First visit: November 2011
So here we sit in DFW's most highly rated restaurant (according to Urbanspoon). Chef Point Cafe has been featured by both Guy Fiori (DDD) and Paula Deen, as well as numerous DFW area foodie magazines, guides and blogs. The location itself couldn't be more unassuming - a new roadside gas station placed anonymously on a near empty suburban stretch of Watauga Rd. (aka Mid Cities Blvd). A wide expanse of Texas nothingness. A place even Hank Hill would consider dull. And there's no sign to let you know you've arrived. Only a delivery truck sits outside with the name Chef Point. It's an oft told story nowadays: The founders of Chef Point weren't able to secure a loan for a new restaurant, but they could get financing for a new gas station. So up goes a multi-pump / convenience store Conoco with the sole purpose of adding a chef driven restaurant inside. The American can-do spirit thrives once again! The decor could be most politely described as "industrial minimalist" with its bare gray cinder block walls encompassing the red & black interior. Honestly it feels like we're eating at a Firestone Auto Care store. Perhaps that's the point of it all - the surroundings themselves aren't what matters - it's solely about the food.
The menu is a strange bedfellow mix of Southern cooking, Cajun and Italian - along with traditional favorites like hamburgers, sandwiches and pizza. Some folks like their chef driven places to be plat du jour, but not the RJG. We prefer the menu, as this way if we do like a dish, we know we can get it over and over again. Mrs. RJG went for one of Fiori's choices - the Blackened Stuffed Chicken which they describe as "hand stuffed with pepper jack cheese & fresh crab meat, smothered in asiago sauce served over angel hair pasta. " The cheese sauce is sublime and the fillings recall some of New England's finest stuffed fish dishes. The cajun element only adds points to an already great idea.
I've seen many reviews that state Chef Point's fried chicken is the best they ever had. So I figured I'd go Italian and try their chicken parmesan, which would most likely have an excellent crispy breading. I was more than pleased when the round dish came out with a crispy chicken breast sandwiched between bubbling cheese on top and al dente angel hair on the bottom. A very good interpretation of a classic dish, and proved to me they could operate solely as an Italian restaurant if they had wished.
The portions were quite large, and we ended up taking at least half of each home for dinner that night. And the lunch price of my chicken parm was $9, so very competitive I think. I also had a glass of the house chardonnay, reasonably priced at $5.
Since we've only been once, and the menu is quite extensive, we cannot comment much beyond our one meal to date. But we look forward to multiple visits over time. And given its popularity, it appears Chef Point is going to be with us for a long while. They've already expanded the restaurant through the back of the gas station. On our weekday visit, we arrived before 11:30 and the main dining room was half full. It was entirely full when we left, but the new extension hadn't yet seen any diners.
Chef Point Cafe is an excellent place that deserves its recognition. Not surprisingly, a lot of naysayers are coming out of the woodwork to claim "it's not all that great... overrated, only clueless people think this good, bla bla bla". This resistance is to be expected when you're at the top. Like the impetus it took to get the restaurant off the ground, it's the American way.