DINING OUT/Food and Spirits

Entree

Lunch With Pete, Sam, Sol, Burt and Basil



So, it’s lunchtime and you’re downtown. Too bad.

Well, you might as well make the best of it. Forgo any futile search for fine foods – almost all the “nice” places are 50 stories up and private. Settle instead for good food in strange places. Go exploring.

At 1602-A Main Street there is an old, worn sign that says, barely, Town House Delicatessen. Over the descending stairwell is another worn sign that says “Cafeteria.” Inlaid in the concrete at the top of those stairs it says “Pirate’s Cave.” At the bottom of these stairs is a door. Inside that door is the Town House Delicatessen Cafeteria and Cave. It’s a little spooky down there. No windows, dim lights. Like a cave. A beige stucco cave with a titanic sailfish mounted on one wall, a deer head on another, and a faded pastoral mural (electrical outlets romping in the field) on another. The food is served from a short buffet line – plate lunches (liver & onions, meat loaf, the usual) and deli-sandwiches (corned beef, roast beef, the usual) and great homemade potato salad. But the food isn’t the point here. It’s the place. Working the serving line are two Greeks.

“What does Pirate Cave mean?” I in quired adventurously of the cashier who turned out to be named Basil Sideris.

“Used to be the name,” replied Basil. “A nightclub. A real popular spot during the war.”

“Pretty nice place was it?”

“The lowest nightclub anyone would ever want to find. It had everything. Gambling. Dancing. Prostitution. Max upstairs in the Silver Dollar Bar – he used to be a middleweight boxer – Max has some pictures of some of the girls who used to work here. Looks just like it used to, except we painted. We’ve been here since 1958 and it hasn’t changed a bit. People from all walks of life come in here, from the Hunts to you-name-it. That’s $1.59.”

Burt’s Cafe is on Taylor Street across from Farmer’s Market. Burt’s is a classic country-style cafe: vinyl booths, lunch counter, TV in the comer, all the familiar trappings – although the guy in the next booth with the gold razor blade hanging from his necklace was a little out of the ordinary. But then, Burt’s doesn’t attract your average clientele. The wrestlers at the Sportatorium swear by the place. Mike Pai-dousis (good-guy wrestler) and John Tolos (bad-guy wrestler) both personally recommend it. No surprise – Burt’s is heaven for big appetites. The plate lunch is a bargain banquet, such as short ribs, pinto beans, okra & tomato, and peach cobbler – all spilling over the plate for $1.85. Or juicy-greasy fried chicken with skinny-greasy fries. The pudgy fellow at the cash register looked very much like a Burt and I wanted to compliment him.

“Are you Burt?” I asked.

“Burt’s dead.”

“Oh. Sorry.”

“Been dead seven years. Frank owns it now. Burt’s picture’s on the wall behind the counter over there. But he’s dead all right.”

“Oh. Thanks.”

In the shadow of the Adolphus Hotel at 1308 Main is Sam & Pete’s, technically “Sam & Pete’s Sandwich Shop & Lunches.” A wooden overhead fan twirls inside the doorway. The old wooden lunch counter takes up most of the space in this long and very narrow room; there are a few wooden booths at the rear. The bright yellow paint job is disconcertingly cheery in this old spot. Seated at the lunch counter, which is really more like a bar, is a real smattering of humanity, from diamond Jims to derelicts – downtown lunch company at its best. Some must come for the beer alone – draft for only 40¢ (and 30¢ at happy hour – sounds almost illegal). At the end of the counter is a tiny buffet table manned by two friendly gents, one slicing up sandwich meats (good thick roast beef sandwiches) and the other spooning out plate lunches (spaghetti with chili sauce seems to be the house specialty and it’s first rate stuff). They both looked so natural at their work, so at home – like they owned the place. I couldn’t resist. I turned to the spooner.

“Are you two Sam and Pete?”

He turned to his partner. “That’s Pete. I’m Tony. Sam’s dead.”

A step into Sol’s Turf Bar on Commerce is a long one – about 20 years backward. Sol’s is early Fifties and it hasn’t aged a bit. It’s all in reds and blacks and glows with tacky elegance. The front room is the bar and is mostly populated with talkative old characters who have the comfortable look of “regular” about them. The back room restaurant is a dark, spacious, high-ceil-inged affair ringed by a shadowy bas-relief mural of bare-breasted South Sea maidens. To add to the incongruity, the house specialty is pizza – a most respectable thin-crusted version. The rest of the fare is sandwiches, including a pepperoni sandwich (?) and a great hot pastrami on rye. Sol’s is not only another time, but another place – it just doesn’t feel like Dallas. I had to know who was at the heart of this wonderful operation. At the cash register was a jovial red-haired woman.

“I don’t suppose you’re Sol,” I mumbled.

“What?”

“Sol’s not dead is he?”

“What?”

“Is there a Sol?”

“A Sol? [laugh laugh] Sure there’s a Sol. E.R., come here a minute. E.R., this young man wants to know if there’s a Sol. [laugh laugh] He wants to meet you.”

The tall, white-haired genetleman extended his hand.

“You’re Sol?” I asked with relief.

“Solomon,” he replied. “E.R. Solomon.”

“A pleasure to meet you. Sure like your place.”

“Been on this street 41 years,” he said.

Alive and kicking.

_ DAVID BAUER

Newcomers



Chinese Pavilion. The menu here is absolutely identical to the menu at Hunan and that says a lot of good things in itself. In fact, the head chef here was previously a part of the Hunan staff, as was the general manager. The spicy, red-peppered dishes of the region of Hunan are of course the items of most interest here – hot and exotic. While not yet prepared with quite the finesse or consistent quality of those at Hunan, they are still a treat. (Any of the hot dishes may be “modified according to your taste” – but the hotter the better.) The rest of the menu wanders over familiar Oriental ground ranging from Szechuan-style lobster to sweet & sour pork to Peking duck. An expansive dining room is partitioned by carved wooden screens to add some needed intimacy; the overall elegance of the room is undercut somewhat by such incongruous and unnecessary ornamentation as a bank of international wall clocks entirely out of synch, tableware bearing the name of a defunct restaurant, and a monstrous Dmitri Vail portrait of Pat Suzuki. The staff is entirely gracious, if occasionally dazed and distant. Undoubtedly this is the new home of the best Chinese food in the Bachman Lake domain. (European Crossroads, 2829 W NW Hwy/357-5777/Sun-Thur 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri & Sat till midnight/Reservations /MC,BA,AE/$$)

Gino’s. The view from the top (10th floor, Merchants State Bank) is nice. The homemade bread rolls are sensational. Now for the bad news. Gino’s is styled in the supper club/cabaret tradition featuring live entertainment while you dine. Anchored by stage and dance floor, the place spreads out in either direction with a mock-elegant look of red carpet, red and shiny-gold wallpaper, and sparkly ceiling – a gilded setting for a not-so-golden dining experience. Gino’s has problems. Diners seated at uncleared tables, forty-minute waits for orders to be taken, and entrees served cold have marred our visits thus far. The Italian menu is extensive, but our samplings, from lasagna to veal Marsala, have been bland and uninspired. The house specialties are an array of flambé dishes ranging from steak Diane to crepes Suzette which are better and flamboyantly served, but these really should not be the standard bearers of an Italian restaurant. One suspects that more effort has been aimed at the entertainment factors which, coupled with the glamorous nighttime view, could work here; but our evenings found the stage inhabited by someone named Johnny Vanelli, an ex-pro baseball player turned singer who probably should have stayed in the dugout. (Merchants State Bank Building, 5217 Ross Avenue at Henderson/824-2380/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Dinner: Mon-Thur 6 p.m.-midnight, Fri & Sat till 2 a.m., closed Sun/Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)

The Mayor’s House. Not just another “clever” name – this one has some historical foundation. This rambling mansion was built by the honorable T.L. Bradford in 1903 and T.L. was the mayor of Dallas. The building, situated on Maple Avenue, has been taken in hand by a group of people who have polished and painted and restored the interior to comfortably house a variety of endeavors including upstairs offices for designers and photographers, a front room gallery of sorts displaying art for sale, a gift boutique, and, downstairs, a bar and restaurant. Trimmed stylishly with an Art Deco flavor in blacks and whites, the restaurant has already become a comfortable gathering spot for Oak Lawn professional ad/media types, especially as a lunch spot. The food is really nothing to rave about, but satisfactory. A nicely varied menu of sandwiches (have the Cat’s Meow: guacamole, cream cheese, and fresh mushrooms on black rye – the blackest bread you’ll ever see), big burgers, steaks, shrimp, shish-kabob, etc. Fried okra is the house munchie and be advised that the “gazpacho” here is. . . well, unusual. A small but airy place, nice by day, but even more charming by night. One side looks out upon a lawn that would make a splendid beer garden should they decide to do so. (2905 Maple Ave at Randall/651-9092/ Daily 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., bar till 2 a.m./Reservations unnecessary/MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Recipe

of the Month

Veal Escalopes Francaise

Leo Meier, Bagatelle Restaurant

When Leo Meier opened his Bagatelle restaurant two years ago, he slipped a couple of veal dishes into his menu of French-continental specialties. “I was worried,” he now admits. “First I was afraid that few people would even order veal and secondly I was afraid that those who did wouldn’t appreciate the tastes of true white veal. I was wrong.”

