Antares. It’s probably safe to say that it really doesn’t matter whether the food at the top of Reunion tower is fairly good or fairly bad. Few people will come to this restaurant for the food. The fact that the food is good makes the whole experience that much more enjoyable (and should encourage locals to make return visits); but in essence this is a tourist restaurant. It will thrive because of where it is, not what it is. In that light, the staff and management deserve extra credit for the level of quality they’ve established here. The menu has been kept simple; there’s enough glamour in the surroundings. Things are expensive, but in an operation like this you expect otherwise? Steak, prime rib, lamb chops, etc. provide the basic fare, getting no more inventive than a steak spiced with garlic. But it is all well-prepared and graciously served, and that’s enough. The lunch menu goes in the direction of crepes, quiche, and light entrees – similarly well-devised and executed. But dinner is the best trip, and this, we think, is the best itinerary: Make dinner reservations for about 7. This will allow you some initial daylight viewing (you’ll see things you never knew existed) as you sip a pre-dinner cocktail during your first tower rotation (about one hour). Then you’ll catch a sunset, and as you move into dessert (they’re very good),; the night view will begin glittering. Fin-ish with an after-dinner drink in the even more comfortable upstairs bar. It’s a great ride. (301 Reunion Blvd/741-3663/ Lunch: Daily 11-2, Dinner: Daily 5-mid-night, Sunday 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Bar till 2 a.m. nightly/Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)
Fausto’s. Fausto’s is “the other res-taurant” at Reunion. While Antares on top of the tower is attracting most of the early notice, Fausto’s, tucked in a corner of the Hyatt-Regency’s lobby-playground, will likely achieve a more solid, long-lasting reputation. The full name here is “Fausto’s Sea Catch,” hinting at the! menu’s peculiar combination of seafood and Italian fare. It’s not quite so messy as it sounds: The Italian twist consists mainly of the spaghettini served as a side dish and a selection of Italian-style veal dishes, which seem mostly an alternative for those who don’t feel like eating fish. But the fish is really the thing here. The oys-ters are fresh, plump, and tender; they’re served in a variety of ways, but they’re best at their simplest, on the half shell. If you’re looking for an exotic appetizer, have the chopped clams, served in half shells and topped with garlic-and-shallot breading – delicious, if almost overwhelming (six large shells make a meal). The fresh trout with “pecan butter” was excellent (though ours had pecans rather than pecan butter). The fish and Italian themes come together in the crabmeat cannelloni – and the result is spectacular. Our one disappointment was the flounder; there are several kinds of fresh fish offered “naturally broiled” or “meu-nière”; our “naturally broiled” flounder came under a breaded topping that didn’t seem too natural. We couldn’t determine if that was standard style or a mistake, but the flounder itself was overcooked and mushy. More than anything, we were impressed with the service, which was nearly perfect – rare in a new restaurant. (If you have any choice, ask for a table away from the fountain – the water plops noisily and incessantly.) A trip to Fausto’s also allows for a ride in the lobby’s glass elevators (much better than the tower elevators). Here’s a trick: Go to the top and before you head down, push 18 – that will stop you suspended at the crest of the atrium, dangling high above the lobby. It’s better than anything. at Six Flags, and it’s free. (Hyatt Regency Hotel, 300 Reunion Blvd/651-1234/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; Dinner: Daily 6-11, Fri & Sat till midnight / Reservations/ All credit cards/$$$)
Hedary’s. People who’ve been clamoring for a good Middle-Eastern restaurant may have something to cheer about with the opening of Hedary’s in Fort Worth. It is certainly authentic and, on the basis of several visits, consistently good. The fun starts with the menu itself. On the inside cover is the story of the Hedary hegira from Beirut to Fort Worth, while on the back is a sampling of Lebanese folklore mixed in with the drinks and desserts. In the middle is a list of dishes with wonderfully exotic names, like Mqaniq (Arabic pork sausage) and Labni Maatoom (dry yogurt with herbs and spices). Once everyone has had a turn reading aloud, you can order. Start with one of the bread dishes, such as Ftayir (bread stuffed with cheese) or Sfiha (Lebanese pizza), accompanied by a glass of Araq, an ouzo-like beverage. The maza, a salad smorgasbord, is excellent and sufficient for an army. Among the entrees, both the Frarej (baked chicken) and the Kafta (ground sirloin served with vegetables and bread) are superior, as are the stuffed grape leaves, though the latter are not always available. The only disappointment was the Kibbi (sirloin and ground wheat) which arrived dried out and indiscriminately spiced. For dessert, try a cup of Arabic coffee, very thick and rich, and one of Antoine’s homemade pastries, also very thick and rich. Lebanese food may not be for everyone, but from the looks of things Hedary’s will probably make some converts. (3308 Fairfield, off Camp Bowie/ 817-731-6961/Sun-Thur 5-11 p.m., Fri & Sat 5 till midnight/Reservations/MC, V, AE/$$)
The Bijou. After months of lying dormant, the Bijou has reopened under new ownership and new management. There’ve been some changes – none of which, mercifully, affects the bar (which is one-half of the operation). Still handsomely decked out in its original deco-style trappings of neon, beveled mirrors, and gold palm trees, this is a beautifully designed and very comfortable live-music-and-dance bar. In the other half of the building, the restaurant, like before, suffers by comparison. Following the Bijou-moviehouse theme, with backstage props hanging from the ceiling and movie memorabilia stuck on the walls, the restaurant is a completely different world from the bar, and not nearly as engaging. The menu has been pared down to steak, burgers and sandwiches. Though a dessert extravaganza called Strawberry Castle a la Moat was noteworthy, there is really little to distinguish the place, and the music – d.j./disco-style – is too loud to permit conversation. But if the restaurant can just hold its own and allow the bar to thrive, the new Bijou may succeed where the other failed. We’ve seen this movie before, but this showing might have a happier ending. (500 Medallion Center/Northwest Hwy at Skillmanl69l-3037/Daily 5 p.m. till 5 a.m., bar 4 p.m. till 2 a.m./Reservations/MC, V, AE/$$$)
