Food and Spirits DINING OUT

A Month of Sunday Brunches



Long before 1 put a fork to my first eggs Benedict, the humble little word “brunch” for me spelled luxury, elegance, and glamour: the good life. 1 knew, years before I could legally drink a Bloody Mary, that there were people- elegant, sophisticated, smart people-who would get up late on Sunday mornings, and that, somewhere between the time I had my usual early-morning bowl of Cheerios and my mid-afternoon mashed potatoes, they would be lazily indulging in an array of extraordinary delicacies appropriate to this civilized institution. There would be things like omelettes and croissants, pastries and French coffee, lox and bagels, blueberries and cream, all of them portioned out to the lucky guests along with various sections of, naturally, the mammoth Sunday New York Times. Best of all, brunch was casual. “We’re Wing a few friends over for brunch,” vent the classic invitation. And, after attending a few of these convivial feasts myself, it didn’t take me long to decide that brunch was the best of all possible meals.

1 discovered about the same time that some Dallas restaurants unveiled a largesse for Sunday brunch unimaginable on ordinary days. The same classy places that served tantalizing but undersized hors d’oeuvres on Saturday night set out table after table the next morning laden with everything from salmon paté and oysters on the half shell to prime rib and veal blanquette. The gingerly waiter of the night before was now replaced by white-hatted chefs as eager to heap your plate as those ladies behind the counter at Wyatt’s. Salads, seafood, soups, cheeses, rolls, ribs, pastries and crepes: The cornucopia seemed as endless as the dif-lieren: ways each restaurant distinguished its Sunday brunch from the crowd. And differ they do, from plain to fancy, from Haute cuisine to luau style. Though we don’t pretend to be exhaustive, after a tour of representative Dallas restaurants we offer here a sampling that adds up to just about a month of Sunday brunches.

A virtual synonym for brunch, at least in New York, is Trader Vic’s (11:30-2:30; $7.95 per person), a Polynesian chain restaurant whose Dallas version is in the Hilton Inn on North Central. Like many hotel restaurants, this one plies the tired traveler trade, but old Vic seems to get the better end of the bargain. The best of Trader Vic’s is their kooky drinks list, which includes a breathtaking Bloody Mary made with Russian vodka, and a whole slew of more exotic concoctions. The fare at brunch is both American and Asian, and among the dishes are clam chowder, pate, sliced ham, a rather bland shrimp salad with, predictably, tiny frozen cocktail shrimp, cottage cheese salad, slices of American cheese, roast beef and fried potatoes, and perhaps the best of the lot, chicken – nice big pieces – with mushroom sauce. On the Oriental side there are fish with sweet and sour sauce, chicken and rather limp Chinese vegetables, shrimp with bacon, and Chinese fried rice. Once you’ve filled your plate – or plates – roving waiters bring it to your table. Trader Vic’s decor is nothing if not authentic, with bamboo lining every wall and ceiling. The crowning touch is the Polynesian floor show. As five bored-stiff musicians run through the Arthur Godfrey songbook, three suspiciously American-looking girls dance a dozen or so variations of the hula, with plastic grass skirts, talking hands, the works. There’s nothing to do but get used to the conga drum, sip another Mai Tai, and watch for the dancers’ tireless costume changes. The desserts, things like mini-eclairs and tiny cream puffs, seemed pretty stale, and even the coffee was forgettable.

A number of good restaurants serve traditional buffet-style Sunday brunches: among the best (and certainly the most pleasant) are Bagatelle and élan. The best thing going at Bagatelle (10:30-2), the nifty Continental restaurant in One Energy Square, is the omelette table. What you do is pick up your plate, go up to the chef and name your ingredients: a little turkey, a bit of cheese, a sprinkling of ham, or some bacon, mushrooms, parsley, even hot sauce, any or all of which you can ask him to fold into an omelette made before your eyes. We went the distance and asked for everything, including the irresistible cherries topping. You’ll want to polish off some of Bagatelle’s sweet rolls and biscuits; they’re terrific, though the croissants were flat. If your taste in brunch leans more to the lunch side, there’s a filling rice and sausage dish and excellent creamed chicken. The crepes at Bagatelle seemed tough, and the quiche was disappointingly crumbly and not very good. But the array of salad fixings – cucumber, herring, cottage cheese, mixed fruit – left us happy, as did the price: under $10 for two, and that included coffee and juice. Clearly a bargain.

