The Hidden Vegetarian & Vegan Gem of Denton - 940's Kitchen and Cocktails

January 8, 2016

Denton's food scene is booming, and one its latest standouts is 940's Kitchen and Cocktails. 940's is a laid-back, urban hangout just shy of the square, offering a seasonal menu and some of the best cocktails in the city. The menu takes you back with Southern favorites such as Shrimp and Grits and hushpuppies yet shines through expert seasoning and unexpected flavors. 940's prides themselves on offering a wide selection of vegan and vegetarian dishes, even hosting all-vegan dinner options. A welcome addition to the current cuisine on the square, 940's has become a casual yet refined space to enjoy a drink with a date, catch up with friends, or bring family for dinner.

 

Since 940's opening in late 2015, chef David Rodriguez has focused on creating a variety of vegan. vegetarian, and meat dishes sourced as locally as possible. His time at Hannah's inspired him with their 100 mile dinner, using ingredients sourced within 100 miles of the restaurant. Previously at Oddfellows, Union Bear, Urban Acres, and Kitchen LTO, Rodriguez is no stranger to fresh, local cuisine and rotating options. The transformation of dishes always seems to keep the soul of the original dish intact, such as his use of seasonal Oyster mushrooms instead of King Trumpet mushrooms. Citing inspiration from Mexico City, Rodriguez grew up around his dad's cooking, a Tex-Mex chef.  Rodriguez's skill with fresh produce and vegetarian dishes keeps the prices reasonable for the quality of the dish; without an expensive cut of meat, a delicious meal leaves a smaller dent in your wallet. Carnivores, don't run! The meat dishes offered here shine even brighter with fresh produce. Rodriguez is excited to be a part of the growth within the Denton food scene, aiming to use his experience at Hannah's to source ingredients as close to the restaurant as possible.

Blue Crab Hushpuppies

A southern favorite gets a revamp with Blue Crab topped with savory chipotle cream and fried onions. The hushpuppies are good enough to eat by themselves, but the chipotle brings smokiness to the dish. This is fantastic as an appetizer to a meal or a snack with one of their drinks, and I suggest getting some chipotle on the side because you'll definitely want more.

 

Crushed Avocado Toast

A toasted baguette is topped with avocado mixed with crushed pecans, cilantro pesto, and balsamic reduction. The cilantro pesto and reduction gave a tangy kick to the dish, while the pecans provided a crunchy texture. The only downside was the inconsistency in the amount of balsamic reduction on each piece of toast, but that's an easy fix in the kitchen. This is a completely vegan dish, and their best appetizer to try with their delicious drinks.

 

Shrimp and Grits

For a raging carnivore as myself, these were some of the best seasoned shrimp I've had in a long time. The addition of serrano ham, chipotle, chives, and heirloom tomatoes to the shrimp blew the flavors out of the water. Literally. The poblano redneck cheddar grits had a lot of flavor themselves, but didn't overwhelm the other ingredients. This dish is also gluten-free, although you would never guess it.

 

In addition to having several incredible cocktails on tap such as the Sangria, the Old Fashioned, and their seasonal cocktail, 940's really packs a solid selection. With Alphonso, one of the geniuses behind Paschall Bar, crafting this cocktail menu, it's hard to go wrong. Virtue & Truth features Ford's gin, amontillado sherry orgeat, lime, and cucumber. It's herbaceous but also sweet, with the cucumber bringing a freshness to the drink. It didn't completely disguise the gin, but rather intensified the flavors of the sherry and lime. If you come here and get only one drink, get this one.

 

The Kitty & Coley features Monopolowa vodka, St.Germain, lemon, rosemary syrup, and soda. It's lighter with more pronounced citrus tones and a sweet aftertaste. I would compare it to a craft lemonade, it's not too strong and a good choice when you want something refreshing.

 

Seared Oyster Mushrooms

Butternut squash, wild rice risotto, seared Oyster mushrooms, and soy reduction come together for a filling and meaty vegan dish. The wild rice risotto pairs well with the mushrooms, which rotate based on seasonality and availability. The butternut squash adds flavor and unexpected texture to the dish. Although the mushrooms were seasoned well, the addition of the soy reduction made the dish a tad too salty, so be sure to ask them to take it easy if you're sensitive to salt.

 

El Hefe

 

A coffee lover's holiday dream. A base of their rotating tequila is mixed with kahlua and coffee, topped with agave foam. Certainly a new way to pair tequila for the holidays, the sweet coffee flavor is balanced by the agave foam, served hot. Although the holiday season is drawing to a close, the weather is getting colder. Hopefully you can request this delicious alcoholic mexican coffee next time you visit. Get it for dessert.

 

A Certain Mr.Rose

Last but not least, another carefully crafted tequila-based cocktail. Espolon Blanco tequila is mixed with their housemade creme of coco, lime, basil leaves, and serrano tincture. As a big fan of spicy cocktails, this mixture was unlike anything I've ever seen before. A slightly milky texture is contrasted by the sour lime, with an aftertaste of basil. Although it's not too spicy, this cocktail packs a punch.

 

For more information:

 

940's Kitchen and Cocktails

Instagram:

@940SKC

@ChefDavidRodriguez

@OurNewMonarch

@Czarina_Ekaterina

 

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