Omei. You can never really tell anything about a Chinese restaurant from the way it looks. Which is a good thing in the case of Omei, because it looks ridiculous. Housed in the strange brick building on Lemmon Avenue that was long the home of Victor’s Restaurant & Club (once famous among Oak Lawn dwellers for the most horrendously garish electric sign in the history of outdoor advertising), Omei has done little to counteract Victor’s bad taste. That means turquoise walls, air fresheners perched in the shade of plastic plants, and (surely a holdover from Victor’s) prophylactic machines in the men’s room. But no matter, because the chef here can cook. From the traditional (such as an excellent pork foo yong) to the exotic (such as prawns in “chili sauce,” which was very hot and bursting with flavor), we were impressed with the quality. The menu appears to be essentially Cantonese, but they’ve also added, in red type, a host of hot and spicy dishes, so you can really get just about anything here. There were a few letdowns (the “sliced beef in Chinese Bar-B-Q sauce” sounded appropriately weird for this place but proved to be bland), but most samplings were good. They do particularly nice work with the old standbys; for example, the steamed dumplings, served with a soy-onion-garlic sauce, are a delicious appetizer. Nothing spectacular – just good food in a goofy place. (4218 Lemmon Ave near Wycliff/52l-2650/Daily 11:30-11:30, Fri & Sat till 2 a.m./Reservations/MC, V, AE/$$)
Tips from the Waiter
It’s a riddle that Dallas doesn’t have more and better Greek cuisine than the slender offerings currently on hand. More surprising, perhaps, is that some of the best Greek dishes available locally are served at Chateaubriand, a continental restaurant. No surprise at all, really. Peter Vouras, the owner, started Chateaubriand with his parents in 1954, and the Greek connection is for real: His father came from Athens at age ten, his mother from Sparta when she was one year old. Peter’s son, currently in college, will likely take over the restaurant from his father.
Aside from dolmas and pastitsas, Chateaubriand serves veal and stuffed eggplant Greek style, as well as a rich and spicy Greek salad. What bowled us over was Grecian tips, the recipe for which now enables us to prepare this simple classic at home.
2 lbs. filet mignon sliced in medallions 1/2 inch thick
a pinch each of oregano, pepper, and salt a few drops of lemon juice
Brush a light film of oil on a hot skillet. Lightly coat the medallions with oregano, salt, and pepper (to taste). Brown the pieces very quickly, until medium rare. Strain juice from the meat. To make the butter sauce:
1 cup butter
1/4 cup chopped parsley
a pinch of oregano
1/2 clove fresh garlic, chopped
Blend above ingredients; keep stirring so spices don’t settle. Pour butter sauce over the filet, and serve over rice. Serves four.
These restaurants represent the best in Dallas dining. It is implicit that we recommend all of them highly.
These listings are revised and supplemented periodically. Visits by our critics are made anonymously to avoid preferential treatment. Inclusion in this directory has nothing whatever to do with paid advertising.
The pricing symbols used are categorical, not precise. They are intended only to indicate a general price range.
$ – Generally inexpensive. Usually indicates a good value.
$$ – Middle ground and very general. Usually indicates a menu with a wide price range.
$$$ – Expensive. You can expect to spend more than $10 for a complete meal excluding wine and cocktails.
$$$$ – Very expensive.
Unless otherwise noted, all restaurants have full bar facilities.
Credit card notations: MC – Master Charge/V – Visa/AE – American Express/DC – Diner’s Club/CB – Carte. Blanche/”AII Credit Cards” indicates that all the above are accepted.
Arthur’s. Home away from home for junior executives and the expense account set. Arthur’s sports a classy bar and a first-rate kitchen. Lunch is as solid as dinner, with hefty portions to keep the three-martini luncher on an even keel Have the magnificent calves’ liver with Canadian bacon and sautéed onions, or the sensational Tamo chops Professional service and elegance without condescension. (1000 Campbell Centrel361-8833/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: daily 6-11. Sat till midnight/ Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$)
Bagatelle. This stylish restaurant has always delighted us with its atmosphere, but never overwhelmed us with its food The kitchen is competent but not dazzling One standout is the tournedos cafe royale.” The new menu also features a rich and intriguing pheasant under glass, but you’ll have to decide whether you want to pay that much for any entree Service is sometimes well-paced, sometimes not. The companion Plaza Cafe has a rather windy outdoor dining area, and a pleasant indoor one. The food there is nothing exceptional, but it’s a nice place for a snack and a drink if you re on Greenville and don’t want to fend off singles (One Energy Square, Greenville at University/692-8224/Bagatelle Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat till 11. bar till 2; Plaza Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Dinner Mon-Sat 6-midnightlReservationslMC, V,AE.DC/$$$-$$)
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 bother?), or a sandwich of sirloin on crisp, buttery French bread During theother hours, especially lunch, the fare is mostly overpriced and undistinguished. (Fairmont Hotel, floss & Akard/ 748-5454/24 hours, seven days a weekINo reservationsl MC, V, AE, DCI$$)
