Durham House. One of the most pleasant restaurant settings around – an elegant old house on a back street in Wax-ahachie – and a very promising menu. Esquire recently listed Durham House as one of the best restaurants in the country, but don’t take that recommendation too seriously. “We don’t know why they picked us,” says Chef Jerry Weber, and if you go expecting to be knocked out by the food, you won’t know either. This is a comfortable, unpretentious place where you can eat your fill and sit as long as you like for a reasonable (if not bargain) price. The menu is an original – especially the meat dishes, which range from a 11/2-inch bone-in cut of Iowa veal to Indiana duckling and fresh Gulf shrimp, and the elaborate desserts. All meals include homemade peanut bisque (spicy and delicious) and green salad with a choice of house dressings (try the anchovy/herb); while there’s not much choice among these early courses, Durham House has added an offbeat, home-made touch to what’s available. Which brings us to our only complaint: Sometimes an excess of special touches gets in the way of a good thing. The entrees are complex, sometimes too complex for our taste, as in the roast duckling, which arrived tricked out in sticky fruit sauce, shaved nuts, paper booties, and three arty garnishes, sitting on a bed of leaf lettuce and Texas toast. The stuffed game hen, on the other hand, was straightforward and very juicy; the filet with green peppercorns was generous, tender and perfectly cooked. The desserts are huge and multilayered. We tried the Wellesley Special, a cake-and-ice-cream dish topped off with whipped cream and nuts, and the Boccone Dolce, a meringue shell filled with strawberries, Cointreau, and chocolate, topped off with whipped cream, nuts, and chocolate jimmies. For dessert lovers, those are real treats. The service was excellent. Remember to take your own alcohol – the nearest liquor shop is in Reagor Springs, eight miles southeast of Waxahachie, and that’s beer only. From downtown Dallas, take I-35E south to the first Waxahachie exit (Highway 77), which will lead you into the city. Go left at the second stop light, then right on” Rogers; Durham House is the big old house on the right at the end of the first block on Rogers. (603 North Rogers, Waxahachie. 223-7968. Thurs-Sun from 6 pm. Reservations only. MC, V, AE. $$$)
Delaney’s. A cozy spot off Camp Bowie that tries to serve something for everyone: stuffed pork chops, shrimp tempura, steak, lobster tails, baked trout. As you might expect from such a democratic menu, no dish is especially distinguished, unless it’s the Chicken Delaney, chunks of white meat sauteed in a wine and herb sauce. The veal Oscar and the stuffed flounder proved too much for the kitchen, as did the fancier side dishes like sauteed vegetables. Best to stick to basics here. At lunch, Delaney’s is a straight-forward place that features salads and omelettes. Probably its most memorable feature is a bar /library where you can sip your Manhattan and thumb through a copy of Lord of the Rings at the same time. De-laney’s is nice if you happen to be in the neighborhood, but it’s not worth a special trip. (Between Camp Bowie and 1-20 on Home, Fort Worth. (817) 731-0755. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; Dinner: 5:30-10, Sat till 11, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)
Endicott’s Ore House. A massive structure rising beside the fourth green of a Fort Worth municipal golf course, the Ore House is one of those Hi-I’m-Your-Waiter-Bruce places, with a cute menu and bric-a-brac from a 19th-century Colorado gold mine. The lengthy menu ranges from New York Strip to cheese sandwich, with eleven kinds of hamburgers and seven omelettes in between. The teriyaki steak we chose one recent Saturday night was excellent, the nachos fine, the salad crisp and fresh; the only disaster was the apple pie, which was undercooked and gummy. Our Waiter Bruce was prompt and attentive but rushed us through coffee. To a West Texas eye, the Ore House resembles a cotton gin more than it does a gold mine, but the restaurant is informal and children love it. (7101 Calmont, Fort Worth. (817) 732-8031. Lunch: daily 11-2; Dinner: daily 4:30-11:30. No reservations. All credit cards. $$)
These restaurants represent the best in Dallas dining. It is implicit that we recommend all of them highly.
These listings are revised and supplemented periodically. Visits by our critics are made anonymously to avoid preferential treatment. Inclusion in this directory has nothing whatever to do with paid advertising.
The pricing symbols used are categorical, not precise. They indicate only a general price range.
$ Generally inexpensive. Usually indicates a good value.
$$ Middle ground and very general. Usually indicates a menu with a wide price range.
$$$ Expensive. You can expect to spend more than $10 for a complete meal excluding wine and cocktails.
$$$$ Very expensive.
Unless otherwise noted, all restaurants have full bar facilities.
Credit card notations: MC/Master Charge, V/Visa, AE/American Express, DC/Diner’s Club, CB/Carte Blanche. “All Credit Cards” indicates that all five are accepted.
