Help Black Walnut Test New Dishes, Have One Named After You

August 9, 2013

We're fans of Black Walnut Cafe, the fast casual restaurant that started in the Woodands and has spread across the Houston area (and is soon coming to Austin and Dallas). One thing we love is the large, eclectic menu - it's a place we're not hesitant to visit with people whose food preferences we don't know.

And the menu is ever-changing. For the next few weeks, Black Walnut will be testing a few new items each week, and soliciting feedback from patrons who try them via a secret website, revealed only to those who try the dishes. We love the idea of getting direct feedback from customers, and what makes it even cooler is that one lucky customer will get the chance to name one of the dishes on the menu! (There's also a $100 gift card involved, which is certainly a good thing.)

We were excited about the opportunity to provide feedback about which items would make the next menu, so we accepted the generous offer to come sample this week's selections.

First up were the pork tacos. They're served street taco style on a sheet of aluminum foil. Of course, being a nice place like the Black Walnut, the foil was on a plate.

A generous portion of pork carnitas was served on warm corn tortillas, topped with shredded lettuce, fresh avocado slices, a bit of red bell pepper, and a mild peppery sauce. Biting into the first one, we enjoyed the smooth, mild flavors. The slight smokiness of the pork carnitas was accented by the creamy avocado and the mild heat from the sauce and peppers. Adding a zing of citrus from the provided lime slice brightened things up.
Next up was the turkey burger. I hear the assembled readers asking "Turkey burger?!?! Have you gone mad?" But I'm willing to sample even slightly disturbing things for science. And for our readers. The turkey burger is served open-faced with a side of Black Walnut's tasty sweet potato fries.

The patty is hand formed from high quality ground turkey, pressed fairly thin, griddled with a nice caramel-colored sear, then topped with swiss cheese and veggies. Biting into this burger was a big surprise... I LIKED IT. The expertly seared turkey patty had a nice savory flavor - the seasonings used were spot on. It didn't taste like a beef hamburger, but it was a very good sandwich that I would gladly order again. And I've never said that about a turkey burger before in my life. Kudos to the chefs at Black Walnut Cafe for doing the impossible.

Last up was an item that I saw, but didn't sample. It's an Eggs Benedict burger.

An English muffin is stacked with a hand-formed griddled beef burger patty, then layered with a poached egg, bacon, and hollandaise sauce. Not being a fan of poached eggs I decided to pass on this one, but it looked well constructed and the hollandaise sauce smelled very good.
We applaud Black Walnut Cafe for this decidedly social approach to vetting new menu items, and we look forward to seeing which of these dishes makes it onto the new menu. (Our vote is for the amazingly good turkey burger, and if it ends up being named the "You Won't Believe It's Turkey Burger" you'll know we won the contest.)
These dishes are available for tasting for a limited time, but will be replaced with other new tasting options each week. We plan to work our way through each week's offerings, and would love to hear from our readers as they sample these brand new creations.
Black Walnut Cafe | Several Locations
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