Calluaud. The secret of this first-class restaurant is restraint: lust enough items on the menu for the kitchen to handle with care, light and delicate sauces, lightly cooked fresh vegetables, and an overalI reverence for the subtle pleasures of fish and veal It’s hard to make a wrong move at dinner, but be sure to start with the red snapper pate when it’s on the menu. Lunch features superb omelettes and some fine light entrees: coquilles St. Jacques, filet of sole, and a steak accompanied by the best French fries in town. Noisy when it’s crowded, and service sometimes goes astray when things get too busy. But most of the time, Calluaud is a class operation. (2917 Fairmount off Cedar Springsl742-8525ILunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30, Sat till 11, closed SundaylReservationslMC, V, AE/$$$)
Chateaubriand. A wide-ranging menu, with everything from sweetbreads to frog legs to lobster to veal parmigiana. and a high percentage of it is quite well-executed The standouts, interestingly, are the Greek specialties try the pastitsa and dolma appetizer and the “Greek veal” in a pleasant lemon-butter-oregano sauce. Chateaubriand’s old-fashioned overdressed style is not to all tastes, but service is attentive and the place is comfortable Dine early, however, for about 9 p.m. the place gets night-clubby, with noisy, mediocre “entertainment.” Lunch is nothing special. (2515 McKinney/741-1223/Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m. -midnightlReservationslAII credit cardsl$$$)
The Chimney. This soft-spoken little Continental restaurant at Willow Creek does a number of things with competence and charm. The dining room is small but not cramped; whether you sit in one of the nooks along the wall or at a table in the middle, you feel you’re dining in private. Service at the Chimney has been uniformly splendid, with waitresses who can knowledge-ably explain each dish and who will tell you whether it’s worth ordering that day. Best of all, the kitchen is careful, dependable, and innovative. Top honors go to the veal, especially the veal Zurich and veal Oscar, the latter heaped with chunks of crabmeat. The Dover sole was dry (more butter sauce needed), but the breast of chicken Parisienne was delicious. Too much salt spoiled the otherwise passable French onion soup, and salt was similarly the only distinctive thing about the cream of carrot soup. On the other hand, the thick and flavorful cream of potato was a recent soup du jour we’d recommend as a sure bet. Salads come with a marvelous house dressing or a good bleu cheese, and the fruit salad at lunch is a cornucopia of pineapple, grapefruit, strawberry, orange, and poppyseed dressing that’s hard to match. Appetizers demand caution; Both the snails and the mushrooms in the escargots bourguignonne were tough; the hollandaise on the seafood pancake, the “Chimney appetizer, ’ was too sharp, and the crepe overcooked. Lunch is first-class, from the light and flaky quiche to the tasty squash fritters. Little dishes of Grand Marnier souffle and individual stem glasses of bananas Foster make lunch-time dessert extraordinary (after dinner try the Sachertorte or Black Forest cake; the Austrian snowball is heavy, heavy). The wine list includes some interesting Austrian wines; other attractions are the terrific strawberry daiquiris (with a fresh berry and a sprig of mint) and Beck’s beer. (Willow Creek, 9739 N Cert Expwy at Walnut Hill/369-6466ILunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30; Sun brunch: 11-2/Reservationsl MC, V/$$$)
Ewald’s. Loyal regulars flock to this old standard, whose menu has changed very little over the years. The style is sort of continental home-cooking: more hearty than delicate, more homey than classy. The veal is excellent, though some preparations are over-embellished. Try the veal Papagallo with Canadian bacon and Swiss cheese or the veal Picatta-Milanese. Excellent pepper steak and Tenderloin a la Ewald. ” And a rarity – well-prepared fresh vegetables. Have a side order of spaetzli if your entree doesn’t come with it, and conclude with the Black Forest cake. No frills, but lew disappointments, either (5415 W Lovers Lnl357-1622/Mon-Fri 6-1030. Sat 6-11IReservationslMC, V/$$$)
The Grape. An old favorite with some new delights, especially at lunch, which has become more adventurous The beef dishes, particularly the tournedos béarnaise and the boeuf a la mode, are outstanding. Other delights are the escargots aux champignons and the omelette aux crevettes chinoise (with shrimp, mushrooms, and bean sprouts) The mushroom soup is famous, but the potage au Tripoli, a chickpea soup with herbs and spices, is a new winner Still hard to beat lor the money (2808 Green-villel823-0133/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30, open later or) Fri & Sat lor wine and cheese only/No reservationslMC, VI$$)
Jean Claude. A unique restaurant in that it provides culinary instruction along with first-class continental cuisine. The constantly changing menu features three hors d’oeuvres, three entrees, and three desserts each evening. Jean Claude Prevot “performs” in an open kitchen and is eager to explain his procedures. Portions are small, but their preparation is consistently excellent The fixed price is high, and the reservations-only policy means you may have to wait as long as two weeks for the chance to enjoy Jean Claude’s splendid fare. (2520 Cedar Spnngsl653-1823IDinner: 6:45-11/Reservations only/ MC, V, AEI$$$)
La Cave. The first wine bar to open in Dallas, so some visitors haven’t quite grasped the fact that they can come here and sample fine wines and then buy bottles to take home with them. Food is a secondary consideration: good salads, sandwiches, paté, and cheeses to keep you steady as you sample the wonderful array of wines. Congenial and civilized, though the wine chat can get annoyingly snobbish at times. (2926 Henderson/826-2190/ Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Fri 5:30-12, Sat till 1; open for off-premise wine sales all day/No reservationslMC. VI$)
Marcel’s. Quiet and subdued, with waiters who seem to know what they re doing, but the place is running at about quarter speed, without flair or enthusiasm The $6 95 table d’hote dinner is a bargain if you choose carefully – the Beef Wellington or the coq au vin – but appetizers, soups and salads are thoroughly ordinary at best A solid wine list and a nice selection of cheeses and desserts. All in all, the place has lost some of its luster (5721 Lovers Lnl358-2103ITue-Sun6-10:30,Fri & Sat till midnight Dosed MonlReservationslMC. V. AE. DCl$$)
