Dec. 21, 2012 — the day the world was supposed to end. And the day Craig Collins, founder of the popular barbecue joint Red, Hot and Blue, opened his latest concept, the South American restaurant Nazca Kitchen. “What have you got to lose, right?” he jokes. As he did with his first venture, Collins brought something relatively new to the neighborhood with Nazca. “When we opened Red, Hot and Blue in 1994, no one ate pork. Now it’s a barbecue staple.” At Nazca, the focus is fresh fish and organic, sustainable, healthful ingredients. It isn’t easy, Collins says, for a North Texas restaurant to obtain fresh seafood. In fact, he’s in the process of attempting to strike a deal with an Alaskan supplier. Fingers crossed. Until then, you can bet Collins and his team will not serve anything that doesn’t look, smell and taste as fresh as anything in the DFW area; this is evidenced in menu items such as the grilled tilapia or roasted half chicken that came recommended by manager Juan Chavez. Culinary creations — a quinoa salad tossed in tahini glaze or a butternut squash and cranberry side, for example — leave a lasting, crave-inducing impression. The fish “tacos” with aioli drizzle come wrapped in butter-leaf lettuce that is grown in neat, aesthetic soil rows alongside the eatery. Collins painstakingly selected the wine list. A self-proclaimed “wine geek,” Collins says he tasted 400 wines before narrowing down the 12 available at the Nazca bar.
8041 Walnut Hill #854 (at Central),
Price range: $6-$16
Hours: Daily 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m.
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