Food and Spirits DINING OUT

Newcomers



French Colony. The idea of a French restaurant in Oak Cliff may be a strange one, but our first reaction was that it was a good one, too. After all, why not? Liquor laws haven’t precluded the building of high-level restaurants in other parts of Dallas, far north being the best example. And with no competition in Oak Cliff and a ready clientele, the venture seemed to sport good financial odds. Furthermore, the French Colony established itself in an accessible location near the heart of Oak Cliff, turned an old frame house into an attractive multi-roomed restaurant, and hired a friendly, hard-working staff. But there the success story ends – at the door to the kitchen. There’s really little need to go into the unhappy details, but samples have ranged from a frightful concoction called Chicken Pontalba to a tasteless bourguignonne (How do you pronouce that?” asked the waiter) to a tournedos Rossini that didn’t deserve the name to a strawberry shortcake with two (count ’em, two) strawberries. The best thing we can say is that from our first lunch visit to our last dinner visit three weeks later, there was some improvement, but not much. We still think it’s a good idea for Oak Cliff, but even the most ardent neighborhood loyalists are not likely to continue their support unless the food gets better. A lot better. (415 W. 12th St. near Zangsl941-4304/ Daily 9 a.m-10 p.m., closed Mon/Reser-cationsl/MC, V, AE/$$)



Cork ’n’ Cleaver. It’s easy to make jokes about steak-and-salad-bar restaurants. But let’s face it, sometimes they hit the spot. When all you’re looking for is a good cut of meat and a big fresh salad, the concept is too appropriate to ignore. Unfortunately, the options along these lines have generally been limited to dining in a boxcar or eating bad food. Until Cork V Cleaver. Yes, it’s a suspicious name; yes, it’s part of a national chain; yes, they do hokey things like print the menu on a meat cleaver and bring the wine list inside an empty magnum of champagne; and, yes, it has a slightly cloying “Colorado” motif, including a backpack nailed to one wall of the bar. But no matter, because they serve excellent, incredibly thick steaks, and some beautiful prime rib (including a huge bone-in cut) – and offer seconds. The salad bar is among the best, with such extras as cottage cheese, fresh raw mushrooms and cauliflower, black olives, and bean sprouts. This place is good, no joke. (8080 N. Cen. Expwy. at Caruth Haven/ 361-8808/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Dinner: daily 5:30-11:30, till 12:30 on weekends/Reservations/MC, V, AE, DCI$$)



Fuji-Ya. One of the more intriguing developments on the Dallas dining scene these days is the emergence of a number of small, Mom & Pop Japanese restaurants. One of the best of this group is Fuji-Ya, located just north of LBJ on Coit Road. From the outside it could pass for a sub shop, but inside there are a few modest Oriental touches, such as screened booths and the ubiquitous red lanterns. They tend to stick to basics here, but the food is substantial and well-prepared. Excellent shrimp tempura and chicken teriyaki, equally fine Yosenabe (vegetables, chicken, and seafood in broth) and Yakisoba, a pan-fried noodle dish with beef and vegetables. One test of good Japanese cuisine is being able to distinguish all the subtle individual flavors, and at Fuji-Ya they seem to have the delicate touch – nothing talks back to you. At lunch the menu is considerably more limited, mostly teriyaki and tempura dishes, but all come wth rice and kakiage, a delightful fried vegetable concoction. The egg rolls and the yakitori, grilled chicken teriyaki on a skewer, are also outstanding. (Note: you can’t get a drink with your meal here.) (13050 Coil Rd/ 690-8396/Tues-Sun 11-11, closed Mon/ No reservations/MC, V/$$)



