(Almost) Everything Under the Sea
The landlocked expanse of Dallas-Fort Worth doesn’t exactly scream seafood destination. But lack of a nearby ocean hasn’t stopped Water Grill in Uptown Dallas from making waves in the local culinary scene. The Texas offshoot of the California-based restaurant chain has fresh fish flown in daily and features a rotating menu of crab, lobster, sea urchin and 13 varieties of fish. Throw in handcrafted cocktails and an upscale nautical vibe, and Water Grill might just be your new favorite way to get your omega 3s.
When it comes to the seafood that Executive Chef Kyle Cowan will use in his kitchen, only the finest fish will do. “We’re committed to delivering one of the best seafood experiences our guests have ever had,” he says. “Our devotion to superior quality seafood and freshness is of the highest standard.” Seafood seekers with discerning tastes will appreciate the effort that goes into the menu at Water Grill. It starts with topnotch seafood—fish, oysters, crustaceans and more—flown to Love Field by the restaurant’s private distribution company.
Chef Cowan’s inspiration begins when he sees the day’s fresh catch arrive straight off the plane each morning. “It’s hard not to be inspired when you have the best seafood from the East, West and Gulf Coasts coming right to you,” he says. The chef’s current favorite? Spot prawns flown in from Santa Barbara, California. “They’re easily one of the hardest menu items to find in Dallas,” he adds.
The menu at Water Grill constantly changes to adapt to in-season seafood, making it all the more exciting to trek to Dallas for a meal; every visit offers a different bounty from the sea. Patrons who regularly visit the restaurant have come to love the Wild Ross Sea Chilean Sea Bass (cauliflower purée, lemon chutney, hazelnuts and brown butter). The New England Lobster Roll, which guests can order regular or Connecticut-style (served warm and tossed with butter), is also a popular menu item. We happen to like our lobster hot and buttered, but if you prefer your lobster with mayo, Water Grill can masterfully prepare both versions.
If you’re in the mood for oysters, grab a spot at the raw bar, which boasts an enticing selection of as many as 15 oyster varieties. Just be prepared to splurge—the oysters are about three bucks apiece. You can also savor chilled clams and scallops as well as iced shellfish platters perfect for sharing. Water Grill’s bar is also worth noting. It features 20 locally brewed beers on tap, 35 wines by the glass and handcrafted cocktails incorporating regional ingredients. The muddled blueberries and fresh lemon in your Beauregard? Locally sourced.
On the dessert front, Water Grill delights with many luscious options such as Coconut Panna Cotta (with passion fruit chile syrup and sesame seed tuile) and Maple Cheesecake (served with sour cream ice cream). The sweet standout, though, is the Pot De Crème. This dense yet buoyant treat has a profound chocolate flavor thanks to chocolate crème, sorbet, biscotti and cocoa nibs.
As for the atmosphere, the 7,500-square-foot restaurant is kind of like a sophisticated subterranean lair, but with views of the Uptown skyline. With sumptuous leather booths and an outdoor patio with a fire pit, the entire space is relaxing and comfortable with plenty of nautical details, right down to seawater tanks that display live shellfish.
Chef Cowan’s personal favorite area of the restaurant is the patio. “It’s by far one of the coolest things about the space,” he says. “We made the roof entirely retractable because it was designed with the unpredictable Texas weather in mind. You can catch some sun in the spring and, when rainstorms catch us off guard, we can pull out the roof. Best of both w orlds.”
While the space is effortlessly easygoing, make no mistake—Water Grill is a high-end seafood destination. It’s ideal for a special night out or a business lunch to impress clients. And if you’re looking to host a private event, a 500-bottle working wine cellar makes a unique, intimate venue for up to 16 guests.
The next time you a crave a meal of proteins caught from the sea, head to Big D and drop your line for king crabs, scallops and nearly whatever fish hooks you.
1920 McKinney Avenue