By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
And there were the disappointments: An appetizer of fried calamari, crust so mushy it all fell off and onto the plate, leaving naked rounds of squid to be forked into the tasty peppered jam. A goopy "three-cheese" crab and spinach dip that lacked any visible evidence of crab and, as it turned out when we asked the waiter to ask the chef what the cheeses are, is made from only two cheeses, cream and Parmesan. Instead of "pita crisps," the dip arrives with plain, soft triangles. The lobster ravioli entrée reveals not a hint of lobster but some mysterious blue mealy material inside the four chewy pockets of pasta, all floating in a foamy pink sauce. The "Artesian cheese plate with dried fruits and nuts" (surely they mean artisanal) is little more than a few cold slices of smoked Gouda, a tiny wad of chèvre and a couple of out-of-the-bag apricots. Nuts to that.
Open just four months, Deep Ellum Café the Younger needs to figure out what it wants to be when it grows up. Nouvelle comfort food? New American fine dining with flair? Slapdash neighborhood boîte?
We're told the menu already is getting a makeover. Out goes the "Artesian cheese," the chicken and dumpling entrée (we hardly knew ye!), tuna steak, stuffed pork chop and venison meatloaf. In come blander-sounding items, including ribs, marinated flank steak, pecan-crusted tilapia fillet and a grilled chicken breast with forest mushroom fettuccine (which forest is that, do you think?). Full-time desserts will include those tired old stand-bys, crème brûlée and New York cheesecake with berry sauce. They're keeping the banana-pecan bread pudding, however. Thanks for small favors.
We won't give up on the place just yet. Next time we're feeling Ellum-worthy, we'll drop in again. Hey, what are old friends for?