La Truite. Dallas has long been begging for a first-rate seafood restaurant. It still is. La Truite serves some fine seafood, but it is not a fine seafood restaurant. Take, for example, the lunchtime buffet. Despite reservations, we were seated at a bar table the size of a half-dollar because all dining room tables were occupied. There was no guidance to the buffet, no silverware (we eventually found some ourselves on a corner of the bar), and our cocktail waitress finally had to clear the plates. But at the buffet table we found, amidst a few lesser lights, some large and delicious boiled shrimp and crab legs on ice, very good broiled sea bass and red snapper (fresh and hot despite warming trays), and a big, beautiful, two-foot-long salmon (on the dry side, but an impressive specimen nevertheless). Dinner was a repeat performance. We were served by three different waiters, but nobody seemed in charge. One waiter tried to pass off a seafood mousse as the brochette we’d ordered, coffee took 25 minutes to arrive, our salads never arrived, and our water glasses were once refilled with iced tea. (Such mishaps can often be attributed to jitters of a new operation; a far less excusable problem is the criminally overpriced wine list.) But again, we were treated to excellent fish, including a cold plate of flavorful smoked trout and salmon (actually lox, and as good as we’ve had in Dallas), a respectable if slightly bland Coquilles St. Jacques, and and interesting lobster bisque with cognac. The Dover Sole Meunière with mushrooms was wonderful and, while it seems a shame there aren’t more straight-forward dishes like the sole (if your fish is good, keep it simple), the elaborate trout “sauteed with seafood” was still quite good. (If the one meat entree sampled was any indication – a tough, dull roast sirloin in bordelaise – be advised to stick with the fish.) La Truite (The Trout) was spawned by the people who produced Papillon and Farfallo; like the former, La Truite is expensively appointed but lacks warmth and character. Still, somebody in this kitchen understands the preparation of fish and somebody knows how to bring it in fresh; they may be able to ride those virtues a long way. (5111 Greenville at Lovers/739-0033/ Lunch: Mon-Fri Three Vikings. When we first visited here, this unknown, understated little restaurant was still in the hidden treasure category. By the time you read this, the secret will probably be out. Three Vikings is run by a delightful Swedish family – father, mother, son (who serves as chef), and daughter-in-law. Though they call it a Scandinavian restaurant, the menu is generally continental graced with Scandinavian touches. So far, everything we have to say about it is good. Best things first: The charcoal-grilled salmon steak with dill sauce is an exceptional fish dish, the roast duck in almond sauce is delicate and delicious, the veal tips in dill and herb sauce are an inspired treat, and the fresh green beans served on one visit were the most pleasing restaurant vegetable we’ve tasted in years. Also recommended are the veal Oscar, the Swedish steak, the pork “Viking style” (layered with prune and apple – don’t order it if you’re not fond of sweets with your meat), the shrimp chowder, and their great potato pancakes and potato-bread rolls. They also serve a daily fresh fish (seasonal) such as sea bass or red fish. Even the desserts deserve praise: The chocolate cheese pie is an original and the Hov (a simple ice cream dish) is highlighted by excellent crunchy homemade meringue. Our only complaint is a sadly limited wine list. The place itself is plain but warm, with a rustic charm you can pretend is Nordic. Located in a suddenly thriving stretch of lower Greenville Avenue, Three Vikings will, we suspect, add to this neighborhood’s renaissance. It was a nice secret while it lasted. (2831 Greenville Ave at Goodwin/827-6770/ Mon-Sat 6-11/ Reservations/MC, V, AE\$$$)



RecipePerfecto Blend



New restaurants can live or die by their word-of-mouth reputation. When Javier’s opened last summer, the word quickly spread that this experiment in “gourmet mexicano,” despite some initial uneven-ness, was succeeding in its attempt to uplift the level of Mexican cuisine in Dallas. People talked about the subtly prepared red snapper, the innovative sauces, not to mention the gifted guitarist-waiter. But whatever anybody said about Javier’s, you could bet that sooner or later they’d mention the dessert that seemed to clinch the restaurant’s blossoming reputation: mango custard.

