Food and Spirits DINING OUT

Entrée



Confessions of a Cheeseburger Addict



There is no doubt in mind that if I were told that I could have only one food for the rest of my life, my choice would be cheeseburgers. I am, in all candor, a slave to them. I know for a fact that I cannot go for a week without one. I’ve tried. And failed. I eat cheeseburgers for breakfast, I can eat cheeseburgers in bed. I eat cheeseburgers to cure hangovers, I eat cheeseburgers to cure strep throat. I like to look at pictures of cheeseburgers, I like to watch commercials about cheeseburgers.

What’s more, I know that there are lots of other people with the same disease. And the American marketeer knows it, too, forever preying upon our addiction by introducing new and different forms of cheeseburgers almost daily. So confident are these marketeers of our inability to resist that they have begun to taunt and to flaunt, to the point of cruelly naming new cheeseburger establishments with unsavory names. Recently, and locally, we’ve witnessed three such unscrupulous operations: Hump’s, The Slithy Tove, and Hole In The Wall. I have, of course, succumbed to all of them.

I have some special affection for Hump’s Hamburgers (3519 McKinney Avenue) because they now serve the nearest cheeseburger to the D Magazine offices. The “Humpburger with Cheese” is a half-pound monster. One-half pound is, I think, really too big for a cheeseburger. It’s an example of one of the many new ploys used by the cheeseburger pushers to make cheeseburgers seem different and vital and to keep us hooked. This is the Hugeburger Ploy. And it’s another slap in the face of us cheeseburger dependency cases because they know we will eat the whole thing and be bloated. In a show of mercy, however, Hump’s also offers a “Cheeseburger,” which is a l/3-lb. pattie, which is, I think, the perfect size for a cheeseburger. Hump’s burgers are of the moderately-greasy variety and are dressed with lettuce, tomato, onions, pickle, and, mustard ( mustard in lieu of mayonnaise is another popular new burger form). Hump’s serves a B+ burger.

The Slithy Tove recently left its downtown site and moved to 5616 E. Mockingbird near Greenville. And near Swinglesville, known as a highly concentrated area of cheeseburger dependency. A crafty move. The Slithy Tove practices the now-common Cleverburger Ploy. The idea here, of course, is to provide burgers in a variety of trimmings (in this case 14) to lure the addict into their clutches time and again (in this case 14) to sample yet another version. The options here at the Tove include such familiar forms as the mushroom burger, the pizza burger, the blue cheeseburger, and the bacon burger (for which I have a particularly low resistance thresh-hold – bacon cheeseburgers are the kind I sneak into the kitchen to make at 3 a.m., and not because the dog wants one). They also serve some more innovative designs like a fried onion and fried green pepper burger and a sour cream, swiss cheese, and mushroom burger. To add to the intrigue, they are all served on rye buns. These are 1/3-pounders of the charcoal-broiled, slightly-overdone variety. The Slithy Tove serves a B- burger.

It was only a few months ago that Hole In The Wall Hamburgers opened in a squat little building out in the distant reaches of Harry Hines Boulevard in the shadow of LBJ Freeway. A wasteland. Ha, one would have thought. Nothing can survive out here. Never underestimate the needs of the cheeseburger community. Hole In The Wall has now spread to three locations, adding Holes in the Lake Ridge Shopping Center on Audelia Road and downtown on N. Ervay at Live Oak (in fact, the former home of The Slithy Tove). Hole In The Wall is a sharp outfit, seizing on the brilliant strategy of the We-make-them-as-good-as-they-used-to-burger Ploy. These are handformed hamburgers made by rolling a ball of real ground beef, dropping it on the hot griddle, and flattening it into a wide, thin pattie with a spatula. These people understand the subtleties of cheeseburger addiction, particularly the need to grill the bun to a crisp, buttery edge. Hole In The Wall serves an A- burger.

I hope that I can continue to refrain from divulging the homes of the A+ burgers of our city. But I realize it wouldn’t be hard to get it out of me. Just tie me to a stake, wave a cheeseburger under my nose, and I’ll tell you anything you want to know.



– David Bauer



Newcomers



Clam Cooker. Now that refilled Bachman Lake no longer looks like the surface of the moon, new life is sprouting along its banks. The Clam Cooker (what a name) seems to be skirting the popular complaint that seafood tastes fishy by charcoal-broiling the catch, a landlubbers device that works with mixed results. The top-of-the-line here is the Alaskan King Crab – one huge, red, steaming leg and claw is a heroic meal in itself. Fix your napkin like a bib, dip the hunks of crab into lemon butter, and thank The Other Large State for this gift. The other items fare less well over the coals – the dry lobster particularly deserved more delicate treatment. But portions are enormous and all the trimmings – oysters on the half shell, shrimp cocktail, slaw, fries, homemade rolls – are nicely done. The place is located at the back of the After The Gold Rush disco, a waterfront location that helps out the expectable seaside decor, complete with briny nets and rigging. The dining room is done along New England clam-house lines: big wooden chairs, bare wood floors, checkered tablecloths. Or you can sit at a table on the veranda and pretend to listen to the lapping of the waves (disrupted only occasionally by the jet landings at Love Field across the water). Still, it’s closer to a seaside feeling than any other eatery in landlocked Dallas. (2919 Bachman Drive/357-1772/Lunch: Daily 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Tue-Thur 5:30-10, Fri-Sun 11:30 a.m.-l0 p.m./No re-servations/MC ,BA/$$)



La Buena Onda . This is the most interesting new restaurant to arrive on the scene in quite a while. Basically, the approach is Mexican cuisine prepared from “only natural foods and spices.” You know you’re in for something different when you sit down at the table and find, instead of the usual basket of tostadas, a small bowl of roasted pumpkin seeds. But before you flinch, you might be reassured to know that they do use meat (and they do serve wine and beer). There are only five regular dishes on the menu. The first, “carnitas especiales,” is a plate of shredded pork, beef, and/or chicken (your choice), plus guacamole, black beans, long grained rice, and dishes of red and green hot sauces. The idea is to create your own “tacos” by rolling whatever ingredients you desire in their whole wheat flour tortillas – likely the most flavorful tortillas you’ve ever tasted. The end results are fantastic. The other knockout is the “enchiladas verdes,” shredded chicken enchiladas in cheese, baked in green tomatillo sauce. In addition there are three meatless dishes: chalupas, a rice and beans plate, and enfrijoladas (fried tortillas in a black bean puree). Plus daily blackboard specials. Save up for dessert – a strange and delicious mango ice-box pie or a dish of vanilla ice cream with pecans and cajeta (incredibly rich Mexican caramel sauce made from goat’s milk). The location, where Arjun’s used to be, is as attractive as the food. Strictly a family operation – you can read all about it on the back of the menu. And give our regards to Chester the busboy. (4220 Oak Lawn/526-4050/Dinner: Tue-Thur 6:30-10:30, Fri & Sat till midnight: Lunch hours not set at press time; closed Sun & Mon/ Reservations for 10 or more only /MC,BA/$$)

