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Southlake Style

Arts and Eats

Mar 02, 2016 10:45AM ● By Dia

If you venture to Ft. Worth for the art, stick around for the artisan food. Café Modern, the upscale eatery situated inside the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth, is a gem of a restaurant. It offers a treasure trove of artfully crafted cuisine and cocktails all served in one of the city’s most beautiful settings: the Ft. Worth Cultural District. And, because the menu changes each season, there’s always something new and fresh to discover.

Café Modern has been commended by Gourmet Magazine as “one of America’s best restau- rants,” and it’s easy to see why. You get the best of both worlds here: culture and cuisine. The food is topnotch and the atmosphere is elegant yet relaxed. And don’t forget about the incredible view—this alone makes it worth a visit. The café is situated above a tranquil reflecting pool, and you almost get the feeling that the restaurant is afloat. Curved, floor-to-ceiling windows provide the perfect panoramic view. There’s not a bad seat in the house. 

But don’t just sit there taking it all in; order something to eat. Everything on the menu, whether you visit for weekend brunch, lunch or Friday-night dinner (the venue’s only dinner offering), is made from scratch using fresh, local ingredients. Executive Chef Denise Shavandy says this focus on ingredients is what makes each dish special. “You get the best flavor from being local, seasonal and sustainable,” she says. “We utilize as many local vendors and growers as possible.”

When you peruse the menu, you won’t be left to interpret what the Achiote Pork Osso Buco or the Smoked Bone Marrow Custard is all about. Each item on the menu is carefully detailed, so you can order with confidence. And whether you have a question about the Antipasto Plate or you just want some extra sweetener for your tea, the staff at Café Modern is friendly and attentive.

On the brunch menu, an order of the Tiramisu Crepes with Kahlua Syrup is a sweet celebration of vanilla mascarpone, Kahlua, whipped cream and chocolate. It’s essentially a rich, decadent dessert that’s acceptable to eat as a meal. We won’t argue with that.

For those who prefer savory items, we recommend the Mushroom Gouda Omelet. It’s a melty merging of cage-free eggs, cremini mushrooms, chives and Eagle Mountain gouda. The Edamame Hummus Wrap is another full-flavored choice for brunch. Chef Shavandy keeps it local by incorporating Dallas Mozzarella Co. Goat Feta Cheese in this spinach wrap loaded with healthy fillings like avocado, roasted pepper and greens.

Café Modern’s dinner menu is smallish, but it offers enough variety to please most taste buds. There are gourmet soups and salads, as well as heartier dishes including Steak and Potatoes and Crispy Striped Bass. Chef Sha- vandy’s personal favorites include the Seared Tuna Salad and the Lemon Grass Chicken Banh Mi, which is “not quite traditional with a Gochujang mayo, Asian mint sauce and pickled vegetables,” she says. 

The dessert menu is also small but mighty. One of our favorites for spring is the Pistachio Sponge Cake and Yuzu Citrus Curd. This con- fection is sweet and light, with a delightful cit- rus fragrance you can almost smell across the room.

When it comes to beverages, the café offers an admirable selection of red and white wine, plus a variety of house cocktails inspired by works of art in the museum. The “Allegory” by Shahn, for example, is a bright concoction of Grey Goose Orange, Chambord, lemon, sugar and ginger. If the masterpiece had a flavor, would it taste like this? It’s up to your own in- terpretation. That’s part of the fun.

For those looking to try something new on a night out, Café Modern offers wine dinners once a month. These evenings include four to seven courses, and occasionally feature guest speakers and visiting chefs. And if you want to make a trip to The Modern a family affair, the café welcomes all. It has a brunch and lunch menu for children with plenty of kid-friendly choices such as Crispy Chicken Tenders and Grilled Cheese. There’s even a Peanut Butter and Grape Jelly Sandwich on the menu. Fine dining? More like comforting kid classics you know they’ll want to eat.

Overall, Café Modern is supremely chic and classy, but it’s not pretentious about it. You can absolutely bring your kids over Spring Break to enjoy a meal and some modern art. Culture never tasted (or looked) so good. 


3200 Darnell St.
Ft. Worth 817.738.9215