Mr. Peppe. Old-timers swear by it, and it was once one of the best restaurants in Dallas But the years have not been kind, and you may find it drab rather than cozy The key word in recent years has been inconsistency When this restaurant is good, it’s very, very good. And fortunately it’s never terribly bad. Try the pepper steak, which is stunningly seasoned, and the excellent desserts; otherwise, take your chances – and good luck (5617 W Lovers Lnl352-5976IMon-Sat 6-10IReservationslMC, V, AE, DCI$$$)
Old Warsaw. Risen from its decline. La Vielle Varsovie (as it would rather be called) is once again one of Dallas’ best restaurants. The kitchen isn’t bold or imaginative, but it is consistent Start with the shrimp with shallots and Pernod sauce II the $15 price tag doesn’t deter you, have the terrine de foie gras. We also recommend the roast quail in truffle sauce, the rack of lamb, or the cote de veau And don’t ignore the waiter’s recommendations when he suggests a dessert soufflé. (2510 Maple/528-0032IDaily 6-11, Sat till midnightlReservationslMC, V, AE, DC/$$$$)
Patry’s. When the Patry family is at work, you can’t go wrong Start with the poireaux farcis (stuffed leeks) or the delicate, light, near-perfect vichyssoise, then have any of the superb entrees: a wonderful coq au vin, a filet in a flawless béarnaise, or their splendid escalope of veal. The place itself is a bit sterile except for their terrific – and very French – little bar. (2504 McKinney /748-3754/ Tue-Fri 6-11, Sat till 11:30IReservationslMC, V, AE, DCI$$$)
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 if you can pay the price. (Fairmont Hotel. Ross & Akardl748-5454/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2.30; Dinner: Daily 6-midnight/ Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$$)
lannl’s. A family-run restaurant with excellent pasta – try the baked ziti with eggplant and mozzarella or the buttery, thick tettucini lanni – and terrific appetizers. The “house specialties,” on the other hand, are nothing special. Good desserts and coffee; tacky decor (2230 Greenvillel826-6161/Daily 5:30-11 p.m./Reservations/ MC, AE/$$)
II Sorrento. Still maintaining the elusive blend of friendliness and intimacy that gives it a unique personality among Dallas restaurants. II Sorrento is competently staffed from strolling musician to head chef Its veal dishes are invariably superb, and the beef entrees – tournedos Rossini and medallions of beef frascati in particular – are outstanding An excellent wine list and a knowledgeable sommelier. And the most delightfully hoky decor in town. The only major criticism we have is that reservations sometimes get lost and you wind up waiting in the bar anyway. Fortunately, the food is worth it. (8616 Turtle Creek. North of NW Hwy/352-8759/Daily 5:30-11. Sat till midnight/Reservations except on Fri & Sat/All credit cardsl$$$)
Campiti’s. Everyone’s fantasy of the neighborhood Italian res- taurant – small, dark, and bustling, with family portraits on the wall and an army of no-nonsense waitresses. Atmosphere has to be the reason for those long waiting lines because, except for the pizza and the manicotti, the food is pretty ordinary. Mildly sophisticated dishes like veal scaloppine marsala and shrimp scampi are generally manhandled beyond recognition. The kitchen does better with staples like lasagna and ravioli, the latter homemade, but unfortunately almost everything here is drowned in a heavy, all-purpose tomato sauce that is the curse of local Italian restaurants. We don’t know where it comes from, but it’s always the same and bears only the slightest resemblance to the rich sauces of southern Italy. But on those nights when a mere semblance is all that’s required. Campisi’s will probably do well enough. At its best on a Friday night. (5610 East Mockingbird Ln/827-0355/Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-midnight, Sat till 1 a.m., Sun noon-midnight/No credit cards/Reservations lor 6 or more/$)
Italian Pavilion. An out-of-the-way location and rather garish decor are the negatives here Otherwise, the food is excellent, including the delicious hot antipasto and fine veal dishes, particularly the veal Fiorentina, with crab meat, and the veal Gaetano, with madeira sauce and mushrooms. Soups and salads are less distinguished, and the service, while pleasant, can be slow A good, moderately priced wine list and excellent cappuccino help round out the generally positive picture of Italian Pavilion. (Le Baron Hotel, 1055 Regal Flow at Carpenter Fwy/634-8550/Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11, Fri-Sat 6-11:30, closed SunlReservationslAII credit cardsl$$$)
Lombardi’s. No gimmicks. |ust a delightfully remodeled old house where they serve excellent Italian food at reasonable prices The lasagna (the lightest version imaginable) and the saltimbocca are standouts – maybe the best in town. The manicotti is made with a crepe-like pasta, the pork parmigiana is an unusual delight and the rich green noodle fettucine is outstanding. A warning on the minestrone: it is thick and flavorful but stew-like – an appetite killer. Lunch is usually less impressive than dinner. But everyone is eager to please at Lombardi’s; the service is sophisticated and responsive. (2815 Mc-Kinney Avel823-6040ILunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat till 11IReservationslMC, V, AEI$$$)
Mario’s. Elegant but not stuffy (though they do require men to wear jackets). While you wouldn’t choose Mario’s it you were in the mood for hard-core Italian food, the fettucine is excel lent, and the manicotti appetizer comes with a perfectly balanced tomato sauce. The menu ranges from a simple veal with green peppers (in which the veal can be tasted, for a change) to an elaborate Tour-nedos Heloise – artichoke hearts, paté, and mushrooms atop the tilet. A solid but not exceptional restaurant, (135 Turtle Creek Villagel521-1135IDaily 6-11, Sat till midnight/Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$)
Pietro’s. In a city without neighborhood restaurants. Pietro’s comes closest to what you’d find in, say, the North End of Boston – homestyle Sicilian cooking with scads of loyal patrons. The pasta dishes are the best bets, though Pietro’s veal scallopini à la Siciliano is excellent. Have the crème caramel for dessert. Friendly, brisk service though the “No reservations” policy means you’ll have to wait. It’s usually worth it. (5722 Richmond off Greenvillel 624-9403ITue-Thur 5:30-10 p.m., Fri & Sat till 11 p.m.lNo reservations/No credit cardsl$$)