Leonardo D’Munchy. Never mind thename – it’s just one of those aberrations of modern culture that we’ve learnedto gracefully ignore. Because even bolderthan the name is the idea behind thisplace: a hot delivery restaurant. Almostnobody delivers hot meals anymore -and this place is making a business ofit. Bravo. For a radius of five miles aroundits location on Oak Lawn at Lemmon,fingers are crossed in hopes that Leonardomakes a go of it. The five-mile radiusmarks their delivery area (“from Northwest Highway to Irving Boulevard tothe Trinity River”). Consider the assortment of available treats: Pizza with allthe usual topping options plus a fewothers like fresh bacon or shrimp;”broasted” chicken; catfish; chickenfried steak; Canadian baby back ribs;pasta (mostaccioli); sandwiches; pizzabread; chili; fried mushrooms; friedoysters; “Hong Kong Egg Rolls;” HaagenDazs ice cream; and even a peachesand cottage cheese salad (!). And more.Some items may be dropped and othersadded according to demand, so you mightconsider putting in requests. Best ofall, most things that we’ve sampled havebeen quite good, particularly the ribsand the mostaccioli. Reasonable pricesplus a 600 delivery charge. Oh, therewill surely be some horror stories alongthe way regarding delivery, but considering the endeavor, you’ve got to givethem the benefit of the doubt. And ifyou just don’t have any faith in the wholescheme, you can carry-out yourself. (3502Oak Lawn at Lemmonl522-5l40IDaily11 a.m.-2:30 a.m. except Sun till midnight/No credit cards/$$)

Junk Food

Two Cents Worth: A Little Something to Chew On

When I was a child, I loved to hit up my parents for a penny to put in the charity gum machines strategically placed near the restaurant cash register. But I wouldn’t put my penny in until I knew somebody was looking; then, gazing angelically off into the distance, visualizing Tiny Tim throwing his little crutches into the snow, I would make my sweet contribution.

Stirred by this memory, I decided to do a gourmet’s comparison of the Charity Gums. But, after searching ten stores, I found, alas, that charity isn’t what it used to be. Not a single instance of the traditional red and green chiclet squares that came out of a round hole.

So I turned to a survey of vending machine gum with names like Atomic Gum and Big Surprise Gum. But it seems the major difference between Atomic and Big Surprise is about eight weeks. And the big surprise turned out to be a plastic horseshoe with pieces of appendages of one of the world’s oldest insects. Nothing of import there.

My next angle was commercial bubble gum sold at convenience stores where I found a veritable spectrum of chewy subjects: Blony Bubble Gum, Bubble Eggs, Bubble Chewy Pieces, Double Bubble, Trouble Bubble, Big Bubble, and, the marketing name of the ages, 2¢ Gum. The results? The best bubble gum I tasted was Topps Bubble Stick. It was the freshest and offered six pieces for a dime. But watch out for the gum marked 2¢, especially the blue version which leaves you with a bad case of Chow Mouth (Blue Tongue).

Despite the exhaustive research, I realize that I have discovered almost nothing for you, poor reader, and have concluded little beyond the fact that gum is at best a poor excuse to make your face go up and down. So, as a parting gesture, I offer some gum trivia to chew on. Gum was first introduced to the United States by Santa Ana. Chewing gum sells for as much as a buck a stick in Russia and isn’t allowed in China at all. And be careful when you step in fresh gum and then drive your car because the accelerator pedal will stick to the bottom of your foot. Golly Mr. Science!



– George Toomer

A la Carte

Big Steaks



Some people, misguided by the cow-and-cowboy heritage of the West, still think of Texas as the “Land of Steaks.” Wrong. That would be Nebraska. Steak in Texas isn’t really anything to hoot about. Oh, there’s still plenty of beef cattle around, but most of the best stuff goes off to places like New York City where the packers get a prettier penny for it. You can get a good steak in these parts, but nothing that’ll knock you on your chuckwagon. Unless, that is, you happen to wander into the M & M Steak House in Fort Worth.

The M & M (Mike and Marie’s) is a tiny, stone-front building in North Fort Worth, within whiffing distance of the stock yards. Inside there are only seven tables, surrounded by bare walls. And on these tables are served the biggest steaks that were ever put in a menu. It’s startling enough just to see them listed there: 22-oz. club, $6.25; 26-oz. T-bone, $7.55;32-oz. sirloin (actually “sirlion”), $8.15. A thirty-two ounce sirloin. That’s two pounds of meat. For only eight bucks. And that includes salad and baked potato.

But that’s nothing to the shock that hits when the plates are set down in front of you. The T-bone is a good 1 1/2 inches thick, maybe 2. Who would’ve thought cows could even grow T’s that big? And the sirloin hangs over the edges of a huge oval plate. All you can do is laugh.



When you order, the waitress asks if you want your steak with special seasoning. Unless you’re a rabid fan of garlic, say no. Plain and simple, the steaks are delicious. And perfectly cooked to order. There are no grill marks or charcoal flavor, so they’re obviously not charcoal-broiled. But they don’t taste griddle-grilled either. We decided to ask Mike about his steaks on the way out.

“Where do you get your steaks?” we asked. “They’re amazing.”

“What do you mean?” Mike responded shortly.

“Well, where do they come from? From here in Fort Worth?”

“I have ’em special cut,” said Mike.

“Yes, but is this Fort Worth beef?”

“I have my own special butcher.”

“Oh. Well, they sure are good. How do you cook them?”

“I have my own special way,” said Mike. “I don’t tell anybody.”

Can’t really blame him. (1106 NW 28th St./(817)624-0612/Tue-Sat 5-11:45 p.m., closed Sun & Mon).



Recommended Restaurants



These restaurants represent the best in Dallas dining. It is implicit then, that we recommend all of them highly.

