If John Wayne was still alive and kickin’ and living in the heart of Lakewood , we think he’d be a regular at Matt’s No Place. The restaurant is the culinary brainchild of chef and owner Matt Martinez (also owner of Matt’s Rancho Martinez), who combines flavorful seasonings with “prairie/range style” cooking.

What this means, according to general manager Vicki LaGrange, is that Matt’s No Place has taken Texas cuisine “back to the basic, to the way food was cooked years ago. Like when Grandma cooked in a cast-iron skillet.”

And when Grandpa had a shotgun. The menu is composed of a number of critters, from your basic beef to quail, venison and other wild game. Most side dishes fall into the comfort food category: honey butter yams, smoked mashed potatoes, grilled spinach.

For starters, order “The Appetizer That’s Not on the Menu,” a plateful of queso, cornbread cake, creekbottom shrimp, wild boar sausage and portabello mushrooms. Or try another appetizer with a kick: crab cakes in a tequila cream sauce (see recipe).

Whatever you eat, make sure you also take a look at Matt’s adventurous wine list, where you’ll find some choices you’re not likely to encounter at other Dallas restaurants.

Matt’s No Place
6326 La Vista
Lunch hours: Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Hours: Closed Mondays; Tue.-Thurs. 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Fri.-Sat. 5:30 p.m.-11 p.m.
$$$, FB, RR (see key on page xx)

Crab Cakes in Tequila Cream Sauce

2 lbs. crab meat
1/2 red bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 green bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 yellow bell pepper, finely diced
1/2 white onion, finely diced
2 celery stalks, finely diced
2 eggs
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup
Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon rubbed sage
1 teaspoon thyme leaves
2 1/2 cup bread crumbs

Place crabmeat in a mixing bowl with bell peppers, onions and celery. Mix well. Add eggs, mayonnaise, mustard and herbs and mix well. Add 1/2 cup of bread crumbs and stir. Shape mixture into crab cakes of desired size and coat cakes with remaining bread crumbs. Pan fry over moderate heat until golden brown.

Serve crab cakes with tequila sauce and pico de gallo on the side.

Tequila Cream Sauce

1/2 cup pico de gallo (see recipe below)
3 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon chicken base or 4 chicken boullion cubes
3 oz. tequila
salt and white pepper to taste

Stir heavy cream in a heavy saucepan over moderate heat until reduce by a quarter. Do not let boil. Set aside. Saute pico de gallo in a skillet with a tablespoon of butter until onions are tender. Add tequila to deglaze the pan (caution: tequila is flammable; use care). After flames have subsided add pico mixture to the cream along with chicken base. Bring just to a boil. Lightly thicken with a roux or cornstarch.

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