What began with more modest aspirations to be a French country bistro soon morphed into a fine dining version and never looked back. Zagat Survey has Saint-Emilion listed as its No. 1-rated restaurant in Fort Worth and Dallas.
Another French restaurant, Le Cep, opened a more uptight, high-ticketed, nouvelle cuisine version three years ago just down the street from Saint-Emilion. When Le Cep closed and that space became available, Tronche saw an opportunity to expand.
The fine-dining component of Saint-Emilion, along with chef de cuisine Kobi Perdue, took up residence in the revamped space in early March with a name change to Paris 7th. The A-framed original Saint-Emilion is now undergoing an update, and when it reopens, will go back to its roots and house a more casual, French country bistro menu.
The once stark and minimal space of Le Cep had a cold feel. Paris 7th is now much softer and way more inviting, with windows letting in the light, dressed in a tidy row of café curtains to one side. The opposite wall now has been covered with lightly stained woodwork, with antiqued inset mirrors and cozy, rose-colored, velvet-backed banquette seating, complete with lumbar pillows for added comfort.
The dining experience is prix fixe, so you can choose a one-, two- or three-course meal for a set price: The full menu (first course, main course and dessert) is $69.50, or you may choose either one or two courses for $58.50, which includes gratuity on food — just like in France. Some items are noted as “supplement” which is in addition to the prix fixe, and you are still invited to tip on your beverage selections.
The wine list remains one of the better collections in the area. As my visit was in early summer and rosé season had just gotten into full swing, I sipped a glass of Tavel Les Lauses, which is a dry rosé, a blend of grenache, syrah and mourvedre grapes, with a fresh raspberry hue.
The traditional blackboard of daily specials made its rounds throughout the dining room. I chose two specials from the blackboard. For a starter, two plump Cape Cod scallops were presented, browned perfectly on top and bottom. They were briny and sweet, resting in a bed of sautéed spinach, delicate orzo pasta and bacon.
The Filet de Boeuf Aux Champignons ($9 supplement) was a lovely, medium-rare specimen. Served with an exotic mushroom fricassee, in a porcini-infused Madeira demi-glace. The plate was minimally sauced.
Desserts include a classic cheese course, and specialty soufflés and crepes, but the summery lemon tart was irresistible on the blackboard menu. I’m a sucker for anything lemon. The classic, thin tart crust was filled with a pucker-inducing custard, served with sweetened, vanilla whipped cream piped on the side.
Location: 3324 W. Seventh St.
For Info: 817.489.5300
What We Liked: The food and service are as impressive as ever, and the new environment makes for a fresh and relaxing dining experience.
What We Didn’t: The cheese course was not available the night we visited.
Recommendations: The Boeuf de Bourguignon Classique is a rich beef stew in red wine, like those on nearly every menu in Paris, with the most tender beef, carrots and pearl onions, and browned mushrooms folded in at the end.