These 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 price 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

$$$$ – Very expensive.

Unless otherwise noted, all restaurants have full bar facilities.

Credit card notations: MC – Master Charge/BA – Bank Americard/AE – American Express/DC – Diners Club/CB – Carte Blanche/”AII Credit Cards” indicates that all the above are accepted.



Continental

Arthur’s. Once a rustic steakhouse, now a shimmering beef palace. Steak remains the pillar of the operation, but other options abound: lamb chops, veal chops, and call’s liver to name a tew favorites American wines only – an intriguing and imaginative touch Warm and classy with one of Dallas’ best bars Live entertainment (1000 Campbell Centre/361 -8833/Lunch Mon-Fti 11:30-2, Dinner Daily 6-11. Sal till midnight/ Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$)

Bagatelle. The charm of this lovely but low-key restaurant stems directly from its gracious owner/host Veal has always been the specialty of the house – try the veal escalopes Vieux Chalet” The shrimp du chef (in a garlic sauce) is a delight for starters A cozy bar with good |azz Nice Sunday brunch The Plaza Cafe is a more casual offshoot of the same kitchen, featuring a fountainside patio for outdoor dining from a varied light-continental menu (One Energy Square, Greenville at University/692-e224ILunch Daily 1130-2.30; Sun brunch 10:30-2 Bagatelle dinner Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri, & Sat till 11. bar till 11:30; Plaza dinner Sun-Thur 6-12. Fri & Sat till 1/Reservations/ MC,BA,AE,DCI$$-$$$)

The Balcony/Fort Worth It’s not often that you find food like this at prices like this – a bargain in French cuisine A nicely varied menu of entrees, including a delicious trout amandine An odd but tasty touch miniature egg rolls served gratis It’s not without fault – the salads tend to be limp and the soups are suspect A pleasant country-resort feeling – easy-going but gracious. (6100 Camp Bowie/(817)713-3719ILunch; Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner Mon-Fri & Sat 10:30; closed Sun/ReservationslMC,8A,AEI$$)

Le Bistro. Such a lovely, lovely restaurant But such a time they have trying to get things right in the kitchen There is not a more charming place in Dallas to enjoy French foods than this gracious old two-story house. But while waiting tor your dinner, cross your fingers – Le Bistro is never bad. but often |ust isn’t as good as you expect it to be. its problem from the beginning But opt for the simpler dishes, enjoy the surroundings, finish with a cold almond souffle, and you’ll leave with a smile (3716 Bowser, just off Oak Lawn/528-4181/Tue-Sun 6-10 p m, except Fri & Sat till 11 p.m, closed Mon/ReservationslMC,BA,AE/$$$)

Brasserie. The most elegant coffee shop” in town In the wee hours of the morning (they re open 24 hours), stop by to treat yourself to Dallas best Eggs Benedict – sprinkled with truffles (at 3 a.m they bother9), or a sandwich of sirloin on crisp, buttery French bread During the other hours, especially lunch, the fare is mostly overpriced and undistinguished (Fairmont Hotel. Ross & Akard 748-5454/24 hours, seven days a week/ No reservations/MC,8A,AE, DC/$$)

Calluaud. One of Dallas’ most civilized restaurants. Set in a small frame house, with a casual yet intimate atmosphere complemented by consistently fine French foods. Superb soups and excellent omelettes; and desserts not to be missed: simple and wonderful fruit tarts (try the apple) and exquisite profiteroles The imaginative dinner menu changes frequently but has provided such items as a perfectly prepared fresh salmon steak and roast pork in a prune sauce. Prices are a bargain for the quality. It’s easy to get hooked on this place. Note: Closing July 17 Aug 18 for remodeling. (2917Fairmount off Cedar Springs/ 742-8525ILunch; 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,AE/$$$)

Carriage House/ Fort Worth. One of the oldest names in Fort Worth dining, the Carriage House is not the wonder it once was, but it still has its moments It’s a meal of ups and downs: fine Old-plantation-style service but in a drab setting: excellent appetizers (have their splendid smoked salmon) but miserable soups: a fine Chateaubriand (beef dishes are their specialty) but served with canned peas and carrots. (5236 Camp Bowie/(817)732-2873ILunch: Sun-Fri 11-2: Dinner: Daily 6-11/Reserva-tionslMC,BA.AEI$$$)

Chablis. An odd little French restaurant, difficult to put your finger on – the style is neither elegant nor quaint. But the food, while in some instances overpriced, is decidedly good At dinner, a tasty complimentary rillettes, a fine pepper steak, and a subtly glazed roast duckling are highlights. Lunch leans to lighter regional specialties and sandwiches. Light flakey bread (with a very “French” flavor) and the sweetest, richest chocolate mousse in town. (120 Quadrangle. 2800 Routh/522-0910/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner Mon-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat till midnight, closed Sun/Reservations on weekends/MC, BA,AE,DC/$$$)

Chateaubriand. A long-time Dallas fixture whose popularity survives in spite of a loud clash of styles including a glossy, almost garish, French provincial dining room with marble statues and chandeliers. The international menu sweeps from “Greek Veal” to “Pepper Steak – Hawaiian Style ” Many steaks and shellfish. Bargain daily hot lunch specials. (2515 McKinney/741 -1223/ Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m.-midnight/Reservations/AII credit cards/$$$)

The Chimney. A Swiss/Austrian style characterizes this kitchen and gives this restaurant some special appeal. The Naturschnitzel is a fine veal dish, as is the veal Zurich. For a twist, try the venison toumedos Lunch is still served in the tearoom tradition that originally established The Chimney. The dining room is American colonial in motif-handsome but a bit lifeless. (Willowcreek, 9739 N Cen Expwy at Walnut Hill/369-6466/Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6- 10:30/Sun brunch 11-2/Reservations/MC,AE DC/$$$)

Ewaid’s. An inspired collection of veal dishes (Veal “Palm Beach” with Westphalian ham, hearts of palm, and beamaise sauce) have given Ewald his loyal following. But he also serves a cognac-flamed pepper steak that ranks with the best in town A smattering of other continental dishes (with a Swiss flavor) and a limited seafood selection, A small, plain – in fact bland – dining room (5415 W Lovers Ln/357-1622/Mon-Fri 6-10:30. Sat 6-11/Reserva-tions/MC.BA/$$$)

