da Vinci. The latest local contribution to discomania, daVinci does at least one important thing right – they’ve made their dance floor larger than a ping-pong table. The dance floor is, in fact, an impressive affair – a mirrored disco dome with a fast, flashy, multicolored floor lit from beneath, banked by a gleaming wall of electronic equipment. (The only questionable elements are the slide screens in the dome above – during the day, when the luncheon buffet occupies the dance floor, they show slides of things like garnished chicken breasts; at night they switch to ungarnished women’s breasts.) But the dance floor is the focus here; da-Vinci’s main intent is disco chic. The obvious comparison is to élan, the pleasure palace down the street. Both are exclusive (literally) in that they are membership clubs ($100 to join daVinci, $200 after May 1), they enforce dress codes, and they attract an odd amalgam of self-appointed “beautiful people.” The food is generally better at élan, particularly the luncheon buffet, but daVinci has a well-crafted dinner menu, emphasizing seafood – oysters, Coquille St. Jacques, seafood soup, seafood salad. As continental fare it is satisfactory; as disco food (is there such a thing?) it is elegant, even showy (the liver paté comes styled as a goose, with apple-slice neck and feathers, plus a few precious dabs of caviar on the side). It is as an environment, though, that daVinci will likely lure some of the “in crowd” away from elan -daVinci is glossier, flashier, and classier. Slick with glass and chrome, but tasteful in its use of dark greens, tans, and browns, the place drips expense, and it’s money well-spent. The trappings can get excessive, however – do they really need a hair dryer in the men’s room? Nice as daVinci is (including a friendly and competent staff), the style of a place like this is dictated by its clientele. And putting a $200 price tag on a dance floor does not guarantee the customers will be an enlightened elite. (7402 Greenville Ave. near Walnut Hill/369-54451 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Dinner: Daily 6-11, Sun Brunch: 11:30-3:30, Bar till 2 a.m. / Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)
Double Barrel. We’ve grown accustomed to finding restaurants popping open in all kinds of obscure, out of the way places – in half-empty shopping centers, in the basements of suburban banks, even one in a remote VFW post. Still, it comes as a surprise that anyone would be so bold as to open a new restaurant in Frisco, Texas. Frisco is still a country crossroads town between Dallas and Denton. Frisco is not yet a suburb (unless you consider it a suburb of Piano) but it makes you realize how far Dallas’ northern sprawl has reached. Frisco will be a suburb soon. That’s what the Double Barrel must be banking on. Carefully managed by a husband & wife team (they also do the cooking), the Double Barrel seems content at the moment to serve as a rural steak-house to Lake Dallas travelers and to expeditionaries from Dallas, Fort Worth, and Denton who don’t mind making the drive if there’s a mesquite-broiled steak at the end of the road. Steak is the main-stay of the menu here, crowned by a 20-oz. T-bone and a 40-oz. (yes, forty-ounce) T-bone; our samplings found fine cuts, beautifully cooked over a mesquite-oak blend. Other options include a meaty chicken-fried steak, shrimp, and an elegant kebab of filet mignon, lobster, and embellishments. Other features are a rich cheese-and-beer soup and a salad bar with such oddities as bean sprouts and watermelon. Lunch is mainly handformed hamburgers and a clientele of Frisco locals. Full bar with $10 membership. Relatively small, the place is stylized roadside cafe, an unpretentious combination of country simplicity and city trimmings. These people obviously know what they’re doing. In Dallas, it would surely be a winner; in Frisco, it makes for an interesting experiment. (1315 E. Hwy 720 just off Preston Rd./ 248-6067/Mon-Sat 11 a.m.-10 p.m., bar later/Reservations large parties only/MC. V/$$)
Recipes. The last restaurant to occupy this Greenville Avenue location (Jubilee) folded a few days before our review hit the newsstands. So we’ve been more patient with this most recent tenant. And by now. Recipes appears to be here to stay. Over the past few months, in fact. Recipes seems to have grown suddenly in popularity – they’ve just added a new dining room to ease the recent waiting lines. The appeal here is twofold: a comfortable, almost homey attitude, and an imaginative but manageable menu. In both cases, however, there are problems. The original dining room is fine, especially at night when the flowery tearoom frills are muted; the new area, however, with tables upholstered to match the walls, is just too cute for comfort. The dinner menu is an intriguing collection of personalized dishes. Some are as good as the menu describes them, or better: The “”Paillar of Beef” is a pounded sirloin, stuffed and pan fried, on a bed of spicy noodles, all beautifully seasoned and delicious; the “Chicken en Croute,” a chicken breast with ham and Swiss cheese encased in puff pastry, is the best item on the menu. Some of the other dishes are less successful: the pan-fried chicken is not bad. only bland; the fillet of sole is not bad, only confusing – ours was served, oddly, with a beef-based sauce. The “Pork Surprise.” touted as a “roast loin of pork,” was little more than a slice of ham (surprise!). But the soups, salads, and vegetables are all fresh and very good and are served with all entrees. Desserts include an excellent cheese-cake and homemade ice creams (ours was a banana-orange-lime sherbet that ended up tasting like none of the three, but our guess is that they do better with other flavors). Lunch is a less ambitious menu of egg dishes, sandwiches, hamburgers, and good luncheon salads. There are ups and downs here, but overall the feeling is friendly, the food is good, and the prices are definitely right. Recipes’ popularity, unlike that of some of its Greenville neighbors, is no fluke. (6940 Greenville Ave. near Parkl692-5722I Man-Sat 10 a.m.-10 p.m., Fri &. Sal till midnight, Sun brunch 11 a.m.-4 p.m./ Reservations/MC, V, AE/$$)
