I am in Frisco. I am in a strip mall. I am in a strip mall anchored by a CiCi's pizza and Kroger. I am where culture goes to die. No, wait, I am where culture goes to live when its kid hits kindergarten.
I go into this experience with an open mind because I need it to work: I venture north to Frisco often to visit family, and the options are ... limited. Earlier this summer, though, we caught wind of a new restaurant that was going to be locally owned with a more sophisticated menu than the common chain.
Barnlight (15922 Eldorado Parkway, Frisco) is decorated in a rustic-minimalist vibe, and I learn that most of the décor comes from the owners' personal ranch that has been handed down for six generations. The head chefs and owners, Philip and Christina Doyal, describe their menu as elevated comfort food. Having deep Texas roots, they give you everything that you would expect from your sweet old granny's kitchen, but with a modern twist, down to the homemade pickles. I can tell they're serious about the comfort food when I spot biscuits and gravy listed under the "Starters" section ($6.99). If you're starting with biscuits and gravy, where are you ending? An above-ground tub of Country Crock?
The drink menu has all the basics. For my first drink, I order and crush a surprisingly refreshing wine cooler made of Chardonnay, fresh mixed berry puree, and lemon-lime juice ($5.95). It was not too sweet or overdone. The signature house cocktail is made of Jack Daniels whiskey; housemade brown sugar bacon syrup, Grand Marnier and Kirshwasser. You had me at bacon.
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My urge to doodle diddles on their chalkboard walls is interrupted by the bartender offering to go mad scientist on me, creating a unique cocktail of Bombay Sapphire and Champagne. Since sitting around a bathtub stirring gin is my life's aspiration, this drink is right up my alley.
Locally sourced foods and fresh ingredients appear a high priority for Barnlight. All of my favorite "S" categories are accounted for: Starters, Soups, Salads, and Sandwiches. Starters include in addition to the biscuits and gravy, Black-eyed Pea Hummus ($7.99), Friend green tomatoes ($9.99), Spanish Style Picadillo ($7.99), Crab Cakes ($14.99), and good ol' fashion Chips and Queso ($7.99). Soups include Chicken Soup of the South ($8.99), Tomato Soup ($5.99), and Chili and Cornbread ($8.99). The high points for the sandwiches are chicken fried, burgers, chicken salad, and pork and slaw ($8.99-$11.99).
The dinner menu offers a wide variety to suit all palates. Main dishes include Blackened Salmon with Horseradish-goat cheese cream ($17.99), Zinfandel Pot Roast ($14.99), Chorizo Meatloaf ($12.99), Grilled pork loin with a spiced cayenne-apricot jam ($14.99), Steak and eggs open faced sandwich ($21.99), and Raspberry tea dusted Mahi Mahi ($14.99).
All of the desserts are made fresh daily in-house by Christina, who started her career as a pastry chef. Since Barnlight is fairly new they seem to still be working out all of the kinks, but patrons don't seem to mind. I don't either. I'll be back, Frisco, whether I like it or not.