Very wrong. Leo’s two veal dishes currently comprise two of the three most popular dishes on the Bagatelle menu. In fact, veal preparations have shown increasing popularity in many of Dallas’ restaurants in the past few years. Availability is not the reason – veal has long been listed on local menus. Nor is affordability – veal is still expensive relative to beef in this country (as opposed to Europe where veal is much less expensive than beef).

Leo, with a long and international heritage in the restaurant trade tracing back to Switzerland as the point of origin, has a keen eye when it comes to what people eat; and he has his own reasoning on the new zeal for veal. “The American appetite, especially that of young Americans, is turning toward lighter foods. People are turning to veal in place of the much heavier red beef. It’s in much the same way that they are drinking more wines instead of the heavier liquors.”

The Bagatelle style is one of simplicity. “We have no flambées,” says Leo. “No fancy flair. We want people to eat here without being intimidated.” This recipe for Veal Escalopes Franaise, as prepared by head chef Otto Spieler, is typical of that style, allowing the subtle flavors of the meat itself to stand out. White veal is not easy to find in raw form in Dallas – even some restaurants substitute baby beef or processed veal “cutlets” and call it veal. But there is no substitute. White veal is the meat of the milk-fed calf. As soon as solid foods are introduced, the meat begins to take on the reddish hue and becomes “baby beef (“Baby beef is adequate for fricassees or stews,” says Leo, “but not for the sau-teed dishes.”). White, milk-fed veal is available at Kuby’s Sausage House (Snider Plaza) and Simon David Grocery (7117 Inwood). For this preparation, you should specify a leg of veal, not a shoulder cut or any other. If you are unfamiliar with the carving process, it is recommended that you have the butcher slice and pound it for you.

The recipe for brown stock is a simplified version of that used at Bagatelle. It can be prepared in large quantity and used as a base for many sauces; it freezes nicely. However, it is still quite time consuming. While this stock is recommended, you may instead wish to substitute a standard store-bought bouillon, canned, or powdered beef stock, preferably not highly flavored.



Brown Stock:

Have butcher cut 6 pounds of veal and baby beef bones in small pieces. Place shortening in skillet and brown bones with 2 chopped onions. Place in stock pot with lots of water, diced celery, carrots, 1 bay leaf, 1 or 2 cloves, juniper berries, cracked black pepper, salt, tomatoes, and small amounts of marjoram, thyme, and basil. (Do not use too many carrots, as it will make the stock sweet. Use herbs sparingly or stock flavor will be too strong.) Simmer for at least 8 hours (longer cooking will improve the stock). Let cool, skim the fat, and strain.



Brown Veal Sauce:



Make a brown roux by melting 2 tablespoons of butter in a skillet, add 2 tablespoons of flour. Brown flour stirring constantly. When a medium brown, add 3 ounces of white wine and 2 cups of brown stock. Simmer for 1 hour, stirring frequently. When sauce has cooked down to desired consistency (should coat the back of a wooden spoon), skim any excess fat off the top. Add salt and pepper to taste, 1 teaspoon paprika, and 1 ounce of brandy.



1 1/2 lbs. white veal leg

Flour

4 oz. butter or margarine

1 T. chopped parsley

Juice from one lemon Rind of one lemon, cut in fine strips 4 oz. brown veal sauce (see above)



Veal should be sliced into 12 thin 2-ounce slices. Coat veal slices with flour. Melt butter or margarine in skillet. Brown veal quickly on both sides. Remove veal and arrange on plate or platter. Place lemon juice, parsley, and lemon rind in skillet. Saute quickly and pour over veal. Top each portion with approximately 1 ounce brown sauce and serve immediately. Serves four.



Spirits



Toujours Latour



Chateau Latour is something of a quiet champion in the world of wines. While highly respected and widely renowned, the name Chateau Latour does not carry the cloak of majesty, does not evoke the awe of, say, a Chateau Lafite. Lafite is the headline grabber. When a bottle of 1807 vintage Lafite was sold recently for $14,000, it was with great fanfare; but what was left unsaid was the fact that the wine was probably undrinkable – which we’ll likely never know for sure because the buyer will probably never open it.

But of the greatest clarets, Latour has long been and remains still undoubtedly the most consistent, even in poor vintage years. For example, in the generally disastrous and long discarded 1963 vintage, Chateau Latour still produced a quite respectable wine. But even more than their consistency, the Latours are know for their longevity – over the years they have proven to be the longest lasting, longest living of the great wines. This longevity factor makes the Latours a particularly good wine for the buyer wanting to establish, expand, or upgrade his personal wine stock or wine cellar. Because of its vigorous nature, a Lat-our can be put away for the future with the least fear of spoiling in storage.

The sturdy yet richly magnificent qualities of the Latours are the result of many factors. Some are simple: Chateau Latour uses the strongest, longest, and best corks made. Some are innovative: Chateau Latour was the first of the major vineyards to convert to the stainless steel fermenting tanks, shortly after World War II. For a chateau whose history dates back to 1378 with a heritage of superb wines since the 18th century, this was a dramatic break with tradition, especially in the face of harsh criticism from conservative peers in the French wine industry. But the modernization proved to be a wise pioneering step, further contributing to the Latour reputation for consistency and long life by minimizing contamination and the resultant deterioration factors.

But most of the Latour magic derives from the vineyards themselves and the lavish care given them, according to general manager Henri Martin, the grand old man of Bordeaux. Located in the Medoc district of Bordeaux in the township of Pauillac, the vineyards thrive near the banks of the River Gironde, a location of excellent drainage in a perfect mild microclimate. The soil consists of very coarse, quartz gravel with some of the stones the size of golf balls, making cultivation difficult and expensive. The old, exhausted vines are pulled up and replaced individually, not arbitrarily by whole sections. The vineyards are pruned ruthlessly, with the older vines that produce fewer but better grapes allowed to stay, sacrificing volume for quality. It is the extremely small yield per acre that results in such a powerful, concentrated wine. During fermentation, the grape skins are allowed to remain with the wine up to three weeks, making the wine hard and astringent at first, slow-maturing and long-lived later, and finally magnificently complicated, deep of flavor with rich, penetrating nose at maturity.

Whether you’re in the process of creating a wine cellar or simply searching for a bottle of one of the great wines to drink today, the accompanying chart should assist with your selection. As a general rule, any of the vintages older than 1959 are available only by auction – keep an eye on the catalogues of Christie’s, Sotheby’s or Heublein. The more recent vintages are usually available on a random basis from local retailers. The point ratings were done on a scale of 1 to 20 and represent the composite score of five wine connoisseurs (including my own humble contributions) present at a recent tasting made possible by Dr. Marvin Overton, whose wine cellar provided all the significant 20th century vintages of Chateau Lat-our. The prices listed represent the approximate current retail value, except in the case of the older vintages which are the approximate amount each vintage brought at recent auction.

The vintages charted are those which proved best in this tasting and are thus highly recommended. Other vintages tasted which I have rated very drinkable but not exceptional and not really worthy of the special effort to seek them out are 1926, 1947, 1958, 1960, 1963, 1965, 1968, and1969. Those which I found not recom-mendable are 1931, 1933, 1937, 1939, 1946, 1948, 1951, 1957, and 1972.

-VICTOR WDOWIAK



Just Desserts

For two decades now, the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church has been laying out an annual spread of Greek goodies that would bring even to Bacchus a satisfied smile. The Greek Foods Festival is a celebration of the full scope of Greek cuisine, but for many the annual highlight of the feast is the dessert pastries.

Every year, volunteers gather in the church kitchen and, according to a fixed recipe and under the direction of a chairman for each pastry, begin turning out colossal quantities of these sweet delicacies – last year some 30,000 individual pastries were sold during the three-day festival.

This year’s offerings: ditles (a fried, honey-dipped, curled pastry-roll), fenekia (a baked honey-cookie flavored with orange and pecans), galatobouriko (filo dough rolled and baked with butter and filled with an elegant custard), and kourambiedes (the classic Greek butter-cookie topped with powdered sugar). And, of course, the star of the show, baklava: filo dough spread in thin layers interspersed with sweet butter and pecans, baked and topped with a sugar syrup and cut into individual squares (45C each) – a rich and flaky wonder that stands up to any of the world’s great confections.

These pastries are always remarkably well-prepared (remarkable considering the volume of production) and available to eat at the festival or to take home in quantity. The festival runs October 28, 29, & 30; Swiss Avenue at Haskell.

Dining Directory

These restaurants represent the best in Dallas dining. It is implicit, then, that we recommend them highly. Where criticism is imposed, it is as a service to our readers, indicating that in a particular area of service or cuisine a restaurant does not fully meet the standards of excellence expected of it. If and when those negative conditions improve, we will happily note the change for the better in the listings. The listings are revised and supplemented periodically. Visits by our critics are made anonymously to avoid preferential treatment. Inclusion in this directory has nothing whatever to do with paid advertising.

The pricing symbols used are categorical, not precise. They are intended only to indicate a general range.

$ – Generally inexpensive. Usually indicates a good value.

$$ – Middle ground and very general. Usually indicates a menu with a wide price range.

$$$ – Expensive. You can expect to spend more than $10 for a complete meal excluding wine and cocktails.

Unless otherwise noted, all restaurants have full bar facilities.

Credit card notations: MC – Master Charge BA – Bank Americand / AE – American Express DC – Diner’s Club / CB – Carte Blanche “All Credit Cards” indicates ’hat all of the above are accepted.



