DINING OUT/Food and Spirits

Entree

Get Stuffed: A Guide To Glut

Gluttony is an interesting sin. It has always seemed strange to me that it ranked right up there with the other six Deadlies. Does it really belong in such truly nasty company as Lechery, Avarice, and Sloth? (Actually, there’s a strong case to be made for Sloth too, but that’s another sermon altogether.) A little overeating never really hurt anybody except for the glutton himself, in the form of a little pain and a lot of fat. Excluding, of course, the unpredictable results of overindulgence of drink, which the medieval moralists, for clarity, probably should have broken out as Number Eight.

As it stands now, Gluttony is an outdated sin. Modern times have made it impractical – fashion has made gluttony undesirable and economics has made it ridiculous. But the wicked sport is not dead. The all-you-can-eat restaurants provide the modern arena for an occasional good gorging and make for some good sinful competition.

It is a game, after all. Customer versus Restaurant. The restaurant issues the challenge: “Bet you can’t eat X dollars and cents worth of our food.” The restaurant, of course, stacks the deck statistically to assure profit-in-general, banking on a certain number of small children and skinny women to swing the balance in their favor. But it’s the one-on-one battle that’s fun.

The Rib is one of the seasoned veterans of the sport and they’re good. Barbecue is the fare and $7.95 is the stake. They work on you before you get to the table – The Rib is popular so there often is a waiting line. To combat this appetite buildup, The Rib has strategically positioned a stand in the waiting area serving draft beer – cold, refreshing, and filling. Once you’re seated, they employ a solid strategy: the waiters are black men dressed plantation style – but there’s no old-fashioned Southern servitude here. Any bleeding heart liberal would have trouble ordering these gentlemen back to the kitchen for more garlic bread, but they make it even tougher with some polished gamesmanship – a subtle belligerence makes it clear you’re no Massa. Getting more ribs, sausage, chicken, beef, beans or German potato salad is not impossible, but it’s not easy. But they’re good sports – win or lose they’ll bring you a nice dish of lime sherbet at the end of the match. The Rib protects against anyone abusing the unstated principle of time limit. At 10:15, with victory within our grasp, the lights came on. We got the message. The match ended in a tie.

O’Henry’s is a rookie to the game and it shows. The offer is a choice of prime rib, turkey, ham or “Texas flank steak” plus two vegetables and pudding for only $4.95. O’Henry’s works the old salad bar trick with a tempting array of salads to feed and fill on before the meat hits. But that alone isn’t enough to win it for them. The ploy they must count on is customer guilt. Unlimited prime rib for $4.95 is a steal; only the most callous contestant would take ruthless advantage of such a set-up. Even so, it’s not likely that O’Henry’s can stay competitive for long at that price. We won handily here but it was a hollow victory.

The wager at Poncho’s is even more lucrative – $1.99. But the game is Mexican food, which isn’t the costliest of cuisines, and Poncho’s aids their odds with the most basic, and effective, strategy in the sport – serving food that doesn’t inspire thoughts of seconds. I won’t say the food is bad because unsportsmanlike conduct is worse. Let’s just say this is “family fare” – the little tykes were lapping it up at two out of every three tables. Even at $1.99, we lost this one – though we almost pulled out a thrilling last-minute victory with a closing rush of sopapillas.

The Shed has been in business for a long time; they obviously know what they’re doing. The strategy is simple – intimidation. The Pittsburgh Steelers would be proud. Upon being seated we found the table already laden with a basketful of bread loaves, a cavernous bowl of tossed salad (enough for eight; there were two of us), and a huge relish tray piled high with celery, pickles, onion, peppers, and cherry tomatoes in such abundance they were rolling off the tray. The waitress appeared and delivered what sounded like a taped message: “We serve sirloin all-you-can-eat for $6.95 cooked medium unless you tell us different.” The tone was utter confidence, almost mocking, as if to say “Would you like to get up and leave while you’ve still got your pride?” We stuck it out and a few minutes later she returned and blithely tossed down two baked potatoes the size of volleyballs (a mean trick). Then the platter heaped with steaming steak. We were beaten before we started. The waitress reappeared a short while later and, with a malicious grin, asked, “Would you like anything more?” She returned later and wordlessly set down the check, on top of which sat two little red and white peppermint candies. The message was implicit: “How ’bout a little dessert, sucker?”

