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Tuesday, July 28, 2015


Last Friday, I got to go check out the new Kent Rathbun restaurant, Hickory. It's located on 121 and Tollway where the old Zea Woodfire Grill used to be. (I miss Zea.. that was a good place...) I was pretty excited about it since I like all of Chef Rathbun's restaurants. My favorite being Blue Plate Kitchen before it closed. :( Still makes me sad when I think about it. I was hoping Hickory would be a good replacement. Plus it's so close to my house!

8100 Dallas Pkwy. #115
Plano, TX 75024
(972) 712-7077
Price: $$-$$$

I had looked it up on Yelp before going, mainly to check out all the food pictures. hehe. But I noticed the reviews were all hit or miss. The misses mainly being service was slow or the waiters didn't know what they were doing. Hmm... I've always had spot on service at Blue Plate, let's see what happens here.

We arrived at 6PM. Since they don't currently take reservations we decided to go earlier. The parking lot was already super packed... wow. I was a little nervous. I circled the lot like 6 times! But walking in, the place was only about 25% full. I guess all the people from the parking lot were going to Blue Mesa next door? My friends got there a few minutes before me and they were already seated and gotten their drinks.

After I sat down, our waitress came to bring my friend her cocktail, and asked what I wanted to drink. I just asked for a water. Then we were chatting as we waited for another friend to show up. Haven't gotten my water yet... My friend arrived. The waitress came to take his drink order...he got a beer. I reminded her of my water. She said "of course". She brought him his beer. Still no water for me. I'm thinking she forgot my water. :( So when she came back again to go over the menu... I asked her for a water again. At first she responded like this was the first time I ordered one. And then a few seconds later, it's like a switch came on and she realized she never brought me one. "I'll go get your water right now," she said. Weird... I finally got the water.

She kind of went over the menu. Told us what the tacos were for the day, etc. And left, to give us more time to decide. We decided to get a few BBQ meats and sides and do family style. All the sides sounded delicious. I think I can make a meal just out of the side dishes. haha.

When the waitress returned, I took charge and ordered for the group. For the BBQ meats, they were measured by the half pound. I casually asked her how big the portion size was for the brisket since I wanted to be sure we're getting enough food. I also gestured with my hands to her to see if she can give us a general amount. At first she points to the menu and says "It's $11". Huh?? Yes, I know it's $11, it says so on the menu. So I gestured again... What is the portion size? Waitress: "oh, it's half a pound". *FACE PALM* Yes, duh, I know it's half a pound. It says that on the menu too. So I'm still trying to gesture with my hands... like this [   ] much meat? Or THIS [            ] much? Waitress: "um, it's half a pound". Ok... I give up. I stopped asking and just ordered. Apparently she didn't know how much meat came in each half pound order. Which we later found out is about 4-5 slices of brisket.

The food all came fairly quickly and they all looked yummy.

Smoked Pepper Crusted Wagyu Brisket (chef's choice) 1/2lb. $11~ 
Not the moistest brisket I've had, but it was still very good. The chef's choice is a good cut. I wish parts of it had a little more fat but it's not a big deal. It also had good flavor. We all liked it a lot. We decided to order another half pound. Careful with the jalapenos though. The ones we got that day were on FIRE! I can handle spice... but whoa!

Thinly Shaved Roti Pork Shoulder (mustard-brown sugar glaze) 1/2lb. $9~ 
This was yummy as well. The meat was super tender and I loved the flavor of the glaze. It kinda reminded me of a Chinese dish for some reason... thinly sliced pork belly with a garlic sauce. I think it's probably the way the meat was sliced. If you are looking for pulled pork or something of the sort, this ain't it. I think it's better. :P The BBQ sauce on the side is the same as the brisket. At first I thought it was a bit too sour, but the more I ate the more I liked it. I thought it paired with the brisket and pork well. A little goes a long way though.

So the main dishes were good... but the side dishes were the stars.

Crispy Brussels Sprouts $5~ Gotta have the Brussels sprouts.. duh! Nicely charred and full of thick cut bacon. Noms.

Jalapeno Jack-Blue Corn Grits (roasted tomato butter) $6~ 
I liked everything but I'd have to say this was my favorite of the night. (Just by a little.) It was so interesting. I guess I've never had blue corn grits before. The texture is different than regular grits. It was creamy and a richness from the tomato butter.

Texas Cheddar Mac & Cheese (parmesan cornbread crumble) $7~ 
I love it when restaurants use Cavatappi pasta for mac and cheeses. It has a lot of texture and the shape is fun! The pasta was al dente which was great. I loved the crumble. It's also really cute in the mini skillet.

Our waitress came by to check on us regularly. We didn't really need anything most of the time, but she filled our waters and stuff. But, when we were almost done eating, she brought over this little carrier with condiments and pickles. 
We all thought it was really strange. There was maybe enough pickles in these tiny containers for like one person. But why give it to us this late in the game? I wonder if it was just an off day for her. But I'm thinking she just needs more training in general... It was a bit surprising to be at a Kent Rathbun establishment and not get good service. But it is fairly new, so I'll let it slide.

We decided to share a dessert. My friend chose the Skillet Cobbler $7~ 
The seasonal fruit was nectarines and that sounded really good. The waitress said the ice cream was vanilla bean from Henry's. It was pretty good. I really liked the crumble. And the cobbler was nice and hot. The ice cream however, was a little weird... I love Henry's Ice Cream. It's always super rich...but this once seemed icy. The consistency was just a bit off. Still tasted good though. The dessert didn't compare to the rest of the food though, in my opinion. It was just good.

So... the food was yummy. The prices are pretty comparable to other BBQ restaurants I guess, but it didn't feel like going to a BBQ restaurant. I'm not sure how I feel about that. haha. Something weird about eating BBQ without the butcher paper and roll of paper towel for the mess. :P The service was along the lines of what the bad Yelp reviews mentioned. I think our waitress just needed more training. She couldn't answer our questions and seemed confused half the time. She also messed up our split checks. She gave one of my friends a crumpled up pieces of receipt that looked like it was supposed to be in the trash and then picked back out, and the amount was wrong. We were scratching our heads with that one as well. Lots of head scratching during this dinner. hahaha. At least she was nice. I might give it another chance. There are some burgers there I'd like to try. But I'll wait a few months and let the wait staff get their bearings.

Oh... and I still miss Blue Plate Kitchen. :(

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