By: Courtney Dabney
|At AF+B, the duck pot pie combines butternut squash, carrots, local greens and savory duck meat with a creamy roux in a hefty ramekin topped with flaky puff pastry.|
|The Stalkyard at AF+B is an exhilarating gin and tonic concoction infused with celery, cucumber, basil and fennel bitters.|
|Upon entering AF+B, diners encounter a roomy bar area with booth and cocktail table seating.|
|The Blackened Gulf Snapper at AF+B features a crispy, caramelized exterior, lemony kale, smoked paprika broth, white beans and three baby clams.|
| photography by Alex Lepe | Owned by Dallas-based Consilient (also the folks behind nearby Thirteen Pies), American Food and Beverage was one of Fort Worth’s biggest restaurant openings in 2014, touting polished comfort cuisine from former Bolsa chef Jeff Harris in a sophisticated setting, where the napkins are neatly folded and the servers are well rehearsed.
Diners enter a roomy bar area with booth and cocktail table seating upon arrival. Some might prefer its brighter scenery and energetic vibe to the dark wood-floored, dim-lit dining rooms, although the latter provides sneak peeks into a bustling kitchen via window-framed wall cutouts.
But the menu is the same wherever you eat. Traditional in format, there are sections for starters, soups and salads, sandwiches, entrees and sides to share. Flip it to find a bevy of thirst-quenchers, including an American-only wine list (there was a tempranillo from Texas) and AF+B’s regionally-inspired craft cocktails. A welcome break from winter’s holiday spices was found in the Stalkyard ($7), an exhilarating gin and tonic concoction infused with celery, cucumber, basil and fennel bitters poured atop Sonic-style ice in a tall glass. The same can be said for the restaurant’s refreshing mint iced tea ($3), which was presented with a tiny pitcher of simple syrup for sweetening – a detail appreciated by those who avoid the artificial stuff.
While the battered and fried chorizo-wrapped Scotch eggs ($12), which come halved and brightly garnished with orange and red chiles, have earned a reputation as AF+B’s most popular starter, the house-made ricotta ($11) might be a close second as multiple orders were witnessed coming from the kitchen. Holding court at the end of a wooden plank, the fluffy, mild cheese was evenly topped with a vivid layer of ginger-tinged carrot puree and dusted with crushed hazelnuts and thyme leaves, providing a cool combination of seasonal flavors. The accompanying charred baguette slices ran out before the ricotta, so the rest was polished off by the spoonful.
Entrees ranged from a grass-fed beef burger ($15) with farmstead cheddar from Veldhuizen in Dublin to Harris’ duck pot pie ($17), which combined butternut squash, carrots, local greens and savory duck meat with a creamy roux in a hefty ramekin topped with flaky puff pastry. There were potatoes, too, and thanks to the dish’s piping hot interior, some were softened to a mashed consistency, which added richness and made up for the lack of bottom crust.
In the blackened Gulf snapper dish ($25) that boasted a crispy, caramelized exterior, small mounds of lemony kale were tucked under and around two thick filets. The ensemble sat in a shallow pool of plush, smoked paprika broth, thickened by toothsome white beans and embellished with three baby clams. A chef’s special of wood-fired Brussels sprouts ($6) tossed with sliced garlic cloves and pecan butter served as a smoky family-style side.
During a lunch visit, the wild mushroom and grilled cheese sandwich ($13) oozed with luxurious umami – that pleasant, savory “fifth” taste that’s neither sweet or sour nor salty or bitter, but just plain yummy – thanks to nubby shiitake and maitake mushrooms and a buttery combination of local gouda, cheddar and fontina cheeses.
Two recent trips didn’t end in dessert due to maxed out appetites, but the ice cream and sorbet tasting ($9) from pastry chef Laurel Winberg delighted during a previous visit. It was evident then and still one year later that AF+B equals rustic refined.
Location: 2869 Crockett St.
For Info Call: 817.916.5300
Price Range: $-$$$
Hours: Sun. - Thur. 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
What We Like: We agree with the public and understand why the fried chorizo-wrapped Scotch eggs are a favorite.
Our Recommendations: The Wild Mushroom and Grilled Cheese Sandwich is a must try on a lunch visit.
By: Courtney Dabney