Dinner last night?
Ellerbe Fine Foods on Magnolia in Fort Worth, Texas!
Ellerbe’s was named one of the top ten best new restaurants in America in the August 2010 issue of Bon Appétit Magazine. Chef Molly was named one of the 13 most buzz-worthy chefs in the nation, in the November 2010 issue of 944 Magazine. It is no wonder Ellerbee’s has been in the spotlight with its farm-to-table motto. The menu centers on fresh, seasonal, local ingredients.
Ellerbee’s home is in a former garage, but with the upscale elegance and atmosphere, you would never have guessed it. The façade is one of distinction, a creamy colored building with a romantic ambiance set for the outdoor seating. As you enter you are greeted by friendly hostesses ready to take you to your table. If you have to wait to be seated you can browse their market to purchase wine, local jellies, olive oils, boutique bath items, and wine accessories.
As the hostesses take you to your table you realize that the restaurant is actually bigger than it seems, with two separate rooms for dining. The rooms are lined with white linen covered tables that have been accented with brown parchment paper, wine and water glasses, and fresh, seasonal, locally grown flowers. The walls are covered with windows, antique mirrors, and painting from local artists (some paintings are for sale). The ambiance was a perfect mix of the beauty of nature and upscale cuisine.
Upon sitting we were greeted by Douglas, a wonderful charismatic server who gave us some of the best dining service we have had in a long time. With an offering of Texas’ finest, Pellegrino, or Aqua Panna water, we went straight for Pellegrino. Sourdough bread is brought to your table with creamy butter and pink sea salt for garnish.
The menus were printed on crème colored card stock and then attached to wonderful white-washed boards with a rubber band. A very innovative presentation that I loved. The wine list offered a selection of wines from throughout the world. We decided on one of my favorites, Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand. Unfortunately, they were out of this citrusy wine. In place our server offered us an even better selection that was not listed on the menu. The Cade Sauvignon Blanc from Napa Valley. The wine had a balanced mix of lemon and pear acidity with a creamy, velvety finish. One thing that I don’t like about ordering wine at a restaurant is that the server always gives the first taste to the gentlemen at the table, not the lady, assuming that because he is the man he should be the one to taste it. Douglas however, was perfect. He knew from me talking about wine that I would want to be the one to taste it. Thank you Douglas!
After enjoying our wine for a bit, Douglas recited the day’s features. The features included Risotto Balls, Blue Crab Salad, Braised Short Ribs, Filet with Béchamel, and a Baseball Cut. They all sounded fabulous and our server commented on how delicious and sinful they were. It was a hard decision to make.
For appetizer we chose the Risotto Balls. Creamy balls of risotto stuffed with Fontina cheese and wild mushrooms, then fried with breadcrumbs and served over a creamy, vodka sauce. They were delectable. The perfect mix of creamy and crunchy.
My husband and I each enjoyed a salad next. I had the Bosc Pears and Brazos Valley Blue; a mix of Cox Farms Arugula tossed lightly in a Champagne Honey Vinaigrette and topped with crispy Pancetta, Bosc Pears, and Brazos Valley Blue Cheese. The salad was wonderfully tart; I could have had more blue cheese though. My husband had the Scott Farm Heirloom Tomato Salad; Cox Farms Arugula tossed in a Sherry Vinaigrette and topped with melty Miracle Tomatoes, shaved Prosciutto de Parma, Texas Pecan Pesto, and Grana Padano (a semi-aged, hard Italian cheese).
For my entrée I enjoyed one of the featured steaks. I had a perfectly cooked medium-rare filet that was topped with a creamy Béchamel sauce and Lump Blue Crab. It was served alongside baked Rosemary Potatoes and garnished with Arugula Greens. The filet was creamy and rich, the citrus greens were a wonderful complement. My husband enjoyed the Duck Confit and Andouille. A stew of simmered Cannellini Beans, Mirepoix, and wilted greens. The Duck Confit was placed on top of the stew, layered with brown butter breadcrumbs, and baked. It was similar to Cassoulet; rich, salty, and buttery. Would be a great cold weather meal.
Stuffed to the rim we could still not pass-up dessert. We ordered the Homestead Cornmeal Pound Cake. It was divine. A dense pound cake set atop a light Sauterne (French, dessert wine) caramel syrup. The cake was topped with homemade Orange Rind Marmalade, Orange and Blond Orange Segments, Homemade Almond Whipped Cream, and Candied Sliced Almonds. A cup of frenchpress coffee (from Homestead farm in Waco) accompanied our pound cake.
The evening was superb. From the quaint, romantic atmosphere, to our enthusiastic server, to the delectable cuisine; it was a night to remember. We will be back to Ellerbee’s in the future to try the Sweet Potato gratin layered with caramelized onions and blue cheese.