China Inn. A competent, dependable Chinese restaurant, crowded even on weekdays. Definitely better at dinner than at lunch. Good appetizers, well-prepared sweet and sour dishes. The standouts are ginger beef, crackling with mildly hot slices of ginger, and war sue har, delicately fried shrimp with a delicious red sauce. Amiable and quick service. (6521 E NW Hwy/361-7733/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2 p.m.; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5-10:30 p.m., Fri & Sat 5-midnight; Sun 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m./Reservations tor 5 or more/MC, V, AE/$$)
Chinese Pavilion. They make few attempts at chinoiserie in the decor, preferring to save their efforts for the kitchen. The menu, identical to that of the parent restaurant, Hunan, has a whole array of terrific specialties, and it’s a good idea to trust the waiters recommendations. One recent standout has been the ambitious spicy, crispy whole fish, which comes with an ample and delicious sauce with shallots and is served on a huge platter. Lunchtime service can be grumpy and slow, and the dining room is too bright with too-loud Muzak. (2829 W. Northwest Hwyl357-5777/Sun-Thur 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri & Sat till midnightlReservations/MC, V, AEI$$)
Hunan. Still the best Szechuan restaurant in town, though there have been off-nights and the service is sometimes sullen and surly. If you get a pleasant waiter, ask him to make recommendations; if not, we have a few: Hunan lamb, pork and shrimp Hunan, sliced chicken with orange peel, and the vegetarian Buddhist delight. The pu pu tray is a reliable appetizer sampling, but we also like the hacked chicken, a dreadful name for a delightful cold chicken and cabbage dish. The San Shien soup – shrimp, peapods, noodles, etc – is practically a meal in itself. (5214 Greenville Ave/369-4578IMon- Thur 11:30 a.m-11 p.m., Fri, Sàt & Sun 11-midnightlReservations/ MC, V, AEI$$)
Mihama Ya. A family-run Japanese restaurant with a grocery up front. Terrific shrimp tempura and chicken teriyaki; delightful yakiniku, a beef and vegetable dish; and wonderful chicken kara age, marinated and deep fried. The only weak spots are the soups and the salad, and the service is sometimes charming but inscrutable. An offbeat, thoroughly delightful place. (7713 Inwood Pdl351-9491IMon-Thur 10 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Fri & Sat till 11, Sun 1-10INo reservationslMC, VI$)
Ports O’Call. With a restaurant now revolving at Reunion, Ports O’Call has lost its one claim to distinction, a spectacular aerial view from the top of downtown. Otherwise, the over-ambitious menu, which includes continental as well as Oriental dishes, has no outstanding items Portions are large, as if to make up for the bland and uninspired preparation. But the fancy fruit and rum drinks are still fun, and if you have a tourist friend who’s trapped downtown, you can recommend it for what it’s worth. (Southland Center, 2117 Live Oakl 742-2334/Lunch: Mon-Sat. 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Daily 5:30-10:30IReservationsl All credit cardsl$$$)
Royal Tokyo. This restaurant has always tended to be stronger on theatrics than on performance, and the situation hasn’t changed. In the Hibachi Room, for example, the chefs like to juggle salt shakers and chip vegetables onto your plate while preparing such dishes as hibachi shrimp (very good) and teriyaki steak (very ordinary). They also do up a number of special dinners that are strictly for the expense account crowd, meaning that they’re overpriced and uninspired. If you prefer to take your shoes off and sit on the floor – in a well, actually – you’ll be looked after by attentive kimono-clad waitresses. Try one of the sashimi (raw fish) dishes or the shabu-shabu (beef and assorted vegetables cooked in broth). Everything else falls into the fair-to-middling category, except for the yakitori and the kani-crab fingers. More distressing than the uneven quality of the food, however, is Royal Tokyo’s cavalier attitude about reservations. They’re willingly accepted, but you may still have to wait an hour or more to be seated. The only thing that moves quickly, it seems, is the liquor. If Dallas becomes more discriminating about Japanese cuisine. Royal Tokyo will have to do some tightening. The floor show just isn’t enough. (7525 Greenville Ave/368-3304/Lunch: Daily 11:30-2 except Sat: Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11:30, Fri & Sat till 11:30, Sun 5-10IReser-vations/MC, V, DC, AEI$$$)
South China. Quiet and consistent, South China continues to distinguish itself from the ever-increasing hordes of competitors. The combination appetizer plate is perhaps the best in Dallas and the Mandarin specialties that follow usually keep up the pace: fine sizzling rice soup, moo Shi pork, beef with green onion and ginger, and tantalizing sweet and sour shrimp. Black bean sauce is a favorite here – try it over the braised chicken and you’ll see why. Their new spinoff restaurant, Chu’s in Addispn. shows promise of being even better. (5424 E Mocking-birdl826-5420ILunch: Daily 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-2:30, Dinner: Mon-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-12, Sun 5-10/ Reservations/MC, V, AEI$$)
Szechuan. The Lemmon Avenue spinoff of Greenville Avenue’s Hunan restaurant does justice to the parent organization’s menu. The first page of “Chef Specialties” is special indeed. Try the Hunan Beef, River Shang Pork, House Lamb, or House Chicken. The more traditional items, such as hot and sour soup, moo shi pork, and lo mein, are also recommended. The dining room is on the stark and sterile side, and the service is sometimes charming but inarticulate. A pleasant oasis in the fast food desert. (4117 Lemmon near Douglasl521-6981/ Daily 11:30 a.m.,-11 p.m., Fri & Sat till midnightlReserva-tions on weekends/MC, V, AE, DCI$$)