We ate at Javier’s and we liked it, and we went back one day to see if the chef would part with some of his recipes. We talked first to the owner, Javier Gutierrez, a bright, savvy, 27-year-old native of Mexico City. A resident of Dallas since 1962, he says he started his restaurant to show that Mexican food has much more to it than the Tex-Mex that Americans judge it by. Javier chose the authentic Mexican colonial antiques to give the place an atmosphere that goes farther than just “south of the border,” back in time to the French influence. He also keeps a close eye on what comes out of the kitchen, since many of his dishes originated in collaboration with his chef, the Austin-born, Navy-trained, former cook at the Beverly Hills Hotel, the irrepressible Perfecto Luna.

So we asked Mr. Luna if he’d divulge some of his secrets. Problem was, he said, there was this “man in Houston” who wanted to market his sauces, so he really couldn’t give us those. Well, all right, we asked what can you give us? Ah, he said, how about the mango custard? Done, we said. This scrumptious concoction, a creation of Javier’s mother, is very, very easy, and will effortlessly spread the word among your guests about the gourmet touch you give your desserts. Javier recommends the Herdez brand of canned mangoes, which are available at Hernandez Grocery, 2120 Alamo, and Mongaras Grocery, 4338 Maple. Javier also sells the mangoes at his restaurant.



1 30-oz. can mangoes in heavy syrup

2 oz. condensed milk2 oz. evaporated milk

1 T. brandy or Amaretto



Pour the juice off the mangoes. Put mangoes and other ingredients into a blender. Chill and serve. Makes 8-10 servings.

Recommended Restaurants



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.



Continental



Arthur’s. Home away from home for junior executives and the expense account set Arthurs 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 sauteed onions, or the sensational lamb chops Professional service and elegance without condescension. (1000 Campbell Centre/361 -8833ILunch: 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 tor 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 it you’re on Greenville and don’t want to fend off singles (One Energy Square, Greenville at Universityl692-8224IBagatelle: 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-midmght/ReservationslMC, V,AE,DCI$$$-$$)

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 the other hours, especially lunch, the tare is mostly overpriced and undistinguished (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akardl 748-5454/24 hours, seven days a weekINo reservations! MC. V, AE, DCI$$)

Chablis. An unstuffy French restaurant that’s the equal of some higher-priced continental places in town. The French onion soup is one of the best in town, as is the pepper steak. Lunch is less interesting than dinner, though the quiche has well-balanced ingredients and a light crust. The weakest spot are the appetizers – best to pass them up and start the meal with the complimentary rillettes. Excellent creme caramel, apple pie with brandy butter, and chocolate mousse. Service is prompt and unobtrusive. (120 Quadrangle. 2800 Routhl522-0910l Lunch: 11:30-2:30. Dinner. Mon-Thur 6-11. Fri & Sat till midnight, closed Sun/Reservations on weekendslMC. V, AE, DCI$$$)



D REVISITS

Calluaud. Being both imaginative and consistently good is a trick that few restaurants in town have mastered. Calluaud is one of them The secret is restraint and understatement. Not too many items at any one time and not too much hanky-panky in the kitchen. Sauces tend to be light and delicate, vegetables slightly undercooked, and there’s an overall reverence for the subtle pleasures of fish and veal. You could argue all evening over whether the Veau Normand or the Filet of Dover Sole deserves top billing. Best to try both. Or the roast duck, or the quaiI, or the red snapper, or… WelI. you get the picture. It’s hard to make a wrong move here. At lunch we rarely get past the omelettes, although last time we did sample the Coquilles St. Jacques. Superb. From time to time there’s also a red snapper pate – sounds terrible, but is actually a delight. For dessert there are wonderful fruit tarts and, at night, profiteroles, tiny pastry shells filled with ice cream and covered with a luscious chocolate sauce. On busy nights Calluaud can be a very noisy place, and on one recent visit we were practically forgotten at a corner table. That’s unusual, however – most of the time Calluaud is a class operation from top to bottom. (2917 Fairmount off Cedar Springsl742-85251 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Fn 6:30-10:30; Sat till 11, closed Sunday/Res-ervations/MC, V, AEI$$$)



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 11:30a.m. -mianightlReservations/AII credit cardsl$$$;

