The whimsical sound of funk music complemented by the brassy notes of a live trumpet welcomed me on Wednesday night as I entered Vivo 53. The newest addition to Downtown Fort Worth’s restaurant scene hosted its grand opening party on Wednesday, June 10 and had a special appearance by Dallas Mavericks Small Forward, Chandler Parsons.
Upon being seated, I was greeted by a friendly waiter named Dallas. He was very knowledgeable and made some great recommendations. My friend and I started off with two drinks, The Italian Mule and the North Texas Breeze.
The Italian Mule was served in a customary rose gold mug (like a Moscow Mule) and was dressed with a lime. Upon initial taste, the ginger beer in this cocktail blew me away. I happen to love ginger beer, so I didn’t mind the initial kick. This cocktail also has raspberries, organic vodka, lime juice and balsamic vinegar.
The North Texas Breeze had a delightful blend of prosecco, honey, pineapple juice, lime juice, basil, vodka and St. Germaine elderflower liqueur. On a first sip, you can definitely taste the basil but you are left with a wonderful bubbly aftertaste from the prosecco.
After indulging on a few sips of our cocktails, Dallas served us appetizers on a cutting board, which doubled as a cute platter. Once the appetizers were within reach, I immediately grabbed a Caprese Skewer. The skewers were the perfect size and the basil and sweet tomatoes were incredibly fresh. The skewers contained tomatoes, basil and mozzarella and were drizzled with balsamic vinegar. After downing a few skewers I wanted to test out some of the bruschetta. Vivo 53 has three bruschetta selections to choose from. I tried the version with fagioli (kidney beans), organic herbs, pickled chilies, extra virgin olive oil and sea salt. The bruschetta was served on crunchy French bread and, though I was nervous about the beans and pickled chilies in the bruschetta, it was a delightfully tasty surprise.
Speaking of surprises, I was mid-chomp when Chandler Parsons walked in with two of his buddies. I was in a state of shock when I realized the 6’10” NBA stud was going to sit directly behind me! Not only is he just as good looking in person as he is on TV, he is also quite friendly and smiled when I asked him to take a photo with me. I was even more shocked when I pushed my luck and asked for a selfie…he obliged. He grabbed my phone and took two selfies with my friend and I. Both selfies came out blurry but, who cares? Chandler Parsons is in the photos! He spent a lot of time signing autographs and taking photos with Mavs fans from all over. It was pretty cool to see him interact with everyone. He held conversations with anyone that engaged him and kept a smile on his (very good-looking) face.
It was very difficult to focus on much of anything with Chandler Parsons sitting four feet behind me, but I prevailed. Before I could finish stuffing my face with bruschetta and skewers, Dallas brought us out a specialty Rustic Margherita Pizza. I do not believe this pizza is a normal menu item, but I’m really hoping they’ll add it soon. I am a huge advocate of margherita pizza and this one delivered. The tomatoes were sweet and the pizza had the perfect balance of cheese and basil. The balsamic vinegar sprinkled on top was a great touch and definitely added a bit of zing. The slices were small but the flavor was huge. Legend has it that the restaurant is named after the number of attempts it took to perfect their ideal pizza crust. 53rd time is certainly a charm! The handcrafted, artisan pizza crust is just right. Not too thin, not too thick. Not too crunchy, nor soft.
For dessert, I opted for the berries and cream. Let me be the first to tell you that the Vivo 53 version of this dessert has a savory twist. Amid a sea of sweet cream, this dessert hides a slice of very strong rum cake underneath the surface. I was definitely taken back by the pungent alcohol flavor. The dessert also contains a blend of berries and is decorated with almond croutons that add a crunchy texture. Like everything else I sampled, the berries and cream was full of flavor and I definitely recommend it to anyone that loves some rum cake.
DJ Adam Pickrell did a fantastic job of keeping the grooves going all night and I was also pleased to get a few words with some of the staff. The team at Vivo 53 definitely takes pride in their service and their cuisine. I was pleased with all of the items I was able to get a sample of. I certainly look forward to coming back on a weekend for brunch to indulge in a few $1 mimosas and bellinis and also checking out one of their gourmet salads for lunch.
(Disclaimer: I was given a media pass to attend, and all thoughts are my own.)