Fort Worth Date Night: Food, romance on Forest Park

March 04, 2010

In a way, part of me feels a little bit sorry for the restaurants that have been open in Fort Worth for years and years. Not just your everyday spots, but the upscale, romantic, “we’re going here on our anniversary or special occasion” restaurants.

A slew of new eateries have and will continue to invade Fort Worth over the next couple of years. Some are good; some not so much. Nonetheless, people are flocking to them. Which is great for the business owners, the community and for competition. But, I just can’t help but to think about the staples that have been loyal to Fort Worth.

Recently, I revisited one of these staples. Ruffino’s Restaurant was one of my favs back in the 90s. I don’t recall ever having a bad meal or poor service. We just grew apart over time. I believe I owe Ruffino’s an apology. I’m sorry for leaving you. I promise I won’t do it again.

What I experienced at Ruffino’s was not your typical “it was OK” or “sure, I’d go back.” As much as it is overused, my meal was “amazing!” Let’s start with the obvious. From an aesthetics point-of-view, it can best be described as quaint and romantic. From a diner’s viewpoint, the customer service was outstanding and very attentive.

But, isn’t it all about the food? I can’t tell you how many times my mouth and stomach thanked me the day of my visit. My food tour started off with a creamy tomato basil soup. The soup would have been perfect by itself. Let’s just say that the crispy, smokey bacon strip gently laying on top was like a crown on the king’s head. I’m pretty sure I lapped up that bowl as if I was a German Shepherd and just finished a seven-mile run in the middle of a Texas July. It was that good.

Next up, a Caesar salad. The fresh lettuce, the perfect dressing and the uber tasty croutons all worked together beautifully. Little did I know what I was in for next – a pan-seared salmon nuzzled up against a bed of risotto. The salmon was perfectly prepared, slightly crisp on the bottom while super tender on the inside. The risotto didn’t disappoint, either. The two just danced together on the plate as if they were performing a perfectly choreographed routine onDancing With The Stars. Of course, this judge gave them Perfect 10’s.

Lastly, and perhaps, most important, the desserts. While our table was given several options, we ended up with the flourless chocolate cake and a piece of Tiramisu. Both were brilliant. So different, yet, so the same in that forks were jumping from one treat to the other…and back again. Asking which one was my favorite is like asking a parent which child he or she loves more. It’s just not possible.

I can remember being a guy in my 20s. Often dating a perfectly great girl and then moving on without reason. Throughout the years, you often think about her or refer to her as “the one that got away.” I’m just glad that I found Ruffino’s again. No words had to be spoken; no explanation needed. I didn’t even have to apologize. But, after my meal, there was the inference of, “this better not happen again.”

For complete information on Ruffino’s, as well as, a complimentary glass of wine, visit their Web site

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