The Baked Potato. In a town admittedly filled with odd theme restaurants, the Baked Potato still looks plenty odd. The idea: a celebration of the potato, such that every dish on the menu either contains one, or odder still, arrives in one. That’s every dish, except for green sal-ads and beverages. Though one wonders why they drew the line there . . . after discovering that your eggs Benedict, chili dog with cheese and shrimp scampi are all going to be served inside huge buttered Idaho “Burbanks” it’s not unreasonable to expect that your Bloody Mary will come poured over one as well. We tried the vichyssoise (full of flavor but the texture of Elmer’s glue), Gnocchi Florentine (chewy potato dumplings, really more like biscuits, topped with poached eggs and what tasted like canned spinach), and for main dishes, the baked potato with tenderloin shish kebabs, and the baked potato Italiano, with meatballs in tomato sauce. The kebabs featured very little meat for $4.75 ($5.95 at dinner – the place is not as cheap as the starch content of the menu might suggest) and it arrived overcooked to the point of dry-ness; the meatballs were tired, in a sauce blander still. Worse yet, the potatoes have a watery, clotted consistency that suggests microwave ovens. For the most part, though, the place is simply frustrating: Whatever the entree, your first inclination is to retrieve the meat from inside the potato, scrape off the white chunks and move the potato back to the side of the plate, where it belongs. The decor is a standard mock-up of a British pub, though mercifully, someone had the sense not to try to stretch the potato motif into the decor as well. (6306 Greenvillel363-5661/All week 11:30-2:30, 5:30-11/ No reservations/MC, V,AEI$$)
These restaurants represent the best in Dallas dining. It is implicit that we recommend all of them highly.
These listings are revised and supplemented periodically. Visits by our critics are made anonymously to avoid preferential treatment. Inclusion in this directory has nothing whatever to do with paid advertising.
The pricing symbols used are categorical, not precise. They are intended only to indicate a general price range.
$ – Generally inexpensive. Usually indicates a good value.
$$ – Middle ground and very general. Usually indicates a menu with a wide price range.
$$$ – Expensive. You can expect to spend more than $10 for a complete meal excluding wine and cocktails.
$$$$ – Very expensive.
Unless otherwise noted, all restaurants have full bar facilities.
Credit card notations: MC – Master Charge/V – Visa/AE – American Express/DC – Diner’s Club/CB – Carte Blanche/’AII Credit Cards” indicates that all the above are accepted.
Arthur’s. Home away from home tor junior executives and the expense account set Arthur’s sports a classy bar and a first-rate kitchen Lunch is as solid as dinner, with hefty portions to keep the three-martini luncher on an even keel Have the magnificent calves liver with Canadian bacon and sauteed onions, or the sensational lamb chops. Professional service and elegance without condescension. (1000 Campbell Centre/361 -8833/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: daily 6-11, Sat till midnight/ Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)
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 II 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 if you’re on Greenville and don’t want to fend off singles. (One Energy Square, Greenville at University/692-8224/Bagatelle; Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2 30; Dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat till 11, bar till 2; Plaza; Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30. Dinner Mon-Sat 6-midnightlResenations/MC, V,AE,DC/$$$-$$)
Brasserie. The most elegant “coffee shop” in town. In the wee hours of the morning (they re open 24 hours), stop by to treat yourself to Dallas best Eggs Benedict – sprinkled with truffles (at 3 a m they bother’’), or a sandwich of sirloin on crisp, buttery French bread During the other hours, especially lunch, the fare is mostly overpriced and undistinguished. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard/748-5454/24 hours, seven days a week/No reservations/ MC. V. AE. DC/$$)
Calluaud. One of Dallas most civilized restaurants. Set in a small frame house, with a casual yet intimate atmosphere complemented by consistently fine French foods. Superb soups and excel lent omelettes, and desserts not to be missed simple and wonderful fruit tarts (try the apple) and exquisite profiteroles. The imaginative dinner menu changes frequently but recently featured a fabulous roast duck and Guv Calluaud’s superb Veau Normande Or treat yourself to his splendid quail For lunch, the filet of sole is an excellent alternative if for some reason you want to pass up the omelettes Prices are a bargain tor the quality Reservations – made well in advance, especially for weekends – are necessary. (2917 Fairmount off Cedar Springs/742-8525/Lunch. Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30p.m., Dinner: Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30; Sal till 11. closed Sun/Reservations/MC. V. AE/$$$)
