Within the distance of a Dak Prescott pass to Witten from the Dallas Cowboys World Headquarters, a new neighborhood hang has emerged, and it might be the only thing from Philly and Pittsburgh that Cowboys fans like.
City Works Eatery & Pour House locations are already significant successes in those NFL locations, and now it’s the most recent restaurant to open in the complex at Warren and the DNT in Frisco.
Upon walking into the place on its first night open to the public, our late night dining party noticed “that new restaurant smell.” It sparked a feeling of excitement normally reserved for a new Porsche in the driveway. Like the Porsche, City Works is sleek, contemporary and ready to perform.
Situated directly across from the Ford Center’s plaza field, City Works is a two-story behemoth of almost 13,000 square feet. It even boasts an elevator. Upstairs is home to a comfy patio that offers patrons great views of the stadium, the surrounding retail, and the Omni Frisco. The ceiling fanned porch even has a weather sensing rooftop that closes when the rain starts to fall or it gets a little chilly, and lets in the rays when it’s sunny. But our crew was there for the food and brews, not the architecture.
If you’re a beer aficionado or even just a guy who wants to hang out for a game on TV, the 90+ craft beers on tap will provide your whole posse with enough choices to require return visits to try them all. The management boasts only 24 flat screen TVs, but we counted we counted separately the four screens that synchronously deliver images as one huge screen in a few of the 24 viewing locations. In our math, that’s more than 45 TV screens in strategic locations throughout the two floors, so you have plenty of pigskin and sports action.
The five guys in our group sat down at a downstairs table because the upstairs wasn’t open on the first night. We couldn’t help but notice that this is already a ‘see and be seen’ place. Prominent politicians, a couple of TV sports announcers and a former Cowboy were all holding court during our visit.
Hank (Names have been changed to protect the innocent from wives and girlfriends who weren’t invited) wasted no time selecting a Sam Adams Boston Lager. We booed him mercilessly, not so much for his beer choice as for his affiliation with the Patriots.
A few deflation jokes later, which may or may not have become a little personal, our friend Pete ordered up a pint of Dream Crusher, an absurdly bitter Imperial IPA that has a fruity enough taste that even some adventurous cheerleaders might enjoy it.
Our server suggested a Pennsylvanian produced Belgian, called Golden Monkey. Robert grabbed a mug of that and proclaimed it to be rich and everything he expected in the genre.
Noogie, a former middle linebacker in the CFL, tried La Fin du Monde from Quebec. The name translates to “The end of the world,” and the beer was anything but. The spicy finish hangs on, making it a perfect match for some pepper infused food. I was the designated driver, so it was a Pepsi product for me. I won’t make that mistake twice and will ride in the back next time.
After the first round, our locusts moved on to the main event, demanding THE WORKS. This is an everything-but-the-kitchen-sink plate built for five hungry guys watching pre-season football: Tater tots, pepper jack cheese sauce, smoked pork shoulder, blackened chicken, beer battered shrimp, cornmeal beer battered cheese curds, cannellini beans, pickled jalapeño, pico de gallo, sunnyside eggs, ancho sour cream, avocado and micro cilantro. Yup. I said sunnyside eggs.
While the appetizer was giant, there was nothing left after five minutes…even the eggs. Battered cheese curds are considered a specialty at City Works and it is obvious why. They’re outwardly crisp, but inside they are moist, chewy and delicious. The smoked pork shoulder, which in most sports bars would be a bit tough and stringy, couldn’t have been more flavorful. This plate is why Big Pharma makes cholesterol drugs.
Being manly men, we skipped the salads and soups to break into the center of the Ya Gonna Eat All That vault.
Noogie went first because, well, he can, ordering the smoked BBQ ribs. To be honest, we questioned the intelligence of the executive chef for choosing to bring a rib recipe from Pittsburgh to Dallas, the home of the world’s best ribs.
The order arrived as a full rack, sliced in half and you do the rest of the butchering. There is nothing fru-fru about this monster plate. The chef told us that the baby backs are brined for 48 hours, then seasoned with a proprietary rub and smoked for hours. They’re brushed with a housemade sauce that offsets the salty/spicy rub with sweetness. This is the most interesting rib entry in North Texas, and by ‘interesting,’ I mean unduplicated goodness.
The ribs come with Idaho fries, coleslaw, and a sweet corn concoction that almost defies description. It is somewhere between creamed corn and a soup. Sounds weird but tastes great. Noogie ate the whole thing, sides and all. He did complain that the crisp Idaho fries were only five in number, but that’s Noogie. He’s a big dude.
Hank chose the medium rare bacon cheeseburger and quickly bragged that he was the winner of the eating event, regardless of how we might proclaim the rest of the food to be. City Works does not skimp on cheese, using two different types of Vermont cheddars on this sandwich. The bacon looked to be about a quarter-inch thick, and Hank seemed to be in Heaven about that. The massive half-pound slab of brisket and short rib blend on a brioche bun looked good enough to…well…eat.
Pete went with his standard order of salmon. The presentation was appealing, but slightly off the mark. The cipollini onions had a pleasing firm and snappy texture that sat well with Pete, but fingerling potatoes in a crème sauce were a bit heavy handed. This is perhaps to be expected in a sports bar, even one that serves salmon with dried tomatoes and asparagus. The grassy side item was a bit underdone, providing a little more chewiness that the chef might have intended. According to my companion, the salmon was not oily in any way, and presented a good flavor profile, but he surmised that the fish might have been frozen. To be fair, Pete asked our server if this was the case and received a horrified negative response, so the fish just might have been a little dry. It was grilled to medium temperature and Pete prefers his salmon just a tad shy of that. In all, a surprisingly good seafood performance in a restaurant that is unlikely to stake its reputation on this item.
Robert went for the filet mignon sliders. These two pieces of paradise on a bun arrived with too little fanfare for such a dish. Juicy, perfectly to temperature, and served on soft pretzel bun pillows with tangy horseradish cream for kick and caramelized onions for sweetness, these babies pleased King Robert to the nth degree. Our buddy traded the more commonly ordered olive oil parsley fries for a side salad. Fool. But the salad was fresh and flavorful. In case our secret identities are one day revealed, Robert’s wife will be pleased to hear that he ate the salad without dressing.
Finally, yours truly enjoyed the Duck Reuben Sandwich.
My flavor party bus began its journey from the kitchen to my table on freshly baked marble rye bread that had been enhanced with the perfect quantity of Russian dressing. Sometimes Russian on a Reuben overwhelms the sandwich, but not on this bad boy. Apple sauerkraut…a very manly food item, I’ll have you know…and Gruyère cheese provided the kind of German-French flavor solidarity that the EU can only wish for. A bit of honey sweetness cast a spotlight on the main stage, as the star of the show broke through to headline this gastric work of art: The DUCK! A generous portion of perfectly grilled duck breast contributed a certain understated big game taste that only this protein offers. While sliced duck breast can come off as fatty, City Works takes care to deliver actual meat to their guests.
I strongly recommend that you go out on a limb during your visit, skip the traditional burger, and try the Duck Reuben. And I don’t even need to tell you that I did not skip the olive oil parsley fries.
City Works is open until midnight every night of the week, providing a new nice late dining option that Frisco really needs, and, yes, they take reservations. Call 469.850.1850.
We’ll be back for Fantasy Draft next week.