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Vegetables Shine at Elm & Good

Pardon the harsh photo, photographing on a dark patio is tough: But the roasted butternut squash from Elm & Good is not.EXPAND
Pardon the harsh photo, photographing on a dark patio is tough: But the roasted butternut squash from Elm & Good is not.
Taylor Adams

Elm & Good opened on the western edge of Deep Ellum in August with chef Graham Dodds at the helm.

There was a hullabaloo with the news, but things seemed to have slowed down a bit: It’s not hard to get a reservation, and on our visit, the space had few tables occupied. Perhaps that was due to a debate being televised at the time.

Dodds is still there, bringing his expected flavor profiles of Southern cuisine to the menu.

Despite weather cooling, many of us are still sticking only to patios these days, and this is a fine space to do that. If you have long hair, take something to hold it back, it can get windy here. Thankfully, we’re also told they’re working on ways to make the patio comfortable year-round.

Cocktails on the menu range from $13-$16. Despite ordering them at the same time as our appetizers, they arrived well after food did. The Pittman Paloma is wonderfully spicy with an added Fresno pepper, but it’s best enjoyed before a meal comes, as the flavors aren’t all that food-friendly ($13). The FCB Swizzle is good enough to enjoy through the night with a balanced mix of rum, charanda, falernum, lime, banana, mint and bitters ($14).

The East Texas hush puppies are a fine place to start, food-wise ($8). Five fried rounds are extra-crispy; you’ll get a delightfully hard crunch with every bite to the soft interior. The Cajun remoulade with a touch of lemon zest is a welcomed complement, too.

The grilled Berkshire pork riblets fall off the bone — maybe a bit too easily from some slight overcooking — and are smothered in chimichurri and plated with black mission fig preserves ($14). The dish is on the greasier side, perhaps from the fat of the meat and the chimichurri, but the flavors hold up fine, better so with a touch of salt.

Pork riblets and hush puppies. Don't go without getting hush puppies.EXPAND
Pork riblets and hush puppies. Don't go without getting hush puppies.
Taylor Adams

A truly wonderful plate was on the menu on our visit — a vegetable entree, the kind we’d love to see on more menus around town. A roasted acorn squash is filled with a maple custard, and more butternut squash is topped with granola, walnut butter and pumpkin seeds ($18). I adore squash in many forms, but the ones presented on this plate are good enough to bring a hater to the loving side. It’s full of fall flavor, too, and despite lacking animal protein, the dish will leave you satisfied. It’s a new comfort food we’re now craving.

Dodds says it’s one he loves, too. His goal was to do a slab of squash, not dissimilar to a steak, and cover it with seeds. It’s a dish he says was inspired by a similar one by chef Matt McCallister.

“The seedy sprinkle is so good on there. The acorn squash is coming from Demases [Farm] and [I] love that they are little, personal size filled with maple custard infused with leeks,” he says. “… And then the silky purée is soaked walnuts and sautéed shallots. I love the little pickled delicata rings — so cute.”

Even if you’re a beef lover, we recommend the plate of vegetables over the grass-fed burger, which dripped with grease and was over-salted ($17).

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On another visit, we’ll go for the short ribs ($35). The ribs are paired with a carrot-potato puree, confit carrots, hen of the woods mushrooms, shaved fennel and parsley salad — at the very least, we want to see Dodds’ surely good execution of those vegetables on that plate.

Elm & Good also has brunch, available 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, with dishes such as smoked brisket hash and shrimp and grits. While the patio stays open, the interior does appear to have intentionally spaced out tables, the best they can be in the space.

Elm & Good, 2551 Elm St. (Deep Ellum). Open 7 to 10 a.m. daily for breakfast, 5:30 to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday for dinner.

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