DAVID BAUER



Newcomers



It seems that every time we turn around, a new Mexican restaurant is opening in Dallas. These are the three latest.

Desperados. In the midst of the Greenville strip, so you know this one is no modest effort. And it isn’t. This location long housed Parrino’s, an unassuming Italian restaurant, but you’d never know it now. The exterior is done in nouveau-Alamo and the entire front parking lot is ringed with a mural depicting a Mexican village. Fortunately, and contrary to expectations with such a facade, there appears to be equally ambitious effort on the inside. We’ve not yet been disappointed by any samplings from their Tex-Mex, though it’s difficult to find anything distinctive in that realm of cuisine anymore. One nice touch is a kind of mix-and-match plate – choose your own combination of two, three, or four items. An extensive menu of “Specialties” includes chili relle-nos (a meaty version with a nice almond flavor), and a charcoaled pork dish that amounts to spicy barbecued pork, but a very tasty item (though our portion was quite small). An oddity: tongue prepared Mexican style. Also a fine bean soup with a heavy bacon flavor and excellent chili. And – perhaps Mexico’s greatest gift of all – sopapillas. The labyrinthine interior, unfortunately, has a slightly claustrophobic effect. (4818 Greenville at University/363-1850/Daily 11-11, bar till 1 a.m.; hours may vary during first few months/ Reservations /MCJBA /$$)

Tamale’s. The latest enterprise from Gene Street and company (Black-Eyed Pea, Egg Plant, Old Church, etc.), this may be his best effort yet – and certainly his most lavish production. The setting alone almost guarantees a prosperous life for Tamale’s; this stately old Oak Lawn home (formerly the Grand Hotel restaurant) has been re-refurbished with a tasteful touch that displays the building’s natural elegance. The menu is inspired, if perhaps a little too ambitious for consistency, combining “The best of Texas and Mexico” – on one side barbecue, on the other Mexican food. Barbecue fiends can choose from plate dinners that include – besides the standard beef and sausage – chicken and perhaps the best of all barbecued meats, pork. Servings are big; meat quality varies even on one plate; side dish options range from baked beans to gua-camole. The Mexican food is better than one might expect in a gringo-based operation. A bit of everything and some don’t measure up, but best bets are the three-alarm chili (it’ll sneak up on you), the sour cream enchiladas loaded with chicken, and the fresh pork tamales made right upstairs (and they’re good – if you like tamales). Interesting appetizers (such as stuffed and deep-fried jalape-nos), complimentary chili con queso, and lots of Mexican beers make this, best of all, a terrific drinking and nibbling bar. (3205 Oak Lawn near Cedar Springs/526-2351 /Mon-Sat 11-11, Sun noon-11; bar till midnight Sun-Thur, till 2 a.m. Fri & Sat/Reservations/MC,BA,AE/$$)

Yucatan. Here’s a strange one. Definitely a switch from the ubiquitous Tex-Mex. The people behind this are natives of the Yucatan peninsula, far from the influences of Texas upon true Mexican cuisine. This food, in fact, more resembles South American or Spanish-styled cuisine. For starters have the black bean soup, simple but good, and served with a side of fresh onions that should be added for enhancement. The best of the specialties are the panuchos or the salbutes, thick fried corn tortillas either stuffed or topped with black beans, lettuce, tomato, lots of onions marinated in vinegar and garlic, and “special chicken” delightfully spiced with an unusual southern Mexican spice called achiote. Both are moist and tasty despite the absence of any sauce. Also a baked pork dish wrapped like soft tacos (the pork has an odd sour flavor) or calf s liver, red snapper, and chicken breast all served “Yucatan Style,” referring only to the spicing of these otherwise straightforward preparations. For dessert, the traditional Spanish flan or Queso Napolitano – a sweeter, coarser egg custard. Located in the Quadrangle in the former home of Calluaud Traiteur; this unusual room and the somewhat bewildering service add to the incongruity of the place. If you’re curious visit soon – sometimes these strange ones don’t last long. (Quadrangle, 2800 Routh, Suite 192 /742-8845 / At press time lunch only, Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; opening soon for dinner/Reservations/No credit cards/$$)

