New Violet Crown Cinema in the West Village Offers a Tastier Take on Movie Food | Dallas Observer

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First Look: Dining at the New Violet Crown Cinema

PLT sliders — that's prosciutto, lettuce and tomatoes —  are on the menu at the Violet Crown movie theater in West Village.
PLT sliders — that's prosciutto, lettuce and tomatoes — are on the menu at the Violet Crown movie theater in West Village. Danny Gallagher
A chapter in one of my favorite books about movies perfectly sums up the experience of eating movie theater concessions. The book is called A Year at the Movies: One Man's Filmgoing Odyssey. Written by Kevin Murphy of Rifftrax and Mystery Science Theater 3000 fame, the book chronicles an entire year during which Murphy watches at least one film in a movie theater every day.

I recommend it to anyone who wants to make movies or calls themselves a movie fan because it describes in great detail and with sharp wit why we still go to the movies.

Each chapter is dedicated, in whole or in part, to each week of 2001. In a few of them, Murphy focuses on movie theater food. He takes his family and some neighbor kids to see Monsters Inc. on Thanksgiving Day and sneaks an entire Thanksgiving meal into the theater — including a table. He visits movie theater restaurants to find the perfect meal and celluloid combination.

Violet Crown, the theater chain now occupying the space vacated by The Magnolia in West Village, offers movie theater staples like popcorn and sticky, sweet colas, but the other items and the quality sit a lot higher than the stuff you're usually exposed to after buying a ticket.

The menu aims to offer movie food that's locally sourced and made fresh. While not every item meets that standard yet, the menu is adaptable as the theater settles into its surroundings and learns what it can pick up from the local restaurant community. The number of items on the menu is also small, but that means there's room to grow.

All of the items are finger foods like fries and chips, pizzas and hot dogs, which are preferable if you're watching a movie. The jangling of flatware in a theater just takes you out of the experience. 
The Violet Crown's menu includes five versions of pizza, three types of hot dogs and appetizers such as vegetable spring rolls with a tasty peanut sauce.
Danny Gallagher

The avocado spring rolls taste fresh, as if the vegetables had been purchased from the farmers market just before you bought your ticket. A peanut sauce is thick and rich and good for dipping.

There's an (almost) Chicago dog with sports peppers. The bun — along with all of Violet Crown's bread — is from Empire Baking, which bumps up the quality greatly, although it doesn't have poppyseeds for Windy City hot-dog purists. It has just the right amount of give without becoming soggy and holds up until the last bite. The dog is meaty and plump and has a nice dusting of celery salt. Just be sure to make it clear that you believe ketchup doesn't belong on the same plate as any hot dog before ordering.

The PLT sliders — prosciutto, lettuce and tomato — are easily the favorite here. Some places that serve these tiny sandwiches tend to skimp on the meat, but these offer a fair amount for a small sandwich, and everything is full of flavor.

The personal pizzas are sizable for a pie for one. They come in five different flavors including the standard three cheese, pepperoni and margherita varieties but it's worth taking a chance on the two other flavors: The prosciutto and goat cheese pizza is delicious, and the soppressata cheese topped with Mike's Hot Honey has a nice hit of spice.

It's not hard to top standard movie food fare, but Violet Crown delivers finger foods that are comparable to the appetizer menu of a high-quality restaurant that doesn't let you watch the latest Marvel movie while you eat.

Violet Crown Cinema is located at 3699 McKinney Ave. in the West Village.
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Danny Gallagher has been a regular contributor to the Dallas Observer since 2014. He has also written features, essays and stories for MTV, the Chicago Tribune, Maxim, Cracked, Mental_Floss, The Week, CNET and The Onion AV Club.

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