The Chimney. An unpretentious Swiss-Austrian restaurant that specializes in excellent veal, ranging from a simple lemon veal to more extravagant preparations. Also one of the few places where you can have venison And for dessert, have the excellent home-made cheesecake At lunch, the fare is strictly ladies’ tearoom, though it’s one of the best of its kind. Attentive service, and a nice atmosphere (though the piano is placed too close to some of the tables to make conversation comfortable) (Willow Creek, 9739 N Cen Expwy at Walnut Hill/369-6466ILunch Tue-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30. Sun brunch 11-2/ReservationslMC, AE, DCI$S$)

Ewald’t. 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 ex-cellent, 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 few disappointments, either (5415 W Lovers Ln/357-1622/Mon-Fri 6-10:30. Sat 6-11/Reservations/MC. VI$$$)

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 del lights 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-villel823-0133ILunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner Tue-Sun 6-10:30, open later on Fri & Sat lor wine and cheese only /No Reservations/MC. Vl$$)

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 Claudes splendid fare. (2520 Cedar Springs/653-1823IDinner: 6:45-11/Reservations only/ MC, V, AEI$$$)

La Cave. The first wine bar to open in Dallas, so some visitors haven’t quite caught on 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, pate, and cheeses to keep you steady as you sample the wonderful array of wines Con-genial and cjvilized, though the wine chat can get an-noyingly snobbish at times. (2926 Henderson/826-21901 Lunch: Mon-Sat 11 -2:30: Dinner: Mon-Fri 5:30-12, Sat till 1; open lor oil-premise wine sales all day/No reserva-lions/MC. VIS)

Le Bistro. Its impossible not to like this place, with its sophisticated renovation of an old Oak Lawn house and its excellent service, but there’s something lacking in the kitchen. Appetizers and salaes are Tlent. especially the escargots and the BTstro’ with avocado and fresh mushroom entrees often come to the table over- or under-cooked, and carelessly seasoned Too bad, bedause have the right idea: offer a limited range entrees Maybe they’re learning and maybe they’re get it right some day Meanwhile, we keep hoping (3716 Bowser,just off Oak Lawnl528-4181/Tue-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat 6-11; Sun 6-10/Reservations/MC, V, AE/$$$)

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. a place that has lost some its luster (5721 Lovers Ln/3S8-2103ITue-Sun6-10:30. Fri & Sat till midnight Closed MonlReservations/MC, V, AE. DC/$$)

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, DC/$$$)

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. If 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/528-00321 Daily 6-11, Sal till midnightlReservations/MC. V, AE, DCI$$$$)

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 McKmney/748-37541 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 & Akard/748-5454I Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Daily 6-midnight/ Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$$)

Italian



Camplsi’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 plateful of sausage and peppers. Warm (in fact steamy) and wonderful – and always a waiting line to prove it (5610 E Mockingbird/827-0355/Mon-Fri 11 a..m.-midnight. Sal till 1 a.m., Sun noon-midnight/No credit cards Checks accepted/Reservations lor 6 or morel$)



D REVISITS

lanni’s. This family-run restaurant has anchored down Italian cuisine on lower Greenville for a long time. But longstanding popularity, we have found, doesn’t mean you don’t have to know your way around the menu For example, you should never skip appetizers at lanni’s Gold stars here go to the stuffed mushrooms filled with herbs, spices, and crab meat; the terrific manicotti, loaded with ricotta and other cheeses and sauce; and a fabulous eggplant parmigiana. Not so good is the stuffed artichoke, whose stuffing was so dry the bread crumbs rolled right off. Pasta dishes, whether as appetizers or entrees, are lanni’s forte. Standouts are the baked ziti with fresh eggplant and mozzarella, cooked perfectly a/ dente. and the buttery, thick fettucini lanni. Most of the house specialties are uninspired or just plain bad. Skip the pizza; it’s thin and hard. For dessert, go for the tortoni or cassata; the cappuccino is high-octane and they also brew a great cup of coffee. (2230 Greenvillel826-61611 Daily 5:30-11 p.m./Reservations/MC. AEI$$)



