"Fine Texas Cuisine" sounded like an oxymoron when Chef Jon Bonnell opened his eponymous restaurant in 2001. But Bonnel was able to take what he learned at the New England Culinary Institute and apply it to Western cuisine, hewing closely to a farm–to–table philosophy that has served him well. Well, actually make that range–to–table philosophy, because game meats and unusual produce are often the star of the show here, everything from elk to ostrich. Bonnell also has a way of making classic dishes his own, such as the scrumptious Oysters "Texafella" (baked with tasso ham and spinach and topped with hollandaise), Texas bruschetta (which is a darn tasty pile of avocado, goat cheese, carmelized onion and salsa served on a tortilla) and instead of pepper steak, a tender peppered buffalo. I wish I could say that the ambiance of the restaurant is as good as the food (it's the reason we're giving this place two stars rather than three), but the look here is mired in the '90's, the oddly broken up rooms filled with cheap-looking wooden tables and chairs and Texas artifacts on the walls. Spruce the place up, Bonnell, and we'll add that extra star.
- Pauline Frommer