Arthur’s. Home away from home for junior executives and the expense account set. Arthur’s sports a classy bar and a first-rate kitchen. Lunch is as solid as dinner, with hefty portions to keep the three-martini luncher on an even keel. Have the magnificent calf’s liver with Canadian bacon and sautéed onions, or the sensational lamb chops. Professional service and elegance without condescension. (1000 Campbell Centre. 361-8833. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: daily 5-11, Sal till midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)
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 University. 692-8224. Bagatelle: Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2, Sun brunch 10:30-2; Dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sal till 11, bar till 2. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$. Plaza: Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-midnight, Fri & Sat till I am, closed Sun. No reservations. All credit cards. $$)
Brasserie. This elegant coffee shop still fills a local void as a late-night snack stop after a dressy evening, and some of its post-midnight treats are as wonderful as ever: sensational eggs Benedict, avocado stuffed with crabmeat, and sirloin steak sandwich. But the salads, omelettes, and sandwiches are no better than you can get at lots of other places – just considerably more expensive – and around 2 a.m. you can get the uneasy feeling that you’re keeping the place open. Still, late night is the only time to visit, and there’s really nowhere else to go. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard. 748-5454. 24 hours, seven days a week. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)
Calluaud. The secret of this first-class restaurant is restraint; just enough items on the menu for the kitchen to handle with care, light and delicate sauces, lightly cooked fresh vegetables, and an overall reverence for the subtle pleasures of fish and veal. It’s hard to make a wrong move at dinner, but be sure to start with the red snapper pate when it’s on the menu. Lunch features superb omelettes and some fine light entrees: coquilles St. Jacques, filet of sole, and a steak accompanied by the best French fries in town. Noisy when it’s crowded, and service sometimes goes astray when things get too busy. But most of the time, Calluaud is a class operation. (2917 Fairmount off Cedar Springs. 742-8525. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Fri 6:30-10, Sal till 11, closed Sunday. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)
La Cave. A light meal and good wine in pleasant surroundings. The gimmicks are the wine bar and open wine cellar, which allow a wide sampling of foreign and domestic wines at bargain prices, but La Cave succeeds on culinary grounds, too. We’ve had excellent onion soup, avocado stuffed with crabmeat, and chicken liver pate, as well as some exceptional desserts – try the apple cheesecake and orange-flavored double cream cheese. The only flaws: efficient but flaky service, and coffee too mild to counteract the effects of the wine. Good 1940s background music, though. (2926 Henderson. 826-2190. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: 5:30-12, Sal till I; open all day for package wine sales. No reservations. MC, V. $)
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 nightclubby, with noisy, mediocre “entertainment.” Lunch is nothing special. (2515 McKin-ney. 741-1223. Mon-Sat 11:30 a.m.-midnight, closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)
The Chimney. Service at the Chimney has been uniformly splendid, with waitresses who can knowledgeably explain each dish and tell you whether it’s worth ordering that day. Better yet, the kitchen is careful, dependable, and innovative. Top honors go to the veal, especially the veal Zurich and veal Oscar, and a variety of wonderful desserts, from bananas Foster to Black Forest cake. Lunch is first-class, from the light and flaky quiche to the tasty squash fritters. The wine list includes some interesting Austrian wines. Apart from some recent unevenness in the appetizers, this is a comfortable, unpretentious, dependable restaurant. (Willow Creek, 9739 N Cen Expwy at Walnut Hill. 369-6466. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10:30, Sun 6-10; Sun brunch: 11:30-2. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$)
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 and Swiss cheese or the veal Picatta-Milanese. Excellent pepper steak and “Tenderloin a la Ewald.” And a rarity – well-prepared fresh vegetables. Have a side order of” spaetzli if your entree doesn’t come with it, and conclude with the Black Forest cake. No frills, but few disappointments, either. (5415 W Lovers Ln. 357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10:30, Sal 6-11, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V. $$$)
