Before making this post I hunted a little for a comment by someone who had eaten chili at the new Tolbert's. Several people promised to and report back, but I did not find a personal experience.
Frank Tolbert was a professional Texan, longtime columnist for the Dallas Morning News, author, and a great chili head. I wish I had a copy of all the chili recipes he gave in his column. For a time he operated a restaurant in Dallas that served chili and other Southwestern foods. He was a founder of the Terlingua chili cook-off. One of the books he wrote, A Bowl of Red
, remains one of the important references for chili.
His family has operated a reincarnation of the restaurant for some time, in Grapevine, Texas, close to the North entrance of DFW. In a spiritual sense at least, it is a successor to the several famous chili parlors that once operated in Dallas. The introduction above is for those who are not familiar with the Dallas – Fort Worth area, the Metroplex. Locals have mostly gotten the word, I guess. A featured dish is a bowl of red, of Texas chili. I ate there the week before Thanksgiving.
I would say the chili is a high quality classic Texas rendition: cut beef chunks from meat with enough character to stand up to long cooking and chili peppers in a thick sauce and not a lot else. The meat is fat free and without gristle. Frank Tolbert published his own recipe and this must be similar although the family says the recipe has been tweaked. I ate chili in the original Tolbert’s just once and it has been too long for me to make a comparison. I’ve read that Whole Foods groceries in the Dallas area have a frozen version but I have not seen it in Atlanta where I live today.
This is not chili quite the way I would make it. For starters, I’d add more garlic and cumin. It is not the best chili I remember having. That would be the chili that sainted Shanghai Jimmy used to make, as discussed in another thread under the chili heading. I would also stand by the other comments I've posted about the several versions of chili available in the Metroplex. IMO, and to repeat, it is a high quality version of Texas chili as it used to be understood. I’d sure like to see some more comment on this message board about Tolbert's. It is easy to visit if you are arriving or departing from DFW. http://www.tolbertsrestaurant.com/