By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Indeed, the feta cheese that graced my roasted beet salad was meted out in perfect proportion to the crisp leaves of radicchio, its milkiness tempering the slight bitterness of the greens. The salad—a triumph of balance, with crunchy sugared pistachios playing off tender bits of orange—made me want to recant all my rants about the beet-and-feta cliché.
There are equally impressive miracles of salvage among the appetizers. Who's still serving hot crab dip? Thankfully, the Bar & Grill, where the surprisingly soulful dish has a distinct artichoke tang. And there's probably too much protein on the slim white plate of deviled eggs for any one person to tackle, but it's a fine snack for sharing: The gorgeous procession of eggs, dabbed with mellowing slivers of cucumber and smoked salmon from TJ's Seafood Market, present an Oz-like landscape.
The most stunning dish I sampled was the crisped calamari, dressed with a sweet chile sauce and flung into a riot of sautéed greens, diced mango, pickled red onion, hearts of palm and a smattering of salty crushed peanuts. The preparation sounded somewhat disastrous on the menu, but the flavors melded to wonderful effect. The dish is a looker, too: If a chef consulted an art history text instead of a cookbook—perhaps pausing on the chapter devoted to Matisse—he'd probably come up with something like the Bar & Grill's calamari.
My menu confidant told me she'd liked everything she tried at the Bar & Grill, and my explorations suggest that's a pretty sensible assessment. I was deeply enamored of a bowlful of handmade papardelle, the soft, rustic ribbons of pasta addled with a succulent Bolognese of brisket and ground chuck. It's the sort of dish you could eat again and again, perfectly suited for a restaurant cultivating a clientele that visits a few times a week.
There's plenty of beef at the Bar & Grill: Both nights I ate there, I had the choice of a rib-eye, tenderloin and a sliced flatiron steak served with fries, still the champion side dish for red meat. The terrifically flavorful flatiron didn't miss a beat: It was seasoned and cooked just as it should have been.
"I could eat here every night," my husband told me when he tasted it.
Neighborhood Services Bar & Grill 10720 Preston Road, 214-368-1101, Open at 5 p.m., Monday-Saturday $$$