Recipe of the Month

Sukiyaki

Kungi Haracla, Royal Tokyo

“My restaurant is educational,” says Shohei Takamatsu, owner of the Royal Tokyo. “Most people who come in here don’t know what Japanese food is. Many think it’s just like Chinese food. And some are afraid. They think everything has octopus or squid hiding in it. But they’re learning. And I sell a lot more octopus now than I did two years ago.”

Shohei Takamatsu is almost a Texan by now, having lived in Dallas since 1958 (“My kids like football and everything”). Until five years ago he was a cotton broker who did a lot of business entertainment and spotted a need for another Japanese restaurant in the city. “So I started one for my wife,” he says. “But it was a much bigger job than we thought, so I quit the cotton trade. I was lucky. As soon as I left, the cotton business went bad.”

And the Japanese restaurant business is booming. Japanese cuisine, considered by many to be the most imaginative in the world, isn’t distinctively regionally characterized like Chinese foods, but Mr. Taka-matsu speaks of two general forms – Tokyo style (which he characterizes as “saltier”) and Osaka style (“sweeter”). Royal Tokyo draws from both, but, he says, leans more heavily toward the sweeter Osaka style (apparently Royal Osaka doesn’t have much of a ring to it.)

Sukiyaki is probably the most traditional and popular of all Japanese dishes. This recipe is the work of Royal Tokyo’s master chef Kungi Harada, chef here since the day the restaurant opened almost three years ago. Any ingredients you don’t find at your supermarket are available at any of the city’s several Oriental groceries. And have no fear. It doesn’t call for octopus.

1 1/2 lbs. top sirloin

1/2 lb. green onion

1/2 lb. fresh spinach

1/4 lb. fresh mushrooms

1/2 lb. canned bamboo shoots

1/2 lb. bean curd

1/2 lb. beansprouts

Sukiyaki sauce:

1 cup Kikkoman soy sauce

3 cups water

2 T. granulated sugar

1/2 shot Japanese sake

Slice sirloin in thin slices 4″ long. Cut the green onion in 1″ lengths and the spinach 2″. Thinly slice the mushrooms and bamboo shoots. Dice the bean curd in 1/2″ cubes. Mix soy sauce, water, sugar, and sake and boil 5 minutes. Heat a large skillet (or a Sukiyaki Nabe cooking pan if you just happen to have one lying around) and oil it thoroughly with beef suet. Place in meat slices one by one so as not to overlap. Cook at medium heat until juices start flowing and turn slices over. When meat is done add vegetables and pour in Sukiyaki sauce. Cook for another 5 minutes at high heat and 5 minutes at medium heat. Serves five. (Chef Harada recommends that you dip the meat and vegetables in a well-beaten egg while eating.)

Spirits



The Grape State of Texas



“No sir,” says the sommelier to the Texas diner of the future. “I cannot honestly recommend the Chateau de L’Astrodome ’83. I would suggest instead that you try a Clos de Lubbock ’81, a crisp, dry white wine.”

Aficionados laugh and scoff when one offers the notion of Texas wines. After all, can a land that spawned such digestively corrosive delights as chicken-fried steak, ja-lapeno muffins, and Pearl Beer really ever lend itself to the subtleties and uncertainties of wine making? Maybe.

