An upscale seafood restaurant in Uptown Dallas pulled up its anchor and sailed away. Water Grill, a California concept that opened on McKinney Avenue in 2017, closed after three years.
In a statement, the restaurant offered little explanation for its closure:
"Water Grill, a King's Seafood Company concept, has officially closed its doors as of Monday, February 17th," the statement said. "The decision to close was not an easy one to make, as we've loved serving the Dallas community over the past three years."
Water Grill was part of a California-based seafood-centric restaurant group called King's Seafood Company, founded in Costa Mesa by cousins Sam and Jeff King.
The Dallas restaurant was on the street level of 1920 McKinney Ave., an 11-story office and retail project one block from Klyde Warren Park — and almost directly across the street from the offices of CultureMap Dallas.
Did the CM staff ever go there for birthday lunches or celebratory happy hours? Maybe once. Even though it was walking distance. But with $24 fish & chips, $34 cioppino, and an 8-ounce filet mignon for $42, it was definitely not a place for your everyday grab-a-bite needs.
Perhaps with the various offices nearby, it was designed to be another option for the expense account lunch? The menu included oysters, lobster, and crab, with an exhibition kitchen and sea water tanks displaying live shellfish including crab, prawns, and spiny lobsters.
It's hard to say who the intended audience was.
King's Seafood Company CEO Sam King said in a release that they chose Dallas "because of its global culture, upscale dining landscape, and business-friendly environment."
Business-friendly, yes. Seafood-friendly, not so much. Dallas has trouble supporting a high-end seafood restaurant. Dallas is, how do you say, "thrifty" when it comes to seafood. They're a little on the tightwad side. They're cheap. John Tesar tried with Spoon, a really great upscale seafood restaurant, and locals did not flock. Most of old-school Dallas still relegates seafood to "peel-and-eat shrimp."
Those upscale restaurants featuring seafood that have survived have an edge, like Oceanaire with its Galleria location, and a big commitment to steak at Truluck's and Ocean Prime.
Water Grill has branches in downtown Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Las Vegas, Orange County, and San Diego, and another set to open in Denver soon. If Denver is anything like Dallas, and it is, then best of luck with that.
In any case, they're going out with an act of generosity:
"To show our love for the local community, we have committed to donating all fresh food items from our restaurant to the People’s Baptist Church nearby as a gift to the community that has long supported our business," their statement says. "We hope to see you at one of our California or Las Vegas Water Grill locations on your next visit. All the best – The King’s Seafood Company team."