstone exists on name only. The entire focus has changed. Which means my statement that it has become a high priced chili's is not that far off. Instead of having a chef inspired focus, they apparently just want to have something for everybody. That's a bad theme in my book.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

Starla said...

It also should be noted that the chef/owner of Drifting Bistro no longer has any association with the restaurant. He left when Chef Casey left to do his own thing. His food is amazing so congrats to him for moving on!

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Thanks for the update Starla. It looks like he made the right decision.

Anonymous said...

We visited for Valentine's Day. The side dishes were noticeably better than the entree. Felt crammed in, especially when the waitress kept bumping the table next to us to bring us our food. She finally gave up and just handed my date's plate to her over me...interesting technique. A few weeks later went to try the Sunday Brunch. It was much better, but a little overpriced for what was offered. I agree 100% with the high-priced Chili's comment.

FortWorthHoleInTheWall said...

Thanks for the comments. I'm sure there are some great dishes to be had. Unfortunately the lack fo focus and direction puts many other places in Fort Worth ahead of it.

Angela said...

Thanks for your advice! Was intrigued by Brownstone, but will definitely try a few of your other suggestions first!