A private club in the evening, elan opens its doors to John Q. Public for weekday lunch and, even better, for a crowded Sunday brunch (11-2: $4.95). And crowded it well might be, because brunch at elan is civilized, generous and inexpensive. For amplitude and quality, elan’s hot and cold food lines rank with the best. Enormous oysters on the half shell can start off your trip, followed by rows of vegetable and fruit salads, baby tomatoes, all manner of raw vegetables, three or four hunks of cheese, breads, sweet rolls, and, depending on the season, a usually reliable hot or cold’soup, though the gazpacho has Tabasco fever. A trip to the hot dishes yields a generally first-class custard, a mouth-watering quiche, rare roast beef, fried chicken, a choice of hot vegetables – green beans with almonds are a good bet – and the pièce de résistance, crêpes with lemon sauce. Live classical guitar accompanies the whole repast. Drinks are served by friendly young ladies wearing identical long dresses that remind us of Halstons but also of pup tents, élan, aside from insisting on its lower-case spelling, is a lovely place for Sunday brunch.

Without a doubt the most impressive Sunday brunch is served at the Fairmont Hotels Venetian Room (11:30-2:30: SI 1.00). Let’s face it, they named it the Venetian Room so there’d be no reason for skimping on extravagance. This mock-up of the Doge’s Palace looks like the set for Cleopatra and comes complete with the red and gold state barge, itself the size of a small supertanker, loaded to the gunwales with platters of goodies. At the salad table, guarded by a life-sized, copiously melting ice sculpture of a reindeer, we ran into not only the usual carrots, asparagus, tomatoes, and so on, but the first kumquats we’d seen at any Dallas brunch, an exotic touch that spoke well for the Venetian Room. Salad past, we repaired to the hot buffet line, where haute cuisine held the day. Pancakes Oscar with strawberries followed a splendid cream of chicken soup, after which we had a go at the superb red snapper amandine and a veal blanquette whose cream sauce was a minor miracle of taste and lightness. Other unimpeachable successes were the more usual roast beef and pork tenderloin with brown gravy. Though topped by a wonderful hol-landaise, the eggs Benedict were cold. But where else can you find chicken salad in freshly baked pastry shells, or desserts like pecan pie. créme caramel, cheesecake. Black Forest cake, and trifle, spooned up by the wizard of a pastry chef himself. Decadent? You bet.

If schlepping your plate through a buffet line isn’t your thing on Sunday mornings, restaurants like Daddy’s Money and Brennan’s can accommodate you with table service. Brunch at Daddy’s Money (10-4) is mostly sandwiches, eggs Benedict, and omelettes, but some unusual specialties are also on the menu. They serve a hearty hot mushroom and barley soup that also contains potato, carrots and brown-beef broth. And there’s a King Neptune salad whose angel shrimp, avocado slices (too hard, however, on a recent sampling), tomato, strips of bacon, and Thousand Island dressing go superbly well together. We’d also recommend an elegant omelette variation, or-tega chili and cheese, with Wisconsin cheddar, green chiles and relleno sauce. Salted-rim Bloody Marys were a nice touch, and the idea of having a harp as background music was inspired. The service is quick and devoted. Sunday brunch at Daddy’s Money is relaxed, unpretentious and delicious.

Our last entry needs no introduction. Brennan’s in New Orleans practically invented Sunday brunch, and we can attest that the mighty tradition continues unbroken in One Main Place (8:30-2:30). These folks know how to do it the way it ought to be done, we think, from pouring your tea (for which we forgive them the tea bags) to serving fresh strawberries and real whipped cream. Shades of New Orleans: a spicy, gumbo-like turtle soup, delicious though too salty; and a continental angle in the steak Francais, a rather ordinary rib-eye graced with a lovely poached egg. From among a number of exotic specialties we chose eggs Portuguese – poached eggs, shallots, hollan-daise, in a good pastry shell. Crepes suzettes, inexplicably prepared somewhere in the wings rather than at the table, arrived both cold and too alcoholic, a regrettable failure only partly redeemed by the constant supply of French bread and a great cup of coffee. Not to mention the fact that just as the check came, we figured out 43 DOWN in the Times Crossword Puzzle.