The Grape. Cozy, congenial, and crowded, The Grape delights its loyal fans with a wonderful array of cheeses from which you create your own elegant cheese board combinations A daily menu of light entrees, plus lovely omelettes and great soups – the fresh mushroom has a reputation of its own A diverse and interesting wine selection An old and unassuming little place. (2808 Greenville Ave/823-0133/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2.30; Dinner. Tue-Sun, 6-10:30. open later on Fri & Sat lor wine and cheese only/No reservations/No credit cards/$$)

Marcel’s. Marcel is a charming host in the classic French tradition: it’s that French feeling that has made this a long-popular restaurant. That and a complete table d’ note dinner for only $6 50 – not the finest French cuisine in the city But certainly the best priced Beef Wellington is the house specialty, but the real star may be the coq au vin. Relaxed, quiet dining (5721 W Lovers Ln/358-2103 /Sun- Thur 6-10:30. Fri & Sat till midnight. Closed Mon/ Reservations/ MC,BA,AE,DC/$$)

Mr. Peppe. Some say it’s the best French restaurant in the city. Others cite inconsistencies and argue. Regardless, there is a friendly intimacy and refreshing informality at work here – a warm, dark, and cozy setting. Wonderful rack of lamb, superb pepper steak. And the pastries – owner/chef Albert’s specialties – are almost too good to be true. (56 I7 W Lovers Ln/352-5976/Mon-Sat 6- 10/Reserva-tions/MC, BA, AE,DC/$$$)

Old Swiss House/ Fort Worth Many claim that this is Fort Worth’s finest. Certainty a Forth Worth favorite – the Kaufmann family has been serving fine continental cuisine here for many years Delightful veal dishes (the St. Moritz is rich and satisfying) and a daily fresh seafood special. Great little complimentary cheese rolls and a lovely Boston lettuce dinner salad. Not a particularly distinctive place. more comfortable than classy And the service can seem hurried. (5412 Camp Bowie/(8l7)738-8091IMon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat till 10:30. closed SunlResenationslMC,BA, AE,DC/$$$)

Old Warsaw. The new Old Warsaw” – after some tasteful remodeling of the interior and some successful revamping of the menu – is on the upswing. The place is less gilded, more engaging The new menu is less erratic, more interesting New treats a pate of duck. Creme de Cresson (puree of watercress), and a splendid Cote de Veau Also a nightly selection of “Nouvelle Cuisine,” the reduced-calorie style popularized by Paul Bocuse. The prices were not remodeled – still very expensive – but now the paying is less painful. (2510 Maplel528-0032IDaily 6-11. Sat till midnightlReservationslMC,BA,AE,DC/$$$$)

Patry’s. Another contender in the ’ best-French-restaurant-in-town debate A family-run operation with an obvious personal touch is one reason A menu of exquisite hors d’oeuvres is another (have the stuffed leeks in cream sauce) The escalope of veal is the star of the entrees Neither luxurious nor intimate, but that doesn’t deter a very loyal clientele. (2504 McKinneyl748-3754/Tue-Fn 6-11. Sat till 11:30IResenationslMC,BA,AE,DC/$$$)

Pyramid Room. The classiest dining room in Dallas – an aura of affluence and impeccable taste A paragon of service – absolutely professional but without pomposity, including a theatrical sommelier A dizzying dinner menu of French specialties of the highest order (lunch is less glamorous). The Grand Marnier dessert souffle is a triumph. In sum. Dallas’ finest restaurant But even at that, capable of disappointment because it is so expensive Too expensive But always a pleasure it you can pay the price (Fairmont Hotel, floss & Akardl748-5454ILunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-230, Dinner Dairy 6-midnightlReservationslAII credit cardsl$$$$)



Italian



Campisi’s. The sign says “Egyptian Restaurant.’ but the place is strictly Italian, carried on in the proud family tradition of papa Carlo Campisi. whose portrait still watches over the proceedings Dallas’ original pizza specialists – and still the best Or try the platefull of sausage and peppers. Warm (in fact steamy) and wonderful – and always a waiting line to prove it. (5610 E Mockingbird/ 827-0355IMon-Fri 11:a.m. -midnight. Sat till 1 a.m., Sun noon-midnightINo credit cards. Checks accepted/Reservations lor 6 or morel$)

lanni’s. An undistinguished shopping center facade, an entry lobby tacked with Dallas sports photos and celebrity glossies and a dining room that’s a vineyard of plastic grapes doesn’t bode well But lanni’s can surprise you It’s relaxed and unpretentious – a throwback to simpler dining The waitresses are pros and the kitchen is sound if not stunning And the homemade Italian sausage is as good as any in town (2230 Greenville/826-6161/Daily 5 30- 11 p.m. /Reservations/MC,AE/$$)

II Sorrento. The best Italian food in Dallas in a marvelously hokey setting – like a Hollywood designer’s dream of Venice, complete with strolling musicians and bread vendors The fettucine Alfredo and the tagliatelle – both prepared at your table – are standouts among the pasta dishes, the veal dishes are crowned by the Marsala and piccata Be warned that even with a reservation you may be forced to bide time waiting in the bar (8616 Turtle Creek/352-8759/Daily 5:30-11, Sat till midnight/Reserva-tions except on Fri & Sat/AII credit cards!$$$)

Italian Pavilion. This overdone (fancy-tacky) dining room atop the LeBaron Hotel seems an unlikely setting for fine Italian dining But fine it can be Try any of the veal dishes – the saltimbocca in a superb marsala sauce is particularly good Excellent appetizers and desserts and an interesting Italian wine list combine to make this a place worth a visit (LeBaron Hotel, 1055 Regal Row at Carpenter Fwyl 634-8550/ Mon-Sat 6-11 p m /Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)

Mario’s. One of few Dallas restaurants to take the sophisticated approach and do so with dignity, with natural elegance A longstanding family success, so there is an air of confidence and pride Delicious roquefort-based cheese spread (complimentary), dense and delicious French bread loaves, marvelous fried zucchini Try the “Frittura Delizie Romana,” a batter fried spinach appetizer Entrees (northern Italian specialties) are stylish but not exceptional Splendid wine list (135 Turtle Creek Village/521-1135/Daily 6-11. Sat till midnight/Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$)

