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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Lonesome Dove

First post of 2012! And it's a place I've been dying to go to forever!!

We were long overdue for a gathering of one of our quarterly eating groups. We decided to venture out to Fort Worth this time and made a reservation at Lonesome Dove. Chef Tim Love is the chef and owner of this restaurant. He's a pretty famous celebrity chef being featured on shows like Top Chef and The Great Food Truck Race and also competed on Top Chef Masters. :) I've watched him on all those shows so I was eager to try his restaurant. Also because the menu was so exotic and interesting!

Lonesome Dove Western Bistro
2406 North Main Street
Fort Worth, TX 76164
(817) 740-8810
Price: $$$$+

I've looked at their menu online sooo many times so I knew that it was pretty pricey. But they feature a lot of exotic game meat and has won many awards. I had pretty high expectations!

The restaurant is casual, despite the prices. When you walk in, it seems to be a pretty small place. Wood plank floors and Western decor. But we were led through the front room, then another small room and then ANOTHER small room and finally down a flight of stairs to yet another room. It's deceivingly big! And it was packed with people that night.

We were seated and our drink orders were taken. Then the waiter recommended that we pick a few appetizers and they can make a sampler out of it. Basically each appetizer can be ordered in individual pieces. So we chose a few dishes and they will serve one piece of each app per person. Interesting concept... and everyone can try everything! We also got some bread to start. The jalapeno cornbread was pretty yummy! I can totally taste the flecks of spicy jalapeno with the sweet bread. Mmmm!

So for the First Course we chose 4 appetizers:
Wild Boar Ribs (house made pickles, Lonesome Dove BBQ sauce) $12~ (or $4/piece).
This was highly rated in online reviews. It looked really good and was cooked well. There was just enough fat on it to make it nice and juicy. However, I wasn't blown away. It was good ribs but not mindblowing. Also, I didn't care for the pickles that came with it. They were more sweet than tart and I felt like they didn't add anything to the dish. A side of slaw or something might've gone better with the ribs.

Rabbit-Rattlesnake Sausage (spicy Manchego rosti, creme fraiche) $15~ (or $5/piece).
This was really good. The sausage had a nice crispy sear on it and the meat itself had a hint of sweetness to it. But the main star in my opinion was the crispy potato hashbrown thing under the sausage. It was perfectly crispy and yummy. But the whole thing was tiny! It was literally one bite. I forced cut it into 3 tiny bites just to savor it. hahaha.

Kangaroo Carpaccio "Nachos" (avocado salsa, habanero-fig demi-glace) $12~ (or $4/piece).
This was one of the dishes I really wanted to try. Kangaroo?? How much more exotic can you get? But I was hesitant on the carpaccio part since that means it's mostly raw... This was even smaller than the sausage. One piece of tortilla and an even smaller piece of kangaroo on top. The meat was interesting. It's really tender and seems to be light in flavor. But there was a pretty bold seasoning rubbed over it so I don't really know what the actual meat tastes like. I liked the texture of the meat and I decided to eat it separately from the tortilla so I can fully enjoy it. The rest of the dish was basically like a chunky guacamole. Which was good but too much in ratio to the rest of the dish. It would be nice if we at least go some extra pieces of tortilla chips or something.

Elk Sausage Sliders (seared foie gras, blueberry jam) $14~ (or $7/piece).
I haven't really had elk before and one of our friends at the dinner said elk is probably one of the best meats ever. He was right. This was one of the best sliders I've had in a long time. The meat was tender, juicy and full of flavor. I know elk is way leaner than beef but it didn't taste lean! All the elements just melded together wonderfully. I can just eat this all night. But at $7 a's definitely pricey!

Some of us got a second course. I chose to have my second course as my main dish so I can save more space for dessert! :P I got the Butter Lettuce, Applewood Smoked Bacon Lardons, Spiced Pepitas, Chili Buttermilk $9~
The bacon lardons is what sold me on this. Basically crispy pork belly. NOM! The salad was good. The pork with the pepitas and little slivers of jalapeno definitely made it better. Butter lettuce is a really delicate lettuce and I'm not a huge fan of it. I think with romaine it would've been a better fit texture wise with the pork and pepitas. The dressing wasn't spicy like I hoped and wasn't anything special. I enjoyed it overall though.