– Willem Brans



Newcomers



Paisan’s. In the case of new restaurants, you usually can tell a book by its cover. But sometimes they’ll fool you. Like Paisan’s. Located in an area (Bachman Lake) teeming with third-rate restaurants, Paisan’s occupies an odd, recycled location – often a bad sign. In this case, the building was formerly a Mexican restaurant and, despite obvious efforts, its heritage can’t be disguised: The white stucco archways and mock-tile roofs do battle with the crystal chandeliers and Roman statues in a mixed Mediterranean effect that is unsettling. One expects the food to be equally discordant. It isn’t. The kitchen here is talented and, most surprising, has a distinctive style of its own. The cannelloni, for example, is as meaty and hearty a version as you’ll ever find – no feigned subtleties, just pasta at its richest. The Medaglioni di Manzo shows an imaginative Italian touch with medallions of beef, in a delicious, if slightly oily, wine and tomato sauce. The Zuppa Pavese is an intriguing soup of poached egg in beef broth with parmesan. The cheesecake, made with ricotta cheese, pine nuts, and white raisins, is unique. And the fet-tucine is simply as good as any in Dallas. There were a few lesser dishes sampled, but the overall impression was solid. Prices seem high, especially for wines, but try the excellent Vino Corvo (red), a Sicilian wine that seems to be, deservedly, a house favorite. Service is young but well-trained and helps you ignore the disparities of the dining room. Besides, you can’t help but feel kindly about a place that has the grace to serve a complimentary basket of fresh fruit at the end of each meal. (9508 Overtake/ 352-1765/ Daily 11-2, 5-11/Reserva-tionslMC, V, AE, DC/$$$)



San Francisco Rose. The newest addition to South Greenville Avenue, a bright, laid-back kind of place that looks like a cross between T.G.I Friday’s and Chelsea Corner. The sign on the front window says “Fern Bar,” which as best as we can tell means lots of greenery and a few couches and wingback chairs. The menu is mostly salads and sandwiches, with soups, chili, and homemade onion rings (terrific!) available on the side. The “Polk Street” (guacamole, cream cheese, sprouts, and black olives) is the star among the cold sandwiches, the “Rose Special” and “Mushrooms Galore” among the burgers. The soups are pretty ordinary. Ditto for the salads, though they are bountiful. There’s a good selection of beers, including the renowned Anchor Steam, and some excellent house wines by Robert Mondavi. At the moment, the bar operation outshines the kitchen, though things may even out in time. If you arrive at rush hour, be sure to stake out your territory. We shared our couch with three different couples and each of them made off with part of our meal. Overall, a relaxed, cheerful place, particularly appealing on a dreary day. (3024 Greenville Avenue/ 826-2020/11:30-2:00 a.m. Mon-Sat, 12:00-2:00 a.m. Sunday/No reserva-tions/V, MC, AE/$)



Jason’s. This intriguing little building on Hall Street has been begging for new life for a long time now. And, except for an odd choice of exterior paint colors (purple and orange?), they’ve done a pretty good job here. There’s not much to distinguish the place – it’s got the usual hanging plants, stained glass, and beer-mirror signs (though there is a nice collection of copper pieces behind the bar). But it has a very nice feeling to it – spacious and high-ceilinged. The size of the place somehow pegs it more as a restaurant than as just a bar, but the menu is rather limited. Good things first: their most inspired treat is the “Indian Squash Soup,” a spicy and hearty creation (though in three samplings, it was different each time, twice delicious, once too thick and heavy with curry). And the hamburgers are fantastic – particularly the bacon/ched-dar burger with grilled onions and the chili burger with jalapenos, served on an onion roll. Otherwise, forget it – the kebobs are boring, the guacamole & shrimp salad a disaster, even the hot sauce for the tostados was sabotaged with onion. But no matter, really – this is a comfortable spot with great burgers and that should be enough. Besides, where else can you go to get Indian Squash Soup? (29/6 Hall Street at McKinney/528-0100/ Daily II a.m.-I a.m., bar till 2/Nores-ervations/MC, VIS)

Recommended Restaurants



These restaurants represent the best in Dal-las 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 / “All Credit Cards” indicates that all the above are accepted.



Continental

Arthur’s. Home away from home tor the 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 lamb chops. Professional service and elegance without condescension. (1000 Campbell Centre/361 -8833/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner daily 6-11, Sat till midnight/ Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)

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 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 11:30-230, Dinner Mon-Sat 6-midnight/ReservationslMC,V,AE,DC/$$$-$$)



Le Bistro. It’s 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 salads are excellent: especially the escargots and the “Salade Le Bistro’ with avocado and fresh mushrooms. But the entrees often come to the table over- or under-cooked, and carelessly seasoned. Too bad, because they have the right idea; offer a limited range of French entrees. Maybe they’re learning and maybe they’ll get it right some day Meanwhile, we keep hoping. (37/6 Bowser, just off Oak Lawn/528-4181ITue-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11: Sun 6-10/ReservationslMC, V, AE/$$$)