Texas does, surprisingly enough, have a wine heritage. In 1838, a minister en route from Velasco to Houston complained to his journal that “I got my first and last taste of the ’cut throat’ grape – didn’t try it no more.” Despite that early foreboding, the impetus of wine-worshiping immigrants from Europe in the 1870’s caused the Texas wine trade to flourish, culminating, at the movement’s zenith in 1900, with 25 Texas wineries exporting some 300,000 gallons of wine to California. And, during this same period, one Thomas Volney Munson, a winemaker in Denison, became a hero across the vineyards of France when some of his experimental grape hybrids, with their hardened resistance to the vagaries of the Texas climate, were grafted into the soft French vines to save them from the dreaded phylloxera, a tiny aphid that had theatened to destroy the French wine industry. Statues of T.V. Munson still stand in Bordeaux.

But Prohibition succeeded in Texas where the aphid had failed in France, and managed to wipe out the Texas wine industry. Even T.V. Munson’s heralded vineyards were destroyed.

Within the last five years, though, there has been a revival of interest in Texas in oenological research, grape plantings, and winery development. Lands under grape cultivation have increased from 50 to 350 acres. Texas Tech, Texas Agricultural Experiment Station and Grayson County College in Denison are conducting research to identify the ideal combinations of grape and geography, and the Texas Agricultural Extension Service is working directly with grape growers. Farmers and businessmen have organized the Texas Grape Growers Association. In 1970, Texas had only one operating winery; now three, soon to be four, are producing wines.

Bill Gallagher, a former stock broker and investment banker from San Antonio, left his previous professions in order to pursue his goal “to make a fine Texan wine.” He chose a location in the fascinating community of Gruene, located north of New Braunfels on the bluffs overlooking the rapids of the Guadalupe River, a community founded on the principles of a German fief-dom with winemaking traditions. The Depression, the boll weevil and a new highway killed the town forty years ago, but a group of architects, developers, and pioneer businessmen are attempting to revive it. Gallagher selected an abandoned cotton gin to house his Guadalupe Valley Winery, which bottles wines under the Schlaraffenland label (“It takes two glasses to pronounce it” reads an apropos sign). The interior has been redecorated in a grape leitmotif. Mustang grape vine banisters lead down into the wine tasting room, lit by bulbs set into casks suspended from the thirty foot ceiling. In symbolic gesture, a 15-foot flag of the state of Texas defiantly hangs on one wall, while, conspicuously unobtrusive, a three-foot French tricolor decorates the adjoining wall.

Here you can sample the two wines that Guadalupe presently produces. The use of American white oak to age the wines for two to three months gives them a complexity unusual in $2 wines. The white wine, a varietal made entirely from French Colom-bard grapes, has, unlike many inexpensive California wines, a strong bouquet, but it also has a particularly woody taste that some find disagreeably overpowering. The rosé is a blend of Ruby Cabernet, Barbera, Chenin Blanc, and Emerald Riesling. If well-chilled, this cranberry-colored, fruity wine is refreshing and not insipid, a well-crafted rosé with more flavor than most. (Both wines can be obtained in Dallas at Marty’s, the Vineyard, Tom Thumb stores, and the A&A Chateau; the Randy Tar restaurant also serves them.)

Read the labels closely on these two bottles because they merely say “Bottled in Texas,” a qualification in need of clarification. Since the winery has operated only for close to a year, no grapes, which normally require four years to mature, have actually been harvested here at Guadalupe Valley. Therefore, the Guadalupe Valley Winery must import crushed, unfinished grapes from California and then filter, hand bottle, and barrel age them. “Texas Wine,” in this case, means that a local winery gave characterless, out-of-state grapes their idiosyn-cracies.

An Arlington osteopath and his grapes will assist in diminishing the definitional problem. Dr. Bobby Smith spends two days a week scrupulously inspecting his 11 acres of French-American hybrids and his experimental plot of Vinifera at his La Buena Vida Vineyard in Veals Port (Parker County). Dr. Smith has agreed to send 10 tons of his French-American hybrids to Gruene, where the first wholly Texas wine from Schlaraffenland – another rosé, grown, crushed, fermented, aged, and bottled in the state – will be made. Neither Gallagher nor Smith can predict the new wine’s traits since it rests on unpredictable weather and the interaction of Chelois, Chancellor and Chambourcin grapes. You can evaluate their craftsmanship in December, when the wine should be available in local stores.