Trader Vic’s. Have fun, but don’t expect anything sublime here – they cover too much ground to have any specialties except the wacky drinks (gardenias floating in rum punch, and so on). The creamed curry dishes are nice, the Indonesian lamb interesting, and the Chinese dishes varied but over-sweet. But while the mood may be fun. the prices are serious. Just have another Samoan Fog Cutter and you may not even notice. (Hilton Inn, 5600 N Cen Expwyl827-3620IDaily 5-11:30 p.m., weekends till midnight/Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$)
Gitana. In setting alone, Gitana is one of the most pleasant restaurants in town, so it’s nice to report that the food has become consistently good. Particularly the appetizers – with the ratatouille and the fried artichoke hearts as standouts. As for entrees, the paella is only average, but the shrimp dishes are excellent. Lunch features linguine and a rich fettucine, as well as some pleasant salads and sandwiches. Good wine selections and excellent sherries. Service is erratic. (3236 McKmney/521-4360/Lunch: 11-2; Dinner: 6-11; closed MonlAE, V, MCI$$)
Adelante. In the local Mexican food sweepstakes, Adelante is up there with the leaders. The tostadas arrive hot and slick with grease, the “todo nachos” really do come with just about everything, and the praline cheesecake is in a class by itself – more pudding than cake, and terrific. Among the staples, we’re partial to the guacamole; the flautas, never dried out; the chiles rellenos, always made with fresh chiles; and a special dinner called Guadalajara that consists of nachos, beef strips simmered in wine, and the makings tor roll-your-own tacos. Not too many exotic dishes here, just delightful variations on the traditional ones. Portions are extremely generous, so dieters and nibblers beware. About the only complaint that we have is that service can be very, very slow on weekends. But considering the quality of the food, it’s worth the wait. Bar by membership. (5934 Royal Ln/691-8301IMon-Thur 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri & Sat till 10 p.m., closed Sun/No reservations/MC, V, AE/$)
Chiquita. The cheeriest dining room in town, and some of the best dining, with swift service and excellent food, particularly the specialty dishes. Try the carne asada, the chiles rellenos. and the magnificent “Aztecs in a blanket.” The seafood dishes are also highly recommended. Leave room for the sopapillas. Lunch tends to be noisy and a bit rushed – the price of popularity. (3810 Congress, off Oak Lawnl521-0721Mon-Sat 11:30-11/No res-ervationslMC, V, AEI$)
El Taxco. No frills as far as ambience is concerned, but what they don’t spend on decor they must spend on food, for El Taxco serves some of the best Tex-Mex in town at prices low enough to cause a double-take. The standard stuff is excellent, but the more adventurous dishes, such as the Carne Tampiquena and the wonderfully named Tos-tadas à la McCaffrey, are well-seasoned, ample, and delicious Go when you feel laid back. (2126 N. St. Paull 742-0747ISun-Thur 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Fri & Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m.INo reservationslMCI$)
Herrera Cafe. Home-cooked Tex-Mex from two odd loca-tions The ludicrous-looking newer version on Lemmon Avenue serves the same great food as the original adobe hole-in-the-wall on Maple. But at the Lemmon location, quality is not a certainty. Visit Maple for good old fat flour tortillas hot off the grill, wonderful burritos, great guaca-mole. And the menudo is a community tradition. (3902 Maple/526-9427/Weekdays 9 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Monl No reservations/No credit cardsI$)
Javier’s. A warm and attractive restaurant that demonstrates the variety of Mexican cuisine. No Tex-Mex at all here. Javier’s has the knack of seasoning food without overpowering it. Try the Red Snapper Javier, the Garlic Shrimp Guaymas, and the Corazon de Filete (a tenderloin filet with huitlacoche crepes). For dessert have the Cajeta Crepes. They’re now serving lunch, though they haven’t quite got that act together yet. (4912 Cole Ave/521 -4211/Weekdays 11-11, Fri & Sat till 11:30, closed Sun/ReservationslMC, AE/$$).
Raphael’s. Another old favorite in a slump, though the crowds haven’t changed. On recent visits, only the chicken nachos and the rich and tangy enchiladas en mole were up to the standards this restaurant once set A little more care and a slowing down of an almost too-successful operation might cure Raphael’s ills. (3701 McKinney/ 521-9640/Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m., Sat noon-10:30, closed SunlReservations Mon-Thur onlyIMC, V, AEI$$)
India House. The only one in town, so it’s nice that this Indian restaurant is as good as it is, and that the staff is eager to introduce you to the delights of its cuisine. The Shahi House dinner will give you a bit of everything, but if you want to experiment, try the Mulligatawney soup, the Parantha Ahu (sort of like a puffed taco), the Tandoori dinner (a bright orange chicken dish), or the Bhunna dinner (lamb and rice pilau) The varieties of bread and the chutneys must be sampled A restaurant that has improved, added pungency to its offerings over the past year. (5422 E Mockingbird/832-1000/Lunch: daily 11:30-2.30; Dinner: 5-10, Fri & Sat until 11/Reservations/AII credit cardsl$$)
Goldfinger. More successful as a lively, raucous nightclub than as a restaurant, but Goldfinger does provide some of the city’s best Greek food – a woefully limited aspect of Dallas’cuisine. So, while you’re clapping and singing with the Greek musicians, try the flaming saganaki, the avgolemeno soup, the shrimp and meat kostas, and the veal venetikia. And the dolmas are a must (2905 Cridelle at W Northwest Hwy/350-6983/Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-2 a.m., Sat-Sun 6 p.m.-2 a.m./Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)
teath 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. or course, smoothies. (4356 W. Lovers Lnl692-1411/Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-9 p.m./No reservationslMC/$)
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 (80￠). A congenial spot with a German accent. (6601 Snider Plaza/363-2231IMon-Sa( 8 30-2:30. sandwiches till 5.30/No reser-vations/MC – $I5 minimumI$)
Wall’s. A small deli with a whiff – but only a faint one – of the New York style it emulates. Fortunately, the Kosher delicacies are good, but stick to them – other items, like quiche Lorraine, are inferior. The gefilte fish is good, and the chopped liver on superlative rye bread is excellent.
