By: Malcolm Mayhew
|Chef David McMillan|
| by Kacie Galloway | photography by Alex Lepe | It is clear why crowds are flocking to Bird Café; from its seasonal, unique dishes to the inviting décor, the new two-story gastro pub is winning over Fort Worth. Located in the old Land Title Block building on the corner of Fourth and Commerce, the impressive red brick and sandstone building with original stained glass windows and original multi-colored glazed brick is a beautiful example of the Victorian architecture that once graced downtown Fort Worth’s streets.
The 6,400-square-foot space is just as beautiful on the inside. Upon entering the foyer, patrons see carpeted stairs leading to “The Rookery,” Bird Café’s private dining space that seats 45. Inside, exposed brick walls, patterned tile floors, high ceilings, dark wood tables and ample natural light create an intimate and beautiful dining area without feeling cramped. The separate bar is bright and inviting, with green walls and accents on the tables and chairs, contrasting nicely with the dark bar and chalkboard announcing daily specials. Large windows in the bar overlook the spacious and popular covered patio that looks out onto Sundance Square Plaza. Throughout the building is a collection of more than 40 Audubon-inspired paintings of birds in Texas by late artists Stuart and Scott Gentling, along with other bird-themed décor in keeping with the eatery’s name.
|The Alder Smoked Brisket Burger at Bird Cafe is servexd on a fresh bun with lettuce and tomato, grilled onions, melted Tillamook cheddar and a white barbecue sauce. If you are hungry for more, turn the page.|
We went for a late brunch, which featured single-person entrees rather than the tapas-style share plates on the lunch and dinner menus. We were attended by a friendly waitress who was happy to help us with the menu as it was out first time there. We started our brunch, of course, with drinks. We had Sangria ($6), made with fruity red wine, and the Fresh Basil Lime Cooler ($5), a sweet and tart non-alcoholic drink made with sparkling water, muddled limes and leaves of basil. Both were refreshing and delicious.
Intrigued by the name, we ordered the Flight of the Honey Bee ($12) to start off. A delectable basket of warm scones, pound cake and cornbread accompanied the three different honeys, two from local suppliers, along with fresh butter and sweet, fruity jams. Though the menu says “for the table,” I could have easily made an entire meal out of this dish.
Being a breakfast-lover, I was torn between the Challah French Toast with fresh berries and maple syrup ($12), which looked delicious, and the Bird Benedict ($14). I went with the latter, which consisted of an English muffin with poached eggs, pulled pork, jalapeño gravy and a side of brunch potatoes with sautéed onions and herbs. The meal seemed a bit small for the price, and the pork was void of flavor. But the jalapeño gravy was flavorful and not too spicy. The poached eggs were also cooked perfectly, a feat which many cannot achieve.
My companion ordered the Alder Smoked Brisket Burger ($12) and added bacon. Served on a fresh bun, the huge portion came with fresh lettuce and tomato, grilled onions, melted Tillamook cheddar and a white barbeque sauce that I definitely need the recipe for! It was sweet, tangy and abundantly flavorful but did not obscure the other flavors of the burger. Served with perfectly soft-on-the-inside, crispy-on-the-outside fries, the burger seemed to be a popular menu item, as I saw it on several other tables.
|Wild Blueberry Cobbler is served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.|
For dessert, we opted for the Wild Blueberry Cobbler ($9). One of the three seasonally rotating sweets, the cobbler was served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and had the perfect berry-to-crust ratio. It was sweet and made with deliciously ripe berries.
Although the menu can sound upscale, Bird Café was not uppity. With white paper clipped onto the tables and no formal uniform for the waitstaff, the restaurant was sophisticated yet comfortable. While it seemed most popular among 20- and 30-year-olds, I saw both older couples and families with children during my visit. Whether there with friends for an afternoon drink or a family get-together, Bird Café provides a relaxing space to enjoy a delicious meal at any time of day.
Location: 155 E. 4th and Commerce, Fort Worth, TX 76102 For info call: 817-332-2473 Price Range: $$ Hours: Mon - Thurs: 11am to Midnight, Fri & Sat: 11am to 2am, Sunday: 10am to 10pm What we like: The creativity of the menu and inviting, well-designed space will keep customers coming back. What we don’t: The Bird Benedict could use some improvement for $14. Our recommendation: The Alder Smoked Brisket Burger (add bacon to make it a real treat).
By: Malcolm Mayhew