DINING OUT A Critical Guide to Restaurants

Two entries in the Tex-Mex sweepstakes, and yet another fancy continental place.

In a city that has no first-rate Greek restaurants and only two where you can get good seafood, you’d think
restaurateurs would be falling over themselves to fill the gap, to capture the unsatisfied thousands. Instead, we
have a proliferation of burger bars where you can’t see the crowds for the dracaenas, of Szechuan restaurants with
identical menus. And, most of all, of Mexican restaurants. Here are two of the latest entries in the Tex-Mex
sweepstakes.

El Torito. A California chain opening a Mexican restaurant in Dallas would seem to be carrying its coals to
Newcastle. Unless, that is, the California style of Mexican food is really different. El Torito has some fresh
twists on familiar items – the hot sauce is a delightful blend of the usual soupy sauce with chunks of tomato,
peppers, and onions, as much a pico de gallo as a hot sauce. The chile relleno is a mild, cheese-stuffed pepper
inside an omelette. Entrees are accompanied by a terrific lentil soup chock full of other vegetables. And the soft
beef tacos are filled with first-rate chunks of charcoaled beef (the green and red sauces that come with it are
fiery – beware!). But that’s only one side of the story: A gristly carne asada that was sent back to the kitchen but
never came out medium rare, dreary enchiladas suizas filled with tired chicken, tasteless rice and beans, and
depressingly enormous portions of everything are the other side. And there are some odd touches that just don’t
work: tostadas made from flour tortillas, which come out like pie crust; a con queso dip to which they seemed to
have forgotten to add cheese; and a salad that turned out to be iceberg lettuce and a perfectly ordinary oil and
vinegar dressing. The place itself is spectacularly decorated, with half a dozen fireplaces, some very comfortable
chairs, plenty of plants and stained glass. It looks like a hacienda from some Fifties MGM feature starring Ricardo
Montalban. But whether Dallas will go for such a patently gringo operation – the staff is the usual costumed college
kids who float from job to job along Greenville Avenue and the girl who answered the phone when we called was named
Tammy – in the land of the Her-reras, Ojedas, and Dominguezes, is pretty doubtful. (NorthPark East. 696-2434.
Daily 11-11. Reservations. V, AE, MC. $$)


Las Chicharones. One sign of the proliferation of Mexican restaurants is that when we first visited this one,
it was named Chi-Chi’s. But it seems there’s a Chi-Chi’s in Oklahoma City, and they weren’t too pleased with the
idea of regular customers coming to Dallas for Texas-OU weekend and thinking they’d found a member of the chain. So
Chi-Chi’s became Cha-Cha’s for a day. But there’s already a Cha-Cha’s somewhere, so it became, at the expense of a
new sign and new menus, Las Chicha-rones. Actually, when you get the bill, you’ll realize – if you haven’t already –
that this used to be The Egg Plant, because that’s what’s printed on the bill. The Egg Plant was a Gene Street
brainstorm, specializing in, obviously, omelettes and egg-related drinks and dishes. But the Egg Plant wasn’t what
it was (sigh) cracked up to be, so now Street and Company have transformed it into a cheery bar-restaurant that
serves pretty good Mexican food. Actually, unless its food is either sensationally good and different, or incredibly
awful, every Mexican restaurant is like every other – tacos, tostadas, enchiladas, rice and beans, guacamole, and
hot sauce don’t vary much. A few touches and trimmings set one place apart from another – and the virtue of Las
Chicha-rones is that, like all of Street’s restaurants, the bar-tending is good and the service is brisk and
cheerful. As for the food, it’s all been good so far: excellent guacamole; good tacos and enchiladas; fine tacos al
carbon, chile relleno, and carne asada. The only bobble from the kitchen we encountered was that the car-nitas were
underdone – excellent meat, nicely charcoaled, but who wants pink pork? The place itself is charming, a converted
firehouse with a sunny second-story dining room. Street’s restaurants tend to come on strong at the opening but lose
steam later, so check out Las Chicha-rones while it still has its act together. (4501 N Cen Expwy near Knox.
528-2632. Daily 11-11. No reservations. MC, V. $$)