Continental

Arthur’s. Superb food and a classy but warm ambience make this restaurant always an enjoyable experience. The prime beef, Arthur’s trademark, is still the best around. But there are other impressive options, such as the double lamb chops, calf’s liver, or the veal chops in brown sauce. Tasty salads and an excellent house dressing. The wine list features American vintages only and you’ll find some interesting surprises (try the Krug Zinfandel to see how far American wines have come). The bar is the kind of place you can spend all evening – one of Dallas’ best. Entertainment nightly. (1000 Campbell Centre/ 361-8833/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Daily 611, Sat till midnight/ Reservations / All credit cards /$$$)

Bagatelle. Styled in the manner of a “French country inn,” the Bagatelle dining room is one of the most comfortable in town (right down to the soft-pillowed chairs). The menu here also takes its cue from rural France – the best entrees are marked by a touch of simplicity, avoiding extravagant overproduction. A broad spectrum of dishes: fine beef tournedos or an unusual but enticing roquefort pillow steak or roast duckling or sweetbreads. Very nice lunches and on Sunday a buffet brunch featuring omelettes made-to-order while you watch. Service has always been unpredictable, but usually friendly at least. A popular attraction here is the swank and cozy little bistro off to the side, filled with the jazz of Paul Guerrero and group. (One Energy Square, Greenville Ave at University/692-8224/Lunch: Daily 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat till 11; Bar till 1:30 a.m. nightly/Reservations /MC, BA,AE/$$$

Le Bistro. You’ll want very much to like this small French restaurant and for the most part you will. It’s set in a handsomely restored old house, graced by cheerful dining rooms with lots of windows, a fireplace, and a feeling of casual elegance. The menu offers a most enticing spectrum of varied and promising French specialties including two plats du jour. It sounds just right, but it isn’t. Visits thus far have found less than anticipated from the kitchen and at prices that lead you to expect more (though the lunch menu is far more reasonable). Some of the dishes are as good as any in town, but others have been too often disappointing. Service is highly polished – efficient but not obtrusive. A limited but well-selected wine list. (3716 Bowser, just off Oak Lawn/ 528-4181/ Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m., 610 p.m.; Sat & Sun 6-10 p.m./ Reservations / MC,BA/ $$$)

Brasserie. A coffee shop extraordinaire, the best spot in Dallas for late night indulgence. They’re open 24 hours a day with four different menus each taking a shift. The 11 p.m.-7 a.m. menu is the eye-catcher, with such unusual predawn delicacies as smoked salmon and eggs along with a full selection of sandwiches, salads, and hamburgers. For a sweet snack, the famous Fairmont pastries and desserts are unbeatable. The dinner menu spotlights a particular foreign cuisine and changes periodically; breakfast is served at all hours. The service, unfortunately, is often downright surly. Full bar. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard/ 748-5454/ 24 hours, seven days a week/MC,BA,AE,DX/ $$)

Brennan’s. The Dallas version of this illustrious New Orleans name has had difficulty living up to expectations. But noticeable effort has restored some of the lustre to that tarnished reputation. Service shows renewed diligence, and food, while seldom extraordinary, seems to have eliminated the potential for disaster noted in the past. The dinner menu, at the least, offers a wealth of choice – seafood predominates, but also available is a wide assortment of specialties ranging from veal to quail. Still, the optimum time to visit is for breakfast or Sunday brunch when such traditional Brennan’s favorites as Eggs Sardou, Eggs Hussarde, turtle soup, and Bananas Foster provide an elegant start to your day. And, perhaps the most significant consideration, this is undoubtedly the nicest non-private dining room in all of the downtown restaurant wasteland. (One Main Place/ 742-1911/ Breakfast & Lunch: 7-2:30 weekdays, 8-2:30 weekends; Dinner: Daily 6-10, till 11 weekends/ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$$)

Calluaud. The Calluaud family reigns here, offering French Mediterranean cuisine at its simple but elegant best. The lunch menu features several superb omelets (we recommend the Piper-ade Basquaise), salads (the Exotique is a masterpiece), and sandwiches (the Grille au Fromage is one of the loveliest sandwiches in town). And their exquisite fruit tarts are already famous – order them when you sit down at lunch or you 11 be out of luck. Also daily specials such as turbot Aurore or chicken Provencal. The dinner menu is even more tantalizing and changes periodically. This small frame house setting is still plagued by noisiness, especially bothersome on crowded evenings. The wine list could use some of the imaginative touch exhibited in the menu, but the house wines are quite good. (2917 Fairmount off Cedar Springs/745-9571/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30 a. m.-2:30 p.m.; Dinner: Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30, Sat till 11, closed Sun/Reservations/MC,BA/ $$$)

Chablis.The charm of one of those little restaurants in the French provinces, and such regional specialties as quiche, sauerkraut garni, and escargots, have made Chablis a favorite among its loyalists, particularly at lunch. Other attractions include the daily specials such as roasted chicken Bruxellaise or trout Meuniere; also excellent salads and sandwiches. Though it doesn’t quite rank with the city’s finest in terms of haute cuisine, this has long been a pleasant and highly dependable restaurant. And the apple pie with brandy butter is a sweet simple pleasure not to be missed. (120 Quadrangle, 2800 Routh/ 522-0910/ Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat till midnight; closed Sun/ Reservations on weekends/ MC,BA,AE/$$$)

Chateaubriand. For some reason, this restaurant has an image problem. Maybe it’s the European decadent-posh atmosphere that leads some diners to continue to characterize the restaurant as “overrated.” If you’ve heard that kind of talk, don’t believe it. Almost everything on this widely-varied international menu is likely to be rewarding – not spectacular, but certainly satisfying. Servings are more than ample, and at moderate prices. The Greek selections are a pleasant surprise. A fine menu of medium-priced luncheon specials. Live entertainment nightly. (3515 McKinney/ 741-1223/ Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m.-midnight/ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$$)

The Chimney. A Swiss/Austrian touch to the menu makes this restaurant unique in Dallas. Highly recommended are the veal dishes, especially the Naturschnitzel and the veal Zurich in a mushroom cream sauce. Equally tempting is the unusual “Rehsteak” – venison tournedos wrapped in bacon (the venison is flown in monthly; ours was reportedly Alaskan in origin). Lunch is still served much in the tearoom tradition, including complimentary consommé, that gave the Chimney its fine reputation in the first place; the lunch menu changes daily and is read by the waitress, offering four light lunches including a shrimp platter that is always available. Service at a deliberate, unhurried pace. The wine list is adequate if unsensa-tional, but very well-priced; bar by “membership.” The dining room is American colonial in motif and definitely shows more charm at night. (Willowcreek, 9739 N Cen Expwy at Walnut Hill/ 369-6466/ Lunch: Tue-Sun 11:30-2, Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30/ Reservations/ MC,AE/ $$$)

Enclave. A most enticing menu, especially in its variety of interesting offerings from the realm of continental haute cuisine. Most of the hors d’oeuvres are quite good – try the mushrooms stuffed with crabmeat in a luscious cream sauce (or, for a splurge, treat yourself to the elegant beluga caviar). Onion is by far the best of the soups and all of the salads are deliciously dressed. The filet of lemon sole is nicely done, but the meat entrees are dominant items here. The veal cotelette en papillote is a seldom seen bone-in veal chop in brown sauce – an excellent dish. Vegetables and desserts are weak spots. Wine selections in the moderate price range are lacking, but the rest of the selection is very good. An excellent place for lunch. Decor is “traditional fancy” – flocked walls, smoked mirrors, chandeliers – which contributes to a slight air of pretentiousness. (8325 Walnut Hill/ 363-7487/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner, Mon-Sat 611, bar till 12/ Reservations/ MC,BA,AE,DC/ $$$)

Ewald’s. Interesting continental specialties, consistently well-prepared. Though noted for his fine veal dishes, Ewald also serves a pepper steak that may well be the best you’ll find in Dallas. The place is quiet and comfortable, but somehow it lacks sophistication. The small dining room is very plain except for one unusual feature – an observation window through which you can watch the work in the immaculate kitchen. The wine list is less than impressive in scope, but well-priced. (5415 W Lovers Ln/ 357-1622/ Mon-Fri 6-10:30, Sat 6-11/ Reservations/ MC,BA/ $$$)

The Grape. One of Dallas’ most popular restaurants, a European-style cafe with a menu as crowded with various cheeses as the tiny one-room establishment is each evening with patrons. The cheese-wine format is supplemented with an array of lovely omelettes, fine homemade soups (mushroom is the specialty), and a selection of light entrees at lunch and heartier offerings at dinner. This place is almost without exception very busy, creating a nice, boisterous bistro atmosphere but often slow, and even lackadaisical, service. A most interesting selection of wines. (2808 Greenville Ave/ 823-0133 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Tue-Sun. 6-10:30, open later on Fri & Sat for wine and cheese only/ No reservations/ No credit cards $$)

Marcel’s. A real French feeling has made this a long-popular spot with Dallas diners. While some of the gourmet touches have diminished, there are a few features which make Marcel’s always worth a visit. Beef Wellington is known as Marcel’s specialty, hut the real standout has always been the coq au vin. Fine cheese tray and dessert cart. One of the best buys in the city is the complete table d’hote dinner for only $6.50, which includes all the hors d’oeuvres you can eat. And if you can’t find the dish you’re looking for on the menu, ask for it anyway; a menu note claims “we will prepare any classical French cuisine upon request” – and they will. Relaxed and quiet dining. (5721 W Lovers Ln/ 358-2103/ Sun-Thur 6:00-10:30, Fri & Sat till midnight. Closed Mon/ Reservations/ MC,BA, AE,DC/ $$)