D Revisits The Grape. The Grape has replaced its clonking air conditioner and slapped some fresh paint on the ceiling, but otherwise there are no signs of creeping Greenville Avenue chic. The interior remains as delightfully tacky as ever and the food as good, though it’s a bit more expensive than before. We recently tried a lovely chicken and artichoke dish cooked in Scotch, and some dainty cubes of Chateaubriand in a perfect béarnaise sauce. The Grape is also one of the few restaurants in town that know how to treat sole, which is to say, gently. Only the tournedos were a disappointment – overdone and rather tough. Since desserts have never been The Grape’s forte, you might complete your meal with some fresh fruit and a wedge of Lingot or Explorateur – marvelous. There’s also an exceptionally varied, well-balanced wine list that includes all the special bottles stashed under the counter. Still one of the most dependable restaurants in Dallas. (2808 Greenville. 823-0133. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Tues-Sun 6-10:30, open later on Fri and Sal for wine and cheese. No reservations. MC, V. $$)
Jean Claude. A unique restaurant in that it provides culinary instruction along with first-class continental cuisine. The constantly changing menu features three hors d’oeuvres, three entrees, and three desserts each evening. Jean Claude Prevot “performs” in an open kitchen and is eager to explain his procedures. Portions are small, but their preparation is consistently excellent. The fixed price is high, and the reservations-only policy means you may have to wait as long as two weeks for the chance to enjoy Jean Claude’s splendid fare. (2520 Cedar Springs. 653-1823. Dinner: Tue-Sat 6:30-9:30. Reservations only. MC, V, AE, $$$)
D Revisits Mr. Peppe. By all accounts, this place hasn’t changed since the early Sixties, when it enjoyed a reputation as one of Dallas’ best restaurants. Given the stiff competition of the Seventies, though, Mr. Peppe needs a new coat of paint – literally, since its drab mural, cardboard bricks, and plastic grapes act as a mild depressant. The menu covers the old French standbys, from pate to chocolate mousse. We tried the beef Wellington and the day’s special, filet of sole Pontchartrain, topped with peppers, mushrooms, and crab-meat – both competent but unspectacular. The vegetables were nicely cooked, though among the appetizers and desserts the only real contender was the crème caramel. The part of Mr. Peppe’s act that still has class is its tux-edoed waiters: They’re low-key, experienced, and don’t pronounce béarnaise any better than we do. All in all, the place could use some new life. (5617 W Lovers Ln. 352-5976. Mon-Sat 6-10, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$)
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 souffle. (2610 Maple. 528-0032. Tue-Sun 6-10:45, Sat till 11:45. Reservations. All credit cards.$$$)
Patry’s. When the Patry family is at work, you can’t go wrong. Start with the poireaux farcis (stuffed leeks) or the delicate, light, near-perfect vichyssoise, then have any of the superb entrees: a wonderful coq au vin, a filet in a flawless béarnaise, or their splendid escalope of veal. The place itself is a bit sterile except for their terrific – and very French – little bar. (2504 McKinney. 748-3754, Tue-Sun 6-11, Sat till 11:30, closed Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)
Pyramid Room. Hyatt-Regency or no, the Fairmont has an ace up its sleeve: the Pyramid Room. The overall dining experience here is unrivaled in Dallas. That’s attributable to its charming, efficient staff and a relaxed ap- proach to splendid food. We’ve recently sampled the excellent veal chop baked with honey and dressed with grated carrot; even better was the lamb loin baked in a pastry shell with tarragon sauce – a lamb lover’s dream. Lunch is almost as great a pleasure – the calf’s liver with onions and baked apple is as good as you’ll ever taste, the fresh fruit salad truly fresh, and the pastry carl incredible. We even tried the “Pyramid Hamburger.” II was, of course, superb. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard. 748-5454. Lunch: 11:30-1:30 Mon-Fri; Dinner: Daily 6-9:45. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)
Three Vikings. This is a delight ful restaurant, unlike any other in town. Run by a Swedish family, Three Vikings features one of the nicest fish dishes around – a perfectly cooked filet of sole with crabmeat and a light, lemony sauce. Other treats are Swedish steak, lightly steamed fresh vegetables, terrific shrimp chowder and chocolate cheese pie. Service is friendly and helpful. Our only suggestions would be a more inspired house salad and a longer, more varied wine list. (2831 Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770. Mon-Sat 6-11. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)
Campisi’s. Everyone’s fantasy of the neighborhood Italian restaurant – small, dark, and bustling, with family portraits on the wall and an army of no-nonsense waitresses. Unfortunately, the food is pretty ordinary – the kitchen does well with staples like pizza, lasagna and ravioli (the last is homemade), but tends to manhandle mildly sophisticated dishes like veal scaloppine marsala and scampi. So slick to the basics and enjoy the atmosphere. At its best on a Friday night. (5610 East Mockingbird Ln. 827-0355. Mon-Fri 11-midnight, Sal till I am, Sun noon-midnight. No credit cards, but personal checks accepted. Reserva-tions for 6 or more. $)
