The Fort Worth institution’s dining rooms come fully armed with Wild West vulgarity: chaps, saddles, artwork, belt buckles the size of chicken-fried steak, the requisite longhorns and such. Even the tines they use to spear olives for the many martinis served at Reata’s bar resemble snippets of barbed wire…which is why it’s best to head directly upstairs and away from marauding garishness.
The rooftop represents the best of Dallas-Fort Worth patio environment. Servers approach you with chatty aplomb. The menu barely strays from expectations, either. There’s chicken-fried steak drenched in heavily peppered gravy, thick overly salted steaks, and more exotic red meats. Three firm shrimp slump under slick and flabby bacon, leaving a wash of salt and smoke (though the former is far more prevalent). Only a centerpiece onion jam saved this appetizer from a surreptitious toss onto Sundance Square.
Menu items meander between overburdened, mundane, and those worthy of Reata’s storied name. Their famous chicken chile relleno discovers an all-too-rare parity between creamy, spicy, and the rutted, dusty herbal notes. Downtown hotels shuffle their guests to the place, so it packs up during conventions. The rooftop patio is worth muttering “pardon me” a few hundred times.
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