Pietro’s. Home-style Sicilian cooking with flocks of regular customers The standouts are the pasta dishes – manicotti. cannelloni fetucine alla Romana. lasagna with meat sauce, and spaghetti marinara – and old standbys like pizza (order the special Sicilian style m advance) and garlic bread (baked on the premises), (5722 Richmond off Greenville/ 824-9403/ Tue- Thur 5:30- 10 p.m , Fri & Sat till 11 p.m /No reservations/No credit cards/$$)

Oriental



China Inn. A dependable restaurant with a Cantonese emphasis. Standouts are the sweet-and-sour dishes, the ginger beef, and war sue har (batter-fried shrimp with a “country-style” sauce). Huge eggrolls and excellent homemade almond cookies. Low-keyed and comfortable. (6521E Northwest Hwy/369-7733IMon-Fri 11 a.m.-2 p.m., 5-10:30 p.m.; Sat till midnight; Sun 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m.lReserva-tions/MC,BA,AEI$$)

Chinese Pavilion. The menu here is identical to that of Hunan, the restaurant that spawned this one. Be adventurous and put yourself in the waiter’s hands. For $8 per person you’ll be treated to a multicourse dinner featuring the chef’s Hunan and Szechuan-style specialties. And the crabmeat and corn soup is a must. (European Crossroads, 2829 W Northwest Hwy/357-5777ISun-Thur 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m , Fri & Sat till midnightlReservations/MC, BA,AEI$$)

Hunan. Currently Dallas’ best Chinese restaurant. The Hunan cuisine that is its specialty is milder than you’ll find in New York, but still potent. Have the “pu pu tray” of appetizers, and then you’re on your own – it’s all good (though we recommend Hunan Lamb. Champagne Chicken, and Shrimp with Garlic Sauce). Small and comfortable. (5214 Greenville Ave at Lovers Lnl369-4573IMon-Thur 11:30 a.m.-11p.m, Fri, Sat & Sun 11-midnight/Reservations/ MC,BA,AEI$$)

Peking Palace. Once Dallas’ Oriental best, but it hasn’t quite kept up with the booming competition. Too many items taste warmed-over, but the Szechuan-style selections are. for the most part, excellent (try the shredded pork with garlic sauce). And the Won Ton soup is the best in town. And still the most pleasant dining room of any Dallas Oriental restaurant. (4119 Lomo Alto/522-1830/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon- Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat till midnight. Sun noon-10 p.m. /Reservations on week-ends/MC,BA,AE/$$)



D REVISITS

South China. Among the fiercely ’competitive Chinese restaurants in town, some places prevail, quietly and consistently. South China still ranks with Dallas’ better Oriental restaurants, serving good Mandarin cuisine and lots of it. Success has even bred a spin-off, Chu’s restaurant in Addison. ’With stylized watercolors on the walls, intricate Chinese lighting fixtures, and red and black color scheme. South China’s decor is somehow pleasantly garish – suggesting something like the inside of a Chinese paper lantern. South China really shines in the kitchen. Their combination appetizer plate is possibly the best in Dallas: incredibly light but generously endowed shrimp toast, feather-light fried won tons, lean, meaty ribs, tender beef and crispy egg rolls After the appetizers and one of the excellent soups (especially the sizzling rice), all the main dishes arrive at the table straight from the wok. not reheated The moo shi pork with pancakes is tender and light, though the shredded pork with green pepper at lunch was heavy on the vegetable and short on meat. Beef with green onion and ginger, however, came with lots of everything and the sweet and sour shrimp had a tantalizing sauce. Lemon chicken at lunch has a loyal following, but the specialty at South China is black bean sauce. Try the braised chicken with black bean sauce and you’ll see why. Consistent preparation and attention to details (warm fortune cookies and TV-tray doggy bags, for instance) continue to distinguish South China from the ever-increasing hordes of competitors. (5424 E Mockingbird/826-5420/Lunch: Daily 11:30-2:30 Sat & Sun noon-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thu 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-12, Sun 5-10/Reservations/MC,BA,AE/$$)



Ports O’Call. The menu now docks in many new ports (wiener schnitzel from Germany, steak au poivre from France, etc ), though the featured fare is still mostly Polynesian And nothing special at that – but then that’s never been the appeal here anyway The attractions are the lavish (almost ludicrous) dining rooms, the 37th floor view with the “big-city” feeling, and the exotic rum concoctions in the tiki-god-and-blowtish bar – try the Test Pilot, limit 2 per customer. (Southland Center. 2117 Live Oakl742-2334ILunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Daily 5:30-10:30/ Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$)

Royal China. A friendly place with a loyal clientele, a most gracious host, and some unusual menu items. Tea Smoked Duck, Golden Crown of Pork, and Dry Stir Beef All the food is attractively presented – the chef even sculpts elegant little butterflies from carrots Unfortunately, the appetizers are on the greasy side. (201 Preston Royal Shopping Centerl361-1771 or 368-9692ITues-Sun 11:30 -2:30 and 5:30-10 p.m., closed MonlMC,BA,AE,DCI$$)

Royal Tokyo. As far as service and consistency of cuisine is concerned. Royal Tokyo seems to have risen from its period of decline But it’s not quite the star it once was. Perhaps the competition has forced it to Americanize its menu, because the sauces and seasonings are anything but delicate A pity, because real Japanese cuisine is among the most subtle in the world Still a pleasantly-appointed place. Try the shabu-shabu. a variation on sukiyaki. (7525 Greenville Avel368-3304ILunch: Daily 11:30-2. except Sat. Dinner: Mon- Thur 5:30-11. Fri & Sat till 11:30. Sun 5-10IReservationslMC,BA,AE,DCI$$$)

Trader Vic’s. One of the best of a variable chain of OrientalPolynesian restaurants, this one has excellent hors d oeuvres. (try the “Cosmo Tidbit” platter), a fine limestone lettuce salad, and well-prepared entrees. We suggest the curries, the almond duck, lobster Cantonese, or the Indonesian lamb roast Exotic and powerful rum concoctions (Hilton Inn, 5600 N Cen Expwy/827-3620/Daily 5-11:30 p.m., weekends till midnight/Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)



Mexican



Adelante. An odd little spot in an almost secretive behind-the-shopping-center location But once you find it you’ll surely find your way back Fantastic and unique Mexican food graced with flair and freshness Thin, grease-tinged tostados made on the spot, nachos buried in fresh relishes, flautas with fabulous guacamole. delicate green chile quiche, and an egg and tortilla dish called “Chilaquiles” – both subtle and exotic And don’t pass up the unbelievable praline cheesecake. Bar ’by membership.” (5934 Royal Lane/691 -8301/Mon-Thur 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri & Sat till 10 p.m., closed Sun/No reservations /MC,BA,AE/$)



