Editor's note: Every two weeks, 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. Look for this column every other Thursday.
Is there a more perfect show for this column? The play, conceived and developed by Abigail Kileen and written by Rose Courtney, is inspired by Isak Dinesen's 1958 short story, which also inspired a 1987 film by Gabriel Axel, which won the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film, the first Danish film to win that honor.
The play, set in Berlevaag, Norway, uses narration and sparse props and set to engage audiences’ imaginations as we move across decades of sisters Martine and Philippa’s lives.
You can read more about it in our interview with director Jay Duffer.
Fixture Kitchen and Social Lounge
Address: 401 W. Magnolia Ave., in Fort Worth, Texas
Monday-Thursday: 11 a.m. - 9 p.m.
Friday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m.-10 p.m.
Sunday: 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Brunch served Saturday 10-2, Sunday 10-2 and Monday 11-3
Happy hour M-F from 4-7 p.m. (bar and patio only), with $5 appetizers and $5 cocktails and wines
Parking: street in front of restaurant or parking lot behind
Distance from the show venue: about a five-minute drive from Amphibian Stage Productions
For this week’s Dinner and a Show feature, I chose Fixture Kitchen and Social Lounge. Located in Fort Worth’s Near Southside area, it’s a short drive from Amphibian Stage Productions’ Near Southside venue and offers an interesting and varied menu.
Fixture owner/chef Ben Merritt was named Fort Worth Texas Magazine's 2016 Top Chef and the first-ever 2017 Top Chef Master. He's won numerous other awards and just opened a second concept in April, 2019 — Ben’s Triple B: Biscuits, Burgers and Brews — located three miles east of Fixture and within walking distance from Texas Wesleyan University.
A Comfortable Place to Gather
The restaurant has a hip and comfortable vibe, matching its neighborhood. The interior design is industrial-chic, with exposed brick, a tin ceiling in the bar area, exposed rafters in the two dining areas and plenty of wood and metal decor. If you order coffee, you'll even get your cream and sugar delivered in metal electrical boxes. I’m impressed with that kind of attention to on-brand details!
With four seating areas to choose from (two indoor dining spaces, the bar and the patio), it's easy to find the right spot for a date night, a group of friends/family or a solo dining adventure.
Fixture offers a wide range of unique appetizers, from brie and cranberry nachos (gluten-free) to duck wings, truffle mac and cheese, Texas beet fries (gluten-free), fried crawfish balls, smoky bacon dip with tortilla chips, seasonal vegetable dip, fried green tomatoes and steak bruschetta.
I ordered the steak bruschetta. It’s made with slices of French bread topped with tender shaved ribeye, grilled tomato, wilted greens, manchego (a delicious hard cheese made from sheep's milk) and a balsamic reduction drizzle. The result is an appetizer you won’t want to share.
Fixture Cocktails, Beer and Wine
Fixture believes in supporting as many local and American-based businesses as possible, so they carry American boutique wines (by the glass and bottle), local craft beer and American spirits.
The cocktail menu is full of tempting options, at prices that are surprisingly reasonable. Fixture's craft cocktails range from the "Fort Worthian" (made with Texas whiskey, sweet vermouth, amaretto and bitters) to the "Fall in the French Quarter" (made with Copper and Kings Brandy, Knows Creek Rye Whiskey, fall-spiced syrup, absinthe, 5-spice and Peychaud's bitters plus lemon oils) to "The Horned Frog" (made with Bacardi Silver Rum, blueberry, lime, cilantro, jalapeño and ginger beer).
As a gin fan, the Southside jumped out at me. Made with Uncle Val's Botanical Gin, mint, lime and sugar, it's served in a chilled glass and tastes similar to a mojito. A GOOD mojito. It's smooth, sweet (but not too sweet) and refreshing. I loved that it was crisp and cold, without any cubes of ice to contend with.
Fixture's lunch and dinner menus are similar and offer a broad array of choices (with a few more options for dinner).
Salads range from kale to southern fried chicken to a steak salad, which is made with the same shaved ribeye featured in the steak bruschetta I loved. "Handhelds" range from a shrimp BLT sandwich to a house burger to blackened salmon tacos, a veggie sandwich and a fried bologna club sandwich.
Fixture's main entrees (called "Fork and Knife" on the menu) include chicken and waffles, pan seared salmon, shrimp and crawfish étouffée, shrimp and grits, garden linguini and a hearty fields bowl. Available for dinner only are a blackened redfish, braised wagyu short rib and Santa Maria steak.
I visited Fixture for the first time on a cold, rainy night earlier this year. I was drawn to the chicken and waffles, but I went with a healthier choice: blackened redfish. Made with Texas farmed-raised redfish, jalapeno-corn succotash, Mexican chorizo, purple hull peas and basil, it's a winning, comfort food combo that manages to be good-for-you-food that's also stick-to-your-ribs-food. The seasoning on the blackened fish was particularly delightful, and the portion was generous.
During my recent visit, I caved and ordered the chicken and waffles. It's made with rosemary-scented waffles topped with a large portion of boneless breaded chicken thighs. The classic southern combo is held together by a large sprig of rosemary and then topped and surrounded by a pool of chipotle maple syrup. The waffle was light and crispy, and the chipotle maple syrup should be given a more accurate name: liquid crack. Seriously.
Fixture's commitment to fresh, real ingredients shines through in its food, and the "social lounge" in its name rings true in this comfortable space.
» View more pictures from Fixture Kitchen and Social Lounge by clicking the slideshow icon in the floating menu at the lower left of your screen
» You can also read Kelly's review of Fixture Kitchen and Social Lounge on her blog, Kitchen Gone Rogue, which has additional photos.