A Patriotic Act

The Federal Grill

Laurann Claridge
June 12, 2013

Matt Brice made an offer that the owners of Branch Water Tavern apparently couldn’t refuse. Well, technically, they took a few months to ponder it before they sold their Shepherd-area restaurant to Brice, who also runs Bistro des Amis. Shortly after the young restaurateur first walked into the brick-and-oak-clad space, he had a plan: He’d rename it The Federal Grill as a tribute to his patriotic grandfather and serve up lots of whiskey (cocktails and straight-up bourbon, rye and scotch — 102 varieties and counting), bar bites and contemporary American fare, including a trio of prime-cut steaks. (After all, Brice paid his dues rising up the ranks at prominent steak houses in NYC and Houston.) While signature Branch Water Tavern dishes still dot the menu, chef Michael Hoffman and sous chef Antoine Ware have collaborated with Brice to add winning new ones such as a jumbo lump crab cake in a champagne beurre blanc ($18) and tartare of yellowfin tuna ($16) with avocados and the crunch of jicama and crisp shallots. And then there are the entrees, such as a mighty smoked pork chop with pimento cheese polenta ($26), sesame-crusted eggplant napoleon ($18) for anyone who prefers a meatless option and bacon-wrapped Gulf shrimp ($26) for those who can’t imagine a meal without B-A-C-O-N (you know who you are). 510 Shepherd Dr., 713.863.7777; thefederalgrill.com.