Brasserie. The most elegant “coffee shop ” in town. In the wee hours of the morning (they’re open 24 hours), stop by to treat yourself to Dallas’ best Eggs Benedict – sprinkled with truffles (at 3 a m they bother?), or a sandwich of sirloin on crisp, buttery French bread. During the other hours, especially lunch, the fare is mostly overpriced and undistinguished. (Fairmont Hotel, floss & Akardl 748-5454/24 hours, seven days a weekINo reservalionsl MC, V, AE, DC/$$)



Calluaud. One of Dallas’ most civilized restaurants Set in a small frame house, with a casual yet intimate atmosphere complemented by consistently fine Frencn foods. Superb soups and excellent omelettes; and desserts not to be missed: simple and wonderful fruit tarts (try the apple) and exquisite profiteroles. The imaginative dinner menu changes frequently but recently featured a fabulous roast duck and Guv Calluaud’s superb Veau Normande. Or treat yourself to his splendid quail. For lunch, the filet of sole is an excellent alternative if for some reason you want to pass up the omelettes. Prices are a bargain for the quality. Reservations – made well in advance, especially for weekends – are necessary (2917 Fairmount off Cedar Springsl742-8525ILunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2.30 pm.; Dinner Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30; Sat till 11, closed SunlReservations/MC, V, AE/$$$)

La Cave. The first wine bar to open in Dal las, 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, paté, and cheeses to keep you steady as you sample the wonderful array of wines Congenial and civilized, though the wine chat can get an-noyingly 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 reserva-tionslMC, V/$)

Chablis. An odd little French restaurant, difficult to put your finger on – the style is neither elegant nor quaint But the food, while in some instances overpriced, is decidedly good. A tasty complimentary rillettes, a fine pepper steak, and a subtly glazed roast duckling are highlights. Light flaky bread (with a very “French” flavor) and the sweetest, richest chocolate mousse in town. (120 Quadrangle, 2800 Routh!522-0910ILunch: 11:30-2:30: Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11. Fri & Sat till midnight, closed SunlReserva-tions on weekendslMC. V, AE, DCI$$$)

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. Lunch is nothing special. (2515 McKinney/741-1223IMon-Sal 11:30 a.m.-midnight/Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)

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 HilI/369-6466/Lunch: Tue-Sat 11 30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30; Sun brunch 11-2/Reservations/MC, AE, DC/$$$)

Ewald’s. Loyal regulars flock to this old standard, whose decor and menu have 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. I ry 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. (5475 W Lovers Lnl3S7-1622/Mon-Fn 6-10 30. Sat 6-11 IReservationslMC, 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 for the money. (2808 Green-ville/823-0133ILunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10 30, open later on Fri 4 Sat lor wine and cheese only/No Reservations/MC, V/$$)

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/358-2103/Tue-Sun 6-10:30. Fri & Sat till midnight. Closed Mon/ReservationslMC, 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 Ln/352-5976/Mon-Sat 6-10/Reservations/MC, V, AE, DC/$$$)

Old Warsaw. The “new Old Warsaw” – after some tasteful remodeling of the interior and some successful revamping of the menu – is on the upswing. The place is less gilded, more engaging. The new menu is less erratic, more interesting New treats, a crème de cresson (purée of watercress), and a splendid Cote de Veau. The prices were not remodeled – still very expensive – but now the paying is less painful. (2510 Maple/528-0032/ Daily 6-11, Sat till midnight/Reservations/MC, 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 11:30/Reservations/MC, V, AE, DC/$$$)

Pyramid Room. The classiest dining room in Dallas – an aura of affluence and impeccable taste. A paragon of service – absolutely professional but without pomposity, including a theatrical sommelier. A dizzying dinner menu of French specialties of the highest order (lunch is less glamorous). The Grand Marnier dessert souffle is a triumph. In sum, Dallas’ finest restaurant. But even at that, capable of disappointment because it is so expensive. Too expensive But always a pleasure if you can pay the price. (Fairrnont Hotel, Ross & Akard/748-5454/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Daily 6-midnight/ Reservations/All credit cards/$$$$)



Italian

Campisi’s. The sign says “Egyptian Restaurant,” but the place is strictly Italian, carried on in the proud family tradition of papa Carlo Campisi, whose portrait still watches over the proceedings. Dallas’ original pizza specialists – and still the best. Or try the plateful of sausage and peppers. Warm (in fact steamy) and wonderful – and always a waiting line to prove it. (5610 E Mocktngbird/827-0355/Mon-Fri 11 a..m.-midnight, Sat till 1 a.m., Sun noon-midnight/No credit cards. Checks acceptedIReservations for 6 or more/$)

