As the doors glide open to reveal new Uptown restaurant Water Grill, we could be gazing at a chic seafood bistro nestled in Boston’s Back Bay or on the coast of southern California.
Oysters are stacked on ice atop a sprawling raw bar; crustaceans swim in seawater tanks. And, through towering glass doors, a fire blazes on the patio overlooking Dallas’ McKinney Avenue, just one block from Klyde Warren Park.
Dapper waiters whiz by, carrying mounds of stone crab claws, farmed Peruvian Bay scallops, and Whale’s Cove Mediterranean mussels. On a nearby patron’s plate is a colorful wild Tahitian big-eye tuna, raw and topped with candied lemon, tomato concasse, fennel salad, and spicy oil — a thing of beauty.
This restaurant is precisely what Dallas has been missing. Crafted by executive chef Kyle Cowan, the menu features fresh seafood and shellfish flown in daily from the East, West, and Gulf coasts via Orange County-based King’s Seafood Distribution, which owns Water Grill.
It’s the first location outside California for the restaurant, which has outposts in Los Angeles, Orange County, Santa Monica, and San Diego.
Since opening in January, it’s attracted throngs of Dallas elite for lunch and dinner, intent on ordering adventurous plates — charcoal-grilled wild Spanish octopus, farmed Ecuadorian shrimp and grits with Merguez sausage ragout — and dependable favorites, such as fish tacos and crab cakes. (Carnivores need look no further than the beautiful 14-ounce New York strip.)
Our suggestion: Opt for a seat on the patio, sip a glass of Cataluna 2014 rosé, and order an array of appetizers. The oysters alone will have you booking your next reservation on the spot.
Water Grill, 1920 McKinney Ave., 214.306.7111, watergrill.com.