Warm Hominy, Lamb Bacon, Swiss Chard, Muenster, Quail Egg $12~
Hominy refers to corn without the germ. It is served both whole or ground. Hominy is boiled until cooked and served as either a cereal or as a vegetable. Muenster cheese is a cow's milk cheese with a taste comparable to typical white American cheese or a sharp jack cheese. This looked really good. It was kind of like a stew. I got to try a bite. I loved all the different ingredients in it and the broth was really flavorful. However, there was a sheep/lamb-y flavor (I'm assuming from the lamb bacon...haha) which I didn't like. But I don't like lamb in general so if you do, you might like this!

Grilled Corn, Cucumber, Heirloom Tomato Salad (red wine vinaigrette) $9~
This was really colorful and looked really fresh. I didn't get to try but my friend cleaned her plate.

Berkshire Pork Green Chili (tortilla strips, smoked cheddar cheese) $10~
This looked pretty hearty and the portion size was good. My friend said it was good, not great.

Time for the Main Course!
Roasted Garlic Stuffed Beef Tenderloin (Western plaid hash, Syrah demi-glace) $35~
The tenderloin was about 8-9 oz. The waiter said this was their most popular entree. The tenderloin was huge! I got to try a bite of the meat and it was really tender. It had good flavor but I didn't really get much garlic. The asparagus was nice too. My friend said the flavor of the sauce was a little overwhelming though. I didn't try the sauce so I can't comment. He even had some leftovers to go!

Pan Seared Lane Snapper (smoked crawfish chowder, crispy parsnip) $28~
If I had ordered an entree this was my second choice. It was also a good portion size. The sauce was awesome...lots of flavor and great with the bits of crispy parsnip in it. The fish had good flavor as well but it was slightly overcooked. Still a good dish overall.

My bf got the Rocky Mountain Elk Loin (salsify, Hen of the Woods, swiss chard, candied grapes) $40~
This was my first choice as an entree. The slices of loin added up to about 3-4 oz in my opinion. Salsify is a white root, kind of like a parsnip but skinnier. It was a pretty small plate but pretty. The elk was super tender and seasoned lightly so you can taste the actual protein. I enjoyed all the elements together but it definitely needed more of EVERYTHING! haha. Especially the salsify. I loved the dish, I just wanted more!! It was definitely expensive for the portion we got. However, I did do some research and the price for elk seems to be around 3 times more than beef. I guess I can understand the pricing more based on the data.

I definitely saved room for Dessert! haha.
I already knew what I wanted from looking at the menu online. Warm Ancho Chile Chocolate Cake with Vanilla Ice Cream & Almond Brittle $10~
It was almost like a flourless chocolate cake...really decadent. I liked the almond brittle around the cake. It added a nice crunch and a floral accent to the chocolate. I didn't detect any chile though...that was a bummer. I liked this a lot. It just needs to be bigger as well!

Chocolate Tuaca Layered Mousse Cake $10~
This was a large piece of cake. It looked really yummy but it was just ok. I really liked the chocolate layer on top but the consistency was too thick and hard against the actual cake part. The flavors were good but I felt like it could be a bit more moist.

Fresh Mexican Doughnuts with Chocolate, Cajeta & Coffee Cream $10~
This was basically churros with dipping sauces. The churros were pillowy and delicious. I really liked it with the chocolate sauce. Cajeta is basically caramelized goat's milk. That was really good as well. The coffee sauce was very watery, I'm not sure if the consistency was meant to be like that?

Overall it was a great meal. I enjoyed pretty much everything I tasted but it was just a bit too expensive for it all. With 1 piece of each appetizer per person (for me and my bf), one salad, one main course, and one dessert, the final bill (including tax and tip) was about $135 for the 2 of us. We didn't even get any beverages or anything. And I wasn't totally full. I had another dessert elsewhere about an hour later. haha. :P

As for the service... our waiter wasn't friendly at all. We didn't feel welcomed and he almost made us feel like he didn't want us there at all. Several of my friends commented on that and one guy even said "I really don't like him!" I mean, he did everything he was supposed to, checked on us regularly and served the meal correctly but no smile or friendly chit chat or anything. Bleh... :( It definitely made us enjoy our dinner a bit less. However, after the dinner, I asked him if I could meet the chef (since I saw him walk by earlier in the night) and he said he would check for me. And later came back and told me that the chef will come by our table. Woot! That earned a bit of his points back.

So Chef Tim Love came by our table. And I was able to get a picture with him! YAY! Another check on my list of Top Chefs to visit. hehe. :)

I would still recommend checking out Lonesome Dove since the food is delicious and you can try some really exotic things. Just keep the prices in mind...and also keep the prices of the different proteins in perspective. It's definitely not a place most people can visit frequently. And you MUST try the Elk Sliders!!!!

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