The Grape is Stuck in the Past, Right Where it Belongs

Compared to modern bistros, The Grape's menu and dining room seem dated. That's why it works so well.

Don't stop your inquisitiveness there, though. There's a hot sauce hiding in the back, and something interesting is always curing. There's also that aforementioned brie, which, like the calamari, was removed from the menu but refuses to stay in retirement. You might like Luscher's version, baked in a blanket of honey. Baked runny cheese is hard to deny. But I made a similar dish far too many times, working my own red-and-white checked restaurant back in high school. It wasn't interesting then, either.

For all the classics on the menu, Luscher does branch out successfully. Sitting in the dining room on another visit, I nibbled on little skewers of minced lamb, aggressive with heat. The lamb was dry, but a salad of watermelon cubes, coated with tiny quinoa sprouts and balanced with pickled watermelon rinds and cheese, was a breath of fresh air. Cool and refreshing, the way a summer dish should be. Perhaps the one part of this miserable season I'll miss.

A well-seared red fish managed to avoid being overcooked, and gazpacho stained red with beets embraced summer's bounty. The moules frites are a competent example of another bistro classic. The mussels are small but the potatoes are excellent, especially with a touch of the broth spooned into the mayo for a brine-kissed french fry dip.

Look to the chalkboard for Mr. Lemley’s Tomatoes.
SARA KERENS
Look to the chalkboard for Mr. Lemley’s Tomatoes.

Location Info

Map

The Grape

2808 Greenville Ave.
Dallas, TX 75206

Category: Restaurant > French

Region: East Dallas & Lakewood

Details


Charcuterie board $14
Mushroom soup $4
Calamari $12
Moules frites $15
Roast chicken $22
Ice cream $5
Lamb skewers $21

The mushroom soup is a heavy, earthy affair. The intense, rich puree of thickened stock, suspending a small dice of mushrooms, lightened nicely when I added a fresh squeeze of lemon. I wonder if sherry would have the same effect. Luscher's mind might wonder some too, but he'd be a fool to change a dish that's been on the menu this long.

The burger hasn't been around quite as long, but it's certainly not going anywhere. The restaurant sells more than 200 some weekends, ever since Texas Monthly named it, understandably, Texas' best. The sandwich sports high-quality ingredients, including two thick slices of bacon cured on site. Most important, it's cooked carefully. Mine arrived a perfect medium, as ordered — an execution that's rare in Dallas.

But if you really want to understand The Grape, lift your eyes from your menu or plate and look around. You could spend that time reading the words of other writers slathered on the walls, but you're better off reading the room.

That night I sat at the bar, a table of five lingered long after desserts, sipping red wine and talking with the locked eyes of close friends. A fan spun in slowly overhead. The twins had left, but they'd be back another day.

Up front, a couple tucked themselves into a corner nook. It was hard not to wonder what went on under that table, or notice when they both disappeared in the direction of the bathroom. They looked in their 40s, although it was hard to tell for sure. It was, however, clear that they were quite comfortable at The Grape, probably even regulars, acting just like they might have 20 years ago.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly described the restaurant's table cloths as checked. They're actually plain-old beige.

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10 comments
Long Time Dallas Guy
Long Time Dallas Guy

Now that you have teased us with the Asian Behemoth, Rohst, can you give us a review of it?Should we go?Long Time Dallas Guy

CNI
CNI

Stuck in the past? That's why I LOVE the Grape ! It's GREAT !

Mel
Mel

I'm glad you landed in Dallas!

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

@Matewan: That headline is a higher editor's. I wrote it, and I still like it, but if you don't, that's on me, not Scott.

@primi: As he wrote yesterday, he likes' em medium. He swears it's juiciest that way.

Matewan
Matewan

as with most of Scott's posts and article something is just amiss. the headline (maybe from a higher editor) is just awful. stuck in the past, what past? i think it's an inappropriate metaphor.

I would think Old Warsaw is stuck in the past...and that's right where it belongs. I can't imagine OS serving coal-oven pizza, achiote chile steak or sushi.

idk, i just get the feeling things arent working out...

primi timpano
primi timpano

I thought you wanted your hamburgers to be cooked medium rare?

Colleen
Colleen

the red and white checkered tablecloths have not been on the tables in over 2 years. They were replaced with beige tablecloths....can we get some accuracy please? How can such abasic thing be overlooked. The observer needs to replace Scott.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

I want medium. A pink, but cooked center. Yesterday I wrote about Dallas restaurant consistently over cooking their burgers, and wondered if medium rare was the new way to go.

Scott Reitz
Scott Reitz

You're correct Colleen. I went back and looked at my original material and the tablecloths are indeed beige, or perhaps a deep linen or flax if you'd prefer. Before writing this review I read every historic review and blurb I could find on The Grape, many of which referred to their checkered past. My favorite was a small snippet from the Times that focused on the romance of the place, something I think is still alive and well in Luscher's fine restaurant. One of those references obviously made it into my review somewhere along the way.

A mistake? Yes. But one worthy of my dismissal? I think not.

Joe Tone
Joe Tone

Fuck that, you're fired. So is whoever wrote that shit headline. BURN THIS PLACE TO THE GROUND.

 
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