The cabbage soup is hearty, well-seasoned and served piping hot, and the cheese blintzes are delectable. Unfortunately, the service is alternately pushy and martyred. (10749 Preston Rd/691 -4444/Daily 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m./ No reservationslMC, v/$$)
Celebration. No-nonsense home cooking – baked trout amandine, pot roast, a huge salad, baked biscuits, three vegetables, buttermilk pie, apple cobbler. Dark and cozy, with agreeable background music, so that a lot of people make themselves at home. Beer and wine only. (4503 W. Lovers Ln/351-5681 I Mon-Fri 5:30-11, Sat till 10:30INO reservationslMC, V/$)
Dixie House. Good food, amiable service, and great drinks. The style is comfortable and casual – a great place for a lunch break, but not if you’re dieting, since the cuisine is calorie-loaded Southern style. The meat loaf, the pot roast, and the pork chops are standouts. The fried chicken is a “specialty,” but not to all tastes. The catfish is variable, and sometimes the French fries are a bit fishy Try the beer-batter-fried onion rings. Another McKinney Avenue restoration – comfortable and low-keyed, without ersatz nostalgia. (2822 McKinney/823-0071/Mon-Thur 11-11,Fri & Sat till midnight, Sun noon-11/No reser-vationslMC, V, AE/$$)
Sonny Bryan’s. A down-home and primitive barbecue joint furnished with old school desks and picnic tables. But not fake primitive – a distinctive Dallas institution. The 800 pounds of meat they’re reported to cook every day is usually gone by late afternoon. Don’t pass up the onion rings or the fries, and the crisp fresh cole slaw is great. (2202 lnwood/357-7120/Mon-Sat 6 a.m.-6 p.m., Sun 11-2INo reservations/No credit cards/$)
S & D Oyster Company. Excellent oysters and shrimp and a few broiled fish – usually snapper or trout – when they re available. They wisely avoid the fancier stuff – crab or lobster or clams – that has to be shipped in frozen. Simplicity of preparation is the key to this restaurant’s well-deserved success. For lunch, oyster loaf – fried oysters on a French roll with tartar sauce – is a good choice. For dinner, have some boiled shrimp for starters and finish off with their home-made pie. A bit noisy, but the place is for eaters as opposed to diners. Beer and wine only. (2701 McKinney near Routh/823-6350/Mon-Thur 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri & Sat till 11. closed Sun/No reservations/MC/$$)
Steaks, Burgers, Etc.
Chili’s. Terrific enormous hamburgers, great spicy chili, and wonderful French fries at wonderful prices. The Terlin-gua special, embellished with everything in the house, shows you what they can do. If you’re feeling more conservative, have the Old Timer. You’ll have to wait, day or night, but it’s worth it, and once you’re inside, the service is speedy. (7567 Greenville Ave at Meadow Rd/361-4371/Daily 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri & Sat till 2 a.m.lNo res-ervations/MC/$)
Houlihan’s. Unlike some of its Greenville Avenue neighbors, Houlihan’s takes itself seriously as a restaurant. For starters, have the fried zucchini strips or the boiled spiced shimp with red sauce. Try the gazpacho, which is available with gin and vermouth as a sort of Spanish martini. You’ll fare best among the burgers and omelettes and steaks, but the roast duck with orange sauce is surprisingly good. Desserts look tempting but are mediocre. Since you’ll probably have to wait in the bar, it’s nice that the drinks are excellent. (4 NorthPatk Eastl361-9426/ Daily 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m.INo reservationslMC, V, AE, DC/$$)
Kirby’s. Simply astonishing steaks at prices that will please if not astonish you. Kirby’s is the only place to think of if all you want is a steak. It has some other things going for it: great baked potatoes, a battery of motherly waitresses, and a Fifties-style decor that’s funky without trying to be. But the main thing here is the beef. (3775 Greenville/ 823-7296/Tue-Sun 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat till midnight/ Reservations/All credit cards/$$)
Stoneleigh P. A made-over drugstore, with two very popular items on the menu – lentil soup and a cheeseburger on dark rye bun with provolone cheese. Other standouts include a broiled boneless chicken and a sausage sandwich. The Godiva chocolate pie is great for dessert. Check out the eclectic jukebox – everything from classical to country – and the marvelous magazine rack.
