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VIPeek: The Finch at Mockingbird Station opens Monday with a veto-proof menu — and one irresistable entree you’ll only find in London and France

Good stuff.

The folks at Milkshake Concepts, the locally grown hospitality group behind popular restaurants such as Vidorra, Stirr and Harper’s, have a keen ability to deliver what people want: creative cocktails, good food, and a fun vibe in thoughtfully designed spaces.

At The Finch, their ebullient, new restaurant across from SMU, it’s almost impossible not to have a good time (especially if you can sit at either the swanky horseshoe bar or the broad raw bar tucked in the back). The restaurant’s name nods to both literature (Atticus Finch in To Kill a Mockingbird) and its location (Mockingbird Station).

Chef Eric Freidline and Milkshake’s talented culinary director, Rodman Shields, don’t fret about making culinary waves. Instead, they’re focused on creating flavorful dishes you might not expect to spot on an all-day menu dotted with burgers, salads and pizzas.

Steak frites, for example.

Milkshake co-owner Imran Sheikh and his wife are smitten with a version served in London at a French restaurant chain called Le Relais de L’Entrecote. That restaurant primarily serves a single dish: sliced, grilled steaks (with fries) slathered with a butter-based sauce that incorporates chicken livers, Dijon mustard, shallots, thyme, tarragon, and parsley.

Yes, it sounds weird. But Freidline’s version is also weirdly addictive.

I ordered it at a VIPeek preview of The Finch, disliked it at first, and liked it a whole lot more as the meal progressed. By the end of dinner, I thought about asking for a ramekin of it to take home. I’m still thinking about it right now.

There are other charmers on the one-page menu, too, including white polenta enriched with roasted poblano peppers, a perfectly al dente risotto, blue crab dip, a half-dozen East coast oysters (served with house made crackers), wagyu sliders on toasted brioche buns, and a list of daily specials that will keep the menu feeling fresh. The restaurant opens Nov. 21 for lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.

Milkshake co-owner James Faller pointed out that Finch is the company’s first serious restaurant without a dedicated nightlife component. No DJ, no live bands, no upstairs bar.

I like that. Sheikh, Faller, Shields and ops guys Steve Spence and Tommy Hamilton excel at creating veto-proof restaurants.

More Finch locations are in the works for Grand Prairie (opening early next year), Nashville and Rockwall.

5307 East Mockingbird Lane Suite, (469) 893-0990, in the former Cafe Express space



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