D REVISITS

Raphael’s. There’s really no ques- tion that Raphael’s is good – people don’t line up and wait every noon and every night for nothing. And with Chi-quita restaurant temporarily closed and searching lor a new home, there’s little doubt that Raphael’s is. all things considered, Dallas’ top-of-the-line Mexican restaurant but it’s not faultless Per-haps it is an inescapable problem in a restaurant so incredibly busy, but a meal during peak hours here feels like the Enchilada Derby – the hustle-bustle can be nerve-wracking. A reservations policy is a possible solution – we wish they would consider one, at least at dinner The food continues to impress, though. While the standard taco-enchilada-bean plates are nothing extraordinary (you can get as good elsewhere without waiting), the “authentic specialties” are special indeed. The chile rellenos are an old favorite, the chicken mole is a treat (if you like mole sauce), and the shrimp enchiladas are an imaginative creation. Recently, we’ve been impressed by two other items: the polio Tampi-queno is a marinated chicken breast sauteed with fresh relishes (onion, green pepper, etc.) – rich and delicious; the carne Tampiquena is a similar dish using strips of beef, a most distinctive dish. If you can pick your spots (the rare uncrowded ones), Raphael’s can still sweep you away. (3701 McKinneyl521 -9640/Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m. -10:30 p.m., Sat noon-10:30. closed Sun/Re-servations Mon-Thur only/MC,BA,AEI$$)



Chiquita. (Chiquita has temporarily closed and is looking for a new location. Re-opening plans are uncertain at press time.)

Herrera Cafe. Home-cooked Tex-Mex from two odd locations. The ludicrous-looking newer version on Lemmon Avenue serves the same great food as the original adobe hole-in-the-wall on Maple. But at the Lemmon location, quality is not a certainty. Visit Maple for good old tat flour tortillas hot off the grill, wonderful burritos. great guacamole And the menudo is a community tradition. (3902 Maple/ 526-9427/Weekdays 9 a.m.-8 p.m., closed MonINo reservations/No credit cards/$)

El Taxco. Maybe the best dining value in Dallas, Dependable Tex-Mex right down to the retried beans just the way they ought to be – and at very low prices. A subtle style with less hot seasonings make it an especially good spot for newcomers to Mexican food. A casual, friendly cafe. (2126N St. Paull742-0747IWed-Mon 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., closed TueINo reservationslMCI$)



Greek



Greek Key. A lively and longstanding favorite marked by belly dancing, customer participation, and other revelry. But the kitchen is serious, doing a creditable job of filling the Dallas Greek food void. Dolmas, pastitso. spanakopita. moussaka (or try the combination plate) Forgo the “Grecian shrimp.” but don’t pass up the baklava delicately seasoned with walnuts and honey, finished off by a demi-tasse of heavy Greek coffee. (2903 W Northwest Hwyl358-51771 Mon-Sat 1 a.m.-2 p.m., closed SunlAII credit cardslRe-servations/$$)

Goldfinger. More successful as a lively, raucous nightclub than as a restaurant, but Goldfinger does provide some of the city’s best Greek food – a woefully limited aspect of Dallas’ cuisine. So, while you’re clapping and singing with the Greek musicians, try me flaming saganaki, the avgolemeno soup, the shrimp and meat kostas, and the veal venetikia And the dolmas are a must (2905 Cridelle at W Northwest Hwyl350-6983IMon-Fri 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Sat-Sun 6 p.m -2 a.m./Reservations/ All credit cardsl$$$)



Indian

India House. An authentic representation of Indian cuisine. The uninitiated may find it all a bit exotic – but a culture shock made pleasant by the helpful guidance of the staff (or try the Shahi House Dinner for a broad sampling). Aficionados of the Indian tradition may find the preparation lacking perfection, but with so much to choose from, danger of disappointment is slight. Something is sure to please – or at least to surprise. (5422 E Mockingbird/ 823-1000/Lunch: Daily 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat till 11/ Reservations/ All credit cardsl$$)



Southern Specialties



D REVISITS

Red Moon Cafe. People who get tired of waiting in line across the street at the Highland Park Cafeteria sometimes wander over here, get hooked, and become regulars. No wonder. It’s a low-key, casual, pleasant little place that doesn’t go out of its way for atmospheric effects and consequently achieves them. A recent change of ownership has altered things very little – the cuisine is still styled as Creole, though it’s basically just Southern home cookin’ – vegetables done till they’re limp but especially tasty, oysters fried in corn meal, lots of good old saturated fats. They serve a good (but slightly oily) gumbo – more soup than stew and quite fishy, unlike the usual Dallas gumbo – and, when they can get them, crawfish. The pork chops “Creole,” a regular item, are very nice; the daily blackboard specials, on one visit, included a fine trout dish. Portions are not the world’s largest, but that leaves room for desserts (home-made pies) and the chicory coffee we’ve already cited as the best in town. In fact, if coffee is your passion, try the Red Moon for breakfast – the croissants are out of this world. While the Red Moon is seldom stunning, it is most always soothing. Beers and wines only. (4537 Cole/526-5391 IMon-Sat 7-2:30. 6-10/No reservations/No credit cardsl$)

Angelo’s/ Fort Worth. A name that’s known across the state as one of Texas’ premiere barbecue pits. And it is. Great beef, rich spicy sauce, big sandwiches, cold draught, and a setting that fits – West Texas rustic and sawdust floors. And overlooking the proceedings is a monstrous stuffed bear – a landmark himself (2533 White Settlement Rd/(817)332-0357/Mon-Sat 11-10/No reservations/No credit cards/$)

Celebration. Some of the homestyle pride seems occasionally to be missing from the homestyle cooking since the expansion of this friendly place. But still a good spot for a wholesome meal at a reasonable price. Pot roast is the best of the five entrees. Plus big bowls of good family-style-help-yours3lf vegetables. Beer and wine are available now, but try the apple juice at least once – it’s great. (4503 W Lovers Ln/3S)-5681 /Mon-Sat 5:30-11, Sun till 10:30/No reservations/MC,BAI$)