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 wait is worth it (8616 Turtle Creek, North of NW Hwy/352-8759IDaily 5:30-11, Sat till midntghtlRéservations except on Fri & Sat/All credit cardsl$SS)

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/634-6550/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11. Fri-Sat 6-11:30, closed Sun/Reservations/AII credit cardsl$$$)

Lombard!’s. No gimmicks, lust 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-Kmney Avel823-6040/Lunch Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner. Mon-Thur 6-10:30. Fri & Sat till 11/Reservations/MC, V. AE/$$$)

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 a 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 Greenville/ 824-9403ITue-Thur 5:30-10p.m.,Fri&Sat till 11 p.m./No reservations/No credit cardsl$S)



D REVISITS

Mario’s. The least heralded of the Universal Restaurants triumvirate (which includes Old Warsaw and Arthur’s), Mario’s nonetheless has no trouble preserving its quiet but solid reputation. Perhaps Mario’s greatest virtue is its flexibility. It serves well as either a place for intimate conversation or large-party dining. And while it is undeniably an elegant restaurant, it isn’t stuffy (though recently one of us was asked to don the house sport coat when he arrived without). Flexibility extends to the menu. On one extreme is the heavily embellished Tournedos Heloise, with artichoke hearts, pǎté, and mushrooms providing an amazing mix of flavors, more fun than sophisticated really. At the other extreme is the veal with green peppers (plus a few mushrooms), a good spartan dish that, for a change, allows veal to be tasted And while you probably wouldn’t choose Mario’s if you were in the mood for hardcore Italian food, they do serve an excellent, sweet, rich fettucine and a manicotti appetizer in a perfectly balanced tomato sauce that give this kitchen some down-home Italian credibility. Except for one instance of old, nearly spoiled vichyssoise. our recent visits to Mario’s have been as solid as always. (135 Turtle Creek Village/521 -1135/Daily 6-11. Sat till midnight! Reservations/All credit cardsl$$$)



Oriental



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/361-7733I Lunch: Mon-Fri 11 -2 p.m.;Dinner:Mon-Thur 5-10:30p.m., Fri & Sat 5-midnight; Sun 11 a.m.-10:30 p.m. /Reservations lor 5 or morelMC. V, AEI$$)

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 waiter’s 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 Hwy/357-5777/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 tc 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 tor a delightful cold chicken and cabbage dish. The San Shien soup – shrimp, peapods, noodles, etc. – is practically a meal in itself. (5214 Greenville Ave/369-4578/Mon-Thur 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri, Sat & Sun 11-midnight/Reservations/ MC, V, AE($$)

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 Oak/742-2334/Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30: Dinner: Daily 5.30-10:30/Reservations/ All credit cards/$$$)

Royal Tokyo. As far as service and consistency of cuisine are 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 Avel368-3304.Lunch Daily 11:30-2. except Sat. Dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat till 11:30. Sun 5-10/ReservationslMC. V. AE. DCI$$$)



D REVISITS

Mihama Ya. Mihama Ya has re-ntly moved from its lean-to in the middle of Inwood Village to posher quarters formerly occupied by Jimmie and Eddy’s. Fortunately, that’s about the only thing that’s changed. The grocery is still up front, plentifully stocked with everything from fortune cookies to dried squids, family members continue to greet you with warm smiles; best of all, the food remains outstanding The shrimp tempura and the chicken teriyaki are terrific, but if you want to stray from familiar paths you might try the Yaki-niku, a beef and vegetable dish with a delightful sauce, or the chicken kara age, a marinated and deep-fried wonder that would bring tears to the eyes of Colonel Sanders. There’s also a good selection of sushi (vinegared rice) dishes, the most intriguing of which is Norimaki. sushi rice and vegetables rolled in seaweed. Can’t find that at Tom Thumb. As for the gyoza, they’re great. The only weak spots at the moment are the soups (no zip), and the salad (droopy iceberg lettuce). On a busy night service can become surreal, but there’s usually somebody around to reassure you that with patience all things are possible An off-beat, thoroughly delightful place.(7773 Inwood fid/351-9491/Mon-ThurWa.m.-10:30p.m.,Fri&Sattill 11. Sunday 1-10INo reservationslMC, V/S)