Chablis. Classy but unstuffy, this little French restaurant still lights up its corner of the Quadrangle, and continues to equal its higher priced continental neighbors. The complimentary ril-lettes are always nice, along with the dependably light and fresh French bread and the prompt and unobtrusive service. From the kitchen comes a fair number of minor masterpieces. A recent soup du jour, leek and potato, was marvelous, as was the French onion soup, which ranks with the best in the city. The spinach salad comes without some of its usual garnishings, but has an appealing creamy French dressing. Among the entrees, pepper steak stands out, as does the superb Dover sole (meunière or amandine), though recently a choicer meat could have improved otherwise carefully prepared beef tips bourguignonne. For lunch, subtly balanced ingredients and light crust distinguish Chablis’ quiche, and the lunchtime seafood crgpe is both generous and delicious. Our only real quarrel regards the appetizers, which on a recent visit brought us a half dozen fairly tough snails and hors d’oeuvres variés whose sour cream sauce gave everything a boring sameness. Bad luck at this end of the meal was more than made up for by the desserts: a perfect creme caramel and the legendary apple pie with brandy butter. We thought the Baba au Rhum too rummy, but on the other hand, the Iight and rich chocolate mousse, with tiny bits of chocolate, will send you home humming the Marseillaise. (120 Quadrangle, 2800 Routh/522-0910/Lunch: 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon- Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat till midnight, closed Sun/Reservations on weekends/MC, V, AE, DC/$$$)
Chateaubriand. A wide-ranging menu, with everything from sweetbreads to frog legs to lobster to veal parmigiana. and a high percentage of it is quite well-executed The standouts, interestingly, are the Greek specialties try the pastitsa and dolma appetizer and the Greek veal’ in a pleasant lemon-butter-oregano sauce. Chateaubriand’s old-fashioned overdressed style is not to all tastes, but service is attentive and the place is comfortable Dine early, however, for about 9 p.m. the place gets night-clubby. with noisy, mediocre “entertainment.” Lunch is nothing special. (2515 McKinney/741-1223/Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m. -midnight/Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)
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 its 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/369-6466/Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30; Sun brunch 1 l-2/Reservations/MC, AE, DC/$$$)
Ewald’s. Loyal regulars flock to this old standard, whose menu has changed very little over the years The style is sort of continental home-cooking: more hearty than delicate, more homey than classy. The veal is excellent, though some preparations are over-embellished. Try the veal Papagallo with Canadian bacon ana Swiss cheese or the veal Picatta-Milanese Excellent pepper steak and “Tenderloin a la Ewald ” And a rarity – well-prepared fresh vegetables Have a side order of spaetzli if your entree doesn’t come with it. and conclude with the Black Forest cake No frills, but tew disappointments, either. (5415 W Lovers Ln/357-1622/Mon-Fri 6-10:30, Sat 6-11/Reservations/MC, V/$$$)
The Grape. An old favorite with some new delights, especially at lunch, which has become more adventurous. The beef dishes, particularly the tournedos bearnaise 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 Greenville/823-0133/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30, open later on Fri & Sat for wine and cheese only/No Reservations/MC, V/S$)
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 nigh, and the reservations-only policy means you may have to wait as long as two weeks for the chance to enjoy Jean Claude’s splendid fare. (2520 Cedar Springs/653-1823/Dinner: 6:45-11/Reservations only/MC, V, AE/$$$)
La Cave. The first wine bar to open in Dallas, so some visitors haven’t quite caught on the fact that they can come here and sample fine wines and then buy bottles to take home with them Food is a secondary consideration good salads, sandwiches, pate, and cheeses to keep you steady as you sample the wonderful array of wines Congenial and civilized, though the wine chat can get an-noyingly snobbishat times. (2926 Henderson/826-2190/ Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Fn 5 30-12. Sat till 1; open for off-premise wine sales all day/No reservations/MC. V/$)
Le Bistro. Its impossible not to like this place, with its sophisticated renovation of an old Oak Lawn house and its excellent service, but there’s something lacking in the kitchen. Appetizers and salads are excellent, especially the escargots and the ’Salade Le Bistro with avocado and fresh mushrooms But the entrees often come to the table over- or under-cooked, and carelessly seasoned Too bad, because they have the right idea offer a limited range of French entrees Maybe they’re learning and maybe they’ll get it right some day Meanwhile, we keep hoping. (3716 Bowser, just off Oak Lawn/528-4181/Tue-Thur6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11, Sun 6-I0/Reservations/MC. V. AE/$$$)
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’hdte 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 LoversLn/358-2103/Tue-Sun 6-10:30. Fri& Sat till midnight. Closed Mon/Reservations/MC. V. AE. DC/$$)
Mr. Peppe. Old-timers swear by it, and it was once one of the best restaurants in Dallas. But the years have not been kind, and you may find it drab rather than cozy The key word in recent years has been inconsistency When this restaurant is good, it’s very, very good And fortu-nately it’s never terribly bad Try the pepper steak, which is stunningly seasoned, and the excellent desserts, otherwise, take your chances – and good luck. (5617 W Lovers Ln/352-5976/Mon-Sat 6-10/Reservations/MC, V, AE. DC/$$$)
