By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Meat loaf is perhaps the greatest test of a home-cooking establishment. After all, everyone measures the dish against the version Mom prepared--generally adapted from Grandma's recipe. Here, again, AllGood exceeds expectations. Their meat loaf is firm but not dry. The kitchen staff kneads in a fair amount of crumbled saltines as filler, and it's noticeable. But don't be offended. Filler, after all, is essential in true home-style recipes. The meat itself has a strong natural flavor typical of high-quality product. Saltines are a neutral element, but bell pepper and onion baked throughout add an undercurrent of sweetness. An assortment of dry herbs leaves a hint of thyme wafting just above the taste buds, noticeable for an instant then gone. Always present, lingering, is a dose of pepper light enough to allow other flavors across the palate but hefty enough to battle an overly generous portion of red sauce heaped on each slice.
Here, again, is the AllGood conundrum.
As presented, the sauce (mostly ketchup with an afterthought of dry mustard) obliterates the delicate meat loaf. Yes, delicate. Scoop off most of the thick red covering so that only a thin layer remains, however, and the tangy sauce complements the peppery-sweet mound of ground beef and crackers.
Other standouts: the pairing of Paula Lambert's Mozzarella Co. cheese with firm, fresh tomatoes purchased several times each week from the Farmers Market, known as the Dallas mozzarella salad. Indeed, the quality of AllGood's produce is one of the endearing things about the place. Unfortunately, there's that old bugaboo of inconsistent preparation. Case in point, a soggy portion of fried black bean ravioli, served as an appetizer without individual plates for each person at the table. Black bean? Good. Raviolis? They tasted like freezer-burned Sam's Club leftovers.
OK. Back to the pluses.
The exotic salad is a bright medley of greens, sautéed onions, chopped pecan, avocado and mango. Cole slaw arrived with none of that milky white stuff. The bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich--a lunchtime favorite--is heavy on the B (and a thick, crispy, pepper-encrusted B, at that) and light on the L. In other words, perfect.
Well, not quite.
The menu promised avocado on the BLT--noticeably absent, in this case. And herb-roasted chicken, served as part of a blue plate special, contrasted deft seasoning with a slightly rubbery texture. Just a bit too long in the oven; not enough to destroy the dish, mind you, but enough to remind you that AllGood isn't always all good. And you can't go home again. 2934 Main St., 214-742-5362. Kitchen open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Sunday and Monday; 9 a.m-9 p.m. Tuesday -Saturday. $$