Mr. Chicken. Many rate it the best fried chicken in town. Small town cafe style (including TV). Chicken and dumplings and other plate lunches; grilled steaks. And luscious onion rings. Beer only. (5114 Greenville Ave near Lovers Ln/363-6969/Daily 11 a.m. -10 p.m./No reservations/No credit cards/$)

Sonny Bryan’s. Best barbecue in town? You’ll never get a consensus, but this one gets a lot of votes Juicy, juicy stuff in a funky, funky little smokehouse No tables – you eat on individual school desk tops. Beer, no bar. (2202 lnwood/357-7120IMon-Sat6a m.-6:30p.m , Sun 11-2IN0 reservations/No credit cardsI$)



Natural Foods



Health Nut. Dallas’ original full-scale natural foods restaurant – and still a unique institution – is comfortably settled now in its airy and attractive Lovers Lane location, crowned by a lovely sun-terrace room upstairs. Good sandwiches, light and imaginative soups, and wonderful salads – a fresh vegetable salad with tahini dressing or. even better, a fresh fruit salad in a delicious lemon-honey dressing. A special steamed meal daily (Tuesday is Mexican and Wednesday is Oriental) And. of course, smoothies (4356 W Lovers Lanel692-1411/ Mon-Sat 11 a.m-9 p.mINore-servationslMCI$)



Seafood



Oporto Oyster Bar. A somewhat unpredictable place (the service is sometimes perfect, sometimes miserable), but if you go with the simpler broiled dishes, especially the Boston scrod and the baby flounder, you’ll surely be pleased. Often crowded to the point of a wait in line. One reason is that the oysters on the half shell are, predictably, wonderful. (2929 N HendersonlB26-2553IDaily 5-11 p.m . Fri & Sat till midnight/No reservations/BA,AEI$$)

S & D Oyster Company. A handsomely restored 19th century livery/grocery building with brick walls and bentwood chairs lending themselves to a mild New Orleans atmosphere Oysters are the specialty-delicious whether on the half-shell or fried Also boiled or fried shrimp, a pleasant gumbo, and broiled flounder or snapper Beer and wine only. A welcome addition to the limited sea fare in town. (270 1 McKinney near Roul823-6350/Mon- Thur 11 a.m.-Wpm.Fn&Sat till 11, closed SunINo reservationslMCI $$)

Vehon’s. An unpretentious oyster bar that grew into a schlocky restaurant. Vehon’s still serves the best oysters in town, giant red Spanish shrimp, baked (not broiled) rainbow trout, catfish, and – a rarity in Dallas – a properly black, hot gumbo. Casual to the point of crudeness. but there are lots who love it. (4844 Greenville Avel368-8911IMon-Sat 11 a.m.-11 p.m , Sun 5-11 p.m.INo reservations/All credit cardsI$$)



Delicatessens



Black Forest Austrian-style food – sausages, salamis, coffee cakes, breads, a lovely cold cut platter, and excellent sandwiches Try the veal sausages with hash browns and black bread, and any of the pastries. Excellent selection of German beers and wines, (5819 Blackwell off Northwest Hwy/368-4490IMon-Fri 8 a.m.-6 p.m., Sat till 5 p.m.I No reservationslBA/$)

Kuby’s. Busy and bustling. Excellent homemade sausages (served with hot potato salad or sauerkraut), thick sandwiches (try the pastrami), great pastries, and a soup of the day which is a lunchtime bargain (70¢). A congenial spot with a German accent. (6601 Snider Plazal363-2231/Mon -Sat 8:30-2:30. sandwiches till 5:30/No reservationslMC $75 mimmuml$)

Walls. A worthwhile stop for displaced New Yorkers and insatiable corned beef fans, though its reputation as the best for kosher-style food in Dallas is earned mainly by default. The kosher standards – gefilte fish, herring in sour cream, cheese blintzes – are very tasty, but the quality of food and service is uneven. Except for the disappointing chopped liver, sandwiches are the best bet. And try the outstanding cabbage soup. (10749 Preston Rdl691-4444IDaily 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m./No reservations/ MC,BA/$$)



Steaks, Burgers, Etc.



Cattleman’s/ Fort Worth. A famous Texas name that still delivers, and still from its original location right in the heart of the stockyards. The steaks are the thing here and they’re terrific – you can watch them being cooked on the grills at the end of each dining room. Lots of other options, ranging from calf tries (“Mountain Oysters”) to lobster and spaghetti (2458 N. Mainl(817)624-3945IMon -Fri 11 a.m.-10:45 p.m., Sat 4-10:45 p.m., closed Sunl ResenationslMC,BA,AE,DC,CBI$$)

Chill’s. A handsome burger joint. Good chili, unusual soft tacos of flour tortillas, and. best of all. long, thin, greasy french fries with the skin still on them. Always hopping – you’ll likely wait in line. (7567 Greenville Ave at Meadow Rd/361-4371/Daily 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri & Sattill2 a.m.l No reservationslMC,BA,AEI$)

The Den. A distinctive spot in the venerable old Stoneleigh Hotel with a convivial clientele of various professional types – like a seasoned Upper East Side bar. Terrific cheeseburgers, a great prime rib sandwich, chef’s specials. Dallas’ best bartending And free popcorn (2927 Maple/ 742-7111 /Restaurant: Mon-Fri 6 a.m.-9 p.m., Sat & Sun 6 a.m.-1 a.m.; Bar: Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-midnight. closed Sat & Sun/MC,DC,AE,CBI$$)

The Filling Station. The last word on motif dining. An old gas station transformed into a restaurant. Automobile paraphernalia abounds, gas pumps dispense beer at the bar, and the Mobil flying horse hovers over it all. “Ethyl,” “Regular,’ and “Low Lead” (no bun) hamburgers. No kidding. (6862 Greenville Ave near Park Lane/691-4488/ Tue-Sat 11 a.m -1 a.m., Sun & Mon till midnight/No reser-vations/MC,BA,AEI$)



