Raising the Bar

More than olives and beer nuts, Vickery Park takes pub grub to the next level

An entrée of shrimp and scallops suffered from a bed of gooey, overcooked pasta and a spice rub worthy, at best, of McCormick's.

Keep in mind Najera quickly worked his way onto the line after starting as a dishwasher at the Green Room. When Cassel left for hipper climes, he recommended the young prodigy for sous chef. Restaurant management passed, and Najera ended up on Henderson Avenue in charge of his first kitchen. He's perhaps still searching for consistency, but his talent shows. Take, for example, Vickery Park mussels, a bowl of shellfish steeping in what the restaurant calls a "homestyle citrus cream sauce." It resembles a Bercy sauce, except the chef substitutes champagne for white wine, throws in lemongrass in place of shallots and twists in some lemon, lime and orange juice. Onions and portobellos float amongst the shells adding a musty, vegetal flavor. Walk through the cramped alleys near Grand Plas in Brussels, and you'll find bistros advertising moules and frites. Good stuff, too. Mussels (moules) simmering in simple broth drenched by an effervescent Trappist ale. Knox-Henderson has become the place for this particular variety of shellfish. Old Monk serves them. Toulouse offers a selection. Hector's steams a musty, savory version. But at Vickery Park they're a standout dish--sweet and creamy throughout with layers of earthiness and salt and citrus cascading on the tongue.

Oh, when you order, ask for a bowl to discard the shells. Yeah, the waitstaff is friendly. But only one server during our three visits offered to bring something to hold our empties. That was Nora Saunders, an accomplished professional who also works at upscale establishments...and who also recognized us. The others just watched as we set shells on appetizer plates or dropped them into beer glasses.

Vickery Park is a bar that serves food, but it's much better than bar food.
Tom Jenkins
Vickery Park is a bar that serves food, but it's much better than bar food.

Location Info

Map

Vickery Park

2810 N. Henderson Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206-6504

Category: Bars and Clubs

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Details

Buffalo fried calamari$9

Picnic fries $4

Artisanal cheese board $12

Vickery park mussels $12

Poblano pepper soup $6

House salad $7

Baby spinach salad $7

Brisket sandwich $8

Pulled pork sandwich $8

Cheese pizza $7

Dos XX beer BBQ ribs $9

Stuffed pork tenderloin $13

Shrimp and scallops $13

Filet mignon suramericana $16

Here's another eclectic touch: no dessert. They do, however, list a decent cheese board with fruits, cured meat and some very mild artisanal cheese. After 11 p.m. the kitchen reinvents itself, turning out soft-shell tacos until closing time.

Once again, Vickery Park is a place to hang out and sling back a few drinks. We like the low-key vibe. The kitchen falters on several items, true. There are, however, several reasons to stop in for a bite: mussels, pizza, ribs, cheap steak, fries and those Buffalo fried calamari rings. Chef Najera is young and inventive--someone to watch over the next few years.

That's our call. 2810 N. Henderson Ave. 214-827-1432. Open 4 p.m.-2 a.m. Monday-Friday; 1 p.m.-2 a.m. Saturday and Sunday.

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