Chow, Baby: Wednesday, February 6, 2003
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
Woof, Woof

They don’t make Rockies in Chow, Baby’s size, so it was business-dress as usual (i.e., elastic-waist slacks) for last week’s visit to the Backstage Club at the Fort Worth Stock Show. For the benefit of our Yankee readers, the Backstage Club is a members-only restaurant and bar that overlooks the arena at Will Rogers Coliseum. Open only for the Stock Show, it’s operated by the barbecue-famed Coburn family, and it’s where Fort Worth’s hay society hangs out at the rodeo, schmoozing with hootin’ cowboy contestants and hollerin’ pretty gals. (Private or not, when an editor suggests checking out a local tradition by partying with lots of slim hips in tight jeans, who’s to argue?)

Grady Spears excepted, Chow, Baby isn’t much of a cowboy groupie and is generally pretty cool when meeting celebrities — until actor/director/producer/ex-bullrider Robert Keith brought his blue eyes and boyish grin to the table. The Fort Worth native may be best known for his recurring role as Officer Peters in Beverly Hills 90210 or his roper stunts in Linedancin’ U.S.A., but he will forever hold a place in Chow, Baby’s heartburn as the voiceover in the Wolf Brand Chili commercials — you know, “Neighbor, how long has it been since you’ve had a big, thick, steaming bowl ... .” Chow, Baby got his autograph.

Menu choices are beef, beef, and beef — but strangely, because you know they’d be fresh, no calf fries. Chow, Baby got a mighty fine ribeye ($275, including $5 parking and $250 annual club membership fee), which it enjoyed much more after turning its back to the cute animals in the arena. Too bad it has to wait until next year’s Stock Show for a return visit — because, you know, “heh heh heh, that’s too long.”

Cooks 10, Spells 3

Sometimes, typos in a menu mean “We Don’t Pay Attention to Detail,” which is a bad thing. Other times they mean “We Don’t Have 18 Layers of Corporate Management Scrutinizing Everything We Do,” which is a good thing. Fingers crossed, Chow, Baby ordered the Jerusalem Chicken ($6.95) with “articoks” in a “shery” cream sauce at Fortuna, a new Italian spot at 5837 Camp Bowie Blvd. Chow, Baby’s wish came true: The delicious dish was obviously created by a chef, not a bean-counter. Brothers Sam and Ray Jumeri (Ray’s the executive chef) also own Portobello in Colleyville, and that’s about it for chain ties.

Chow, Baby had decided on a drive-by that Fortuna would be a Joe’s-type place: order at the counter, eat fast while watching sports on the corner tv. Wrong. Fortuna does a brisk take-out business, but it’s primarily a sit-down café with real tablecloths, convivial service, a nice soundtrack of Italian crooners, and reasonable prices. Baked pastas are in the $5 range; pasta specialties, up to $8 or so. (Chow, Baby particularly enjoyed the veal Fortuna, also in a misspelled sauce.) The tiramisu ($3.50) lacked that house-made punch; Chow, Baby would walk another mile up Camp Bowie to Mike Salerno’s for the real thing. But all in all, Fortuna’s is a welcome addition to the West Side.


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