The Grape Restaurant

The Grape opened in 1972 and was the first restaurant in Dallas to offer a blackboard menu as well as one of the first to offer wines by the glass. In 2007, the Greenville Avenue institution was acquired by returning chef, Brian Luscher and his wife and General Manager Courtney.

Over the years The Grape’s employee list that reads like the 6 degree of separation theory with noted restaurateur, Alberto Lombardi, an early waiter; award winning film director, Julian Schnabel, as a part-time chef; Frank Bailey, brother of Texas Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, as the original chef in 1972; Diane Teitelbaum, wine writer for the Dallas Morning News and national wine critic, as the restaurant’s first waitress and manager. Not only have the employees been the who’s who of Dallas but The Grape is famous for a looooong list of accolades that adorn their walls. Just to name a small handful:  “Best Brunch, Best Fries, and Best Calamari” by Dallas Observer and “Best Neighborhood Bistro” by Modern Luxury Magazine, “Top 8 Best Brunches in Dallas” by Dallas Morning News and the most distinguished: Best Burger in Texas by Texas Monthly.

Yes, there has been quite some hype around The Grape, but talk is cheap and their food isn’t so cheap… so how was it? well… on with the food and ironically, my two cents… (talk is cheap) 

Cinnamon Pull Apart ($7.00)
{C for Cuisine favorite}
Cinnamon pastry isn’t normally the first thing that catches my eye on a menu but this… this is amazing. The Grape is well-known for its burger, but should also be just as famous for their Pull Apart. It’s topped with a honey caramel sauce so it’s quite sweet but compared to a typical cinnamon bun, it’s not as sweet. By sight, this pastry seems dense; by taste, it’s actually quite fluffy and pillowy. Topped with a honey caramel sauce, crunchy pecans, and snowy powdered sugar, I’m left to muse over whether this is the foodified land flowing of honey (foodified… you know… like personified, but represented by food). The pastry is cushy and soft, the pecans add a nice crunchiness, and the honey caramel is sticky and syrup with a hint of floral flavor. Pooh bear would eat this right up.

 

 

Fried Chicken Biscuit ($10)
A large fried chicken breast sandwiched between two japaleno cheddar biscuits, smothered with cheddar and honey butter, this looks like it came straight out of a Southern Living magazine. Mine came out at room temperature so the honey butter didn’t have time to infuse the biscuits (notice the sourcream-like condiment globbed on the sides of the biscuits… that’s the honey butter not melted). Dotted with tiny bits of cheddar and jalapeno, the biscuits are tasty. Their napa slaw is light on the vinegarette, colorful, fresh, and crunchy… my kind of slaw.  Had I thought of it while I was eating, I would have stuffed some slaw in the biscuits for an extra crispy crunch and freshness.

And now… the moment we’ve all been waiting for, the famous Best Burger in Texas:

  

  

  

  

  

 

 

Classic Cheeseburger ($12.00)
{C for Cuisine favorite}
The fries are fried to a golden crisp and tasty but the real star here is the burger. Cheese burger is Chef Luscher’s favorite comfort food and you can definitely taste the love in each and every nosh of this 10 oz. patty. All the burgers are cooked to a nice, juicy, tender medium. The burger is cooked so evenly and the meat to bun ratio is perfect about 1:1 or even 2:1; favoring the meat. The flavor of the patty isn’t hidden by overseasoning, the taste of beef is phenomenal. The white cheddar cheese adds a nice buttery creamy goodness while the homemade peppered bacon has the perfect ribbon of fat and crisp. Oh… and don’t forget about the dijonaise, a sauce made in-house of dijon mustard and mayo, adds un petite panache to the burger. And need I tell you their veggies are fresh and crisp? Duh. Amen to butter leaf lettuce. … And all this sandwiched between a delicate delectable pan au lait… I lust for burgers with buns suitable to eat solo. As if I need to be spoiled by any more gluttony… dessert:

Tamarind Sorbet ($4.00)
This is one of the creamiest sorbets I’ve ever had (and yes, sorbet is not made from cream, but that’s how magical this sorbet is). I should probably warn you that tamarind may be an acquired flavor for the faint of tongue. The sorbet has a strong robust tamarind flavor that’s citrusy, spicy, and extremely tart; more tart than sweet. Its flavor is vaguely reminescent of a dried prune. Definitely a palate cleanser…. although I’m not sure you’d really want to rid your palate of the delicious burger 🙂

It’s nice to see the use of tamarind as I haven’t seen this flavor used much in the overall DFW food scene.

… and honestly… how beautiful are the fresh berries? I love the cluster of juice bubbles that merge together to create raspberries and blackberries.

Sea Salt Caramel Icecream ($4.00)
Luscious and creamy, this glaciated dessert reminds me more of a frozen custard because of its richness. The caramel component makes for a buttery and nutty taste. The icecream is more salty than sweet. True beauty marks, freckles of vanilla beans are speckled within the icecream.  

C for Cuisine visit: March 13, 2011

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Comments
4 Responses to “The Grape Restaurant”
  1. Wow. Some of my friends LOVE the Grape. I am vegetarian, but I will totally go for the desserts!

  2. I haven’t been yet, but after seeing this review, I plan on trying. Nice work!

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