I made the trek to Fort Worth, y’all. I don’t do it often, so you must know it was because I knew something special (read: delicious) was waiting for me. In this case, it was worth the drive. #SDDContributor Amanda (covering Fort Worth) and I stopped into Vivo 53 in Downtown Fort Worth accompanied by a delightful representative from their PR company. I threw my hands up and let the experts decide what to feed me, and that was a great decision.
We started with Chicken Meatballs (free range, served with tomato sauce, rucola, and red onion) and they were hard to find in all of the greenery, but worth the search. To go with our appetizers, the bartender brought us a round of their best selling drink, the Vesuvius (serrano pepper, 360 organic vodka, blood orange juice, strawberries, ginger beer, and organic agave). It really had a kick to it, enough so that I was regretting that I’d forgotten my heartburn medication! The flavor was strong and delicious, so I’d order this one again … but I’d try to be more prepared next time. Their version of Bruschetta featured three crostini–corona fagioli (beans) with herbs, chilies, and sea salt, a smoked albacore tuna with peppers and chives, and a chicken liver pate with capers, prosciutto and lemon. I really loved all three (and especially the pate), but the table seemed to like the tuna one best. (Babies.) You can order them by flavor or a trio of the three.
Drinks kept flowing and the table ordered the North Texas Breeze, Italian Mule, and Aquila Artiglio. The North Texas Breeze (Deep Eddy Vodka, St. Germain , Thai basil, lime, pineapple juice, honey, and prosecco) is their second best seller behind the Vesuvius, and for a good reason. It was perfectly light and sweet, but with good body. The Italian Mule (raspberries, 360 organic vodka, lime, balsamic vinegar, and ginger beer) was an interesting take on the traditional Moscow Mule and the balsamic vinegar gave it a bit of extra complexity. (Oh, and they’d run out of raspberries, and when my friend ordered this drink, they had someone run out to get more. That’s service.)
I’m not even sure how to start my description of the dinner we had. Suffice it to say that everything was delicious and the pasta dish haunts my dreams. We enjoyed the Brussels Sprouts that were roasted just so with a nice bit of oil … and it’s too bad that I ate them all and didn’t leave any for my fellow diners. Do yourself a favor and order their Vivo Truffle Fettuccine cause OMG. I mean … I like truffles, but this stuff was beyond. The flavor was just strong enough to be intriguing, but definitely wasn’t overpowering.
The 53 in their name refers to the number of recipes they attempted to get to the perfect pizza crust. I’ll just say … it was definitely lucky number 53! The crust on their “pizze” is perfectly crispy and has a nice mix of delicate herbs that give it a kick of flavor. We tried the Bianca Pizza (mozzarella, sottocenere*, fontina cheese, parmesan, and sage) and the Burrata Pizza (bur rata, prosciutto, tomato, rucola, and grana padano). I’d order the Bianca again in a second, but the Burrata pizza, while good, wasn’t what I’d expected. The burrata is simple plopped on top of a cheeseless pizza with a pile of rucola on top. (I’m just preparing you because I was surprised. Friends look out for friends, ya know.)
Dessert, while difficult to find space in my completely full and satisfied stomach, was worth it. The Torta Fritta (fresh donuts rolled in sugar) were ah-mazing. The chocolate dipping sauce it’s served with was rich and warm. I had to stop myself from eating them all … stupid half marathon training. (Blame my sister.) We also tried out their Dolce Crema Bruciata (vanilla custard with brûlées sugar crust and fresh berries) was good … but I’d suggest ordering a second Torta Fritta if you have the room! Oh, and their bartender was nice enough to make me an off-menu espresso martini. It was just the nightcap I needed and kept me alert enough not to call it a night and head home to put on my comfy pants.
Vivo 53’s feel welcoming, yet clean and modern. The high ceilings make it feel much larger than it is. The seating area is actually somewhat limited, which keeps it intimate. A set of tables toward the back are separated by large walls, making each feel private. There are TVs in the bar to catch a game or two, and seats around the oven so you can watch the magic happen.
They JUST released that they’ll be offering happy hour … both regular and REVERSE! Stop in for the items below from 3-6pm and after 9pm EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK … that means Fridays and Saturdays. Eccellente, miei amici.
- $3 wells
- $4 select wines
- $3 American beers
- discounted pizzas
- 1/2 off small plates
Hours of Operation:
*”Sottocenere al tartufo is a very pale yellow to off-white cheese with truffles that has a grey-brown ash rind” – Wiki