lanni’s. A family-run restaurant with excellent pasta – try the baked ziti with eggplant and mozzarella or the buttery, thick fettucini lanni – and terrific appetizers. The “house spe-cialties-,” on the other hand, are nothingspecial. Good desserts and coffee; tacky decor.(2230 Greenville. 826-6161. Mon-Thur 5-11,Fri & Sat 5:30-11:30, Sun 5-10:30. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)
II Sorrento. Still maintaining the elusive blend of friendliness and intimacy that gives it a unique personality among Dallas restaurants, II Sorrento is competently staffed from strolling musicians to head chef. Its veal dishes are invariably superb, and the beef entrees – tour-nedos Rossini and medallions of beef frascati in particular – are outstanding, An excellent wine list and knowledgeable sommelier. And the most delightfully hokey decor in town. The only major criticism we have is that reservations sometimes get lost and you wind up waiting in the bar anyway. Fortunately, the food is worth it. (8616 Turtle Creek, north of Northwest Hwy. 352-8759. Daily 5:30-11. Sal till midnight. Reservations except on Fri & Sat. All credit cards. $$$)
Lombardi’s. No gimmicks, just a delightfully remodeled old house where they serve excellent Italian food. The lasagna (the lightest version imaginable) and the saltimbocca are standouts – maybe the best in town. The manicotti ismade with a crìpe-like pasta, the pork par-migiana 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-Fri 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sal reservations at 7:30 or 9:30. MC, V, AE. $$$)
Mario’s. Elegant but not stuffy (though they do require men to wear jackets). While you wouldn’t choose Mario’s if you were in the mood for hard-core Italian food, the fettucine is excellent, and the manicotti appetizer comes with a perfectly balanced tomato sauce. The menu ranges from a simple veal with green peppers (in which the veal can be tasted, for a change) to an elaborate Tournedos Heloise – artichoke hearts, pate, and mushrooms atop the filet. A solid but not exceptional restaurant . (135 Turtle Creek Village, Oak Lawn at Blackburn. 521-1135. Daily 6-10:45. Sat till 11:45. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)
Pietro’s. Pietro’s comes close to what you’d find in, say, the North End of Boston – home-style Sicilian cooking with scads of loyal patrons. The pasta dishes are the best bets, though Pietro’s veal scallopini a la Siciliano is excellent. Have the crème caramel for dessert. Friendly, brisk service though the “No reservations” policy means you’ll have to wait. It’s usually worth it. (5722 Richmond off Greenville. 824-9403. Tue-Thur 5:30-10 pm, Fri & Sat till I1 pm, closed Sun & Mon. No reservations. No credit cards. $$)
Chinese Pavilion. They make few attempts at chinoiserie in the decor, preferring to save their efforts for the kitchen. The menu, identical to that of the parent restaurant, Hunan, has a whole array of terrific specialties, and it’s a good idea to trust the waiter’s recommendations. One recent standout has been the ambitious spicy, crispy whole fish, which comes with an ample and delicious sauce with shallots, all served on a huge platter. Lunchtime service can be grumpy and slow, and the dining room is too bright with too-loud Muzak. (2829 W Northwest Hwy. 357-5777. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat till midnight. Reservations. MC. V, AE. $$)
Hunan. Still the best Szechuan restaurant in town, though there have been off-nights and the service is sometimes inattentive, even surly. If you get a pleasant waiter, ask him to make recommendations; if not, we have a few: Hunan lamb, pork and shrimp Hunan, sliced chicken with orange peel, and the vegetarian Buddhist delight. The pu pu tray is a reliable appetizer sampling, but we also like the hacked chicken, a dreadful name for a delightful cold chicken and cabbage dish. The San Shien soup – shrimp, peapods, noodles, etc – is practically a meal in itself. (5214 Greenville Ave. 369-4578. Sun-Thur 1 l:30am-l 1 pm, Fri & Sat 11-midnight. Reservations for 3 or more. MC, V, AE. $$)
Mihama Ya. A family-run Japanese restaurant with a grocery up front. Terrific shrimp tempura and chicken teriyaki; delightful yakiniku, a beef and vegetable dish; and wonderful chicken kara age, marinated and deep fried. The only weak spots are the soups and salads. An off-beat, thoroughly delightful place. (7713 Inwood Rd. 351-9491. Lunch: Mon-Thurs 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5:30-10, Fri & Sat till 11, Sun 1-10. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $)
Royal Tokyo. This restaurant has always tended to be stronger on theatrics than on performance, and the situation hasn’t changed. In the Hibachi Room, for example, the chefs like to juggle salt shakers and chip vegetables onto your plate while preparing hibachi shrimp (very good) and teriyaki steak (ordinary). Skip the special dinners (they’re overpriced and undistinguished) and try one of the sashimi (raw fish) dishes, the shabu-shabu (beef and vegetables cooked in broth), the yakitori, or the kani-crab fingers. Everything else is fair-to-middling, and you may have to wait an hour or more to be seated, even with reservations. All in all. Royal Tokyo needs to do some tightening. (7525 Greenville Ave. 368-3304. Lunch: Daily 11:30-2 except Sat; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat till 11:30, Sun till 10. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)
