I'm no Southern boy, I'm a Texan.
In days gone by, people would often refer to Texas as part of the South. Geographically speaking, that's true because Texas is in the southern part of the United States, and yes, Texas did once secede from the Union, and many people believe we should do so again. Yet, the two cultures are quite different, although there are similarities. You won't find too many southern-belle Blanche Du Bois women in Texas, because Texans come from more rugged Pioneer stock, and are much more individualistic. Nevertheless, since much of Southern cookery resembles Texas home cooking, it's still a pleasure for me and my (also Texan) wife to enjoy a touch of Tara (so to speak) and journey to One Arts Plaza and Screen Door from time to time.
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Screen Door's interior connotes rustic elegance, from the gentle banquette seating to the light fixtures resembling faux trees and deer antlers. A giant rose-colored clock adorns one wall. Screen Door also boasts a rather large patio, although they weren't seating people there when we arrived for Sunday brunch. We were handed menu and wine list, and our waiter wisely told my wife that $5 mimosas were available, so she decided not to bother with the list. Her mimosa was dry and puckery tart. I decided on a glass of Jim Jim (sic) Australian Shiraz, which packed a black cherry punch, but was lighter on the spice than a typical shiraz. All the better for pairing.
The restaurant changes offerings with the seasons, so if you pull up the menu listed at www.screendoordallas.com, chances are it will be slightly different than the one you actually encounter at Screen Door. We started our brunch with biscuits and gravy, one of the true signature dishes of the South, and we were very pleased. Light, fluffy biscuits (true biscuits should never be leaden) were presented with black pepper-flecked gravy that proved perfect for dunking, which we did so time and again. Next, complimentary breads were brought, and the jalapeno corn bread (light on the peppers) and the carrot muffin were marvelously moist, only the sweet potato scone was slightly dry. All three were quite flavorful, and we left no remnants. Finally, our entrees arrived (our meal was leisurely paced, which is quite common for the region).
My wife ordered the delectable Grilled Cheese Sandwich. I often feel with this dish that you are missing something by not including meat, but such was not the case here. Cheddar, Swiss, and Asiago cheeses were deftly combined with tomatoes on sourdough bread (excellent bread is a hallmark of southern cuisine, and Screen Door proudly carries on the tradition) to make for festive, filling fare, although the sweet potato fries weren't quite savory enough to suit my wife. For myself, I ordered another standby, Big Mama's Chicken and Waffles, and when the dish was brought, the crispy skin was a little dark for my liking. The bird, however, was quite tender and juicy and the waffle was picture-perfect, both served with excellent gravy and maple syrup. My wife seemed scandalized that I mostly chose to eat them separately, yet after a few bites, I preferred it that way, and dined accordingly. After such a hearty brunch, my wife declared that she had no room for dessert, and I decided to finish up with a final few bites of waffle, which was all the sweet I needed.
Service was gracious and attentive throughout, and after we had taken our leave, we were pleasantly surprised to find the parking garage gate opened so we didn't have to pay a fee. I've heard that's the case every weekend at One Arts Plaza, but you might want to double check. No matter, I'd gladly pay garage or valet to enjoy a touch of The Old South in Big D once again.