First Look

First Look: District, A San Francisco Wine Bar and Restaurant, Opens in Addison

Hank Vaughn
Spicy Thai-style mussels with grilled bread to sop a rich broth.
District is a wine bar and restaurant that originally opened in San Francisco in 2007. The first Texas location recently opened in Addison at the Village on the Parkway. The chef-partner is Aaron Staudenmaier, who previously worked with Kent Rathbun and helped open Abacus and Jasper's, as well as Whiskey Cake.

The District joins the plethora of places that offer and encourage ordering several shareable plates rather than the traditional multicourse format of dining. The website touts “globally inspired shareable plates using ingredients from local artisans and exceptional producers around the world,” and they encourage the guests to let them help create the optimal pairing of whiskey or wine with their meals.

Along with wine and whiskey, they offer the now de rigueur selection of cocktails. We selected the Hong Kong Phooey (Benchmark bourbon, Card Amaro, coffee liquor and chocolate bitters) as well as a Green Grow The Rushes (Buffalo Trace bourbon, Combier, strawberry basil simple syrup and lemon) while we perused the rest of the menu for lunch while sitting outside on the patio on one of the last temperate Saturdays before the onset of the Texas summer. With some difficulty, we finally settled upon four plates.
click to enlarge
Green Grow The Rushes and the Hong Kong Phooey cocktails
Hank Vaughn
The first two were from the “Farm Grown” section of the menu and were smaller plates, i.e. starters. The crunchy sweet potato pakoras ($11) consisted of chickpea batter, zucchini and onion served with a bright and refreshing jalapeño-lime aioli. These sort of had the structure of shoestring french fries but packed much more flavor and texture, with a spice profile reminiscent of Indian cuisine.
click to enlarge
Sweet potato pakoras had a hint of Indian-inspired flavor.
Hank Vaughn

The fontina and spinach arancini ($12) consisted of crispy risotto balls and a delicate smoked tomato sauce. The odd number of balls caused the, “No, you take the last one! No, YOU take it!” Or split the difference. 
click to enlarge
fontina and spinach arancini served three to an order
Hank Vaughn

The Akaushi beef duo ($14) and spicy Thai-style mussels ($20) were up next, and these were a bit larger serving from the “Handheld” and “Fish and Shellfish” sections of the menu, respectively. The beef duo is so called because it consists of two sliders of beef. Pork belly, as well as chicken, are other protein choices for the sliders, but our beef serving had a good sweet and savory combo going for it thanks to the red wine onion jam and whole grain mustard aioli that dressed the juicy beef patties. The sliders were also accompanied by what the menu refers to as artisan cheese, which it seemed to be. A small salad of greens and pickled red onions simply dressed rounded out this plate.
click to enlarge
akaushi beef Duo were a couple of extravagant sliders
Hank Vaughn

We took a gamble ordering the mussels in a month that did not have an R in it. The mussels were lightly and mildly seasoned with Thai spices, yellow tomato, cilantro, scallions and lime that created a pleasant broth with the mussels. Several pieces of toasted farm-style bread were provided, and all were eventually used to soak up the liquid goodness from the bottom of the bowl.
click to enlarge
Spicy Thai-style mussels with grilled bread to sop a rich broth.
Hank Vaughn

Finally, the meal was topped off with a serving of Market Moonshine cake ($8), the local fruit that day being blackberries, which was served with angel food cake and vanilla whipped cream. It was OK, if not an incredibly original last course of the meal.
click to enlarge
A slice of Market Moonshine angel food cake with blackberries and whipped cream rounded things off.
Hank Vaughn

Further visits will be needed to sample the wine and whiskey, as well as other dishes such as duck confit sacchettoni, lamb meatballs, crispy squash blossoms, mole spiced sweet corn and their prosciutto pizza. Lunch may be out until the thermometer drops consistently below 100, but perhaps an early evening right after sunset will do. It’s definitely worth a repeat visit.

District 5100 Belt Line Road #544 (Addison) 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday - Thursday; 11 a.m. - 12 a.m. Friday and Saturday