Chefs love to toss around terms like “regional cuisine” and “comfort food,” but too often, the results are more fancy than friendly. Molly McCook—chef and co-owner of Ellerbe Fine Foods in Fort Worth—has bridged the gap. In the bright, sunny rooms of a prettily revamped ‘20s service station, the Shreveport native is turning out rootsy Southern dishes with a professional sheen. Her meltingly tender braised pork shank, for instance, is as easy to like (and to understand) as a Sunday pot roast, but a glaze of stone-ground-mustard and East Texas–based Johnnie Fair syrup gives it a touch of class. Her maque choux, a heavenly hash of fresh corn and tomato studded with shrimp, has Texans lapping up one of Louisiana’s most fabled dishes. Who said the cowman and the Cajun can’t be friends?
Ellerbe Fine Foods 1501 West Magnolia Avenue, Fort Worth (817-926-3663; ellberbefinefoods.com)