TRAVEL HERE: DINNER AT THE ROCKWALL’S FATTED CALF
After a year of building our home in Heath and several months of living in it, we’re finally getting around to visiting some of the restaurants in downtown Rockwall. We’d visited The Londoner and Bin 303 much earlier in this process, but recently we made it to the Fatted Calf.
Diner or Dinner?
So, I’d heard several people rave about the Fatted Calf, but their descriptions made the place sound more like a diner than someplace to have dinner. I had it mentally bookmarked in the brunch category.
Then we made a trek to downtown Rockwall on a Friday night. We’d seen construction going on around the square, but we’d never paid too much attention. Having to negotiate it for parking made us actually look at what was going on. I’ve got to tell you it’s a mess right now, but it looks as if it’s going to be pretty amazing when they get through.
Stepping around the construction mess, we first dropped by an outdoor venue where a duo were singing away about some woman’s headache. It was probably worth more attention and we plan to find out how often they have this kind of thing, but we were hungry.
Our destination was actually Zenata’s, but when we got there it was WAY too loud. We were looking for a quiet, perhaps even romantic, spot for dinner and we’d heard it was a Mediterranean restaurant. It was a very loud pizza joint. We sat for all of about 45 seconds and almost beat the hostess back to the door.
My next thought was Oscar Delta, a restaurant around the corner, which we pass by frequently, but we came up on the Fatted Calf first. I didn’t think I was anymore interested in diner food than I was the noise at Zenata, but Bill convinced me to at least check out the menu. The Fatted Calf is not a diner.
Table for Two
Folks in Rockwall must go somewhere else besides Rockwall on Friday nights. Well that, or they’re over at The Harbor and the I-30 Restaurant Row. There had been a nice crowd at Zenata’s but Fatted Calf was empty. Maybe that’s because, like me, everyone thinks it is a diner.
Come to find out the Fatted Calf actually has a split personality. According to our waitress, the restaurant opened as a diner, but added dinner later, which may or not have coincided with their relationship with the owner of Culpepper’s and The Oar House. Apparently, the news hasn’t spread as far as it needs to or they would have had a few more tables filled. There were several folks enjoying themselves at the bar, but up there where the food was served Bill and I were all alone.
My emotions were having a bit of a bouncy ride: Enjoying the improvements downtown and the musicians; Finding Zenata’s and then leaving; Thinking the Fatted Calf was a diner and being pleasantly surprised by the menu, but feeling apprehensive about all the empty seats. Then the waitress mentioned Culpeppers and The Oar House, which the restaurant was associated with in some way. Well, I loved the steak I had at Culpepper’s and the musicians who had been playing when I visited, but The Oar House experience had not been as good. All this and I still had to figure out what I was going to eat.
What in the World is Perloo?
According to the menu, Low Country Perloo is “BASMATI RICE/SHRIMP/ROASTED CHICKEN/PEPPERS/SMOKED SAUSAGE/ SCALLION BUTTER.” Bill decided to be brave and try it, in spite of the waitress’ less than enthusiastic recommendation, “It’s not my favorite, but people seem to like it.” She was more excited about my choice, Ted’s Crab Cake.
When the plates arrived they both looked great, but Bill seemed to be crazier about his food than mine. The crab cake was fine. I have no complaints, but it wasn’t a standout entree for me. In fact, what I liked best on the plate was the “CORN MAQUE CHOUX.” It was about the most delicious corn I’d ever had in my life. When I googled it I discovered it was pronounced Corn Mock Shoe and it’s a Cajun dish. Call it what you will and I’ll just call it scrumptious. Also on my dish was something that looked and tasted like mashed potatoes, but the menu claims is lobster bisque. I think it was mashed potatoes.
So do I think you should go visit the Fatted Calf? I’d say it would be a nice night out. I’m planning to go for brunch someday, because the menu for that meal looks appealing, but since Sunday is our usual brunch day, I’m not sure how I’m going to work it in. Come back next week and I’ll have some more recommendations for you.