Mr. Peppe. There are wide differences of opinion about this dark, cozy little French restaurant: some have long claimed it one of the very finest in the city, others have wondered why. So there are inconsistencies – a few in the kitchen, more so in the service. But devotees return time and again for the friendly intimacy and refreshing informality of the dining room and for those menu items that rarely fail to please: the rack of lamb is wonderful, the pepper steak is locally renowned, and the breads and pastries – owner/chef Albert’s specialties – are almost too good to be true. Very reasonable prices have also contributed to the popularity of this place. (5617 W Lovers Ln/ 352-5976/ Mon-Sat 6-10/ Reservations MC,BA,AE/ $$$)

Old Warsaw. One of the most illustrious names in Dallas dining, Old Warsaw does not always live up to its glowing reputation. But the stately luxury and Old World appeal of the place still prevail over the shortcomings, which include appetizers showing little imagination and vegetables showing little care. On the plus side is a menu of entrees that dazzles and seldom disappoints, notably the beautifully prepared fish dishes, the duck Bigarade, and a splendid pepper steak. Service all depends on your assigned captain – sometimes perfect, sometimes far from it. One of the finest wine cellars in the city. (2610 Maple/ 528-0032/ Daily 6-11, Sat till midnight/ Reservations/ MC,BA,AE/$$$)

Oz. In terms of the finest French cuisine, Oz ranks with the best – not just locally but internationally. The menu is brilliant and brilliantly executed and recent staff changes have not diminished any of that lustre. The new head chef, previously trained under the now-departed Jean LaFont, prepares quenelles so delicate they will take your breath away. Other items showing a masterful touch include the avocado stuffed with scallops, the sweetbreads and fresh chestnuts, the splendid turbot, and the original cote de boeuf. Accompanying vegetables and salads show the same expertise. All French items on the menu are well-described in English – the only difficulty is in making a choice. (For dessert, try the pear poached in cassis – a unique dish.) For the most part the service is good, if sometimes a bit frantic. The twenty-first century chrome and neon decor can be slightly jarring, but the food is sure to soothe. Extraordinary wine list. Very expensive. By membership – temporary (three days) available for $5. (5429 LBJ Freeway/ 233-5755/ Dinner: Mon-Thur 7-10. Fri & Sat till 11; Disco Mon-Fri 5 p.m.-2 a.m., Sat 7 p.m.-2 a.m.; closed Sun / Renervations required/ MC,BA,AE/ $$$)

Papillon. The newest of the city’s efforts toward haute cuisine. It is obvious that no expense has been spared here, though the end result is a somewhat self-conscious elegance. In spite of its airs, Papillon does exhibit a fine, well-balanced dinner menu (predictably expensive) and it is evident that the kitchen is in highly capable hands. Openers include an extensive array of hors d’oeuvres centering on oysters and crab, a tasty vichyssoise and an even better creme avocado soup, a delicate endive salad or a hearty mushroom salad – almost a meal in itself. A bounty of entrees includes a particularly nice group of veal dishes and a good assortment of seafood. Also lamb chops, tournedos, steaks. Vegetables show the usual cursory treatment; the dessert list has great variety and is well-executed. The lunch menu is pared down to soups, salads, crepes, and six light entrees. Service is precisioned if slightly pompous. A multi-leveled contemporary design meets with smoked-mirror decor to create an atmosphere of sophistication without charm. The regular wine list is adequate, but a “VIP” list is also available upon request. (7940 N Cen Expwy at Caruth Haven/ 691-7455/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat till midnight/ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$$)

Patry’s. A name that often arises whenever there’s a “best-restaurant-in-town” discussion. In terms of cuisine, the French specialties here certainly rank it as a worthy contender. The real jewels of the menu are the exquisite hors d’oeuvres, highlighted by the stuffed leeks in cream sauce and the rillettes of pork. The most highly regarded entree is the escalope of veal. Desserts are good, not extraordinary. The fact that this is a family-run operation adds a nice personal touch to the service and is one of the reasons Patry’s has established such a loyal clientele. (2504 McKinney/ 748-3754/ Tue-Fri 6-11, Sat till 11:30/ Reservations/ MC,BA,AE, DC/$$$)

Plaza Cafe. One of Dallas’ few nice spots for din-ing alfresco: the outdoor terrace was built from scratch, so it’s not yet any kind of garden paradise, but it still offers the pleasure of eating outdoors, with a European cafe appeal. The menu has a little of everything and it all comes from the same dependable kitchen as the neighboring Bagatelle: soups, many sandwiches and salads, light entrees, an impressive cold buffet, an extensive cocktail list, and a full page of exotic variations of espresso. Perhaps the most unusual feature here is a late night happy hour, 11 p.m.-midnight, Sunday through Thursday. And, if you like, you can do your eating and drinking indoors, too. (One Energy Square, Greenville Ave at University/692-8224 Lunch: Daily 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thur 6-midnight, Fri & Sat till 1 a.m. /Reservations MC,BA,AE $$)

Pyramid Room. All in all, the finest restaurant in the city. And the most expensive. There has been a recent change of chef – but if the kitchen holds true to form you’ll find French specialties of the highest order, truly gourmet. Recommendations are superfluous – you simply can’t go wrong. Impeccable taste and an aura of affluence grace the most elegant dining room in Dallas. And even more rewarding, the place is a paragon of service – usually faultless. The dinner menu is dizzying; the lunch menu is most unusual – limited to soups, salads, and desserts, and a bounty of generously portioned appetizers which leave little need for anything else (though prime rib is always available if you must have an entree). Always a pleasurable dining experience, day or night. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard/ 748-5454/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Dinner: Daily 6-midnight/ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$$)

Italian

Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant. Don’t expect to find rare Egyptian delicacies (whatever those might be) – the only thing Egyptian about the place is the curious name. What you will find is some of the best pizza in Dallas and crowds of people who know it. Always a packed house on weekends and very popular for late night, after-the-movies snacks – try the crab claws. The rest of the Italian menu is average fare. From right out of the Fifties with its tacky charm. (5610 E Mockingbird/ 827-0355/ Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-midnight, Sat till 1 a.m.. Sun noon-midnight/ No credit cards. Checks accepted/ Reservations for 6 or more/ $)

Ianni’s. Two menus and the first one – all appetizers – steals the show. An incredible array of Italian tidbits from baked oysters Mosca to roasted peppers – and they’re all good. Since you can’t eat them all, try for starters the broiled homemade Italian sausage (there’s no better in town) or the Spiedini (a miniature veal roll stuffed with crabmeat, cheeses, and herbs). But save room for the big menu. The pasta dishes are average, but the specialty dishes are impressive, the best being the veal scaloppine Ianni with prosciutto and mushrooms in an Italian brown sauce and the chicken cacciatore with fresh mushrooms. The atmosphere, unfortunately, is noisy. (2230 Greenville/ 826-6161/ Daily 5:30-11 p.m./ Reservations/ MC,AE/ $$)

II Sorrento. Still the standard-bearer of Dallas’ many Italian restaurants, this long-time favorite consistently provides a thoroughly satisfying dining experience. The most ambitious Italian menu in town is solid from start to finish, but of special note are two homemade flat pasta dishes – the fettucine Alfredo and the tagli-atelle, both prepared at your table. Also a wide selection of veal dishes highlighted by the Marsala and the piccata versions. The setting is a lavish Venetian street scene, complete with strolling musicians and a hot bread vendor. A highly polished and professional staff somehow manages to blend with the fun and the casual air that pervades this place. Lack of reservations on weekends almost always means a wait in the bar. (8616 Turtle Creek/ 352-8759/ Daily 5:30-11, Sat till midnight/ Reservations except on Fri & Sat/ All credit cards/ $$$)

Italian Pavilion. A view from the top and a subdued elegance characterize this “penthouse” restaurant in the Le Baron Hotel. Northern Italian cuisine; notable are the veal dishes, particularly the unusual scaloppine Gaetano with provolone and prosciutto or the Speciale di Pollo e Vittello, a veal and chicken dish cooked in egg batter and served with lemon cream sauce; less successful are the marsala and piccata. For openers and closers, your best options are minestrone topped with fresh parmigiano cheese and a dessert which they call “cappuccino” but is actually a coffee ice cream cake – despite the misnomer, it’s delicious. Service is generally good, occasionally slow. Extensive Italian wine list. (Le Baron Hotel, 1055 Regal Row at Carpenter Frwy/ 634-8550/ Mon-Sat 6-11 p.m./ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$$)

Mario’s. Without question, one of the city’s most elegant restaurants – what with Mrs. Vaccaro’s Murano glass collection and other plush appointments. An equally elegant menu of high Italian cuisine: many lovely veal dishes (the version with mushrooms and artichoke hearts is locally renowned), a selection of tournedos and a surprisingly good Chicken Christine and Red Snapper Maison. The Frit-tura Delizie Romano and fried zucchini, both of which accompany all entree selections, are terrific. And don’t pass up the spumoni for dessert. On busy nights, things can be disappointing – especially service; but on a good night, Mario’s cannot be surpassed. And the prices are quite reasonable for such classy fare. The Italian wines are very good and, in comparison to your usual restaurant selection of French wines, inexpensive. (135 Turtle Creek Village/ 521-1135/ Daily 611, Sat till midnight/ Reservations’ All credit cards/ $$$)