In 1883, Frank Qualia left Milan, Italy for Del Rio, Texas in the Upper Rio Grande Valley, where he started the Val Verde Winery, now Texas’ oldest. Thomas Qualia, his family’s third generation, has continued the tradition of his grandfather, but has also started to experiment with a variety of grapes. In the past, the Winery has produced about 6,000 gallons of wine annually for strictly local consumption. They market, under the Felipe del Rio label, four wines: a sweet and a dry red, from the Le-noire or Black Spanish grape, and a sweet and a dry white, called amber, from Herbe-ment grapes.

Another Rio Grande Valley winery, located in the country of the Chaparral, claims that Texas wines can come not only from grapes but from grapefruit(l). Billy Drawe, a rancher descended from German immigrants who grew grapes, intends to prove that “the world’s best grapefruit,” grown in the surrounding countryside, can be fermented and yield a satisfactory wine. In 1972, in Donna, Texas, Drawe founded the Rio Grande Valley Citrus Winery, the only winery in the US, he believes, that uses naturally fermented, not sugar assisted, fruit juices. After much experimentation, he has discovered that his grapefruit, orange, and grapefruit-hibiscus extract wines require two years of barrel aging to become what Drawe says will be a dry, light yellow-tinted wine for about $2.50. To verify his claims, call Dallas’ India House restaurant in about six months, when the first of the longer-aged citrus wines are expected to be available.

A collaboration of three Texas Tech professors has led to the establishment of a $200,000 winery called Llano Estacado, in Lubbock. Bob Reed, a horticulturalist, and two professors of chemistry, CM. McPher-son and Roy Mitchell, have spent much time investigating the chemistry of vinification. The three men, backed by local stockholders in their venture, have assembled 15 acres of land for a vineyard and an experimental plot of 10 acres, planted with 125 varieties of grapes. Llano Estacado hopes to have a white wine available by Christmas (maybe Easter) as their first public offering. Once this winery begins to bottle regularly, it will become one of the largest in the state. Within five years, its backers hope, Llano Estacado will crush and ferment about 50,000 gallons annually. Because of the ideal growing conditions – hot, dry days and cool night breezes – this area, if it can survive fierce hail and wind, and the liquor laws, should produce, many experts agree, some of Texas’ finest vintages.

The future of Texas wines must still be considered uncertain. It is suggested that the various climatic regions of Texas offer the possibilities of growing many different types of grapes and thus producing a wide array of wines, but Texas also has more than its share of the traditional vintner’s nightmares – drought, insects, hail, wind, extreme heat, extreme cold – that can suddenly reduce a thriving vineyard to dust. The economics of wine growing can also be prohibitive: the process of transforming the land to the point at which it can produce grapes costs an estimated $2,500 an acre. And, on the average, grape cultivation produces little profit until the seventh year.

But unless the unforeseen intervenes, Texas will slowly follow the lead of other Southern states like Arkansas and Missouri which now produce some reasonably good wines. “But,” says Bill Gallagher, “it will take a helluva lot of patience to make the Texas wine industry.” Meanwhile the aficionados will continue to laugh and scoff, insisting that the Texas climate will never produce anything more than a mediocre wine. But then, even old T.V. Munson was called a “Texas vine crank” in his day, and look what he did for France.

ANDREW TRAUB



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 Americard AE – American Express DC – Diner’s Club CB – Carte Blanche “All Credit Cards” indicates that 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., 6-10p.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 pre-dawn 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,DC $$)

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/ 7421911 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, known to many from their little French deli in the Quadrangle, has taken over the Fairmount location formerly housing Blooms. The Calluauds offer French Mediterranean cuisine at its simple but elegant best. The lunch menu features several superb omelets (we recommend the Piperade Basquaise), salads (the Exotique is a masterpiece), and sandwiches (the Grillé au Fromage is one of the loveliest sandwiches in town). And their exquisite fruit tarts are already famous. Also daily specials such as turbot Aurore or chicken Provencal. The dinner menu is even more tantalizing and management says it will be changed every 15 days. 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: MonFri 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Dinner: MonFri 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 Meunière; 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 5220910/ Lunch: MonFri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thur 611. Fri & Sat till midnight; closed Sun/ Reservations on weekends MC.BAAE $$$)

