Whether or not Dallas could be considered a "brunch town" is a subject that invites vigorous debate. What constitutes a "brunch town" (and whether the phrase was coined by Austinites who enjoy taking hits at their northerly neighbor) is a topic for another article; herein we'll set out to recount the story of a recent progressive brunch that turned out to be something of a mixed bag.
The subject is the Trinity Groves - the "restaurant incubator" to have sprung up to the immediate south of "Large Marge" (more properly known as the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge) where the just-before-noon, yogawear-clad crowd is both refreshingly sparse and adequately hung over. The morning kicked off at the decidedly not-very-brunchy Local Urban Craft Kitchen or L U C K where eggs were not to be found, but a selection of local beers and a token wine selection "for the girlfriends" went nicely with a house-made pretzel and LUCK's version of the pasty, which appeared on the menu as "beer-rocks".
Next, it was on to Resto Gastro Bistro, which describes itself as an Asian-fusion French bistro, and on that particular morning was more French Revolution than French Cuisine with the staff apparently in the middle of a power struggle - no less than two hosts and four different servers (all with equal responsibility and/or access to the checks) descended upon the table. At $10 a pop, the do-it-yourself bloody mary bar seemed rather steep (especially for a drink one pours for themselves; others in the party were disappointed with the mix) but the $5 classic mimosas and the $9 house mimosa (which comes with Hennessey, chambord and basil garnishing the usual suspects) were just the ticket for a lazy brunch, although the food was neither unique nor well-enough presented to merit a photo, even for the sake of food porn.
It was at this point that one could begin to wonder whether the Trinity Groves concept seemed well-designed for restaurant-hopping, having patronized two establishments that seemed to welcome only diners with appetites hearty enough for single-plate entrees. Somewhat sated, more-or-less intoxicated, and certainly lighter in cash, the next stop was Amberjax Fish Market Grille, where the gumbo came with a scoop of potato salad and a hard-boiled egg, the mimosas were heavier on the champagne, and the staff provided fairy godmother-like service and good old-fashioned gab.
The day capped off in the early evening with hot mint tea, cocktails, and malasadas al fresco at Souk, where a journey through the restaurant is an olfactory indulgence of a kitchen steeped in the soulful spice of North Africa.
The Takeaway: Out of four establishments we enjoyed two clear wins and two that show promise (with additional polish), a progressive brunch on the south bank of the Trinity River proves enjoyable, though not without its drawbacks.
Have you been to these restaurants or others at Trinity Groves? Share your experience with our readers in the comments below.