Clawing for success

Tasty crab claws can't rescue Truluck's

One of Truluck's signature preparations is its twist on surf and turf, the steak and stone crab combo. Four medium claws (or three jumbo shrimp) can be paired with any steak on the menu. But while the four medium claws were exemplary, they were mated with a wide, thin, 12-ounce rib-eye steak that was far too gristly, though it did have an appealing rich flavor and a layer of sweetness that played well off the crab.

In the sea, Truluck's sloshes around inconsistently once it slips out of those crusher claws. The Caribbean salmon fillet topped with a cool tropical fruit salsa and citrus Chardonnay sauce was soft, mushy, and very nearly raw. The salsa was texturally cumbersome, and the viscous sauce amplified the mushiness of the meat, making it seem more like fish Jell-O. Yet you could perceive hints of the attempted flavor dynamics at work here, and the idea seemed solid. It just suffered from poor execution.

Grilled mahi-mahi proved far better. Basted with lemon-garlic butter sauce, the fresh meat was firm, moist, and resilient. A side of grilled yellow squash, zucchini, sweet potatoes, and green beans was crisp, succulent, and not overly slimed with oil.

Location Info

Map

Truluck's

2401 McKinney Ave.
Dallas, TX 75201

Category: Restaurant > Seafood

Region: Uptown & Oak Lawn

Other sides slipped irretrievably. Steamed broccoli was tough, chewy, and flavorless, while the country wild rice was dry, hard, and clumped together in little spiny wads. Save for being a little on the stiff side, the Parmesan mashed potatoes did better, with a rich, sharp cheese flavor that perked up the mash.

Truluck's underachieves on the easy stuff too. The chicken-walnut B.L.T., with Monterey jack cheese and diced chicken in a creamy dressing between dry, lightly toasted slices of bread, was fairly bland. And despite the billing, there were no walnuts in the dressing--at least none that could easily be discovered. A side of seasoned fries tasted old, mushy, and stale.

Spawned in Houston, Truluck's was launched in Addison last year in the ex-Deep Ellum Cafe space on Belt Line Road. The project is a partnership that includes J. Stuart Sargent (developer of Studebaker's nightclub), restaurant-industry veteran Steve Fields, and Mort Meyerson. An Austin location is set to open within the next few weeks.

After a months-long, tenacious attempt to grab the Fog City Diner location from California-based Real Restaurants (who had just acquired it from its Dallas owners), Fields and Sargent finally acquired Truluck's second Dallas-area location late last spring. It reopened in July with only minor cosmetic changes.

But if these operators hope to thrive on McKinney Avenue, a strip that lately hasn't been nourishing restaurants with any appreciable vigor, they will, at the very least, have to bring this place up to the standards the Addison version displays.

That, or consider converting the place into a vegan rehabilitation center.

Truluck's Steak & Stone Crab.2401McKinney Avenue,(214) 220-2401.Open Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.;Friday & Saturday11 a.m.-11 p.m.$$$-$$$$

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