South China. Quret and consistent, South China continues to distinguish itself from the ever-increasing hordes of competitors. The combination appetizer plate is perhaps the best in Dal las 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 Addison, shows promise of being even better (5424 E Mocking-bird/826-5420/Lunch: Daily 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-2 30; Dinner Mon-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-12, Sun 5-10/ ReservationslMC, V. AEI$$)

Szechuan. The Lemmon Avenue spinoff of Greenville Ave-nue’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 Douglas/521 -6981/ Daily 11:30 a.m. -11 p.m. , Fri & Sat till midnightlReserva-lions 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 spe-ciaities except the wacky drinks (garaemas hoating 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 Expwy/827-3620fDaily 5-11:30 p.m., weekends till midnight!’Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)



Spanish



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 tried 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 McKinney/521-4360/Lunch: 11-2; Dinner: 6-11; closed MonlAE. V, MC/$$)

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 tostadas made on the spot, nachos buried in fresh relishes, flautas with fabulous guacamole, delicate green chile quiche, and an egg and tortilla dish called Chila-quiles” – both subtle and exotic And don’t pass up the unbelievable praline cheesecake Bar “by membership.” (5934 Royal Ln/691-8301/Mon-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 came 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 Lawn/521-0721/Mon-Sat 11:30-11INo res-ervationslMC, V. AE/$)

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 I ampiquena ana me wonaenuny named -tadas a la McCaffrey, are well-seasoned, ample, and delicious Go when you feel laid back. (2126 N. St. Paull 742-0747/Wed-Mon 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., closed TueINo reservationslMCI$)

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 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 Mon/ No reservations/No credit cards/$)

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 Avel521-4211/Weekdays 11-11,Fri & Sat till 11:30. closed Sun/Reservations/MC, AEI$$I

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 Sun/Reservations Mon-Thur only/MC. V, AE/$$)



Indian



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 Tandoon 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/ All credit cards/$$)



Greek



Goldflnger. 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 cardsl$$$)

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, or course, smoothies. (4356 W. Lovers Lnl692-1411lMon-Sal 11 a.m.-9 p.m./No reservations/MC/$)



Delicatessens



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/363-2231/Mon-Sat 8:30-2:30. sandwiches Ml 5.30/No reser-vations/MC – $15 minimumI$)



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 reservations/MC, V/$$)



Southern Specialties



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/Mon-Fri 5:30-11, Sat till 10:30/No reservations/MC, 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. (2622 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 p.m.,-6 p.m., Sun 11-2/No reservations/No credit cards/$)



Seafood



S & D Oyster Company. Excel lent oysters and shrimp and a lew 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/823-6350IMon-Thur 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri & St till 11, closed Sun/No reservations/MC/$$)



Steaks, Burgers, Etc.



Chill’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/361-437IIDaily 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri & Sat till 2 a.m. /No res-ervationslMCIS)



D REVISITS

Houlihan’s. It’s easy to lump Hou-lihan’s with its look-alikes on Greenville’s Swingles Alley, but there’s more to this attractive, sassy establishment than meets the eye. First of all, Houlihan’s takes itself seriously as a restaurant, and the fare is excellent practically across the board. For starters we recommend the tasty fried zucchini strips or the boiled spiced shrimp with red sauce Don’t miss the cold gazpacho, which is also available with gin and vermouth, in a sort of Spanish martini. The salads are excellent, particularly the fresh spinach, dressed lightly and to perfection. You can order a burger rare if you like because the meat is impeccable, and the French fries are among the best in town. You’ll fare best, in fact, among the burgers and omelettes and steaks. Among the specialties, our shrimp stuffed with crabmeat was heavy, overloaded with a low-taste mornay sauce. But the duck was fine, a tender, lean, delicately flavored fowl served with really good orange sauce. Pass up the desserts. They look tempting, but prove to be mediocre, though the espresso is terrific. Houlihan’s is always crowded but a wait in the bar is pleasant, especially if you indulge in a great strawberry daiquiri with fresh berries or a Pimm’s cup – but all the drinks are good. A warm and convivial dining experience. (4 NorthPark East/361 -9426/Daily 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m./No reservations/ MC, V, AE, DCI$$)



