Popularity Contest

This grill exhibits pleasant mellowness

The side dishes we sampled were all worthwhile. Laced with sharp cheddar and smoky bacon, "Bubbies" potato cakes are crisp, slightly greasy and quite potent. Whoever this Bubbie is (we're imagining bib overalls and a truck stop), he knows his way around a short-order grill. Wood-grilled asparagus holds onto enough smoke to offset a sharp Asian vinaigrette nicely. And we've already raved about the fries.

Kenny's old-fashioned, evocative French fries may now rank as the best in Dallas.

Bouts with pure excellence end with the fries and béarnaise, but so be it. With few exceptions, the restaurant maintains an appealing level of quality and consistency. A pile of St. Louis pork ribs, slow-cooked over mild hickory to a fork-pulling tenderness and paired with a middle-of-the-road sauce, will awaken steadfast Texans to possibilities other than brisket. The clam chowder is a tad on the pasty side and skimps a little when it comes to the delicate strips of quahog. Still, it's a warm and thick serving with an undercurrent of pepper, neither outstanding nor disappointing. Salads work nicely, the wedge, in particular, thanks to Roquefort and Maytag blue cheese puréed into a dressing that calms the edges of both.

Where everybody knows your name: Kenny's Wood Fired Grill provides comfort and good food, but it's not comfort food.
Tom Jenkins
Where everybody knows your name: Kenny's Wood Fired Grill provides comfort and good food, but it's not comfort food.

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Kenny's Wood Fired Grill

5000 Beltline Road
Dallas, TX 75254

Category: Restaurant > New American

Region: North Dallas

Details

Home-smoked salmon $8.95 Wood-grilled oysters $8.95 Brie fondue $9.95 Clam chowder $4.95 French onion soup $5.95 Caesar salad $4.95 The wedge $5.95 St. Louis pork ribs $18.95 Tuna steak $18.95 Cajun fish $19.95 New England baked stuffed fish $19.95 Sides $3.95 Ice cream sandwich $9.95

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Wine ranges between $20 and $40 per bottle, the bar is efficient and service not even close to stuffy. On one visit they trotted out entrées before clearing soup and salad plates from our table, but otherwise waitstaff maneuver through the room quietly, converse with ease and rarely interrupt. Though seafood forms part of the theme, the place offers four different steaks, the aforementioned ribs, chicken and something called a Sterling Silver steak sandwich, which we opted against after watching a petite blond woman at another table heft, with both hands, the meat and brie monstrosity.

Oh well, why not bend a little to Texas convention at a Chicago chophouse with New England seafood and Midwestern ribs dressed in Uptown digs?

So our verdict: Just about every menu item is accessible. If you like Houston's--and who doesn't--you'll also appreciate Kenny's Wood Fired Grill.

5000 Belt Line Road, Suite 775, Addison, 972-392-9663. Open 5 p.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday; 5 p.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Late-night menu until 1:30 a.m., Tuesday-Saturday.

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