Pietro’s. From the family-operated kitchen, Pie-tro and his Sicilian relatives turn out some great southern Italian home-style cooking. The specialty pasta dishes are the highlights here: the manicotti and cannelloni take top honors but the fettucine alla Romana and the lasagne with meat sauce are also excellent. If you must have spaghetti, the marinara is as good as any in town. So is the pizza. And the garlic bread, freshly baked on the premises, is superb. All very reasonably priced, right down to the giant frosted schooners of beer for 75C. Or if you’d rather stay in the spirit of things, try the Seges-ta, a Sicilian wine. Often crowded, so we suggest you visit on a weekday. (5722 Richmond off Greenville/ 824-9403/ Tue-Thur 5:30-10 p. m. Fri & Sat till 11 p.m./ No reservations/ No credit cards/ $$)

Trattoria de Meo. A nice change of pace: simple, uncomplicated Italian specialties such as mani-cotti made with crepes rather than pasta. The end result is relief from the frequent post-Italian bloated feeling. Chefs specialties include an excellent broiled chicken with lemon butter sauce and an unusual veal dish. Essentially a husband and wife operation with an atmosphere of family friendliness, though service has been known to get careless when things are busy. A casual place (handwritten menu) with a loyal clientele. Limited wine list; nice, dark, quiet bar. (5601 W Lovers Ln/ 350-0238/ Mon-Sat 6-10 p.m./ Reservations/ MC.BA/ $$)

Oriental

China Inn. A most dependable restaurant marked by a staff that works very hard to please. You may be skeptical of a menu too liberally sprinkled with Americanized dishes (chop suey, chow mein, etc.), but look past them to the more authentic specialties (the emphasis is on Cantonese) which are consistently well done. The sweet-and-sour dishes are particularly Rood, as are the ginger beef and the war sue har (batter-fried shrimp served with an unusual but delicious “country-style” sauce). An excellent appetizer plate includes egg rolls that may be the biggest you’ll ever find. Try the homemade almond cookies for dessert – if your curiosity can forgo the fortune cookie for once. A comfortable place, almost intimate compared to most of Dallas’ Chinese restaurants. (6521 E Northwest Hwy/ 369-7733/ Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-2p.m., 5-10:30 p.m.; Sat till midnight; Sun 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m./ Reservations/ MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Hunan. If there is one Chinese restaurant in Dallas that can be called the best, this is it. A vast menu, but featured primarily is the spicy cuisine of Hunan where red peppers are revered, used in varying degrees of hotness as they are in Mexican food. Their Combination Appetizer Platter is the best, most delicate in town. Ad-venturousness will pay off. With that in mind, we recommend Hunan Lamb, Hunan Shrimp Ball, and Tung-an Chicken (anyone who can handle the hot sauce at Mexican restaurants need not be alarmed here). An added treat is the complimentary basket of fried noodles. Small and comfortable, under dimly-toned chandeliers. Limited wines, full bar. (5214 Greenville Avenue at Lovers Lane/ 369-4578/ Mon-Thur 11:30 a.m.- 11 p.m., Fri, Sat & Sun 11- midnight / AE,BA,MC/ $$)

Peking Palace. No longer the shining star of Chinese cuisine it once was, but at dinner everything is still reliably good. An advance order of Peking Duck ($14), the supreme appetizer, is highly recommended (the dish will serve eight, so the price is not outlandish). Forget lunch, when everything seems as if it came out of warming trays. Still, the elegant, yet comfortable surroundings of Peking Palace are more enjoyable than that of any other Chinese restaurant in town. Try the Wan Fu wine. (4119 Lomo Alto 522-1830/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5-11, Fri & Sat till midnight, Sun noon-10 p.m. Reservations on weekends/ MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Ports o’ Call. What you won’t find here is the ultimate dining experience – the Polynesian cuisine of a diversity as far flung as the South Sea Islands is usually good, hut seldom great. What you will find here is the only restaurant in Dallas with real big city flair. This is largely because of its dramatic perch atop the downtown Southland Center with a panoramic view to the north and east. Five sumptuous and widely different dining rooms and a bar menu of crazy concoctions (some so potent they limit you to two) contribute to making this a worthwhile excursion. An especially good place if you’re entertaining visitors. (Southland Center, 2117 Live Oak/ 742-2334/ Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30, Dinner: Daily 5:30-10:30/ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$$)

Royal China. Many swear by Royal China. Some do not wholeheartedly share their fanaticism, but after having feasted on the $7.95 per person Royal Family Dinner Combination, we understand the loyalty of the devotees. Recommendations: the succulent Tea Smoked Duck, the glamorous Golden Crown of Pork (julienne of pork, vegetables and bean sprouts, mounded on a platter and crowned with an artfully scrambled egg), and the very unusual Dry Stir Beef. The shrimp toast, egg roll and other fried appetizer items are a bit greasy, but the chef is evidently accomplished at garnishes as evidenced by the butterflies he sculpts from carrots. Nice atmosphere and pleasant service. (201 Preston Royal Shopping Center/ 361-1771 or 368-9692/ Tue-Sun 11:30-2:30 and 5:30-10 p. m., closed Mon/ MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Royal Tokyo. It is fortunate that with so few restaurants in Dallas serving Japanese cuisine, Royal Tokyo does it so well. Don’t be misled by the exterior motif facade characteristic of the restaurants in this area, often offering more on the outside than on the inside. There is authenticity on the inside here in the form of excellent Japanese specialties: Ton Katsu (batter fried pork strips), shrimp tempura, shabu-shabu, and prime rib teriyaki. If you’re bold, start with the sashimi – a selection of raw fish. Also Tep-pan Yaki dinners. Delightful green tea, sake (served warm), plus Japanese beer and whiskey. A quiet, subdued atmosphere. Service varies – at times slow, but always gracious. (7525 Greenville Ave/ 368-3304/ Lunch: Daily 11:30-2, except Sat; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat till 11:30, Sun 5-10/ Reservations/ MC,BA, AE/ $$)

South China. This unassuming restaurant is consistently good. An extensive and varied menu (mostly Mandarin), preparation which always meets expectation, very cordial service, pleasant surroundings, a very easy atmosphere and relatively inexpensive prices. Favorite dishes are the spicy chicken with pecans, barbecue pork with vegetables, shredded beef with hot sauce and any of the items with black bean sauce. The appetizers and soups are light and lovely. (5424 E Mockingbird/ 826-5420/ Lunch: Daily 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-2:30; Dinner: Daily 5-/0, Fri & Sat till 11/ Reservations/ MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Trader Vic’s. There are many Trader Vic’s around the country – some are good, some are not-so-good. This one has been dependably good for a long time. A voluminous menu of Polynesian and other generally Oriental delights. Excellent hors d’oeuvres (the “Cosmo Tidbit” platter will give you a good sampling or try the fried chicken livers) and the limestone lettuce salad is a must. The best entree choices are the pressed almond duck, the lobster Cantonese, or the Indonesian lamb roast. Exotic dessert drinks are their specialty. (Hilton Inn, 5600 N Cen Expwy/ 827-3620/ Daily, 5-11:30 p.m., weekends till midnight/ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$$)

Yet Lau. Every Chinese restaurant in Dallas has its partisans, and Yet Lau is no exception. A real neighborhood restaurant. Its well-prepared entrees and unpretentious atmosphere account for the flocks of return customers. The soups and appetizers don’t compete with the city’s best, but the entrees provide all the necessary subtle blendings of taste and texture. The menu is limited, mainly Cantonese, and even some of what it lists is unavailable. But what’s there, like the Chicken Long Hut, a batter-fried boned chicken breast, is excellent. Service is more likely to be Texas down-home style than graciously Oriental. The decor, unfortunately, is a visual cacophony of flocked wallpaper, fake wood, and Oriental kitsch – rather like a Hong Kong Holiday Inn. (6635 East Lovers Lane at NW Hwy/ 691-3112/ Sun-Thur 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri & Sat 11:30 a.m 11:30 p.m./ Reservations/ MC,BA/ $$)



Mexican



Chiquita. An alternative to the Mexican “cafe circuit,” Chiquita might be described as “Mexican haute.” The place has its ups and downs, particularly the service, but has maintained a loyal clientele with a menu of unusual dishes. Order from the right side of the menu and learn a delicious lesson about real Mexican food – such as the pescado blanco marinero (rolled whitefish with a spinach stuffing and a shrimp and oyster sauce) or carnitas tampiquenas (broiled pork strips). The Tex-Mex preparations here are no better than average. Simple, comfortable, low-key atmosphere. (3325 Oak Lawn/ 521-0721/ Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m./ No reservations/ MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Herrera Cafe. Funky little Herrera’s has gone “uptown” with a second location on Lemmon Avenue that’s bigger, brighter and shinier. But, thank goodness, the menu is exactly the same and this kitchen produces the same great home-cooked Tex-Mex as the old one. Standouts include a chicken enchilada in Spanish sauce, sublime soft cheese tacos, and fresh hot flour tortillas as good as you’ll ever have. Also unusual green enchiladas, chile rellenos (Thursdays only), super burritos, and carne asada. The original location on Maple Avenue is still going strong, graced by classic adobe hole-in-the-wall charm; but the new location does have a bar – and some breathing room. (3902 Maple 526-9427/ Weekdays 9 a.m.-8 p.m., weekends till 10 p.m.; closed Tue/ 3708 Lemmon/ 528-2250/ Daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri & Sat till 10 p.m./ No reservations/ No credit cards/ $)