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: Mon-Sat 11:30-2, Dinner: Mon-Sat 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: MonFri 11:30-2:30; Dinner, Mon-Sat 6-11, 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: TueSun, 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, but 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 choict- ’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 233-57.55 Dinner: Mon-Thur 7-10, Fri & Sat till 11; Disco Mon-Fri 5p.m.-2 a.m., Sat 7 p.m. -2 a.m.; closed Sun Reservations 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, crêpes, 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 611, 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 dining 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: SunThur 6-midmght. 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. (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 scallopini 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 tagliatelle, 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 scallopine Gaetano with provolone and prosciutto or the Spéciale di Polio 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 par-migiano 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 5211135/ Daily 6-11, 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 alia 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 75¢ 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 manicotti 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 rriein, 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 good, 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 forego 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. Dallasites have quickly gotten the message about this first-rate new restaurant, so it’s near-full at both lunch and dinner. It features primarily 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. Adventurousness 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, but 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), Kobe beef, shrimp tempura, sha-bu-shabu, and prime rib teriyaki. Delightful green tea, saki (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 5:3011, 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 5-10, 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, 5-11:36 p.m., weekends till midnight Reservations/ All credit cards $$$)

Yet Lau. Every Chinese restaurant in Dallas ha? 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 cacophany of flocked wallpaper, fake wood, and Oriental kitsch – rather like a Hong Kong Holiday Inn. A smaller location on McKinney – open for lunch only – offers the same fare but in a more sterile atmosphere. (6635 East Lovers Lane at NW Hwy 691-3112/ Sun-Thur 11:30 a.m. 11 p.m., Fri & Sat 11:30 a.m.-ll:30 p.m./ 3411 McKinney/ 522-8431/ Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. only 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 bianco 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.-9p.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 4:30-10:30p.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 enchiladas, 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 Mon-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/ Reservations 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 noon-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 $$)

Spanish

Cafe Sevilla. Set in a small, old, corner storefront location; bare floors, simple furnishings. high ceilings, and candlelight against rough brick walls lend Old World charm to this imaginative little restaurant. The large front window on the McKinney Avenue sidewalk even offers a bit of the cafe feeling, especially at lunch or for an early evening drink. The basic menu consists of four entrees: paella (heavily laden with shrimp and clams, plus chicken and sausage); a shrimp platter that is actually more of a seafood assortment; fried squid; and a sirloin broiled in sherry. These are amplified by daily blackboard specials such as a beef kabob or breast of chicken fried in olive oil. Soups, salads, and desserts change periodically, but our visits found a rich Andalusian lamb soup, excellent gazpacho, and a well-selected fresh fruit plate. Good lunch values; try the “Tortilla” (the traditional Spanish omelette) – colorful and delightful. Wines are Spanish only but of fairly good variety; San Miguel beer; full bar. A very young and gracious staff. (3236 McKinney at Hail/ 526-9164/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Daily 6-10, Fri & Sat till 10:30; bar till midnight, till 1 a.m. Sat/ No reservations, MC/ $$)

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 11/ 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, (3857 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn/ 526-9478/ Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat till midnight, Sun noon-11/ No reservations/ MC,AE/ Too, 6912 Snider Plaza/ 369-5011/ Daily 11 a. m.-9 p.m. except Sun noon-9/ No reservations/ MCAE/ $)

Celebration. Good ol’ 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 $4.50 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. No bar – bring your own wine. (4503 W Lovers Lane 351-5681/ Mon-Sat 5:30-11, Sun till 10:30/ No reservations- MC.BA/ $)

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, withhis 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. 10 p.m.. except Sun 5-10 p.m. No reservations/ No credit cards/ $)