South China. Its competitors waver and topple, but South China continues to produce consistently excellent Chinese cuisine. Sweet and sour shrimp doesn’t come any better in Dallas, nor ginger beef more delicately seasoned. Recent discoveries include the moo shi pork, with a delicious filling, and the white mushrooms with crisp broccoli. South China sometimes fumbles with the appetizers, but the shrimp toast, beef strips, fried wonton, and sizzling rice soup are fine. Not to be missed: Saturday and Sunday at lunch the chef prepares Chinese delicacies not on the regular menu for bargain prices. (5424 E Mockingbird. 826-5420. Lunch: Daily 12-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thurs 5-10, Fri & Sal till 12. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)
Szechuan. The Lemmon Avenue spinoff of Greenville Avenue’s Hunan restaurant does justice to the parent organization’s menu. The first page of “Chef Specialties” is special indeed. Try the Hunan Beef, River Shang Pork, House Lamb, or House Chicken. The more traditional items, such as hot and sour soup, moo shi pork, and to mein, are also recommended. The dining room is on the stark and sterile side, but it’s still a pleasant oasis in the fast food desert. (4117 Lemmon near Douglas. 521-6981. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri & Sal till 12. Reservations on weekends. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)
Adelante. In the local Mexican food sweepstakes, Adelante is a leader. We’re partial to the praline cheesecake (in a class by itself), guacamole, flautas and chiles rellenos, and a special dinner called Guadalajara that consists of nachos, beef strips simmered in wine and the makings for roll-your-own tacos. Not too many exotic dishes here, just delightful variations on traditional ones. Service can be very, very slow on weekends, but it’s usually worth the wait. Bar by membership. (5934 Royal Ln at Preston. 691-8301. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5:30-9, Fri & Sal till 10, closed Sun. Reservations for 6 or more. MC, V, AE. $)
Chiquita. The cheeriest dining room in town, and some of the best dining, with swift service and excellent food, particularly the specialty dishes. Try the carne asada, the chiles rellenos, and the magnificent “Aztecs in a blanket.” The seafood dishes are also highly recommended. Leave room for the sopapillas. Lunch tends to be noisy and a bit rushed – the price of popularity. (3810 Congress, off Oak Lawn. 521-0721. Mon-Thur 11:30-10-30, Fri & Sat till 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 Tostadas a la McCaffrey, are well-seasoned, ample, and delicious. Go when you feel laid back. (2126 N St Paul at McKinney. 742-0747. Sun-Thur 11 am-9 pm, Fri & Sal till 10, closed Tues. No reservations. MC, V. $)
D Revisits Javier’s. Surely one of the most attractive dining rooms in town, and some of the best food, too. Javier’s eschews Tex-Mex in favor of steaks, seafood, and chicken dishes from Mexico itself. On our latest visit we enjoyed large, tender shrimp with lots of fresh garlic and a superb half chicken in mole sauce. The mole, though a little on the grainy side, was the best we’ve had: homemade, rich, complex, perfectly balanced. The chicken was moist and tender. The refried beans, an afterthought at too many restaurants, were carefully prepared. The guacamole appetizer was unexceptional, but the thin flour tortillas, wrapped around baked Linares cheese with mild green peppers, onions, and Mexican sausage, were excellent. An outstanding dessert was a crepe covered with creamy cajeta (a thin caramel sauce) and flamed with Amaretto and brandy – very sweet, but you don’t have to eat it all. Cheesecake sauced with cajeta and lopped with strawberries and whipped cream was excessive. Service was expert and gracious, pacing was perfect, and somebody takes good care of the hanging plants. (4912 Cole Ave. 521-4211. Sun-Thurs 5:30-11, Fri & Sat till 11:30. bar till 2 am. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)
Herrera Cafe. Home-cooked Tex-Mex from two odd locations. The ludicrous-looking newer version on Lemmon Avenue serves the same great food as the original adobe hole-in-the-wall on Maple. But at the Lemmon location, quality is not a certainly. Visit Maple for good old fat flour tortillas hot off the grill, wonderful burrilos, great guacamole. And the menudo is a community tradition. (3902 Maple. 526-9427. Mon, Wed. Thur 9 am-8 pm, Fri-Sun till 10 pm, closed Tue. No reservations. No credit cards. $)