Old Warsaw. Risen from its decline, La Vieille 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 c6te de veau And don’t ignore the waiter’s recommendations when he suggests a dessert soufflé. (2510 Maple/528-0032/Daily 6-11. Sat till midntght/Reservations/MC. V. AE. DC/$$$$)
Patry’s. When the Patry family is at work, you can’t go wrong Start with the poireaux farcis (stuffed leeks) or the delicate, light, near-perfect vichyssoise, then have any of the superb entrees: a wonderful coq au vin, a filet in a flawless bearnaise, or their splendid escalope of veal. The place itself is a bit sterile except for their terrific – and very French – little bar. (2504 McKinney/748-3754/Tue-Fri 6-11, Sat till 11:30/Reservations/MC. V, AE. DC/$$$)
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 soufflé is a triumph. In sum, Dallas’ finest restaurant. But even at that, capable of disappointment because it is so expensive Too expensive. But always a pleasure it you can pay the price. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard/748-5454/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Daily 6-midmght/Resenrvations/All credit cards/$$$$)
Campisi’s. The sign says “Egyptian Restaurant.” but the place is strictly Italian, carried on in the proud family tradition of papa Carlo Campisi, whose portrait still watches over the proceedings Dallas’ original pizza specialists – and still the best. Or try the plateful of sausage and peppers. Warm (in fact steamy) and wonderful – and always a waiting line to prove it. (5610 E Mockingbird/827-0355/Mon-Fri 11 a.m. -midnight, Sat till 1 a.m.. Sun noon-midnight/No credit cards. Checks accepted/Reservations for 6 or more/$)
lanni’s. An undistinguished shopping center facade, an entry lobby tacked with Dallas sports photos and celebrity glossies, and a dining room that’s a vineyard of plastic grapes don’t bode well But lanni’s can surprise you. It’s relaxed and unpretentious – a throwback to simpler dining. The waitresses are pros and the kitchen is sound if not stunning And the homemade Italian sausage is as good as any in town. (2230 Greenville/826-6161/Daily 5:30-11 p.m/Reservations/MC. AE/$$)
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 5.30-11, Sat till midnight/Reservations except on Fri & Sat/All credit cards/$$$)
Italian Pavilion. An out-of-the-way location and rather garish decor are the negatives here Otherwise, the food is excellent, including the delicious hot antipasto and fine veal dishes, particularly the veal Fiorentina, with crab meat, and the veal Gaetano. with madeira sauce and mushrooms. Soups and salads are less distinguished, and the service, while pleasant, can be slow A good, moderately priced wine list and excellent cappuccino help round out the generally positive picture of Italian Pavilion. (Le Baron Hotel, 1055 Regal Row at Carpenter Fwy/634-8550/Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11. Fri-Sat 6-11:30, closed Sun/Reservations/AII credit cards/$$$)
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 McKinney Ave/823-6040/Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Mon- Tbur 6-10.30, Fri & Sat till 11/Reservations/MC, V, AE/$$$)
Mario’s. One of few Dallas restaurants to take the sophisticated approach and do so with dignity, with natural elegance. A longstanding family success, so there is an air of confinence and pride. Delicious roquefort-based cheese spread (complimentary), dense and delicious French bread loaves, marvelous fried zucchini Try the Frittura Delizie Romana.” a batter fried spinach appeti-zer. Entrees (northern Italian specialties) are stylish but not exceptional. Splendid wine list. (135 Turtle Creek Village/521-1135/Daily 6-11, Sat till midnight/Reservations/AII credit cards/$$$)
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 Pietros veal scallopini a la Siciliano is excellent Have the creme 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/ 824-9403/ Tue- Thur5:30-10p.m., Fri & Sal till 11 p.m /No reservations/No credit cards/$$)
China Inn. A competent, dependable Chinese restaurant, crowded even on weekdays Definitely better at dinner than at lunch. Good appetizers, well-prepared sweet and sour dishes. The standouts are ginger beef, crackling with mildly hot slices of ginger, and war sue har. delicately fried shrimp with a delicious red sauce. Amiable and quick service. (6521 E NW Hwy/361-7733/ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2 p.m.; Dinner: Mon- Thur 5-10:30 p.m., Fri & Sat 5-midmght. Sun 11 am.-10:30p.m./Reservations for 5 or more/MC, V, AE/$$)
Chinese Pavilion. They make few attempts at chinoiserie in the decor, preferring to save their efforts for the kitchen The menu, identical to that of the parent restaurant. Hunan, has a whole array of terrific specialties, and it’s a good idea to trust the 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 midnight/Reservations/MC, V. AE/$$)
Hunan. We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: If there’s a better Chinese restaurant in town than Hunan, we haven’t found it. Everything about this bustling operation suggests taste and discrimination, except maybe the decor – late oriental bordello that must have been copied from a Charlie Chan movie. Even on the busiest nights, the service is quick and the food beautifully prepared. Everyone has his own list of favorite dishes so we’ll just mention a few of ours: Hunan lamb, pork and shrimp Hunan (which looks remarkably like a still life), sliced chicken with orange peel, and Buddhist delight – a vegetable dish that’s too involved to describe. Only the crab velvet and the champagne chicken have been disappointing … but not bad. just confusing, as though the recipes had been sent over from Trader Vic’s. For appetizers, try the hacked chicken, a dreadful name for a delightful cold chicken and seasoned cabbage dish, or the San Shien soup – shrimp, peapods, noodles, etc. – that is practically a meal in itself. And then there are the fortune cookies with genuinely uplifting fortunes like “You can expect great success in your personal affairs ’ Can’t do much better than that. (5214 Greenville Ave/369-4578/Mon-Thur 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri, Sat & Sun 11-midnight/Reservations/MC. V, AE/$$)
