Written by Crystal Willars Vastine.

Photos by Crystal Willars Vastine.

NISH! Mediterranean makes its mark in River Oaks, Hot Box Biscuit Club finds a permanent clubhouse, Top Golf adds brunch to the menu and Punch Bowl Social serves up fun on Foch.

NISH! Mediterranean Grill
4913 Ohio Garden Rd., River Oaks 76114

You’ll come in to NISH! Mediterranean Grill for the smile and joyful greeting alone from owner, Anwar Silwadi. But don’t worry, there’s some pretty fantastic food to back up that grin. Quick table service from friendly faces is offered at this now 6-month-old spot gaining popularity in River Oaks.

I’ll admit that we overdid it a bit on our first visit, going all-in on appetizers without realizing the magnitude of the entrees that would arrive. Still, I have no regrets about ordering the sfeeha to start, which I have never seen (or at least never noticed) on any other Mediterranean menu. The fried dough is topped with a spiced ground beef that is delicious on its own but taken to the next level by adding a side of cool tzaziki which can be found on the menu as “cucumber yogurt salad.”

Entrees average around $16 and are enough for dinner and lunch the next day as they come with pita bread and a slew of choices to be made: soup or salad, hummus or baba ghanoush, fries or rice, and garlic sauce or tahini (choose the rice and garlic sauce!). The lamb kabob entrée was tender, flavorful and the highlight of our meal thanks to an enthusiastic recommendation from food and travel writer, June Naylor. A surprise was the chicken kafta kabob. Ground chicken with onion, garlic and spices is pressed on a skewer and grilled – like chicken meatloaf on a stick.

I’ve barely scratched the surface of the menu so my next visit may be to the lunch buffet that is offered Monday through Friday from 11am to 2:30pm. Nish does not sell alcohol so feel free to BYOB.

Nish is open Monday through Saturday 11am to 10pm and Sunday 12pm to 7pm.

Hot Box Biscuit Club
313 S Main St.

Sarah Hooton and Matt Mobley have taken their popular brunch pop-up to a permanent location in South Main Village. The pair have been selling out weekend brunches at various locations throughout Fort Worth for the past two and a half years including Magdalena’s, Tokyo Café and Bell & Bell properties off Berry Street.

HBBC hosted it’s first “pop-in” at the new space over Labor Day weekend selling out four seatings within minutes. To answer their most frequently asked question lately – yes, the restaurant will eventually open for regular breakfast and lunch hours with counter service and a full bar, but they just couldn’t wait to share their new home with loyal followers.

Fan favorites that will make the menu of amped up homestyle cooking include the Big Boi biscuit sandwich which boasts a pickle-brined fried chicken dripping in ranch dressing, topped with pickles and pimento cheese all on a Hot Box signature biscuit. Decadent sides such as their chicken fat fried rice topped with fried chicken skin made the cut along with house made desserts like Mary’s Chocolate Cream Pie and Sarah’s Buttermilk Pie.

Weekend brunch events with pre-set menu will continue until the restaurant is ready for a full launch this Fall. To sign up for notification of events and to be among the first to know when the restaurant will be open regular hours, visit their website. Hot Box Biscuit Club plans to be open Tuesday through Friday 7am to 2pm and Saturday and Sunday 7am to 3pm.

Top Golf
2201 E 4th St

‘Unexpected’ is the first word that comes to mind when describing the brunch experience at Top Golf. At a venue purposed for gaming, typically the food is an afterthought to satiate guests that have worked up an appetite. I would come to Top Golf for the brunch alone to sit out on the expansive patio that looks out towards downtown Fort Worth…at least once the temps dip below 90 degrees.

But while you’re there for the new brunch additions to the menu – you may as well play a round or two between bites. Top Golf is basically a driving range with targets and you can trust that absolutely no experience is necessary if this foodie is able to play. Game play does not have to go in any particular order, so if you’re busy devouring a plate of carrot cake waffles and sipping $4 mimosas, then let another player take a swing. The everything bagel flatbread that is everything I love about a lox bagel – smoked salmon, herbed cream cheese, capers and tomatoes – but on a thin crust so you can leave room for injectable donut holes. I’ll spare you the hole-in-one puns; these cinnamon sugar dusted donut holes come with three injectors of chocolate, Bavarian cream and raspberry jelly.

While not just on the brunch menu, a must have at any time is the pretzel board – a thick, chewy pretzel used as a serving dish to tuck salami, prosciutto, jalapeno sausage, cheeses, nuts and berries all served with a Pabst Blue Ribbon beer cheese to dip your “platter”.

Top Golf is open Sunday through Thursday 9am to 11pm and Friday through Saturday 9am to 1am.

Punch Bowl Social
1100 Foch Street

The Fort Worth location of Punch Bowl Social, housed in what was previously Times Ten Cellars, is considered a boutique location at “only” 12,000 square feet – nearly half the size of other locations throughout the country. The space is packed with activities from mini bowling and vintage arcade games to a private Possum Kingdom themed karaoke room. Each location gets its own personality in décor and you’ll notice a bird motif throughout the space which is a nod to founding Fort Worth settler, Jonathan Bird. Impress your friends with this little piece of local trivia – the robins that surround the bar wrap acknowledge Bobby Day, writer and singer of “Rockin’ Robin,” who was born in Fort Worth in 1928.

The menu offers plenty of shareables besides the signature glass punch bowl of Aperol Spritz. The playfully named meat and cheese board ‘A Pig, A Duck and Some Cheese Walk Into a Bar’ comes piled with prosciutto, a confit duck leg and Point Reyes blue cheese. Barbacoa tacos, filled with chile braised brisket and a flavorful salsa adobo, pair well with an El Macho cocktail, a concoction of tequila, cucumber, cardamom syrup and fresh lime juice. Also recommended is a sinful mac and cheese that you won’t find on the sides list but as an entrée. That’s right; put some grilled chicken on it and call it a meal. I like the way these guys think.
For dessert, check out some board games for the table while noshing on fruity pebble dotted rice krispy treats.

Punch Bowl Social is open 3pm Monday through Friday and at 10am for brunch on weekends.

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