The Rustic is a restaurant that could only exist in Texas. From the decor and ambience to the food, beer and live music, a meal or drink there is a truly Texan experience.
Owned in part by Texas country music legend Pat Green, with a menu conceived by Dallas dining icon Sharon Hage, The Rustic opened up last month in Uptown to great fanfare following months of being the most anticipated and hyped restaurant opening in Dallas.
Does the restaurant live up to the hype? Mostly, yes. The decor provides a laid-back feel that makes this a very accessible and casual restaurant with a distinctly Texan flair.
The wall behind the bar is adorned with a large American flag crafted entirely of beer cans, and longhorn skulls line the wooden walls.
The beers at The Rustic are distinctly Texan too. Over 40 beers on tap each night, nearly all from Texas, provide a large selection from light Hefeweizens to powerful IPAs to spicy Saisons and dark stouts. All beers are served in huge Texas-sized frosted goblets, holding more than 20 ounces. Any lover of Texas beers will be happily at home at The Rustic, they’ve even had exclusive beers like the beloved Saint Arnold Pumpkinator on tap. The one downside to their beer selection? The drinks are so large that they last through the entire meal, and a beer that pairs well with the appetizer doesn’t necessarily pair well with the rest of the courses.
The love for local extends to the selection of food too. The diverse and reasonably priced menu sources mostly from Texas, and has some truly amazing offerings. Particular highlights are the wild boar meatball appetizer, served over smooth black bean puree. The quail, molasses brined and mostly boneless, was one of the highlights on the entree menu. Plump and juicy, it paired nicely with the pecan chipotle sauce served with every entree. The slaw on the side, which featured fennel, celery and carrots alongside the traditional cabbage, was great with the provided key limes drizzled on top.
The Rustic Burger is another high point on the menu. A juicy half pound burger is topped with cheddar, grilled onion, green chili, burger sauce and a heap of house made brisket too. For the particularly hungry, this is a must-try dish.
For the more adventurous eaters, the euphemistically named “Calf Fries with Buttermilk Dip” are stellar. Calves’ testicles are deep fried in a heavily spiced batter and served with a creamy buttermilk dip. Forget what they are, and it’s hard not to want more.
For dessert, The Rustic offers four different varieties of pie. All quite large, the Key lime pie is light, fluffy and wonderfully tart. The peanut butter pie, large enough for two, is creamy and nutty.
The only misses on the menu? The onion rings were a bit disappointing. They’re served so thin that they’re no longer hot upon reaching the table, and they are slightly under seasoned. Served on top of an onion sauce means the ones on the bottom are soggy and the ones on top are unable to get enough contact with the sauce to correct the seasoning issue. Skip this side and go for the chunky avocado salad instead.
The service at The Rustic is quite good, but better when they aren’t overly busy. Bartenders are very friendly even to customers they aren’t waiting on and remember names of frequent visitors. While busy, it can at times be difficult to get the attention of the waiter, but never too much of a hassle.
Live music can be heard on weekends, but the crowds can be difficult to deal with. One Friday a single person would have to wait three hours for a table, and the bar was packed. Another Friday was booked for a private event. Weekdays are more manageable, but can still be quite busy. With good reason though, The Rustic is definitely one of the hottest new destinations in Dallas.
The Rustic is located at 3656 Howell St. and is open 4 p.m. to midnight on weekdays, and 11 a.m. to midnight on weekends.