Peking Palace. Once the pacesetter for Dallas Chinese restaurants, Peking Palace has fallen lar 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 Szechuan. The Lemmon Avenue spinoff of Greenville Avenue’s Hunan restaurant does justice to the parent organization’s menu. The first page of Chef Specialties” is special indeed Try the Hunan Beef. River Shang Pork, House Lamb, or House Chicken The more traditional items, such as hot and sour soup, moo shi pork, and lo mein, are also recommended The dining room is on the stark and sterile side, and the service is sometimes charming but inarticulate A pleasant oasis in the fast food desert. (4117 Lemmon near Douglas/521-6981/ Daily 11 30 a.m. -11 p.m., Fri & Sat till midnight/Reservations on weekends/MC, V, AE. DC/$$)
Ports O’ Call. Dallas’ original theme restaurant sits high atop the Southland Life building, and the view from this 37th-floor crow’s nest practically beats a helicopter ride over downtown. There’s more here than meets the eye, though dish for dish, specialty restaurants do it better than Ports O’ Call, with its attempt to cover the globe. Continental fare now occupies a whole page of the formerly all-Asian menu, but the food has never been the big attraction here. The Papeete special fails short of the combination appetizer plate at most Chinese restaurants, though the ribs are juicy and good, the puffed shrimp light and tender, and the Bali-Miki-Boo an interesting added touch. Most of the entrees are nothing to write home about. Shrimp Kow-loon, for instance, is a mushy bowl of tiny shrimp and Chinese vegetables, and Steak Que – beef lips, Chinese vegetables, and oyster sauce – an indefinably bland sort of Polynesian goulash. Instead of those enormous portions, couldn’t more attention be paid to ingredients and preparation? At any rate, the real thriII at Ports O’ Call is all those exotic fruit drinks and outrageous rum concoctions, and the array of ice-sculpted daiquiries Despite the food, it’s fun to claim a window table at dusk and watch the skyline light up all around. (Southland Center, 2117 Live Oak/742-2334/Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Daily 5:30-10:30/Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)
Trader Vic’s. Have fun, but don’t expect anything sublime here – they cover too much ground to have any specialties except the wacky drinks (gardenias floating in rum punch, and so on). The creamed curry dishes are nice, the indonesian lamb interesting, ana the Cninese dishes varied bul 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 5-7/30 p.m.. weekends till midnight/Reservat/ons/AII credit cards/$$$)
Gitana. In setting alone, Gitana is one of the most pleasant restaurants in town, so it’s nice to report that the food has become consistently good. Particularly the appetizers – with the ratatouille and the fried artichoke hearts as standouts. As for entrees, the paella is only average, but the shrimp dishes are excellent. Lunch features linguine and a rich fettucine, as welI as some pleasant salads and sandwiches Good wine selections and excellent sherries Service is erratic. (3236 McKmney/521-4360/Lunch. 11 -2, Dinner: 6-11. closed Mon/AE, V, MC/$$)
AdeIante. An odd little spot in an almost secretive behind-the-shoppmg-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/$)
Chiquita. The spifly new Chiquita has made a pretty good run at first place among the city’s Mexican restaurants, and its claim gets stronger with every visit we make. Enormous and colorful paper flowers festoon the walls, candles in blown glass balls hang from the ceiling, waiters’ costumes match the tablecloths. Does Dallas have a cheerier dining room? Service is friendly and lightning fast – at lunch no table is empty longer than thirty seconds – and waiters don’t hesitate to recommend highlights on the menu. Among these are the absolutely splendid combination nachos that come with cheese and guacamole, chicken and sour cream, plain cheese and a separate bowl of chili peppers Tex-Mex is a side show here, so go for the specialties. Every one we’ve had has been a feast, from the carne asada – filet mignon, onions, ranchero sauce, and Linares cheese – to chiles relienos and the magnificent Aztecs in a blanket. It’s hard to find seafood Mexican style any better than Chiquita’s. Leave room for dessert. The warm sopapillas swimming in honey are a must, and the coffee is terrific. The tone at Chiquita is sassy and confident, and with its winning combination, deservedly so. (3810 Congress, off Oak Lawn/ 521-0721/Mon-Sat 11:30-11/ No reservations/MC, V, AE/$)
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 Tampiquena and the wonderfully named Tos-tadas 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 reservations/MC/$)
Herrera Cafe. Home-cooked Tex-Mex from two odd loca-tios The ludicrous-looking newer version on Lemmon Avenue serves the same great food as the original adobe hole-in-the-wall on Maple But at the Lemmon location, quality is not a certainty Visit Maple for good old fat flour tortillas hot off the grill, wonderful burritos, great guaca-mole And the menudo is a community tradition. (3902 Maple/526-9427/Weekdays 9 a.m..-8 p.m., closed Mon/ No reservations/No credit cards/$)
Javier’s. 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/$$).