D Revisits Raphael’s. Recent reports about Raphael’s have been so contradictory that we had to make a return trip just to set the record straight. Well, things are neither as bad as some critics claim nor as good as we’d like. Raphael’s still lacks some of the pizzazz that once set it apart from the other Mexican restaurants in town, but there are signs that the recent slump may be over. You might want to try the queso flameado appetizer (cheese, peppers, and tomatoes flambéed and served in a soft tortilla) or the flautitas, both excellent. The special nachos and the guacamole salad, on the other hand, are so-so. Among the main dishes, we especially enjoyed the flounder Veracruzano – sufficient for two – and the carne asada. The polio Tampiqueno was nicely seasoned, but the chicken was under-cooked and stringy. Service was attentive on both visits and it’s clear that some attempt is being made to handle the dinner rush more efficiently, though there’s still a good chance of sitting on somebody’s enchiladas or having somebody sit on yours. Let’s hope things continue to improve – at its best Raphael’s is very, very good. (3701 McKinnev. 521-9640. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Sat noon-10:30, closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thurs only. MC, V, AE. $$)
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 Tandoori dinner (a bright orange chicken dish), or the Bhunna dinner (lamb and rice pilau). The varieties of bread and the chutneys must be sampled. A restaurant that has improved, added pungency to its offerings over the past year. (5422 E Mockingbird. 823-1000. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Fri 5-10, Fri & Sal till 11. Reservations. MC, AE, DC, CB. $$)
Goldfinger. With live music, a torch singer, and a belly dancer, Goldfinger is more raucous nightclub than first-class restaurant, but there is food to accompany the floor show: wonderful spicy dolmas and rich spanakipita; bowls of light avgolemeno soup; salads loaded with olives, feta cheese, and spices. But that’s where the fun stops. The main dishes are neither very Greek nor very successful. Our shrimp and steak kostas featured frozen shrimp; tough, tasteless veal ruined the veal venetikia (a former standout), and the vegetables with it were limp and flavorless. Goldfinger is a “dining experience,” but since it’s Dallas’s major source of Greek food, we wish more of the emphasis were on “dining” than “experience.” (2905 Cridelle at W Northwest Hwy. 350-6983. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sal-Sun 6 pm-2 am. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)
Health Nut. Not everybody’s cup of herb tea, but the Health Nut continues to persuade lots of palates with (heir famous, filling smoothies, salads, soups, and a few hot dishes. The soups – lima, lentil, herb vegetable, German potato, and gazpacho are served alternately – are hearty and nourishing, and their salads outstanding: Jerusalem artichokes and crisp fresh bean sprouts, red cabbage, lettuce, tomato, and carrots; or apples, oranges, melons, strawberries, bananas, grapes and pineapple in a generous fruit salad. Try a cup of spearmint-flavored tea and you may go home converted. (4356 W Lovers Ln. 692-1411. Mon-Thurs 11 am-9 pm, Fri & Sat till 10. No reservations. $)
Kuby’s. Busy and bustling. Excellent home-made sausages (served with hot potato salad or sauerkraut), thick sandwiches (try the pastrami), great pastries, and a soup of the day that’s a lunchtime bargain (80￠). A congenial spot with a German accent. (6601 Snider Plaza. 363-2231. Mon-Sat 7-6, sandwiches till 530. No reservations. MC. $)
Wall’s. A small deli with a whiff – but only a faint one – of the New York style it emulates. Fortunately, the Kosher delicacies are good, but stick to them – other items, like quiche Lorraine, are inferior. The gefilte fish is good, and the chopped liver on rye bread is excellent. The cabbage soup is hearty, well-seasoned and served piping hot, and the cheese blintzes are delectable. Unfortunately, the service is alternately pushy and martyred. (10749 Preston Rd near Royal Ln. 691-4444. Daily 7 am-7:30 pm. Reservations. MC, V. $$)
Celebration. No-nonsense home cooking – baked trout amandine, pot roast, a huge salad, baked biscuits, three vegetables, buttermilk pie, apple cobbler. Dark and cozy, with agreeable background music, so that a lot of people make themselves at home. Beer and wine only. (4503 W Lovers Ln. 351-5681. Mon-Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5:30-10. No reservations. MC, V. $)
Sonny Bryan’s. A down-home barbecue joint furnished with old school desks and picnic tables – a distinctive Dallas institution. The 800 pounds of meat they’re reported to cook every day is usually gone by late afternoon. Don’t pass up the onion rings or the fries, and the crisp fresh cole slaw is great. (2202 In wood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 8 am-6 pm, Sat 11-3, Sun 11-2. No reservations. No credit cards. $)
S & D Oyster Company. You take no chances at S & D: The menu is limited to the few broiled and fried items they can handle. The oysters are plump and juicy, the shrimp sweet, the red snapper broiled to the point of perfection. And the gumbo is the real thing, full of shrimp. There are some weak points: dense, dry hushpuppies, too-sweet desserts, a bar limited to beer and wine, and deafening clatter when the place is crowded – as it always is. Fortunately, the pleasures outweigh the pains. (2701 McKinney near Routh. 823-6350. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat till 11, closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $$)
STEAKS, BURGERS, ETC.