Mariano’s. One of the classiest of Dallas’ many Mexican dining rooms; this helps balance the fact that the food, while stylish, doesn’t match the city’s finest and, for Mexican food, is on the expensive side. For example, the “Tri-Color” enchilada plate ($3.05) offers enchiladas in three different sauces – they’re unusual and interesting but nothing to rave about. The wildest item is “The Revolution,” a bountiful feast of most everything on the menu (minimum of four persons at $10 apiece). The real drawing card, here, though, is the cantina, a spacious, festive and comfortable lounge separate from the dining room and featuring a lively mariachi band. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville/ 691-3888/ Mon-Thur 11 a.m. midnight, bar till 1 a.m.; Fri & Sat 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m., bar till 2 a.m.; Sun 4:30-10:30 p.m., bar till midnight/ No reservations/ MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Raphael’s. It’s no surprise that this place has become so popular (and crowded). It has everything going for it – excellent Mexican cuisine, a lovely setting, and a friendly and diligent staff. Located in a weathered but classy old building on McKinney, the wood-beamed dining room is warm, tasteful, and comfortable. But the food is the real attraction. The standard Mexican fare (enchiladas, etc.) is far above average, including excellent guacamole, puff-style tacos, and the best chicken sour cream enchiladas in Dallas. But also available are an array of specialty dishes: wonderful shrimp en-chiladas, chiles rellenos, flautas, alambres (Mexican kabob), chicken mole, and more. Prices are higher than most Mexican food, but worth it – and lunch specials are much less expensive. Full bar, Mexican beers, limited wines. (3701 McKinney 521-9640 Mnn-Fri 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Sat noon-10:30, closed Sun/ Reservations Mon-Thur only MC.BA, AE $$)

El Taxco. There may not be a better dining value in Dallas – dependable Tex-Mex food at amazingly low prices. Their style is subtle and not so highly seasoned as most, making it an especially good spot for wary and hesitant newcomers to Mexican cuisine. The chicken enchiladas are particularly noteworthy – an unusual and tasty chicken filling with peas and tomatoes. And the best refried beans in town. Friendly, casual and comfortable. Beer only. (2126 N St. Paul 742-0747 Wed-Mon 10:30 a.m. 9 p.m., closed Tue No reservations MC/ $)



Greek



Goldfinger. Though Goldfinger serves some of the best Greek food in town, it still cannot be considered great Greek cuisine. The menu of traditional specialties ranges from moussaka to stifado, all adequate but undistinguished – the flavors and seasonings have an unfortunate sameness and blandness {unfortunate in the face of what Greek food can offer); yet compared to most other attempts in Dallas, this seems almost exotic. The house specialty – a combination of souflaki and large shrimp – is your best bet, and the dolmas are the best around. And the place is certainly popular, due in part to the festive nightclub atmosphere featuring live and lively musical entertainment and belly dancing; very crowded on weekends. (2905 Cridelle 350-6983/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Sun Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat till midnight Reserrationnas on weekends/ MC,BA, AE $$)

Greek Key. The emphasis here is on the nightclub aspects, but it’s not to cover up the kitchen – the Greek specialties here are, all in all, the best Dallas has to offer. The menu has all of the standard Greek items – varied, well-seasoned, and nicely prepared – plus several American dishes like steak and lobster. For a Greek sampling, try the combination plate or visit at lunch for the daily buffet ($3.75) served nnon-2:30. The Greek Key has a longstanding and loyal clientele who still revel with the staff in Greek folk dances – everyone is encouraged to join in. Live music and belly dancing round out the entertainment bill. (2930 W Northwest Hwy/ 358-5177/ Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-2 p.m., closed Sun/ All credit cards/ Reservations/ $$)

Indian

India House. Indian and Southern Asian specialties, all touched with great authenticity – as one might expect from the two chefs direct from India. At last Dallas has a place to enjoy fine curry dishes and, even more rewarding, some unusual specialties. The standout is the chicken Tandoori, a marinated delight and one of the most attractive dishes you’re ever likely to see – said to be the royal dish of India. For a first visit, the Shahi house dinner offers a bountiful and varied sampling of Indian cuisine ($15.75 for two). If you order a la carte (the prices are amazingly low) be sure to try some of the hors d’oeuvres (all excellent) and the wonderful condiments – especially the achar, either mango or lime. As might be expected in this shopping center location, the decor is contrived motif, but not at all offensive. The staff is most helpful in guiding you through the extensive menu. The lunch specials – at $1.85 – are a bargain. (5422 E Mockingbird/ 823-1000/ Lunch: Daily 11:30-2:30, Dinner: Sun-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat till 111 Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$)



Southern Specialties



The Black-Eyed Pea. Another high ceilinged wood-beamed, hanging-basketed bar, but an aura of old-time Texana and usually (but not always) good food make this a comfortable – and crowded – eating and drinking spot. Their “specialty” is chicken fried steak. And, of course, black-eyed peas. Also big burgers, chili, unusual sandwiches (including one made with guacamole, cream cheese, and shrimp). There is a Black-Eyed Pea Too in Snider Plaza, a smaller, plainer version of the first with a similar menu. But it’s dry and has none of the other’s charm. The Black-Eyed Pea III has now opened on Greenville, similar to the first with the additional specialty of butterfly pork chops. (3857 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn/ 526-9478/ Mon-Thur 1111, Fri & Sat till midnight, Sun noon-11/ No reservations/ MC,CE/ Too, 6912 Snider Plaza/ 369-5011/ Daily 11 a.m.-9 p.m. except Sun noon-9/ III, 4814 Greenville Ave near University/ 361-5979/ Hours same as Cedar Springs/ No reservations/ MCAE/ $)

Celebration. Good of homestyle cooking. Choose from the five entrees (very ordinary, nothing fancy; the pot roast is the best). With it they’ll serve you bowls full of vegetables and salad – help yourself, family style, and eat to your heart’s content for $4.75 or less. Great little homemade biscuits and wonderful fruit cobblers (dessert costs extra). A young staff and a loyal clientele – you may find yourself waiting on the front porch on weekends. Very casual. Now serving beer and wine. (4503 W Lovers Lane/ 351-5681/ Mon-Sat 5:3011, Sun till 10:30/ No reservations/ MCfiA/ $)

Mr. Chicken. To put it quite simply, this is the home of the best fried chicken in town. Originally in two locations, Mr. Chicken is now under one roof. It’s a homey, small-town-cafe-style place with red-checkered tablecloths and a TV that’s always on (and always has a dinner audience). The plate lunch offers meat and three vegetables for $1.90, but it doesn’t have to be fried chicken if you’d rather have chicken and dumplings, Swiss steak, or chicken fried steak. Also on the menu are grilled steaks, burgers, and luscious homemade onion rings that are almost as good as the fried chicken. Beer is served in the restaurant; there’s an adjacent bar and lounge. (5114 Greenville Ave near Lovers Lane/ 363-6969/ Daily 11 a.m.10 p.m./ No reservations/ No credit cards/ $)

Shanghai Jimmy’s Chili Rice. A downtown Dallas institution in the Fifties, Shanghai Jimmy has returned, after a 15-year absence, with his legendary chili rice. His new location, a far cry from the old Shanghai Jimmy’s on Live Oak, is an ex-fast food franchise building on Lemmon Ave; but the chili rice is the same great stuff, though Jimmy doesn’t dish it out near as fast as he used to. It’s just what it sounds like – a tub (8 oz. or 16 oz.) of rice topped with chili and your choice of onions, celery, cheddar, or sweet relish. Mix it all together and you’ve got a filling meal at a bargain price. Or, as the slogan goes, “Chili Rice Iz Very Nice.” And there’s only one choice of beverage: lemonade. (4108 Lemmon Ave near Douglas/ No phone Daily 11 a.m.-W p.m., except Sun 5-10p.m. No reservations* No credit cards’ S)



Sonny Bryan’s. Who has the best barbecue in town? – an eternal and unanswerable question. This town is loaded with good barbecue and the best one is usually the one that happens to be closest to you. But probably the most popular by virtue of central location, a funky “smokehouse” atmosphere, super onion rings, and ice-cold beer (and, of course, great barbecue) is Sonny Bryan’s. Most always crowded and always lively, including the staff behind the counter. Perhaps the oddest barbecue house in town is Harvey’s. Inside the ex-church building that looks like an ex-barn, Harvey has great touch both at the carving block and in the “Whittlin’ Pen.” With only pocket knives for tools, Harvey has created a veritable museum of carved wooden figurines – definitely worth a visit, even if you’re not hungry. (Sonny Bryan’s. 2202 Inwood 357-7120 Mon-Sat 6 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Sun 11-2 Harvey’s, 2629 E Grauwyter, in Irving, just off Hwy 183/ 438-2454 Mon-Fri 10 a.m.-7 p.m., closed Sat & Sun No reservations/ No credit cards/ $)