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 tor dessert. Check out the eclectic jukebox – everything from classical to country – and the marvelous magazine rack. (2926 Maple/741 -0824/Mon-Thur 11:15-midnight, Fri & Sat till 1:30 a.m., Sun 12-12. bar daily till 1 a.m., Fri & Sat till 2/No reservations/No credit cardsl$)



D REVISITS

Ichabod’s. Used to be that you could count on Ichabod’s to get at least the simple things right – a sirloin steak, for instance, or a platter of baked shrimp. Now even this seems beyond the kitchen’s capacity. It’s difficult to pinpoint the reason for the decline, but it certainly is dramatic. Our Steak Felix, a house specialty, was inedible, over-cooked and rolled in enough peppercorns to pop every filling in your head The Red Fish Ponchetrain, another specialty, wasn’t much better, dry and tasteless to the point that not even the mushroom and crabmeat sauce, which was excellent, could save it. Assuming that we’d just hit an off night, we returned several days later, this time for lunch. “We’re fresh out of roast beef.” the waiter announced, thereby taking care of most of the menu. We finally settled for a chef’s salad, only average, and an Ichabod’s Burger with cheese, worth mentioning only for the sourdough bread What made the whole experience even more irritating was the blase attitude of the staff. Service was slow, orders were repeatedly scrambled, half the tables weren’t bussed. One might be inclined to forgive this sort of thing in a brand new restaurant, but not at a veteran establishment. Ichabod’s needs a new script, the first line of which should read, “Shake Well.” (Old Town. 5500 Greenville Ave/ 691-2646/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: daily 6-11 /No reservations/All credit cards/$$)

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 cardsl$$)

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 tor the jazz and the beer and the pizza, so don’t expect more than that. (4111 Lomo Alto/526-9325/Mon-Fn 5 p.m -2 a.m., Sat 6 p.m.-1 a.m./No reservations/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 Greenvillel363-5353/Daily 11:30 a.m.-2 a.m./No reservationslMC. V. AE/$$)



Mainly For Lunch



The Bronx. A warm and funky little place with few pretensions and some terrific food coming from its kitchen. Nothing Tancy.just great omelettes (served with a side of Italian sausage and a toasted bagel), sausage sandwiches, mushroom meatloaf, and a hot pastrami on toasted rye that ranks with the best By all means have dessert: homemade pies and cheesecake and a chocolate mousse that will bring you to your knees. Lunch seems to be in general a better bet than dinner. Beer and wine only, but a great selection of that, and a triendly, casual atmosphere. (3835 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn/521-5821/ Daily 11:30-12:30 a.m., bar till 2/No reservations/MCI$$)

Ciro’s. An unpretentious spot with bountiful fancy sandwiches, excellent 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/745-9464/Mon-Wed 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Thur & Fri till midnight. Sat till 1 am. closed Sun/No reservations/ MC/$)

Gallery Buffet. An expertly catered buffet table at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, featuring hearty soups, salads, homemade breads, and desserts for only $3 Wine extra. (DMFA, Fair Park/421-4187/Tue-Fri 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m./No reservations/No credit cards/$)

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 will a springing of parmesan. And for 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/692-7574/Mon-Thur 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri till 1 am., Sat Warn -1 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.-midnight/No res-ervattons/MC, V, AE, DC/$$)<BR>The Zodiac Room. A local institution that has begun to lack luster, though loyalists still flock there. Lunch is better than the Thursday buffet. When things are going right, the hot popovers. the cream of spinach soup, the sea and garden salad, and the vanilla ice cream ball with phenomenal hot fudge sauce are stunning. But things don’t always go right, so you’ll have to decide for yourself whether the Zodiac is a tradition worth observing. (Nei-man-Marcus. downtown/741-6911/Mon-Sat 1030 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; teatime daily 3-5 p.m. except Thur 2:30-3:30; Thur dinner 5-7 p.m./Reservations/Neiman-Marcus charge card only, checks accepted/$$)



