Editor's note: TheaterJones has a new bi-weekly feature, Dinner and a Show, in which we will pair a performing arts event in North Texas with a nearby restaurant, so you can make a night of your arts going. The restaurant reviews are written by Kelly Kirkendoll, a longtime North Texas public relations guru and food blogger who has the Kitchen Gone Rogue blog, where she writes about the local dining scene and shares recipes and other tips. The "show" part of this feature will be written by a TheaterJones arts writer. Look for this column every other Thursday.
In this edition, we're looking ahead at a New Year's Eve event in downtown Fort Worth, and a restaurant in Sundance Square.
My Sinatra featuring Cary Hoffman
Presented by the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra
Conducted by Miguel Harth-Bedoya
Bass Performance Hall
7:30 p.m. Monday, Dec. 31, 2018
For tickets, go here
Hoffman has made a solid reputation on his Frank Sinatra interpretation, and he says his voice sounds just like Ol' Blue Eyes. Critics and fans agree.
“He made each song his own,” Hoffman says in our interview with him, by Keith Mankin, which you can read here. “It’s fun to see the younger folks discovering Sinatra and thinking that he wrote his own music. Partly, it’s because so many of today’s stars do write their songs. But mostly, it’s because Sinatra’s performances feel like they come right from his heart; that he understands the music so deeply that he must have composed it. Even songwriters appreciated that. Cole Porter famously thanked Sinatra for his rendition of ‘Night and Day,’ although did say that he didn’t remember writing the word ‘babe’ in the lyrics.”
Waters Sundance Square
Address: 301 Main St in Fort Worth’s Sundance Square
Hours: Dinner reservations on New Year’s Eve will be taken as late as 10 p.m. (call 817-984-1110) ASAP to make reservations
Parking: Local garage or Sundance Square-wide valet service (you can valet at one place in Sundance Square and retrieve your car at another)
Distance from the show venue: An easy 0.2 mile (5 minute) walk
While you’re all dressed up with someplace to go, you can walk just 0.2 miles from Bass Performance Hall to Waters for dinner (or vice versa if you want to eat before the show). Featuring fresh, seasonal and sustainable seafood, Waters is owned by Chef Jon Bonnell, a beloved Fort Worth native who also runs the successful Bonnell's Fine Texas Cuisine and regularly gives his time and talent to local charities.
Waters is one of the newer upscale dining arrivals to Sundance Square. Originally opened in 2013 in the West Seventh area of Fort Worth, Waters relocated to the corner of Main and Second Street in 2017.
For New Year’s Eve, Waters will tip its hat to lovers of both surf and turf by offering all its regular dinner options plus a special Cowtown-inspired menu (menu details are not available yet). Their last dinner reservations will be for seating at 10 p.m. (call as soon as possible for reservations). If you eat before the show, I suggest allowing yourself up to two hours and letting your server know of your time constraint, so you have plenty of time to eat and walk over to Bass Hall.
I stopped in recently and ordered several items from their normal dinner menu. Chef/Owner Jon Bonnell is a long-time wine educator with over 15 Wine Spectator Awards of Excellence, and the Waters wine list reflects this experience. Wine enthusiasts will enjoy the restaurant’s wide and careful selection of wines from around the world.
For shellfish enthusiasts, the world is your oyster at Waters. The dinner menu includes oysters on the half shell, a flight of premium oysters and fried oysters “Texasfeller” as an appetizer. Other starters include shrimp, tuna tartare, calamari, crab cake, gumbo and a shellfish tower that serves two to three people.
I ordered the Ahi Tuna Tartare appetizer. Beautifully plated, it’s created with three layers: fresh avocado topped with ahi tuna, which is topped with a green tomato cucumber relish and finished with fresh micro greens. House made tortilla crisps, with just the right touch of salt, are served with the tuna tartare, along with a small bit of red pepper aioli. The thoughtful balance of flavors and textures resulted in an appetizer I will now crave every time I venture into Sundance Square. A special note to anyone eating gluten-free: you can ask for the crisps to be made with corn tortillas instead of flour.
I skipped a salad so I would have room for a full entrée, but dinner salad options include: crab and avocado, heirloom tomato and fried goat cheese, Caesar and a house salad.
Entrees on the main dinner menu range from crab cakes to Cajun scallops, salmon, shellfish, crab legs, a creole arctic char and more. For turf lovers, a filet mignon and a chicken option are available. Shareable sides include a Maine lobster macaroni and cheese, bacon wrapped asparagus, dirty rice, roasted red potatoes and more.
Fish are believed to be a lucky New Year’s Eve food, so I opted for the Creole Arctic Char. If you’ve never had char, it looks similar to salmon with a taste somewhere between salmon and trout (closer to trout). The entrée is made with fresh char and topped with fresh crawfish ravigote, served on a bed of arugula and a citrus vinaigrette. The char was seasoned perfectly and slightly crispy on the outside. With each bite of fish, I decided that was my favorite part of the dish … and then with each bite of the crawfish, I decided that was my favorite part. In the end, they tied, and I would absolutely order this entree again. My only caution to other diners is simply a matter of taste. The citrus vinaigrette was a little heavy on the vinegar for me, but I know friends and family who would love that. Either way, it’s easy to minimize or maximize how much you get with each bite.
For my side dish, I tried the bacon wrapped asparagus. The asparagus was perfectly cooked and wrapped in bacon that was crispy on the outside.
I ended with an espresso, which I enjoyed while daydreaming about the desserts I simply didn’t have room to enjoy. The Waters dessert menu varies, but when I visited it included: crème brûlée, a lemon icebox cheesecake, spiced carrot cake, a bourbon street brownie and vanilla ice cream.
Stay for Music and a Countdown to 2019 in Sundance Square Plaza
If you’re up for even more fun on New Year’s Eve, you can top off your dinner and a show (or show and a dinner) with live music and a countdown to 2019 in Sundance Square Plaza. The Hunter Sullivan Band will take the stage starting at 10:30 p.m. until the countdown begins for the new year. Adult beverages will be available for purchase.
Other Nearby New Year’s Eve Restaurant Options:
At the time of writing this article, Waters still had reservations remaining both before and after the New Year’s Eve show at Bass Hall. Just in case they’re booked by the time you call for reservations, here are some other nearby NYE dinner options:
Reata Fort Worth, located in Sundance Square at 310 Houston Street, will serve a four-course dinner on New Year’s Eve. The cost is $70 to $80 per person (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity), depending on which entree you choose. For reservations, call 817-336-1009.
Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse, located at 812 Main St. in Fort Worth, will feature a premium four-course prix fixe menu for New Year’s Eve; $150 per guest (excluding beverages, taxes and gratuity). Reservations are required and limited seating remains. You can view the menu and make reservations online at https://delfriscos.com/promotions/new-years-eve-reservations/
At 777 Main St., Grace will begin dinner service at 4:00 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, with their last seating at 10:00 p.m. They will offer an abbreviated menu that evening, with a champagne toast at midnight. For reservations, call 817-877-3388.
» View more pictures from Waters by clicking the slideshow icon in the floating menu at the lower left of your screen
» You can also read Kelly's review of Waters on her blog, Kitchen Gone Rogue, which has additional photos.