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

II Sorrento. 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/352-8759/Daily 5:30- /1, Sat till midnight/Reservations except on Fri & Sat/All credit cards/$$$)

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 Row at Carpenter Fwy/1634-8550/Lunch; Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11, Fri-Sat 6-11:30, closed Sun/Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)

Lombardi’s. No gimmicks, just 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 Avel823-6040ILunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30, Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat till 11/ReservationslMC, V, AE/$$$)

Mario’s. One of tew Dallas restaurants to take the sophisticated approach and do so with dignity, with natural elegance. A longstanding family success, so there is an air of confidence and pride. Delicious roquetort-based cheese spread (complimentary), dense and delicious French bread loaves, marvelous fried zucchini Try the “Frittura Delizie Romana,” a batter fried spinach appetizer. Entrees (northern Italian specialties) are stylish but not exceptional Splendid wine list. (135 Turtle Creek Village/521-1135IDaily 6-11, Sat till midnightlReserva-tionslAII 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 a la Siciliano is excellent Have the crème caramel (or dessert. Friendly, brisk service, though the No reservations” policy means you II have to wait. It’s usually worth it. (5722 Richmondo off Greenville/ 824-9403/Tue- Thur 5:30- 10p.m.,Fri &Sat till 11 p.m INo reservations/No credit cards/$$)



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/361-7733/ 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 for 5 or more/MC, V, AE/$$)

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

Hunan. Currently Dallas’ best Chinese restaurant The Hunan cuisine that is its specialty is milder than you’ll find in New York, but still potent. Have the “pu pu tray” of appetizers, and then you re on your own – it’s all good (though we recommend Hunan Lamb, Champagne Chicken, and Shrimp with Garlic Sauce). Small and comfortable, but service is sometimes haughty and cold. (5214 Greenville Ave at Lovers Ln/369-4578/Mon-Thur 11:30 a.m.- 11 p.m., Fri, Sat & Sun 11-midnight/Reserva-tions/MC, V, AE/$$)

Peking Palace. Once the pacesetter tor Dallas Chinese restaurants, Peking Palace has fallen far behind. Appetizers and entrees that once drew superlatives now often come out unimaginatively seasoned and even greasy. Only the soups, for some reason, show the old high quality. Occasionally a meal here is what it once was, but only the service and decor are consistently good. (4119 Lomo Alto/522-1830/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon- Thur 5- 11,Fri & Sat till midnight. Sun noon-10 p.m./ Reservations on weekends/MC, V, AE/$$)

Ports O’Call. The menu now docks in many new ports (wiener schnitzel from Germany, steak au poivre from France, etc.), though the featured fare is still mostly Polynesian And nothing special at that – but then that’s never been the appeal here anyway The attractions are the lavish (almost ludicrous) dining rooms, the 37th floor view with the “big-city” feeling, and the exotic rum concoctions in the tiki-god-and-blowfish bar – try the Test Pilot, limit 2 per customer. (Southland Center, 2117 Live Oak/742-2334 Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Daily 5 30-10:30/Reservations/AII credit cards/$S$)

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 Ave/368-3304/Lunch: Daily 11:30-2, except Sat: Dinner: Mon- Thur 5:30- 1),Fri & Sat till 11:30, Sun 5-10/Reservations/MC, V, AE, DC/$$$)

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 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/ Reservations/MC, V, AE/$$)

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, or 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 Douglasl521-6981I Daily 11:30 a.m. -11 p.m., Fri & Sat till midnight/Reservations on weekendslMC, V, AE, DC/$$)

Trader Vic’s. Have tun, 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 Expwy/827-3620/Daily 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 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 McKinneyl521-4360/Lunch: 11-2; Dinner: 6-11; closed Mon/AE, V, MC/$$)



Mexican

Adelante. An odd little spot in an almost secretive behindthe-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 Lnl691-8301IMon-Thur 11 am.-9 p.m., Fri & Sat till 10 p.m., closed Sun/No reservations/ MC, V, AEI$)