Fort Worth Restaurants

The Balcony. Perched in the second story of a shopping center. The Balcony serves well-prepared Out not ex. traordinary 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 CampBowieBlvdl(817)731-3719/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2, Dinner: Daily 6-11/Reservations/MC, V. AE/$$$)



D REVISITS

Angelo’s. Let’s face it: barbecue’s success has a lot to do with where you eat it So if you find it in Fort Worth, Texas on White Settlement Road in a rambling patchwork shack next to Nachos Used Cars, you know you’re on the right track. When you walk in the door and find sawdust on the floor, a greeting committee of stuffed animals including an enormous moosehead and a bear wearing a T-shirt, and a long line of folks in shirts with pearl buttons and chintz dresses, you know you’ve found it. And when you sit down at a table with the goods, all is reaffirmed – Angelo’s serves great barbecue. The ribs are probably the premiere item here; you’ll likely never find spare ribs any more meaty, tender, and flavorful than these. The beef is also fine stuff; the beef plate features big chunks and slices of incredibly tender brisket with a cup of perfectly blended sauce. Or if you’re looking for something a little off the beaten trail, try their barbecued salami sandwich. Our only complaint here is with the prices: $5.25 for a rib or beet plate is steep for barbecue, even though it comes with beans, a good mustard-spiced potato salad, and excellent sweet coleslaw. (A tip: if you don’t care about the trimmings, order a pound of ribs, grab a bag of chips, and you’ll come out with more ribs for less money.) And $1.70 for a sliced beef sandwich, however fat, is a notch above the going price. But there is a bargain side to a meal at Angelo’s: the beer. Served in huge frosted goblets, this must be the coldest tap beer in the Southwest. Small, medium, and large goblets, but here’s a hint: Go for the medium – the large looks like more glass and less brew. They must know their beer is a steal, though; prices double after 10 p.m. (2533 White Settlement Rd/ (817) 332-0357/Mon-Sat 11-10/No reservations/ No credit cards/$)



Carriage House. Remodeling has helped this restaurant s atmosphere. But they need to remodel the kitchen staff, too What a restaurant this would be if 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 – loo bad its professionalism isn’t found in the kitchen (5236 Camp Bowie/(817)732-2873/Lunch Sun-Fri 11-2. Dinner Daily 6-11/ Reservations/MC. 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 tries (“Mountain Oysters”) to lobster and spaghetti. (2458 N Main/(817) 624-3945IMon-Fri 11 a.m. -10:45 p.m., Sat 4-10:45 p.m., closed Sun/Reserva-tionslAII credit cards/$$)



Le Bistro. French style in Fort Worth, a stones throw from the Kimbell. An impressive wine rack, subtle Gallic decor, but sometimes rather routine work in the kitchen Good assorted hors d’oeuvres and an authentic French onion soup, a real treat Take your chances with the entrees, however – the French on the menu is better than the French in the food (3322 Camp Bowiel(817) 332-5102/ Brunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2. Dinner. Tue-Sat 5:30-9.30/Res-ervalionslMC. V/$$$)



Old Swiss House. Dependable but not dazzling The. vealdishes, though on the heavy side, are the recommendedhouse specialties The veau Zurichoise. for instance, istasty but immobilizing. The veau aux champignons issimpler and more delicate Excellent filet mignon andgood fish dishes, including a lovely Nova Scotia salmonappetizer It’s a Fort Worth institution, but its also ratherstuffy. though the fresh flowers and the slice of lime ineach glass give the place a gracious air. The extensivewine list is strong in Californias and the service is quickand polished (5472 Camp Bowie/8l7-738-8091/Mon-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat till 10:30. closed Sun/Reservalions/MC, V, DC, AE/$$$)

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