Cafe Reviewed: Wednesday, May 18, 2005
Not your burger connoisseur’s first choice but still good: Station Grill’s hamburger includes onion crisps. (Photo by Vishal Malhotra)
All Aboard!

Just when you thought
West Seventh couldn’t get
any tastier, along comes Station Grill’s homecooking.


Station Grill
2700 W 7th St, FW. 817-882-8020. Breakfast 7-10:30 AM, Mon-Fri; 8-2 PM Sat. Lunch: 11-3 PM, Mon-Fri; 8-2 PM Sat. Visa, Master Card and Discover accepted.

Station Grill is utterly devoid of pretense. And this is a good thing. Opened two years ago by a local couple — chef Daniel Badillo, who spent nearly 20 years honing his chops cooking at the Fort Worth Petroleum Club, and his wife Rose — the little restaurant on West Seventh Street isn’t depending on either décor or hipster cachet to lure diners. The space — though clean and attractive, thanks mainly to the floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides — is built for function, not beauty. The only recognizable visual motif has to do with trains — planted in certain areas of the space are model locomotives, a clock with hours marked off in notable trains rather than numerals, and a coffee-table book on railroads.
Station Grill’s simplicity doesn’t matter. The food — breakfast and lunch only — is good. On the breakfast menu is a variety of omelets and burritos, along with biscuits and gravy and a platter of pancakes, eggs, and potatoes, with a pork chop ($5.95). At lunch, you’ll find sandwiches, burgers, soups, a half dozen full-meal salads, and 15 entrées, not including daily specials. Everything is homemade.
On a recent visit after the lunch crowd had returned to work, there were still several tables full of diners. The special, chicken breast and pork chops, had already sold out for the day (the mark of good restaurant, one that orders fresh daily). But there was still a lot to choose from. The starter was a cup of potato chowder. Thick by reduction rather than by adding loads of flour, the soup was a tasty mélange in which minced celery and black pepper brought out the wonderful saltiness of the potatoes. The burger basket followed, and it was equally flavorful though a little on the skimpy side. With crispy home-cut steak fries, the sandwich — 8 ounces of juicy chuck on an oversized, grilled bun — is OK for a normal person but probably not enough for a real burger connoisseur. The patty itself was as thin as a pancake and hung over the sides of the bun. (Rose later explained that the cooks roll the meat out like a tortilla before seasoning and grilling.) The fresh toppings — diced onions, lettuce, pickles, cheese, and mustard — helped the burger go from “decent” to “good,” but toppings do not a burger make.
The stuffed tomato salad, on the other hand, was excellent. The scooped-out tomato — served on a bed of romaine, garnished with cucumbers and olives (and ranch dressing) — was over-over-stuffed with a perfectly cooked, succulent, diced dark-meat chicken salad (with mayo), and the bird tasted as if it had been roasted fresh that morning.
The grilled catfish was equally scrumptious. Simply grilled, the two fresh — not frozen — filets were flaky rather than mushy and tender rather than squishy. The fish was dressed in a light garlic cream that was rich but didn’t overpower the featured ingredient. The two sides — a casserole of broccoli, rice, and cheddar, and garlic-mashed potatoes slathered in brown gravy — were also noteworthy. Even the garnish of onion crisps surpassed expectations.
Sandwiched on a strip of West Seventh between Fred’s Café and the Bronx Zoo, Station Grill may not appear to be situated for success. But residential development in the area is booming, and since the Grill offers workaday homecooking — that’s neither fast like the Zoo nor greasy-silver-spoon-ish like Fred’s — this little restaurant may be on to something.

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