Chili’s. Terrific enormous hamburgers, great spicy chili, and wonderful French fries at wonderful prices. The Terlingua 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. Sun-Thur 11 am-11:30 pm, Fri & Sat till 1:30 am. No reservations. MC, V, AE. $)
Houlihan’s. Unlike some of its Greenville Avenue neighbors, Houlihan’s takes itself seriously as a restaurant. For starters, have the fried zucchini strips or the boiled spiced shrimp with red sauce. Try the gazpacho, which is available with gin and vermouth as a sort of Spanish martini. You’ll fare best among the burgers and omelettes and steaks, but the roast duck with orange sauce is surprisingly good. Desserts look tempting but are mediocre. Since you’ll probably have to wait in the bar, it’s nice that the drinks are excellent. (4 NorthPark East at Park Lane and Central. 361-9426. Sun-Thurs 11-11, Fri & Sat till I am. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)
Kirby’s. Step inside and you’re back in the Fifties, when dining out meant sitting in a very dark place and eating a huge piece of meat. It’s still great. Kirby’s steaks are tender, among the best in town, and priced to compete with the chains’. You might want to order rarer than usual, though – our steaks were left on the fire a bit too long. Kirby’s offers all the salad you can eat (though it’s just iceberg and cherry tomatoes) and terrific baked potatoes topped with everything. (3715 Greenville. 823-7296. Tues-Sun 5:30-10, Fri & Sat till midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)
Stoneleigh P. A made-over drugstore, with two very popular items on the menu – lentil soup and a cheeseburger on a dark rye bun with provolone cheese. Other standouts include a broiled boneless chicken and a sausage sandwich. The Godiva chocolate pie is great for dessert. Check out the eclectic jukebox – everything from classical to country – and the marvelous magazine rack. (2926 Maple. 741-0824. Mon-Thur 11-midnight, Fri & Sat till 1:30 am, Sun 12-12; bar daily till I am, Fri & Sat till 2. No reservations. No credit cards. $)
Strictly Ta-Bu. Old and intentionally tacky, but nice. Basically, it’s a neighborhood bar, with fair to excellent food – especially the pizza (which is, however, small and expensive) and burgers. For a change try the Ta-Bu special, a ham, turkey, bacon, and cheese sandwich with thousand island dressing on a rye bun. But most people come here for the jazz and the beer and the pizza, so don’t expect more than that. (4111 Lomo Alto. 526-9325. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3; Dinner: Sun-Thurs 5-12. Fri & Sat 7-1. No reservations. MC, V. $$)
T.G.I. Friday’s. This may be Dallas’s junk food paradise – if junk food means luscious hamburgers (still among the best in town), a munchy concoction called “nacholupas,” the biggest salad you’ll ever see, and even rhubarb pie. Good steak bargains; much-improved omelettes; and the half chicken is a superb meal. The place is lively as ever, with lots of swingles and a little of everything else. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville. 363-5353. Daily 11:30-1 am, Fri till 2. No reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)
MAINLY FOR LUNCH
The Bronx. Quick and friendly service makes lunch at the Bronx a treat. Try the inventive chef’s salad, with all the usual ingredients plus guacamole, black olives and red onion, the omelettes, and the hearty, homestyle mushroom meatloaf. The dinner menu, posted on a chalkboard, changes nightly. Don’t miss the creamy, rich chocolate mousse, with whipped cream and nuts – if you can’t finish it on the premises, they’ll give you a doggie bag. Finish up with coffee, a blend of French roast and mocha. (3835 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn. 521-5821. Mon-Thur 11:30-12:30 am, Fri till 1:30, Sal 6-11:30, bar till 2, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V. $$)
Ciro’s. An unpretentious spot with bountiful fancy sandwiches, excellent quiches (try the artichoke or the asparagus) and tasty soups. Definitely a lunch spot, though the nights they’re open for dinner they add a few entrees. Service has been spacy lately, but when it’s on the ball you can have a pleasant time sampling a selection of fine wines by the glass. Try the homemade pastries, especially anything with dates in it. (3237 McKinney at Hall. 745-9464. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3; Dinner: Tues-Thurs 5-10, Fri & Sal 11 am-midnight, closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $)
Gallery Buffet. One of the best lunchtime bargains around, the Gallery Buffet in the Dallas Museum of Fine Arts generally features a hearty soup of the week, with salad, homemade bread, dessert, coffee, tea, and wine if you want it. You’ll have to wait till fall to sample fully, though – the menu has been pared down for the summer to an assortment of sandwich and salad plates. The dining room is airy and spacious, with prints from the museum’s collection. (DMFA, Fair Park. 421-4187. Tue-Fri 11:30 am-1:30 pm. Reservations for 6 or more. No credit cards. $)
The Magic Pan. Yes, it’s a chain restaurant, and sometimes it shows. Fortunately, the crepes themselves are very good, even if the soups and salads that precede and /or accompany them are thoroughly ordinary. Try the creamed chicken crìpes with a sprinkling of parmesan. And for dessert, have the Chantilly – banana slices in a stunning sauce toppedwith real whipped cream and toasted almondslivers. That alone explains why there’s alwaysa line halfway down the NorthPark mall. (434NonhPark Mall. 692-7574. Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight, Fri till 1 am, Sat 10 am-1 am, Sun 10am-midnighl. No reservations. MC, V, AE,DC. $$)
