First Look

First Look: The Beast and Co. on Magnolia Avenue in Fort Worth is a Culinary Destination

The charcuterie board comes with whole muscle, terrine, salumi and local cheese.
The charcuterie board comes with whole muscle, terrine, salumi and local cheese. Sean Welch
The Beast and Co. opened about a month ago along West Magnolia in Fort Worth. This gem offers creative fine dining without the black tie or stuffy air.

Native Texan and owner Dustin Lee traveled extensively in his previous career in the oil and gas industry. With The Beast and Co., he wanted to create a place that is rooted in Southern fare with global influences. Chef Micheal Arlt learned to cook from his Puerto Rican mother and has worked in kitchens across the U.S., including one of Emeril Lagasse's restaurants, where he learned the art of Creole cuisine.
Lee said he chose Fort Worth for this restaurant because the city has soul. "The people are proud and progressive but the city maintains that small-town charm,” he said. Lee also feels that the city is poised for major growth, and he wanted to be a part of that story.

As for Magnolia Avenue, he was keen on the tree-lined street and quirky architecture, which are reminiscent of Portland, Maine, and some Chicago neighborhoods. Combine that with the fact that Lee and his wife had their first date on Magnolia and it's a perfect match.

The menu is a menagerie of flavors and cultures. Appetizers range from North African marinated olives, with chili and cinnamon, to deviled eggs with miso. Southern fare pops up in some places, like a smoked first board with dill, horseradish and Saltine crackers and a chicken liver pate made with chow chow and wholegrain mustard.

There are also Italian dishes like a burrata ($18), rock shrimp risotto ($24) and orecchiette ($23). A Thai lobster bisque is made with dumplings, kaffir and coconut ($25).
We started off with the deviled eggs topped with chili, miso, toasted nori and roe, a quintessential example of a Southern staple injected with an Asian flair. Next, we ordered burrata plated on a bed of greens paired with a slice of bread drizzled in olive oil. The soft cheese is served with a variety of peas, lemon, mint and a buttermilk vinaigrette.

Next, we had the orecchiette, a white Bolognese (sans the tomato sauce) served with wild boar, Parmesan Reggiano and an aged balsamic. Not only was it the highlight of the evening, but one of the best bites of the past year.
click to enlarge House breads; Japanese milk bread and cornbread madeleines with sea salt butter. - SEAN WELCH
House breads; Japanese milk bread and cornbread madeleines with sea salt butter.
Sean Welch
The crispy Brussels sprouts were an easy choice; these are tossed in a fish sauce with palm sugar, chili flakes and peanuts. And we even worked back to the first item on the menu, the house breads, which include Japanese milk bread and cornbread madeleines served with sea salt butter.

We finished our meal with a beautifully cooked pork collar topped with large scallop ravioli.

Just five short days after, we found ourselves back at The Beast and Co. We tried exceptionally hard to order different items and did, for the most part. We had the house breads again but this time we ordered the charcuterie board, made with locally sourced meats, pate de Champagne, smoked blue cheese and an Irish cheddar with that crispy bread again, as well as house-brined pickles and a lovely mustard to pair.
click to enlarge Rabbit Saddle - SEAN WELCH
Rabbit Saddle
Sean Welch
This time we concluded the evening with the Rabbit Saddle ($35), a plate of succulent rabbit quarter, Benton's country ham with exquisitely crafted potato and confit pave and spiced carrots.

The menu also includes a couple of items that are meant to be shared by the table, like a whole fish in banana leaf with shrimp paste, coconut, lime and bitter greens (market price). There's a meat and potatoes ($105) that comes with a 32-ounce rib-eye and a Yukon potato purée.

The Beast and Co., 1010 West Magnolia Ave. (Fort Worth), 5 - 9 p.m. Tuesday - Wednesday; 3 - 9 p.m. Thursday; 3 - 10 p.m. Friday - Saturday; Closed Sunday and Monday
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