Olenjack is Back: A Taste of His New Menu at Eagle Mountain Tavern

The well-known chef heads north with a new menu, so how does it fare?

Boo-Ray’s of New Orleans may have vacated the space and moved just down Boat Club Road, but a few Cajun dishes still remain on the new menu of Eagle Mountain Tavern, which took up residence in that spot last December.

The former head chef of Reata, Brian Olenjack opened his namesake Olenjack’s Grille in Arlington, which had a successful run for nearly eight years. When it closed in 2015, the chef took some time off — about three years to be exact, leaving many wondering when and where he would resurface.

The spacious Eagle Mountain Tavern has a simple, uncluttered appeal with gray plaster walls. It is a multi-bar and separate party-room affair that was positively brimming on a recent weekend evening. A walled-off bar area provides a sports bar feel on one side with scattered flat screens, and more of a lounge area on the other, featuring live music on the weekends.

My dining companion is not a fan of fried green tomatoes; otherwise, I would have been happily digging into those cornmeal-crusted beauties topped with Tasso ham and shrimp with a side of fresh remoulade for dipping.

Instead, we sampled the intriguing Tequila & Brown Sugar Shrimp ($10). The generous portion was eye-catching with eight plump tail-on shrimps arranged atop a mound of corn relish and bathed in a brown sugar sauce, and a topknot of microgreens for color. The shrimp were wonderfully fresh and juicy, and the natural brininess from the shrimp played well with the brown sugar sauce. The tangy corn relish, however, seemed to fight against the sweetness of the sauce — something about it just didn’t work.

As I mentioned earlier, when Olenjack decided to design a “Texas inspired” menu at Eagle Mountain Tavern, he also wisely chose to sprinkle in a few of his beloved Cajun dishes — to give the people what they want. In that category, you’ll find his classic Gulf Shrimp and Grits spooned with a spicy Tabasco bacon broth, along with a blackened Tilapia dish, and a Cajun Grilled Chicken ($13).

Another hearty portion, the Cajun Grilled Chicken featured two tender chicken breasts resting on fluffy mashed potatoes and perfectly cooked green beans. The chicken was not overly spicy at all; in fact, we would have been happy if the kitchen had dialed up the Cajun spices a bit more. A butter sauce was spooned over the dish, which could easily serve two.

The Cider Braised Pork Loin ($16) featured a stacked presentation. Olenjack’s creamier than most grits formed the base, two loin portions (hashmarks apparent) came next, and crispy fried shoestring red onions became the cherry on top. The pork was mouthwatering in a Granny Smith apple bourbon demi-glace.

Eagle Mountain Tavern
Location: 7255 Boat Club Road
For Info: 817.720.5355, eaglemountaintavern.com
What We Liked: The unpretentious food was cooked right and affordably priced, making it a great place to feed the entire family.
What We Didn’t: The tangy corn relish didn’t marry well with the tequila and brown sugar sauce on the shrimp appetizer.
Recommendations: We’ll be back to try some of the yummy-sounding sandwiches, like the Beef Short Rib Grilled Cheese or the Bilt Better BLT featuring more of those tantalizing fried green tomatoes.