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’ll have to decide for yourself whether the Zodiac is a tradition worth observing. (Neiman-Marcus, downtown. 741-6911. Mon-Sat 10:30 am-2:30 pm; teatime daily 3-5 pm except Thur; dessert Thur 2:30-3:30; Dinner: Thur 5-7 pm. Reservations. Neiman-Marcus charge card only, checks accepted. $$)
FOOT WORTH RESTAURANTS
Angelo’s. A rambling patchwork shack with sawdust on the floor and patrons wearing gingham dresses or shirts with mother-of-pearl buttons. The atmosphere is right, and so is the barbecue. You’ll never find better spare ribs or more tender beef. The prices are a bit steep, though the beer is a bargain (have the medium – the large looks like more glass and lessbeer). Beer prices double after 10 pm, so they must know the beer is a steal. (2S33 While Settlement Rd. (817) 332-0357. Mon-Sat 11-10. No reservations. No credit cards. $)
The Balcony. Perched in the second story of a shopping center. The Balcony serves well-prepared but not extraordinary food. Standouts are the onion soup; a red snapper prepared with crab, lobster, and a subtle mushroom sauce; and a pleasant veal dish served with Wisconsin cheese. (6100 Camp Bowie Blvd. (817) 731-3719. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat till 10:30. closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V, DC, AE. $$$)
Carriage House. What a restaurant this would be if every dish were as good as some of the beef dishes, especially the excellent Chateaubriand and the fork-tender filet mignon. A lack of finesse mars everything else, especially the seafood and the desserts. The service is un-assuming and expert. (5136 Camp Bowie. (817) 732-2873. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2, Sun brunch 11-3; Dinner: daily 6-11, Sun 6-10. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)
Cattleman’s. Smack in the middle of the old stockyards, surrounded by more false fronts than the back lot at Warner Brothers, Cattleman’s is a Fort Worth Institution with a large and loyal following. Steak is the specialty here: We’re partial to the ribeyes and the Kansas City strip. The calf and lamb fries are also terrific, though something of an acquired taste. Don’t stray into the spaghetti or lobster; they’re just not Cattleman’s forte. Service is a delight – more fun than dinner theater, and there’s no cover charge. (2458 N Main. (817) 624-3945. Mon-Fri 11 am-10:30 pm, Sat 4:30-10:30 pm, closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)
Edelweiss German Restaurant. The attraction here isn’t the food – it’s the Gemutlich-keit, the infectious good humor that fills this huge West Side beerhall. Bernd Schnerzinger, with a voice big enough to be heard from the mountaintops, sings nightly with an oom-pah band; singalongs and dancing are encouraged. Service is better than good, and so is the food, as authentically German as one finds in Texas. Although the schnitzel sometimes resembles thinly battered chicken-fried steak, the sausages, sauerkraut, cabbage, and potato pancakes are tasty, and the Black Forest cake excellent. (3801-A Southwest Blvd. (817) 738-5934. Dinner: Mon-Sat 5-10:30. Reservations. MC, V, DC. $$)
Joe T. Garcia’s. Garcia’s is Fort Worth’s favorite Mexican restaurant. The food is Southern Mexico-style, less spicy than Tex-Mex, and the menu is limited, a set meal at a set price. But most people don’t care – they come mainly for the atmosphere. You can eat in the old house or alfresco beside the pool. The service is often slow, crowds overflow, it’s noisy, confused and very friendly. (2201 N. Commerce. (817) 626-4356. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Sun, 5-10:30. No reservations. No credit cards. $)
Kincaid’s. The best hamburgers in Texas, maybe the world. Kincaid’s is a gourmet burger joint cleverly disguised as a neighborhood grocery store. The burgers come from behind the meat counter and they are huge, juicy and freshly made, with meat patties the size of small sofa pillows. Kincaid’s has Texas deli items, too, for takeout – the chicken-fried steak, cornbread, and barbecue are excellent. The crowds are huge: You wait for your order, and eat standing up. But no one cares. (4901 Camp Bowie. (817) 732-2881. Mon-Sat 10-6:15. No reservations. No credit cards. $)
Massey’s. More properly known as Herb Massey’s Dinner Place, this red leatherette-booth cafe is always crowded. The reason is chicken-fried steak – the very best, served with salad, French fries, cream gravy and homemade biscuits. (Massey’s menu ranges from Mexican to seafood, but chicken-fried steak is the pièce de résistance.) Service is fast and folksy. (1805 Eighth Ave. (817) 924-8242. Daily: 6:30 am-10:30 pm. No reservations. MC, V. $)
Old Swiss House. Dependable but not dazzling. The veal dishes, though on the heavyside, are the recommended house specialties.The veau Zurichoise, for instance, is tasty butimmobilizing. The veau aux champignons issimpler and more delicate. Excellent filetmignon and good fish dishes, including a lovely Nova Scotia salmon appetizer. It’s a FortWorth institution, but it’s also rather stuffy,though the fresh flowers and the slice of lime ineach glass give the place a gracious air. The extensive wine list is strong in Californias and theservice is quick and polished. (5412 CampBowie. (817) 738-8091. Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri &Sat till 10:30, closed Sun. Reservations. MC,V, AE, DC. $$$)