Chiquita. One of the most cheerful restaurants in town, and – at least where Mexican food is concerned – one of the best. Tex-Mex has never been Chiquita’s forte, but they serve some sensational specialties, like an excellent tortilla soup and fabulous chicken sour cream enchiladas. In their new location they’ve stopped serving complimentary cups of bean soup, so order some – it may be the best this side of the border. Always crowded, but always delightful. (3810 Congress, off Oak Lawn/ 521-0721IMon-Sat 11:30-11INo reservationslMC, 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 Tamptquena and the wonderfully named Tostadas a la McCaffrey, are well-seasoned, ample, and delicious Go when you feel laid back. (2126 N. St. Paul/ 742-0747/Wed-Mon 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m., closed Tue/No 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 guacamole And the menudo is a community tradition. (3902 Maple/526-9427/Weekdays 9 a.m.-8 p.m., closed Monl Wo reservations/No credit cardsl$)

Javier’s. This warm and attractive restaurant has come into its own In its few months of operation, establishing itself as a rival for the several established Mexican restaurants that try to demonstrate 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/Reservations/MC, 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 McKinneyl 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/$$)



Greek



Greek Key. A lively longstanding favorite marked by belly dancing, customer participation, and other revelry. But the kitchen is serious, doing a creditable job of filling the Dallas Greek food void. Dolmas, pastitsa, spanakopita, moussaka (or try the combination plate). Forgo the “Grecian shrimp,” but don’t pass up the baklava delicately seasoned with walnuts and honey, finished off by a demi-tasse of heavy Greek coffee. (2903 W Northwest Hwyl 358-51771 Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-2 a.m., closed SunlAll credit cards/Resenvationsl$$)

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 Hwyl350-6983IMon-Fn 11 a.m. -2 a.m., Sal-Sun 6 p.m.-2 a.m./ReservalionslAII credit cards/$$$)



Southern Specialties



Celebration. Some of the homestyle pride seems occasionally to be missing from the homestyle cooking since the expansion of this friendly place. But still a good spot for a wholesome meal at a reasonable price Pot roast is the best of the five entrees. Plus big bowls of good family-style-help-yourself vegetables. Beer and wine are available now, but try the apple juice at least once – it’s great. (4503 W Lovers Ln/351-5681lMon-Sat 5.30-11, Sat till 10:30INo reservations/MC, Vl$)

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 McKinneyl823-0071/Mon-Thur 11-11.Fri & Sat till midnight. Sun noon-11INo reser-vations/MC, V, AEI$$)

Sonny Bryan’s. Best barbecue in town? You’ll never get a consensus, but this one gets a lot of votes Juicy, juicy stuff in a funky, funky little smokehouse. No tables – you eat on individual school desk tops Beer, no bar. (2202 Inwoodl357-7120/Mon-Sat 6 a.m. -6 p.m., Sun 11-2INo reservations/No credit cards/$)



Indian



India House. The only one in town, so its 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 Mockmgbird/832-1000/Lunch. daily 11:30-2:30; Dinner: 5- W. Fri & Sat until 11 /Reservations/All credit cards/$$)

Natural Foods



Health Nut Dallas’ original full-scale natural foods restaurant – and still a unique institution – is comfortably settled now in its airy and attractive Lovers Lane location, crowned by a lovely sun-terrace room upstairs. Good sandwiches. light and imaginative soups, and wonderful salads – a fresh vegetable salad with tahini dressing or. even better, a fresh fruit salad in a delicious lemon-honey dressing. A special steamed meal daily (Tuesday is Mexican and Wednesday is Oriental). And, of course, smoothies (4356 W Lovers Lnl692-1411IMon-Sat 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 (70¢). A congenial spot with a German accent. (6601 Snider Plaza/363-2231/Mon-Sat 8:30-2:30, sandwiches till 5.30/No reservations/ MC – $15 minimum/$)



D REVISITS

Wall’s. To be truthful, Wall’s is a far cry from the New York deli we’d all like it to be – simply not enough variety in the offerings, for one thing. The deli itself is fairly small, exhibiting mostly baked-on-the-premises cakes, coffee cakes, blintzes and pastries. The restaurant in back is cozy, a trifle too cozy on a cool day, when they set the thermostat at 80 ; when the noon crowd comes in, the place is positively tropical. However, the dark wood tables and the decorative plates on the walls make the dining room visually pleasant at least. By all means stay with the kosher delicacies on the menu. If you leave Lox Land, you’re in for a bad time. For example, the quiche Lorraine, a recent luncheon special, was more like a scrambled egg pie. with unappetizing heavy, leathery cheese and too many jala-peno peppers, and the crust tasted like frozen pizza. But the gefilte fish is probably the best in Dallas (not saying much) and the sandwiches are good. The chopped liver was fresh and tasty, and served on superlative rye bread. The Reuben featured fine corned beef, though the kitchen was too timid with the sauerkraut by far, and we question whether a Reuben should come forth on white toast. Also, we missed the Russian dressing, without which the Reuben is only a sandwich, but with which, an experience. The cabbage soup was hearty, well-seasoned, served piping hot – as it should be but often isn’t – and the cabbage still showed signs of life. For dessert the cheese blintzes are delectable – moist creamy filling in a fresh and tender shell. Unfortunately, enjoyment of the food suffers from the service, which is alternately pushy and martyred. (10749 Preston Rd/691-4444/Daily 7:30 a.m.-7:30 p.m./No reservations/ MC, V, $$)