Southern Kitchen. Feast in the style and tradition of the Old South. And a feast it is – the “Deluxe” dinner is an assortment of fried chicken, smoked chicken, fried shrimp, fried trout, and deviled crab, plus shrimp cocktail, crabmeat appetizers, and many other trimmings, all for $8.95. Additional servings of everything at no extra cost. None of the preparations (except for the luscious homemade cinnamon rolls) could be called extraordinary, but the magnitude of the meal is impressive enough. The two locations, East and West, have identical menus, but the West has a more handsomely appointed plantation-style atmosphere, including waiters and waitresses in period costume. (West, 2356 W Northwest Hwy/ 352-5220’ East, 6615 E Northwest Hwy 368-1658/ Mon-Sat 5:30-10:30 p.m., Sun 5-10 p.m./ Reservations for 5 or more. All credit cards/ $$)



Seafood

Oporto Oyster Bar. Dallas’ best seafood restaurant (but still a long way from Boston). The things they do well they do very well; others can be a letdown – so be selective. Sure to please are the Boston scrod, broiled red snapper, whole baby flounder, and broiled Maine lobster. For bivalve lovers, the oysters on the half shell are succulent and delicious. Service varies widely; the atmosphere is casual and comfortable. The bartending is among the best in town, boasting some very impressive after-dinner drinks. Order wine by the bottle – the house carafes are not recommendable. (2929 N Henderson, 826-2553’ Daily 5-11 p.m., Fri & Sat till midnight No reservations BAAE’$$)

Vehon’s. This long-standing oyster bar has now expanded both facilities and menu. It has retained its basics, though, including a truly schlocky decor and the best oyster trade in town. Trucked in every other day from New Orleans, these fre9h, plump beauties are served with a good, pungent sauce. The other house specialty. Shrimp Vehon, uses that giant import, red Spanish shrimp. Also baked (never broiled) rainbow trout, red snapper, and catfish. And a properly black, hot gumbo – a rarity in Dallas. (4844 Greenville Ave 368-8911/ Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m.. Sun 5-11 p.m./ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$)

Natural Foods



Arjun’s. A natural foods restaurant that gives the term “health food” a whole new flavor. This is far beyond granola and brown rice. Sandwiches range from a delicious avocado sandwich (so big and unwieldy it’s almost impossible to pick up) to a peanut butter-banana-and-honey extravaganza – a luscious bargain at 85c. Also generous fresh fruit and vegetable salads, soups (try the rice and mushroom) and an array of smoothies with an option to name your own combination. A blackboard lists a hot meal that changes daily, such as curried cauliflower or chalupas (they’re terrific). The place has a nice, low-key feeling and is attractively decorated – dominated by plants including some gigantic philodendrons. (4220 Oak Lawn/ 526-4050/ Mon-Fri 11-3, 5-9; Sat 11-9/ No reservations/ No credit cards/ $)

The Health Nut This is Dallas’ original full-scale natural foods restaurant, and over the past few years has kept a loyal following. The airy, light surroundings of this place, their second home, provide a most appropriate atmosphere for dining on natural foods. The menu offers a choice of several sandwiches (the “Nutwith is always a good bet) supplemented by vegetable and fruit salads almost too pretty to eat. A daily special served at both lunch and dinner ($2.95 or $4.45) is comprised of vegetables cooked in a different style each day – Mexican, Chinese, Italian, etc. Service can be a bit cool, but the smoothies and the Haagen-Dazs ice cream would warm anyone’s heart. And. naturally, there’s no smoking. (4356 Lovers Lane’ 6921411’ Mon-Sat 1010/ No reservations/ MC, $)

Delicatessens

Black Forest. A touch of the Old World graces lunch at this restaurant, delicatessen and bakery. Sausages, salamis, coffee cakes, breads; the full scope of the Austrian table is well-represented here. A special suggestion: the veal sausages served with hash browns and black bread. Also a lovely cold cut platter and a long list of excellent sandwiches. And the pastries are not to be missed. A fine selection of German beers and wines. (5819 Blackwell off E Northwest Hwy/ 368-4490/ Mon-Fri 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat till 5 p.m./ No reservations/ BA / $)

Kuby’s. The sausages are a house product of this deli-restaurant and they’re excellent – served with either hot potato salad or sauerkraut, and the choice between the two is a maddening one. Sandwiches are thick and delicious and the soup of the day is a meal in itself. Such heftig German food needs beer, but alas, Kuby’s is in a dry area. Excellent pastries make this a nice place for a coffee break, but make it a mid-morning one – the noon crowds decimate the desserts. Open 9:30 a.m. for breakfast pastries and coffee; lunch service begins at 11. A second location is now open in the basement of the Meadows Building (5646 Milton) – stop if you’re in the area, but not worth a special visit, though it does serve beer. (6601 Snider Plaza/ 363-2231/ Mon-Sat 8:30-2:30, sandwiches till 5:30/ No reservations/ MCS15 minimum/ $)

Wall’s. The closest you’ll get in Dallas to New York’s Lower East side, but, at that, it’s pretty close. Those who weep longingly for such Kosher delicacies as sour cream herring will find Wall’s version quite acceptable. The corned beef and pastrami sandwiches are first rate, and chopped liver only so-so, and the cheese blintzes lovingly good. All in all, Dallas’ best Jewish delicatessen. (10749 Preston Rd/ 691-4444/ Daily 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m./ Reservations for parties/ MC.BA/ $)



Steaks, Burgers, Etc.



Baby Doe’s Matchless Mine. Perched atop Goat Hill, this million dollar extravaganza looks like something right out of Six Flags. A re-creation of a 19th Century Colorado silver mine, complete with all the trimmings, the place is so overdone it somehow works. And it’s packing them in – full houses and sometimes two-hour waits (alas, no reservations). The major attraction: all dining rooms hang out over the western cliff; the view, including Stemmons Freeway, is hardly one of splendor, but for Dallas it is downright majestic. The food seems almost secondary, but the menu, while unambitious, is solid enough: good cuts of steak and prime rib and a few other offerings such as calf’s liver and veal. (The lunch menu is primarily sandwiches.) Service varies. A vast operation including several dining rooms, a huge “underground” disco, and even a boutique. (3305 Harry Hines near Oak Lawn Ave/ 741-9771/ Daily 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m., 511 p.m., except Sun 511 p.m. only; disco till 2 a.m./ No reservations/ MC.BA/ $$$)

Chili’s. The sign outside says “Bar and Grill,” but this is no greasy spoon. A handsome and comfortable place, done in wood-beam-and-tropical-plant motif. The specialty of the house is, of course, chili – good and hot. Also big burgers (order them rare for the best effect, otherwise they’re likely to come out well-done). An unusual treat is their soft taco: a flour tortilla folded around chili, cheese, onion and lettuce. But the standout item is the basket of french fries – the long, thin, greasy kind with the skin still on them – ranking right up there with the very best in town. Bar features frozen margaritas and homemade Sangria. Loud jukebox. (7567 Greenville Aue at Meadow Rd/ 361-4371/ Daily 11 a.m.midnight, Fri & Sat till 2 a.m./ No reservations/ MC.BAAB/ $)

Daddy’s Money. Now in two locations. The original, in Old Town, is a busy place with a lively bar – where you’ll probably spend some waiting time. The new location, North Dallas, is more relaxed, with pleasant garden alcove settings. Menus are similar – something for everybody, steak/chicken/seafood/etc. Best bet is the charcoaled rack of lamb. Both offer a Sunday brunch featuring fresh fruit daiquiris and some interesting omelettes. Service is usually overly effervescent. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville’ 363-8686/ Daily 11-11, Fri & Sat till 12:30 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.ll p.m., bar till 2 a.m. nightly/ North Dallas, 4855 LBJ Frwy at Inwood/ 387-3800/ Daily 11 a.m.-l a.m., Fri & Sat till 2 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.ll p.m./ Reservations/ MCfiAAEJK/ $$)

The Den. As distinctive as the venerable old Stoneleigh Hotel in which it’s located. Appropriate to its name, The Den is a dark and quiet place with no gimmickry or thematic motif. Its appeal lies in its air of conviviality, almost a clubbiness, brought about by the loyal patronage of widely varied professional types and a friendly, talkative staff. The whole effect is that of a seasoned Upper East Side drinker’s bar. But there’s more than drink here; food includes terrific hamburgers, prime rib. a daily chefs special that may be almost anything, plus a variety of sandwiches, soups, salads, and desserts. And free popcorn. (2927 Maple/ 742-7111/ Restaurant: Mon Fri 6 a.m. 9p.m.. Sat <6 Sun 6 a.m.-l a.m.: Bar: Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-midnight, closed Sat & Sun/MC,DC,AE,CB/ $$)

The hilling Station. Maybe the ultimate in mo-tif dining; this old Greenville Avenue gas station has been transformed into a bar restaurant complete with antique gas pumps out front, vintage automobile and roadside paraphernalia on the walls and under glass on the tables, old gas pumps on the bar that dispense tap beer, and, hovering over the dining room, a revolving red neon Mobil flying horse. Motif carries over to the menu which offers the “Ethyl Hamburger” (3/4 lb., $2.25), the “Regular Hamburger” (1/2 1b., $1.50) and the “Low Lead” (3/4 lb. patty and cottage cheese, $2.25). Also nachos – including unusual beef nachos made with ground beef chili – and very good onion rings. Live music (small groups) most evenings beginning at 10. (6862 Greenville Ave near Park Lane/ 691-4488: Tue-Sat 11 a.m.-l a.m.. Sun & Mon till midnight/ No reservations MCMAAE’ $)

