The Name Game

"Fine Dining" when they don't try too hard

The kitchen thickens seafood chowder with a roux. We know this because of the noticeable taste of flour and distinct, gummy lumps throughout. Some of those indistinct lumps may have been fish in the process of breaking apart, too. There are few apparent pieces of seafood, other than small, curly pale niblets we took for bait shrimp. On the other hand, champagne brie is an outstanding bowl of liquid decadence. Ethereal creaminess soon yields to a fruity aura contributed by a dash of white wine, followed by the dry, crisp effect of champagne. Shallots, pureed into the soup, add a final earthy kick. It's worth savoring.

Service during two visits also teetered between personable and pretentious. Our waiter one evening paired wine expertly--not an easy task, considering our $8 to $10 per glass request. He quickly picked up on our table's mood and interests. A few days later we suffered through a more haughty type who bristled when we refused a stale wine then recommended a pricey replacement without mentioning the cost. Later he let us stew over dirty plates for 10 minutes before stopping by the table--not to clear things but to ask if we needed a refill.

J.R.'s Fine Dining has potential: great beef when they leave it alone, brilliant salads and a few other items worthy of note. The lounge features a welcoming rectangular bar and live music. They've picked up Chas Green from Pappas Bros. Steakhouse to work the wine list, and Phillips plans to revise his menu soon. Hopefully, he'll keep the Champagne brie. Oh, and the strawberries Romanoff, a cocktail glass dipped in viscous bitter dark chocolate, filled with berries and topped off with mascarpone.

For every worthwhile moment, there's something truly disappointing. But they still have time to make a name for themselves.

5400 Highway 121, Colleyville. Lounge opens at 4 p.m. Food service 5-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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