D REVISITS

Houlihan’s. Almost hidden in the somewhat placid location of North-Park East (on the other side of Central Expressway), Houlihan’s continues to thrive. And,as always, there’s a reason. In spite of a menu that runs the gamut from a hot dog to duck a I’orange and touches upon most every conceivable foodstuff in between. Houlihan’s rarely misses. Of course, you’ll never get anything in the “haute” realm, but you’ll never experience the dregs either. In fact, over the course of several recent visits, we’ve been disappointed only by a lukewarm bowl of onion soup and a rather mushy version of chicken crepes And the cutesy-clutter decor is less than wondrous, but easily enough ignored. Otherwise, everything has been on the bright side: respectable quiche, very good omelettes (removed from the skillet before they turn to sponge), good burgers, a nice Boston lettuce salad, a host of rich and gooey desserts, and cappuccino from their magnificent espresso machine. However, we haven’t yet tried the hot dog or the duck. (4 NorthPark East/361-9426/Daily 11 a.m. -1:30 a.m./No reservations/MC,BA,AE,DCI$$)



Ichabod’s. Slick in the Greenville Avenue tradition, but Ichabod’s is nevertheless a very pleasant and dependable place. The key to their success is a limited menu of steaks and seafood with nothing so elaborate that the kitchen staff can’t handle it There are a few nicely imaginative touches, like a ’relish tray” of raw fresh vegetables instead of a tired salad. A nice dining area with its own entrance to separate it from the teeming swingles bar. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville/691 -2646/Lunch; Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner daily 6-11/No reservations/MC,BA,AE,DC,CB/$$)

Kirby’s. Dallas’ original steakhouse and time has only enhanced its appeal No gimmicks, waitresses of the old school, and good food values The special cut” sirloin strip is big and beatiful and the creamy garlic house dressing is alone enough for some fans. (3775 Greenville/ B23-7296ITue-Sun 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat till midnight/Re-servations/AII credit cardsl$$)

Stonaleigh P. An Oak Lawn favorite and eclectic hangout. A restoration of what was long a pharmacy – clever but not cutesy Provolone cheeseburgers on pumpernickel are the favorite among many goodies. Great magazine rack (browsing encouraged) and fabulous juke box (from Bach to Stones). (2926 Maple/741 -0824IMon-Thur 11:15-mid-night, Fri & Sat till 1:30 a.m., Sun 12-12; bar daily till 1 am , Fri & Sat till 2INo reservations/No credit cards/$)

Strictly Ta-Bu. A terrific old neighborhood bar with a mixed bag clientele The original 1948decorhas been virtually untouched and charms with its classy-tacky effect Great homemade soups and sometimes great pizza – the kitchen is rather erratic lately Also burgers, steaks, sandwiches. Live jazz most nights and an occasional free flick. (4111 Lomo- Alto/526-9325IMon-Fn 5 p.m -2 a.m . Sat 6 p. m.-1 a.m INo reseniations/MC,BAI$$)

T.G.I. Friday’s. This may be Dallas’ |unk food paradise – if junk food means luscious hamburgers (still among the best in town). a munchy concoction called “nacholupas.’ the biggest chefs salad you’ll ever see, and even rhubarb pie Good steak bargains, avoid the omelettes The place is lively as ever, with lots of swingles and a little of everything else. (Old Town. 5500 Greenvillel363-5353IDaily 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m./No reservationslMC,BA.AE/$$)



Mainly For Lunch



The Bronx. A surprisingly quiet little spot amidst the Cedar Springs sideshow The fare is simple but stylish: for example, a plate of bagels and lox with red onions and cream cheese or a pretty omelette with a bagel and a side of terrific Italian sausage Atmosphere (rustic and woody) but without coming on too strong Beer (lots of imports) and wine only (3835 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawnl521-582VDaily 11:30 a.m. 12:30 a.m., bar till 2INo reserva-tions/MCI$$)

Ciro’s. Great Sicilian-style pizza and an attractive array of elaborate sandwiches in an airy, old-time corner store at McKinney and Hall. The “wine bar” serves fine wines by the glass, the beers include some nice imports, and there’s a great hard apple cider with a real kick (3237 McKinney at Hall/745-9464IMon-Wed 11:30 a.m -3 p.m , Thur 4 Fri till midnight. Sal till 1 a.m. closed Sun/No reservations/MC/ $$)

Crackers. A refreshingly unpretentious, gimmick-free restaurant. Set in a renovated McKinney Avenue house with modest charm, though rather noisy when crowded, which it usually is at lunch With good reasons – among them excellent soups (they change daily, but the cream of broccoli and the corn chowder are particularly fine), a super-creamy quiche made with gourmandise cheese, and good hamburgers. Also a few hot entrees – the filet of sole is best The daily luncheon “surprise’ is usually unsurprising (meat loaf, roast beef) – stick to their regular fare. (2691 McKinney Ave/827-l660/Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30. Dinner Mon-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 11. closed Sun/Reservations dinner only/MC,BA/$$)

La Creperie. The courtyard patio under Cinzano umbrellas provides the nicest al fresco dining in Dallas (There are inside tables for winter or rain ) The crepes are hefty one-per-serving size, in 47 varieties, including several ratatouille and several creamed spinach versions (#13 – spinach. Italian sausage, and mushrooms). For a different dessert, try their “tortillions.” (Quadrangle. 2800 Routh/651-0506l Mon-Sat 11 a.m. -10 p.m., closed Sun/Reservations re-commended/MC,BA,DC,AEl$$)

Gallery Buffet. An expertly catered buffet table at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, featuring hearty soups, salads, homemade breads, and desserts for only $2 50. Wine extra (DMFA. Fair Parkl421-4187/Tue-Fri 11:30 am -1:30 p.m./No reservations/No credit cardsI$)

Magic Pan. A very popular place with a delicious selection of crepes, including outstanding dessert crepes Very crowded during the week, but nice for Sunday brunch or late night after-theater snacks. (NorthPark – New Mall/ 692-7574IMon- Thur 11 a.m. -midnight. Fri till 1 a.m . Sat 10 a m -1 a.m , Sun 10 a.m. -midnightlNo reservations/ MC,BA,AE,DC/$$)

Upper Crust. Homestyle specialties like chicken & dumpling and red beans & rice, plus wonderful buttermilk pie and a great buttermilk salad dressing Also sandwiches and homemade soups A casual “indoor courtyard” setting. (Olla Podnda. 12215 Coit Rdl661-5738ILunch: Mon-Sat 11-3, Dinner: Thur only, 5:30-8:30INoresenationslNo credit cards/$)

Zodiac Room. A stunning effect with salads as handsome as they are tasty, and an irresistible array of desserts – including their famous strawberry shortcake. Always crowded Wine and beer. (Neiman-Marcus. downtownl741 -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 IReserva-tions/Neiman-Marcus charge card only, checks acceptedl$$)

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