Raphael’s. Another old favorite in a slump, though the crowds haven’t changed On recent visits, only the chicken nachos and the rich and tangy enchiladas en mole were up to the standards this restaurant once set A little more care and a slowing down of an almost too-successful operation might cure Raphael’s ills. (3701 McKmney/ 521-9640IMon-Fri 11:30 am -10:30 p.m., Sat noon-10:30. closed Sun/Reservations Mon-Thur only/MC, V, AE/$$)
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/AII credit cards/$$)
Goldfinger. More successful as a lively, raucous nightclub than as a restaurant, but Goldfinger does provide some of the city’s best Greek tood – a woefully limited aspect of Dallas’ cuisine So. while you’re clapping and singing with the Greek musicians, try the flaming saganaki. the avgolemeno soup, the shrimp and meat kostas, and the veal venetikia And the dolmas are a must. (2905 Cndelle at W Northwest Hwy/350-6983/Mon-Fri 11 am.-2 a m Sat-Sun 6 pm-2 am/Reservations/All credit cards/$$$)
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 Ln/692-141 1/Mon-Sat 11 a.m. -9 p.m. /No reservations/MC/$)
Kuby’s. Busy and bustling. Excellent homemade sausages (served with not potato saiad 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 till 5 30/No reser-vattons/MC- $15 minimum/$)
Wall’s. A small deli with a whiff – but only a taint one – of the New York slyle 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 Rdl691-4444/Daily 730a m -7:30 pm./ No reservalions/MC, V/$$)
Celebration. It still surprises us that people are so eager to spend cash money for plain, homestyle food, but since they are, it’s good to have a place like Celebration around. Nothing flashy or sophisticated here. Just platters of Mas cooking served in quick, no-nonsense fashion. The baked trout amandine is the star attraction, with the pot roast, cut thick and nicely seasoned, a close second. Everything else is above average, and you can always ask for seconds. All meals come with a huge salad, home-made biscuits, and three vegetables. Some nights the combinations are rather dreary, like potatoes, lima beans, and cauliflower, but they’re usually hot and fresh. For dessert, there’s a good buttermiIk pie and a pretty fair apple cobbler. Beer and wine are now served, though brown baggers are still welcome Best of all, Celebration is a great place to talk. Dark corners, discreet lighting, and some of the most agreeable background music in town. The atmosphere is so right, in fact, that you tend to forget that you could be doing practically the same thing at home. (4503 W. Lovers Ln/351-5681/Mon-Fri 5:30-11. Sat till 10:30/No reservations/MC, V/$)
Dixie House. Good food, amiable service, and great drinks. The style is comfortable and casual – a great place for a lunch break, but not if you’re dieting, since the cuisine is calorie-loaded Southern style. The meat loaf, the pot roast, and the pork chops are standouts The fried chicken is a specialty,” but not to all tastes. The catfish is variable, and sometimes the French fries are a bit fishy Try the beer-batter-fried onion rings Another McKinney Avenue restoration – comfortable and low-keyed, with-out ersatz nostalgia. (2822 McKmney/823-0071 /Mon-Thur 11 -11, Fri & Sat till midnight. Sun noon-11/ No reser-vationslMC. V, AE/$$)
Sonny Bryan’s. This down-home smokehouse is still top contender for best barbecue in town, though its hordes of regulars don’t need to be told. Accommodations are chuck-wagon primitive: individual school desk tops inside, and picnic tables, car trunks, or pick-up truck taiIgates outside. People come here for the beef and ham plates and sandwiches, all delicious, though no order is complete without a carton of Sonny’s golden onion rings or big soft fries. Elsewhere usually an afterthought, the cole slaw is crisp and absolutely fresh. Since the rumored 800 pounds of meat cooked every day are usually gone by 4 p.m., you have to strike early or not at all. This is the sort of small-town eatery no big city should be without. (2202 /nwood/357-7120/ Mon-Sat 6 a.m.-6 p.m.. Sun 11-2/No reserva-lions/No credit cards/$)
S & D Oyster Company. Excel lent oysters and shrimp and a few broiled fish – usually snapper or trout – when they’re available They wisely avoid the fancier stuff – crab or lobster or clams – that has to be shipped in frozen Simplicity of preparation is the key to this restaurant’s well-deserved success For lunch, oyster loaf – fried oysters on a French roll with tartar sauce – is a good choice For dinner, have some boiled shrimp for starters and finish off with their home-made pie. A bit noisy, but the place is for eaters as opposed to diners. Beer and wine only. (2701 McKinney near Routh/823-6350/Mon-Thur 11 a.m. -10 p.m., Fri & Sat till 11, closed Sun/No reservattons/MC/$$)
Steaks, Burgers, Etc.