Seafood



S & D Oyster Company. Excel lent oyslers and shrimp and atew broiled fish – usually snapper or trout – whenthey’re available. They wisely avoid the fancier stuff -crab or lobster or clams – that has to be shipped infrozen. 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 agood choice. For dinner, have some boiled shrimp forstarters and finish off with their home-made pie. A bitnoisy, but the place is for eaters as opposed to diners.Beer andd wine only. (2701 McKinney near Routh/823-6350/Mon-Thur 11 a.m.-10p.m., Fri & Sat till 11, closed Sun/No reservations/MC/$$)

Steaks, Burgers, Etc.



D REVISITS

Chili’s. How do they do it? Who-er Chili is, he must be a genius, and Dallas could use several more like him. What you can get here are terrific, enormous hamburgers, great spicy chili, and a huge basket of wonderful French fries for prices low enough to startle you. The chili is called Texas Red, and it really is good. The hamburgers are all made with half a pound of good beef, cooked to the point of perfection, which is to say not too much, and served on buns that are absolutely fresh. Try the Terlingua special, embellished with everything in the house, if you’re in a festive mood, or the not-to-be-knocked Old Timer if you’re feeling more conservative. The soft tacos with meat and chili are an original touch, as is the Chili’s decor – framed tee-shirts on the walls and a shelf of genuine Texas artifacts. For easy, relaxed surroundings and excellent unpretentious food at reasonable prices, it’s hard to beat Chili’s. 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./No reser-vations/MCI$)

Houlihan’s. With a menu ranging from a hot dog to roast duck and touching on most everything in between, there are no great expectations. Which is why Houlihan’s is usually a pleasant surprise – despite the scope, there are lots of hits and few misses. Very good omelettes, burgers, quiche, nice salads, and several more ambitious options (stuffed shrimp, baked trout, etc). A host of rich and gooey desserts and cappuccino – a good spot for midnight munchies. (4 NorthPark East/ 361-9426/Daily 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m./No reservationslMC, V, AE, DCI$$)

Ichabod’s. Slick in the Greenville Avenue tradition, but Ichabod’s is nevertheless a very pleasant and dependable place. The key to their success is a Iimited menu of steaks and seafood with nothing so elaborate that the kitchen staff can’t handle it. A nice dining area with its own entrance to separate it from the teeming swingles bar. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville/691-2646/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: daily 6-11/No reservations!All credit cardsI$$)

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 i: 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. (3715 Greenville! 823-7296ITue-Sun 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat till midnight/ Reservations/All credit cardsl$$)

Stoneleigh P. An Oak Lawn favorite and eclectic hangout. A restoration of what was long a pharmacy – clever but not cutesy. Provolone cheeseburgers on pumpernickel are the favorite among many goodies. Great magazine rack (browsing encouraged) and fabulous juke box {from Bach to Stones). (2926 Maple/741-0824/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 cards/$)

Strictly Ta-Bu. A terrific old neighborhood bar with a mixed bag clientele The original 1948 decor has been virtually untouched and charms with its classy-tacky effect. Great homemade soups and sometimes great pizza – the kitchen is rather erratic lately. Also burgers, steaks, sandwiches. Live jazz most nights and an occasional free flick. (4111 Lomo Altol526-9325/Mon-Fri 5 pm-2 a.m., Sat 6 p.m.-1 a.m.INoreservationslMC, Vl$$)

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 suberb meal. The place is lively as ever, with lots of swingles and a little of everything else (Old Town. 5500 Greenville/363-5353/Daily 11:30 a.m. -2 a.m./No reservationslMC, V, AEI$$)

Mainly For Lunch



The Bronx. A warm and funky little place with lew pretensions ana some terntic food coming from its kitchen. Nothing fancy, 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 friendly, casual atmosphere. (3835 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn/521 5821/ Daily 11 30-12:30 a.m., bar till 2/No reservations/MCISS)