(2926 Maplel741-0824/Mon-Thur 11:15-midntght, Fri & Sat till 1:30 a.m., Sun 12-12; bar daily till 1 a.m.,Fri&Sat till 2INo reservations/No credit cardsI$)
Strictly Ta-Bu. Old and intentionally tacky, but nice. Basically, it’s a neighborhood bar. with fair to excellent food – especially the pizza (which is, however, small and expensive) and burgers. For a change try the Ta-Bu special, a ham, turkey, bacon and cheese sandwich with thousand island dressing on a rye bun. But most people come here for the jazz and the beer and the pizza, so don’t expect more than that. (4111 Lomo Altol526-9325IMon-Fri5p.m,-2a.m., Sat 6 p.m.-1 a.m./Noreservations/MC, v/$$)
T.G.I. Friday’s. This may be Dallas’ junk food paradise – if junk food means luscious hamburgers (still among the best in town), a munchy concoction called “nacholupas,” the biggest salad you’ll ever see. and even rhubarb pie. Good steak bargains; much-improved omelettes; and the half chicken is a superb meal. 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 reservations/MC, V, AEI$$)
Mainly For Lunch
Ciro’s. An unpretentious spot with bountiful fancy sandwiches, excel lent quiches (try the artichoke or the asparagus) and tasty soups Definitely a lunch spot, though the nights they re open for dinner they add a few entrees. Service has been spacy lately, but when it’s on the ball you can have a pleasant time sampling a selection of fine wines by the glass. Try the homemade pastries, especially anything with dates in it. (3237 McKinney at Hall/745-9464IMon-Wed 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Thur & Fri till midnight, Sat. till 1 a.m., closed SunINo reservations/ MCI$)
Gallery Buffet. One of the best lunch bargains around, the Gallery Buffet in the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts is faultlessly catered by the Museum League. The standard feature, a hearty soup, changes weekly, but there’s always salad, homemade bread, dessert, coffee, tea, and wine if you want it. Of the splendid soups they serve we’ve had a taste of a superior chicken gumbo, a delicious potato-leek, and an exotic and aromatic mulligatawny. The bread comes fresh and warm from the oven, and one recent salad apparently contained about half the Valley’s avocado crop. You can go back for seconds even on dessert, though dessert is definitely the low point of the meal. We had too-sweet, too-dry coconut cake, and a blah, sweetish peach cobbler with canned peaches. The cook should either do a better job of baking, or give up on dessert and serve fresh fruit. Red wine or chablis is optional and comes by glass or carafe. The dining room is airy and spacious, and prints from the museum’s collection serve as decor. (DMFA, Fair Park/421-4187/Tue-Fri 11:30 a.m -1:30 p.m.INo reservations/No credit cardsl$)
The Magic Pan. Yes. it’s a chain restaurant, and sometimes it shows. Fortunately, the crepes themselves are very good, even if the soups and salads that precede and/or accompany them are thoroughly ordinary. Try the creamed chicken crepes with a sprinkling of parmesan. And tor dessert, have the Chantilly – banana slices in a stunning sauce topped with real whipped cream and toasted almond slivers. That alone explains why there’s always a line halfway down NorthPark Mall. (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. -midnight/No res-ervationslMC, V, AE, DCI$$)
The Zodiac Room. A local institution that has begun to lack luster, though loyalists still flock there. Lunch is better than the Thursday buffet. When things are going right, the hot popovers, the cream of spinach soup, the sea and garden salad, and the vanilla ice cream ball with phenomenal hot fudge sauce are stunning. But things don’t always go right, so you’ll have to decide tor yourself whether the Zodiac is a tradition worth observing. (Nei-man-Marcus, downtown/741-6911/Mon-Sat 10:30 a.m.-2:30pm . teatime daily 3-5 p.m. except Thur 2:30-3:30; Thur dinner 5-7 p.m.lReservationslNeiman-Marcus charge card only, checks acceptedl$$)
The Bronx. Benches for two, tattered magazines for browsing, and usually quick and friendly service make lunch at the Bronx a treat. The soup of the day is usually reliable, though the beer and cheese soup recently suffered from an excess of salt. The oil and vinegar in the salad dressing should be mixed together, but the gua-camole and spinach salads are excellent. The burritos have a nice meaty filling and authentic cheese sauce; the mushroom omelette, loaded with mushrooms, comes with a side order of homemade Italian sausage; mushroom meat loaf comes in a large serving. The dinner menu, posted on the chalkboard, changes nightly. Recent selections were a subtly tangy curried chicken with rice and a peach half, and a spicy shrimp jambalaya, cooked with ham, tomatoes, celery, and peppers. Both come with a dinner salad of lettuce, tomatoes, onion, mushrooms, and grated cheese, almost a meal in itself – you’ll never leave the Bronx hungry. The jumbo shrimp, boiled in their shells for a peel-and-eat party, are good any time. Don’t miss the creamy, improbably rich chocolate mousse topped with whipped cream and nuts. If you can’t finish the mousse on the premises, they’ll package it to take home (it’s great for a dissolute breakfast). If you’re clean-living, finish up with coffee, a blend of French roast and mocha. (3835 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn/521 -5821 /Daily 11:30-12:30 a.m., bar till 2/No reservations/MCI$$)
Fort Worth Restaurants
The Balcony. Perched in the second story of a shopping center. The Balcony serves well-prepared but not extraordinary food. Standouts are the onion soup; a red snapper prepared with crab, lobster, and a subtle mushroom sauce; and a pleasant veal dish served with Wisconsin cheese. (6100 Camp Bowie Blvdl(817) 731 -3719/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Daily 6-11IReservationslMC, V, AEI$$$)
Angelo’s. A rambling patchwork shack with sawdust on the floor and patrons wearing gingham dresses or shirts with mother-of-pearl buttons. The atmosphere is right, and so is the barbecue. You’ll never find better spare ribs or more tender beet. The prices are a bit steep, though the beer is a bargain (have the medium – the large looks like more glass and less beer). Beer prices double after 10 p.m., so they must know the beer is a steal. (2533 White Settlement Rdl(817) 332-0357/Mon-Sat 11-10/No reservations/No credit cardsl$)
Carriage House. Remodeling has helped this restaurant’s atmosphere, but they need to remodel the kitchen staff. too What a restaurant this would be it every dish were as good as some of the beef dishes, especially the excellent Chateaubriand or the fork-tender filet mignon. A lack of finesse mars everything else, especially the seafood and the desserts. The service is unassuming and expert – too bad its professionalism isn’t found in the kitchen (5236 Camp Bowie/(817) 732-2873/Lunch Sun-Fri 11-2; Dinner Daily 6-11/ReservationslMC, V, AE/$$$)
Cattleman’s. 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 fries (“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 Sun/Reserva-tions/All credit cards/$$)
Old Swiss House. Dependable but not dazzling. The veal dishes, though on the heavy side, are the recommended house specialties. The veau Zurichoise, for instance, is tasty but immobilizing. The veau aux champignons is simpler and more delicate. Excellent filet mignon and good fish dishes, including a lovely Nova Scotia salmon appetizer It’s a Fort Worth institution, but it’s also rather stuffy, though the fresh flowers and the slice of lime in each glass give the place a gracious air. The extensive wine list is strong in Californias and the service is quick and polished. (5412 Camp Bowie/817-738-8091/Mon-Thur6-10. Fri & Sat till 10:30, closed Sun/Reservations/MC, V, DC, AEI$$$)