Chili’s. Terrific enormous hamburgers, great spicy chili, and wonderful French fries at wonderful prices. The Terlin-gua special, embellished with everything in the house, shows you what they can do If you’re feeling more conservative, have the Old Timer. You’ll have to wait, day or night, but it’s worth it, and once you re inside, the service is speedy. (7567 Greenville Ave at Meadow Rd/361-4371/Daily 11 a m -midnight, Fri & Sat till 2 a m /No reservations/MC/$)
Stoneleigh P. Good food, a well-stocked bar, and lively crowds keep this Oak Lawn hangout hopping. The wall-length photograph reminds you that the Stoneleigh P, is a made-over drugstore, though the magazine rack you got shooed away from as a kid here is now wide open for browsing. The handful of nifty short orders has always included a terrific lentil soup and provolone cheeseburger, but a couple of other dishes also hit the mark. The broiled, boneless breast of chicken has a savory sauce that lifts this dish out of the ordinary and the sausage sandwich is terrific. The Stoneleigh P.’s Godiva chocolate pie is a light and delicious dessert which by itself is enough to lure you back for more. Whether playing Bach or Waylon. the jukebox never stops, and the same should hold for the easy-going Stoneleigh P. (2926 Map/e/ 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 2INo reservations/No credit cards/$)
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 lew 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 tor midnight munchies. (4 NorthPark East/ 361 -9426/Daily 11 a m-1 30 a m /No reservations/ MC. V. AE. DCI$$)
Ichabod’s. Slick in the Greenville Avenue tradition, but Ichabods is nevertheless a very pleasant and dependable place The key to their success is a limited menu of steaks and seafood with nothing so elaborate that the kitchen staff can’t handle it A nice dining area with its own entrance to separate it trom 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 cards/$$)
Klrby’s. Simply astonishing steaks at prices that will please if not astonish you, Kirby’s is the only place to think of if all you want is a steak. It has some other things going for it great baked potatoes, a battery of motherly waitresses, and a Fifties-style decor that’s funky without trying to be But the main thing here is the beef. (3715 Greenville/ 823-7296ITue-Sun 5:30-1030. Fri & Sal till midnight/ Reservations/All credit carcjs/$$)
Strictly Ta-Bu. Old and intentionally tacky, but nice. Ba-sically, it’s a neighborhood bar, with fair to excellent food – especially the pizza (which is. however, small and expensive) and burgers For a change try the Ta-Bu special, a ham, turkey, bacon and cheese sandwich with thousand island dressing on a rye bun But most people come here for the iazz and the beer and the pizza, so don’t expect more than that. (4111 Lomo Alto/526-9325IMon-Fri5p.m-2a.m . Sat6p.m -1 a.m./Noreservations/MC. V/$$)
T.G.I. Friday’s. This may be Dallas |unk food paradise – if junk food means luscious hamburgers (still among the best in town), a munchy concoction called “nachoiupas, the biggest salad you’ll ever see, and even rhubarb pie Good steak bargains; much-improved omelettes, and the half chicken is a superb meal The place is lively as ever, with lots of swingles and a little of everything else. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville /363-5353/Daily 11:30am-2 am /No reservations/MC. V, AE/$$)
Mainly For Lunch
The Bronx. A warm and funky little place with tew pretensions and some terrific food coming from its kitchen Nothing fancy, just great omelettes (served with a side of Italian sausage and a toasted bagel), sausage sandwiches, mushroom meatloat. 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 Lawnl521-5821I Daily 11:30-12:30 a.m.. bar till 2/No reservations/MC/$$)
