Lots of places want to call themselves a “gastropub,” that easy-to-like concoction of equal parts good food and neighborhood bar. RedFork, the new place in SoHe (south of Henderson Avenue) really understands the concept and excels at nearly every level.
First, let’s clear the air: RedFork is not meant to be fine dining. It’s not even trying to turn out “cusine,” though there’s no way the kitchen can avoid cooking with the precision and attention to detail that you’d expect from its chefs, Jeff Harris, who formerly served as executive chef of Craft Dallas, and Matt Balke, a CIA grad who worked beside Sharon Hage at York Street. So while you might not notice that the poached peaches atop the creamy “pot of foie” have been diced into perfect squares of brunoise, or that the half-pound burgers are made with house-made brioche buns and a chuck-brisket-sirloin patty topped with peppery arugula instead of lettuce , or that the hummus is made creamy by subbing cannelloni beans for chickpeas, it’s nice to know that Harris and Balke execute on a fine-dining level even when they’re constructing burgers and making bean dip
So, of the two key ingredients that make a good gastropub, good food and good drinks, you’ll find that the kitchen at RedFork is solid. It’s not Craft. It’s not York Street. But $17 wouldn’t buy you perfectly roasted, crispy-skinned, locally raised chicken with mashed root veggies and braised mustard greens at York Street or Craft. Right?
How about the good drinks part of gastropub? GM Eddy Metten runs the front of the house with aplomb. He has an easy job, since Brian Mcullough is in charge of the bar (he brought critical acclaim to the bars at Belmont and Smoke).
Kevin Trevino mans the bar and put together a wine list that sings with inexpensive jewels like the 2009 Glatzer Dornenvogle Zweigelt from Austria ($40), a refreshingly crisp Pinot Grigio from Friuli, even a spicy Gewurtztraminer from NY’s Finger Lakes district.
Cocktails are as good as any in town. Beers include the Trappist Chimay and the nearly Trappist Maredsous, the Rogue Chipotle from Oregon, Strongbow Cider from the UK, plus about 40 more worth sipping.
Sadly, the decor is the weak link. It resembles a low-budget bachelor pad of dark grey walls, even darker floors, unflattering lighting and big windows that look onto a parking lot.
“We’re working on softening all that,” says GM Metten.
Still, if you seek good drinks, an adventurous wine, a varied beer selection–and food that’s worthy of your attention–RedFork seems to be off to a good start.
Monday-Friday: 4:00 pm-2:00 am
Saturday: 11:00 am-2:00 am
Sunday: 11:00 am-11:00 pm