Houlihan’s. If you like a restaurant with a menu that offers something for every direction the whims of your palate might take you, this is your place. If you don’t like to wait in line at a restaurant, this is not your place. From escar-gots to cheeseburgers, from Crab Newburg to Belgian waffles, from omelettes to roast duck, from crepes to steak – you-name-it-they’ve-got-it. And, considering the range, the overall quality is surprisingly good. Matching the menu for profuseness is a fancy clutter of old signs, antiques, and curios. Bar serves “exclusive” brands only, but drinks are poured generously. No reservations; almost always a long wait. (4 NorthPark East/ 361-9426/ Daily 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m./ No reservations/ MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Ichabod’s. A slick steak & seafood bar on the Greenville Avenue singles strip. Spawned by a successful Louisiana operation, Ichabod’s has few unique or original touches, but what they do, they do with polish and proficiency. Within the fairly predictable menu (salads, soups, steaks, prime rib, shellfish) are a couple of imaginative selections: the steak Oscar is a double filet topped with crabmeat, hollandaise, and mushrooms; and a ratatouille casserole is offered as a side dish – a good idea. Casual and comfortable; decorated with etched glass and plants. A very popular drinking and mingling bar. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville/ 691-2646/ Lunth: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Dinner: Daily 6-11. No reservations/ MC,BA,AE,CB/ $$)

Kirby’s. Time has only enhanced the appeal of Dallas’ first steakhouse. Its original decor untouched and unscathed, Kirby’s has a real nostalgia about it, complete with professional waitresses of the old school – fast, efficient, no mistakes. The food too is as good as always. Excellent steaks and good values – the “special cut” sirloin strip is big and beautiful. Have the creamy garlic house dressing on your salad – some patrons would return for this alone. The menu also includes some seafood and chicken. A cozy TV bar if you have to wait. (3715 Greenville/ 823-7296/ Tue-Sun 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat till midnight/ Reservations/ All credit cards/ $$)

The Pawn Shop. A beautifully designed and decorated bar/restaurant with balcony drinking parlors, a network of overhead fans, and a scattering of antiques and plants. The menu offers variations of steak, shrimp, teriyaki chicken, and barbecued pork chops. Very popular happy hour (4-7 daily) and a hotbed of backgammon. (5601 Greenville across from Old Town/ 691-2411/ Daily 11 a.m.-2 a.m./ Reservations/ MC,

Railhead. The most consistent performer in Dallas’ crowded steak-and-salad-bar scene – and certainly the most popular, though the long waits for tables have been eased by a new reservations policy. The steak offerings are standard but the prime rib is among the best in town and the salad bar offers more creative possibilities than most. Heavy on the railroad theme decor (including an occasional blast from a train whistle) and service is of the super-smile variety. Spacious lounge with live entertainment. (6919 Twin Hills Are at Park Lane I 369-8700/ Lunch: Daily 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat 5-11:30, Sun 5-10:30; bar till 2 a.m. nightly/ Reservations (on weekends before 7p.m. and after 10:30 p.m. only)/ M,.BA, AE/ $$$)

Stoneleigh P. A pharmacy from 1926 to 1973, furniture and fixtures have been restored to recreate an old time pharmacy setting, with relaxed and congenial atmosphere. The unusual menu includes provolone cheeseburgers on pumpernickel buns and grilled, marinated chicken breasts, plus soup, salad, and sandwiches – all very good. A comprehensive magazine rack with browsing encouraged and a fabulous juke box ranging from Bach to Stones. (2926 Maple/ 741-0824/ Mon-Thur 11:15-mid-night, Fri & Sat till 1:30 a.m., Sun 12-12; bar daily till 1 a.m., Fri & Sat till 2/ No reservations’ No credit Cards/ $)

Strictly Ta-Bu. A long-standing Dallas bar (formerly The Ta-Bu Room), graciously revived by a young and attentive staff. The original 1948 decor has been essentially retained with a sort of plain, unaffected, classy-tacky effect. A solid kitchen offers terrific pizza, great burgers, steaks, seafood; served till 11, till midnight on weekends. A very mixed clientele (young and old, gay and straight) complemented by a mixed bag juke-box (from Louis Armstrong to Lou Reed). Live jazz bands perform most nights. A special feature: free movies – mostly old classics – every Monday night beginning about 9 p.m. (4111 Lomo Alto/ 526-9325/ Sun-Thur 11:30 a.m.-1 a.m., Fri & Sat till 2/ No reservations/ MC,BA/ $$)

T.G.I. Friday’s. A lively and popular old standby on the bar/restaurant scene. Steaks, burgers, shrimp, chicken – nothing extravagant, but all in very hefty portions at reasonable prices; in fact, one of the better steak values in town. The chef salad is simply gigantic. Special features include a half-price drink celebration beginning at midnight on Thursday nights and a champagne brunch {$1.95, all you can drink) on Sundays. Casual atmosphere of striped tablecloth/ tiffany lamp motif. No longer strictly a singles bar – the clientele is much more of a mix now. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville/ 363-5353/ Daily 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m./ No reservations/ MC,BA, AE/ $$)

Mainly For Lunch

Ciro’s. Elaborate sandwiches are the featured attraction here (example: the El Nopal – ham, cheese, piccante mayonnaise, onion and tomato on a “Mexican bun,” $2.95). The setting is an airy, spacious, old corner store at McKinney and Hall; the atmosphere is old timey without being heavy nostalgia. There are five major sandwich choices, but also available are such items as a fresh fruit plate with finger sandwiches, an avocado sandwich, and Sicilian-style pizza. Wine (including a “wine bar” of fine wines by the glass) and beer (including several imports) are served, but the drinking highlight is the hard apple cider – the real stuff with a stiff kick. (3237 McKinney at Hall 745-9464/ Mon-Wed 11:30 a.m.-3p.m., Thur & Fri till midnight, Sat till I a.m., closed Sun/ No reservations/ MC/ $$)

La Creperie. A delightful courtyard patio, made very French by the traditional Cinzano table umbrellas and heavily-accented waiters, contributes to the lunchtime popularity here. The popularity contributes to the slow service – but on a nice day you won’t mind. You can while away some of the wait by reading through the lengthy list of some 50 varieties of crepes stuffed with most everything imaginable. Omelettes and dessert crepes are also served. (Quadrangle, 2800 Routh/ 051-0506/ Sun-Thur 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri & Sat till 11 p. m./’ Reservations recommended/ MC,BA, DC/ $$)

Gallery Buffet. An added attraction for visitors to the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts. For a mere $2.50, relax with a delicious light lunch from the expertly catered buffet table. Hearty soups, salads, homemade bread loaves, and desserts. Wine extra. (DMFA, Fair Park 421-4187/ Tue-Fri 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m. No reservations/ No credit cards/ $)

The Lunch Basket Tearoom. A bright and very cozy little spot on the second floor of The Craft Compound in Snider Plaza, featuring homemade-style lunch-in-a-basket. A set menu – no options – changes daily, offering soup, a salad, sandwich, dessert, and drink for $2. The specialties are the unusual salads (such as tuna with orange) and the desserts, homemade pies, cakes, and tea breads. The soups are also out-of-the-ordinary, notably the fresh spinach. Also a large chef salad, $2. Foreign blend coffees and teas; no bar. Homemade tea breads are also available to take home. (6617 Snider Plaza, Studio 216/ 369-3241/ Mon-Sat 10 a.m.-5 p.m./ No reservations/ No credit cards $)

Magic Pan. It’s a difficult choice when you’re faced with the impressive selection of crepes – some ordinary, some unusual, and all delicious. Be sure to save rcx>m for the outstanding dessert crepes. A very popular place: if you want to avoid the shopping crowds, visit for a Sunday brunch. Also nice for late night, after-theater snacking. Note: there is a $1.50 per person minimum, so don’t stop in for a cup of coffee. (NorthPark-New Mall/ 692-7574/ Mon-Thur 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri till 1 a.m., Sat 10 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.-midnight/ No reservations/ MC,BA,AE/ $$)

Upper Crust. A bustling lunch spot in the Olla Podrida. The blackboard menu (changing daily) boasts old-fashioned homestyle specialties like chicken & dumplings and red beans & rice. They do wonderful things with buttermilk, both in their special salad dressing and in the buttermilk pie. Also sandwiches and homemade soups. A courtyard patio feeling. Dinner served Thursday evenings only. No bar. (Olla Podrida, 12215 Coit Rd/ 661-5738/ Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-3, Dinner: Thur only, 5:30-8:30/ No reservations No credit cards/ $)

Zodiac Room. Luncheon delicacies as wonderful to look at as they are to eat. The stunning buffet table is highlighted by the salads (try the fresh fruit with their famous poppy seed dressing) and the desserts (try any of them – you can’t miss). Always crowded, so plan for a lengthy lunch. A dinner buffet is served every Thursday. Luscious Danish pastries are served in the morning between 9:30 & 10:30. Wine and beer. (Neiman-Marcus, downtown/ 741-6911/ Mon-Sat 10:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; teatime daily 3-5 p.m. except Thur 2:30-3:30; Thur dinner 5- 7 p. m./ Reservations/ Neiman-Marcus charge card only, checks accepted/ $$)

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