Ciro’s. A cozy, unpretentious little place for which the “mainly for lunch” tag is entirely appropriate. The menu consists of half a dozen bountiful sandwiches with exotic names like El Nopal, Bengal, and Zingara (a special favorite), excellent quiches (try the artichoke or asparagus), and some tasty homemade soups. At night the atmosphere is more subdued, even a bit eerie at times, though you can always amuse yourself by speculating about all the trysts across the street at Andrew’s. A couple of main dishes are added, usually beef or chicken, and while they’re nothing special they do give the menu needed balance. If you get a waiter who’s on the ball – somewhat chancy lately – you can have a pleasant time sampling fine wines by the glass. Finish up with a cup of coffee and homemade pastry – try anything with dates in it. In short, what Ciro’s does it does well. It just doesn’t do all that much, which means it can be exhausted quickly. (3237McKinney at Hall/745-9464IMon-Wed 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Thur & Fri till midnight, Sat. till 1 a.m.. Closed Sun/No reservations. MC/$)
Gallery Buflet. An expertly catered buffet table at the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts, featuring hearty soups, salads, homemade breads, and desserts for only $3 Wine extra. (DMFA. Fair Park/421 -41 B7/Tue-Fri 11.30 a.m.-1:30 p m /No reservations/No credit cards/$)
The Magic Pan. Yes, its a chain restaurant, and sometimes it shows Fortunately, the crepes themselves are very good, even if the soups and salads that precede and/or accompany them are thoroughly ordinary Try the creamed chicken crepes with a sprinkling of parmesan And for dessert, have the Chantilly – banana slices in a stun-ning sauce topped with real whipped cream and toasted almond siivers. That alone explains why there s always a line halfway down NorthPark Mall. (NorthPark – New Mall/692-7574IMon-Thur 11 a.m.-midnight. Fri till 1 am.. Sat 10 a.m.-1 a.m.. Sun 10 a m.-midntght/No res-ervations/MC, V, AE, DC/$$)
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 phe-nomenal hot fudge sauce are stunning But things don’t always go right, so you II have to decide lor yourself whether the Zodiac is a tradition worth observing. (Nei-man-Marcus. downtown/741 -6911/Mon-Sat 10:30 a.m.-2:30pm teatime daily3-5pm. except Thur 2:30-3:30: Thur dinner 5-7 p.m./Reservattons/Neiman-Marcus charge card only, checks accepted/$$)
Fort Worth Restaurants
Angelo’s. A name that’s known across the state as one of Texas’ premiere barbecue pits And it is Great beef, rich spicy sauce, big sandwiches, cold draught, and a setting that fits – West Texas rustic and sawdust floors And overlooking the proceedings is a monstrous stuffed bear – a landmark himself. (2533 While Settlement Rd/(817)332-0357IMon-Sat 11-WINo reservations/No creditcards/$)
The Balcony. Perched in the second story of a shopping center. The Balcony serves well-prepared but not ex-traordmary food Standouts are the onion soup; a red snapper prepared with crab, lobster, and a subtle mushroom sauce: and a pleasant veal dish served with Wisconsin cheese. (6100 Camp Bowie Blvdl(817)731 -37l9/Lunch. Mon-Fri 11 30-2. Dinner Daily 6- 11 / Reservations/MC. V, AE/$$$)
Carriage House. Remodeling has helped this restaurants atmosphere, but they need to remodel the kitchen slaft loo 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 CampBowiel(817)732-2873ILunch Sun-Fri 11-2.Dinner: Daily 6-11/ResenationslMC, V AE/$$$)
Cattleman’s. A famous Texas name that still delivers, and still from its original location right in the heart of the stockyards. The steaks are the thing here and they’re terrific – you can watch them being cooked on the grills at the end of each dining room. Lots of other options, ranging from calf fries (“Mountain Oysters”) to lobster and spaghetti. (2458 N Main/(817)624-3945/MonFri 11 a.m. -10 45 p.m. , Sat 4-1045 p.m. . closed Sun/Reserva-tionslAII credit cards/$$)
Le Bistro. French style in Fort Worth, a stone’s 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 Bowie/(817) 332-5102! Brunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2. Dinner Tue-Sat5 30-9 30/Res-ervations/MC, V/$$$)
Old Swiss House. Dependable but not dazzling. The veal dishes, though on the heavy side, are the recommended house specialties The veau Zunchoise, for instance, is tasty but immobilizing. The veau aux champignons is simpler and more delicate Excellent filet mignon and good fish dishes, including a lovely Nova Scotia salmon appetizer. It’s a Fort Worth institution, but it’s also rather stuffy, though the fresh flowers and the slice of lime in each glass give the place a gracious air The extensive wine list is strong in Californias and the service is quick and polished. (5412 Camp Bowie/817-738-8091 /Mon-Thur 6-W, Fri & Sat till 10:30, closed Sun I Reservations/ MC, V, DC, AE/$$$)