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

Gallery Buffet. An expertly catered buffet table at the Dal las Museum of Fine Arts, featuring hearty soups, salads, homemade breads, and desserts for only $3. Wine extra. (DMFA, Fair Parkl421-4187/Tue-Fn 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m./No reservations/No credit cards/$)



D REVISITS

Magic Pan. We know, we know – it’s a chain restaurant. We’ve even heard the rumor that all the crêpes are packaged by Stouffer and the kitchen is nothing but a long row of microwave ovens. Nevertheless, we’ve always had a particular fondness for the Magic Pan in NorthPark, as has, from the look of the lines, the rest of Dallas. But now – well, maybe we’re just getting old or something, but on a couple of recent visits things didn’t seem as right as they always had before. In fact, a number of things were decidedly wrong. The vegetable soup provencale was mediocre, with all the taste cooked out of the vegetables, as if it had been warmed up once too often. The potage St. Germain, an old favorite, is served with sour cream or sherry, and we’ve always asked for cream. This time we asked for sherry and to our dismay were given a tiny cruet of sherry alongside the soup, so that the alcohol couldn’t be cooked out as it should be. Bad news! The sweet-sour dressing on the salad was sweet-sour, with much too much vinegar. The crêpes were very good, though both the crêpe St. Jacques, delightfully filled with scallops, shrimp and mushrooms, and the fantastic spinach soufflé crêpes were overwhelmed by heavy sauces, one culinary area where generosity can be misplaced. The creamed chicken crepes, topped only with a sprinkling of par-mesan. were very good, however. And of course the dessert crepes are worth a trip anytime. The Chantilly – banana slices in a crepe, with a sauce of . what? manna? . . . topped with mounds of real whipped cream and toasted almond slivers can still make a grown man cry. And return. (NorthPark – New Mall/692-7574/ Mon-Thur 11 a.m.-midnight, Fri till 1 a.m., Sat 10 a.m.-1 a.m., Sun 10 a.m.-midnight/No reserva-tions/MC, V, AE, DC/$$)

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’II have to decide for yourself whether the Zodiac is a tradition worth observing. (Nei-man-Marcus, downtown/741 -6911/Mon-Sat 10.30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; teatime daily 3-5 p.m. except Thur 2:30-3:30; Thur dinner 5-7 p.m.lReservationslNeiman-Marcus charge card only, checks accepted/$$)



Fort Worth

Restaurants



Angelo’s. A name that’s known across the stale as one of Texas’ premiere barbecue pits. And it is. Great beef, rich spicy sauce, big sandwiches, cold draught, and a setting that fits- West Texas rustic and sawdust floors. And overlooking the proceedings is a monstrous stuffed bear- a landmark himself. (2533 White Settlement Rd/(817)332-0357 IMon-Sat 11-l0/No reservations/No creditcardsl$)

The Balcony. Perched in the second story of a shopping center. The Balcony serves well-prepared but 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 Camp BowieBlvdl(817)731-3719ILunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner Daily 6- 11/ReservationslMC, V, AEI$$$)

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) 332-5/02/ Brunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2, Dinner: Tue-Sat 5:30-9:30/ftes-ervationslMC, Vl$$$)

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- too bad its professionalism isn’t found in the kitchen.(5236 Camp Bowie/(817) 732-2873ILunch. 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)624-394SIMon-Fn 11 a.m.-10:45 p.m., Sat4-10:45 pm., closed SunlReserva-tionslAII credit cards/SS)

D REVISITS

OId Swiss House. A dependa- rather than dazzling conti- nental restaurant that serves everything from scampi (delicious) to goulash (so-so, but then what can you expect?). Veal dishes are the house specialty and they’re quite good, though a bit on the heavy side. The Veau Zuri-choise, for instance, comes minced and creamed and resting on a mountain of spaetzli Tasty but immobilizing. The veau aux champignons is simpler and more delicate. There’s also an excellent filet mignon. smothered in mushrooms and artichoke hearts, as well as a number of good fish dishes, including a lovely Nova Scotia salmon appetizer. The salads and soups are undistinguished, though the cream of cucumber is another psychedelic wonder. By now. Old Swiss House is a Fort Worth institution, and looks it. Dark paneling, red velour on the walls, oil paintings by Hudson River School dropouts – in short, stuffy. But there are some nice extra touches, like fresh flowers on the tables and a slice of lime in each water glass, that give the place a certain gracious air. An extensive wine list, particularly strong in Californias, and quick, polished service on even the busiest nights. (5412 Camp Bowie/817-738-8091/Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat till 10:30, closed Sun/Reservations/ MC, V, DC, AE/$$$)

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