It's been a long time coming for Driftwood (642 W. Davis). The seafood spot in Oak Cliff was supposed to open months ago, but electrical and plumbing issues kept setting them back.
Finally, last week, Chef Omar Flores and owner/operator John Baudoin planned a soft opening for family and friends -- a chance to work out the final kinks before the real opening. So with a collective sigh of relief, Tuesday evening they opened their doors. Then, with a room full of guests and food on the stove, the electricity went out.
They finished what they could over gas ranges, using cell phones and flash lights, then called it a night and tried again Wednesday. And the same thing happened. Around 6 p.m., when neighborhood residents got home from work and there was more stress on the system, the transformer blew.
Encore finally made it out and installed a new transformer that can handle the load for the new restaurant and Bolsa Mercado, which was on the same box next door. Barring any other number of disaster, they really should be ready now.
The location, which used to house Con Fusion, has been converted from a dark den into a bright seaside-inspired spot with about 50 seats inside and another 30 on the patio. With walls the color of a swimming pool, driftwood art and seashell décor, the only thing missing are flip flops and a sunburn. Although there is the deck.
The menu is mostly high-end seafood, and Chef Omar Flores, who was at Abacus for five years previous to this gig, receives his bi-coastal fish, oysters and clams several times a week to ensure freshness.
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The menu at Driftwood will change seasonally. Some of the items now include Flying Point and "naked cowboy" oysters ($12), little neck clams with a house-made pork sausage in a white wine broth ($13), and Ahi tuna crudo served with English cucumber and avocado ice cream ($10).
Small plates include a Maine lobster roll ($15), Berkshire Pork Rillettes ($10), oven roasted bone marrow covered in peekytoe crab and a garlic confit ($14) and a few salads.
Big plates start with an Ugly Pug beer-battered merluzza, pan-roasted diver scallops, gulf shrimp, grilled octopus and Wyoming golden trout. Non-seafood dishes include Fran's chicken and bacon-wrapped rabbit loin and confit leg.
Driftwood is open, transformer willing, Tuesday through Saturday for dinner, from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. (11:00 pm on Friday and Saturday nights). Reservations are suggested, but walk-ins are welcome. There's an indoor and outdoor bar and the vibe is Oak Cliff upscale-casual (which is yet to really be defined, but I'm sure will be cool).