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 Grauwyler 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 Huy 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 schrod, 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/BAyAE$$)

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 fresh, 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/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 “Nut-wich” 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 692-1411/ Mon Sat 10-10/ No reservations MC/ $)

Delicatessens

Black Forest. A touch of the Old World graceslunch 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/ BAI $)

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/ MC/ $)

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. (1878 Goat Hill Road, off southbound Harry Hines near Oak Lawn’ 741-9771 ’ Daily 11 a.m.-2:30p.m., 5-11 p.m., except Sun 5-11 p.m. only; disco till 2 a.m./ No reservations MC.BA $$$)

Chili’s. The sign outside says “Bar and Grill,” hut 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 Ave at Meadow Rd/361-4371 ’ Daily 11 a.m.midnight, Fri & Sat till 2 a.m. No reservations/ MC,BA,AE/ $)

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, 5.500 Greenville/ 363-8686 Daily 11-11, Fri & Sat till 12:30 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.-11 p.m., bar till 2 a.m. nightly/ North Dallas, 4855 LBJ Frwy at lnwood/ 387-3800 Daily 11 a.m.-l a.m., Fri & Sat till 2 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.-11 p.m. Reservations MC,BA,AE,DC/ $$)

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 popeorn. (2927 Maple 742-7111/ Restaurant: Mon-Fri 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat & Sun 6 a.m.-l a.m.; Bar: Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-mid-night, closed Sat & Sun/MC,DC,AE,CB/$$)

The Filling Station. Maybe the ultimate in motif 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 1b., $2.25), the “Regular Hamburger” (1/2 1b., $1.50) and the “Low Lead” (3/4 1b. 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.-1 a.m., Sun & Mon till midnight/ No reservations/ MC,BA,AE/ $)

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 escargots to cheeseburgers, from Crab Newburg to Belgian waffles, from omelettes to roast duck, from crêpes 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 U a.m.-l: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 Daily 11 a.m.midnight, Fri & Sat till 1 a.m. 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. Havethe 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, BAAE/ $$)

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 Ave at Park Lane/ 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)/ MC,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/ 7410824/ Mon-Thur ll:15mid-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.-l 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. A delightful summer menu – have their half pineapple filled with tuna salad and melon balls. Regular items 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

Giro’s. Elaborate sandwiches are the featured attraction here (example: the El Nopal – ham, cheese, picquante mayonnaise, onion and tomato on a “Mexican bun,” S2.95). 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.-3 p.m., Thur & Fri till midnight, Sat till 1 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 crêpes stuffed with most everything imaginable. Omelettes and dessert crêpes are also served. (Quadrangle, 2800 Routh/ 651-0506 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.-1:30p.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 crêpes-some ordinary, some unusual, and all delicious. Be sure to save room for the outstanding dessert crêpes. 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 011a 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.-2:30p.m.; teatime daily 3-5 p.m. except Thur 2:30-3:30; Thur dinner 5-7p. m. Reservations Neiman-Marcus charge card only, checks accepted $$)

Just Desserts

You’ve spent the entire summer corroding your system with bottle after bottle, can after can of carbonated soft drinks in that infernal effort to cool down. Why not give your insides a deserved late-summer break from the bubbling, belching evils of carbonic acid? Have a smoothie.

The fruit smoothie has become a staple of the health food trade, attaining a prestige and ubiquity equal to that of the almighty avocado sandwich. So there are many variations around town and everybody has their favorites. But one aspect common to most all of them is overpricing – too little for too much. Which makes the Tutti-Fruiti smoothie at Roy’s Nutrition Centers all the more refreshing. A 16-ounce paper cup is filled to the brim for a reasonable 75C Tutti-Fruiti is the only way they make it: blended fruits (the predominant flavor is strawberry), papaya juice, “Hi-protein powder,” and crushed ice.

There are three locations: 1310 Elm (downtown in the underground mall), 3058 Mockingbird at Central Expressway, and 112 Spring Valley Shopping Center.

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