By Amy McCarthy
By Scott Reitz
By Scott Reitz
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Alice Laussade
By City of Ate
Pingpong isn't the only diversion at Brackets. There's a pair of admirably clean pool tables, tournament dart boards and an ongoing beer bracket contest in which the most-ordered beer wins a starring role in the following week's promotional pricing scheme.
The best dishes on Brackets' menu are those that mesh with any of the above activities. I didn't sample everything at Brackets, but found "Would I eat this while playing darts?" to be a surefire litmus test for determining whether a dish was worth ordering. Wood-fired clams? No. Fried chicken sliders? Absolutely.
Interestingly, menu items seem to be slowly migrating from elegant to everyday. Brackets made a preopening fuss about its partnership with pizza maker Jay Jerrier, renowned in Dallas for his Neapolitan-style pies. After Jerrier's three-month consulting contract ended, Brackets announced it was abandoning his pizza program in favor of thick-crust pies, citing complaints from comment card writers who wondered why they couldn't get pizzas topped with jalapeños and bacon.
5300 E. Mockingbird Lane
Dallas, TX 75206
Category: Bars and Clubs
Region: East Dallas & Lakewood
Brackets now serves a decent pizza for the masses. There's almost no sauce on it, but there's plenty of oregano-flecked cheese baked into little divots of gold. With its puffy buttered crust, the pizza's reminiscent of those served in places where pizza's not the point. I haven't eaten at a Chuck E. Cheese in ages, but my first bite of a Brackets pie made my Skee-Ball muscles twitch.
Chicken wings might be next up for modification. They're roasted, not fried, so the hot sauce sits unconvincingly atop the meat rather than being absorbed by it. I'm not sure how the limoncello and pepper variety will hold up to deep-frying, but it seems unlikely wishy-washy wings would make it past comment card writers during March Madness.
The burger at Brackets isn't playing in the same league as the better burgers in town, but it's a fine sandwich. The well-crusted patty's plopped between a wedge of avocado and substantial onion ring on a buttery sesame seed bun. It's not Trader Vic's beef cho cho, cooked on a tableside hibachi, but—paired with a feisty game of pingpong—it could make for an entertaining evening.