Le Louvre looks like a set from an old Audrey Hepburn movie, War and Peace perhaps. French doors,
upholstered walls, crystal chandeliers – everything except a strolling violinist playing Strauss waltzes. If the
decorators lost their heads, the chef, fortunately, has kept his. Le Louvre brightens the standard escargots-rack of
lamb-crème caramel menu with a number of imaginative dishes. Like, at lunch, a duck paté with walnuts, a cold
cream of melon and avocado soup, and an unusual quiche containing smoked salmon. At night things get a bit more
pretentious, with sommeliers, cocktail hostesses, and silliest of all, car parkers for a restaurant that sits in the
middle of a shopping center. Still, food’s the thing. Our médaillon de veau Pescador, really a veal Oscar without
the asparagus, was excellent, as were the tournedos, though the wine and garlic sauce was too heavy. We ordered The
latter alter our waiter warned us off the breaded swordfish. “Never trust swordfish in Dallas,” he said with
refreshing candor. For dessert we tried the souffle with vanilla and apricot sauces and found it good, if
unexceptional. At the moment, Le Louvre isn’t serious competition for the top continental restaurants, but it is off
to a strong start. Disco bar upstairs for those who can’t take any more French provincial. (9840 N Cen Ex-pwy in
The Corners. 691-1177. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11; closed Sunday. Reservations. AE, MC, V.
$$)




RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS



These restaurants represent the best in Dallas and Fort Worth 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 $12 for a complete meal excluding wine and cocktails.

$$$$ Very expensive.



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.



Unless otherwise noted, all restaurants have full bar facilities.

CONTINEHTAL



Antares. An unrivaled view of the city as featured by an average restaurant, though if you choose carefully
from the menu you can have your scenery and a decent meal, too. From the limited selection of entrees, the steaks
seem to be the best (the tenderloin is the best value), though the appetizers are more intriguing: a good and
bountiful salade Nicoise, marvelous onion soup, tasty fried escargots. If you don’t like these, you might as well
move up one floor to the bar. (Reunion Tower at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. 741-3663. Lunch: 11-2; Dinner:
5-midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$


Arthur’s. The place to mix business with pleasure, which makes for a terrific bar with stiff drinks
and some solid, well-prepared food. The chef shines at the grill with a good cut of meat: Filet, calf’s liver and
onions, lamb chops, all are first-rate. The seafood dishes tend to be ordinary or overdone, so it pays to stick with
the simple things. Service is generally excellent. (1000 Campbell Centre. 361-8833. Lunch: Mon-Fri
11:30-2; Dinner: Sun-Fri 6-11, Sal till midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)




D Revisits La Polonaise. The word on this place has been magnificent food, miserable service. So our main
order of business was to see if, in its sixth month, La Polonaise had remedied its service problems. On this night,
the answer was a resounding “No.” Our reservations were for 9 o’clock; we were seated just after 10:30. The
downstairs bar is quite charming, but it loses its appeal after an hour and a half. (It should be noted that this
was Valentine’s Day, a busy night for restaurants, but a few tarrying lovers shouldn’t have fouled things up this
badly. Worse, when we were finally seated there were half a dozen empty tables.) The slowdown also seemed to affect
the food: the medallions of veal with Morel mushrooms would have been brilliant had they not been served lukewarm;
the quail were nicely seasoned but had lingered at the stove much too long; instead of the pǎté du chef we were
served a canned substitute (“We’re out of the regular pate, but this is much better,” said the waiter, without
asking if ’we’d prefer something else). There were bright spots, though. The mushrooms stuffed with crab were as
good as we’ve tasted; the delicate cream of carrot soup was perfect. They like to push their dessert souffles here,
with good reason – they’re exquisite. La Polonaise is a place we want to like. The kitchen shows flashes of
greatness; the dining room is sophisticated and very pretty; and the management has excellent credentials. So we
haven’t given up. Yet. (2123 Highland Park Village; 522-6270. Mon-Sat 6-11. Reservations. AE, V, MC. $$$$)



Bagatelle. One of the classiest dining rooms in town, with a solid wine list, sophisticated service, and a
cozy bar. The sole Véronique and veal francaise, seasoned with herbs and wine, have been impressive on recent
visits, as have the shrimp du chef appetizer and the escargots. Lunch at the companion Plaza Cafe is
more chaotic than classy. Expect slow service and scrambled orders, though the food is good when it finally arrives
– especially old standbys like the Plaza omelette and the quiche Lorraine. (One Energy Square, Greenville at
University. 692-8224. Bagatelle: Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat till II, bar till 2 am.
Plaza: Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. Bagatelle: $$$. Plaza: $$)


Brasserie. This elegant coffee shop still Tills 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. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard.
748-5454. 24 hours, seven days a week. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)


Chateaubriand. The perfect Fifties post-prom trip, complete with music, dancing, hat-check girl, and an army
of tuxedoed waiters battling to light your cigarette. Nothing distinguished about the food, but considering the size
of the menu the quality is surprisingly high. We’ve had good luck with the Greek fare (pastitsa and dolma
appetizers, Greek veal) and the broiled lamb chops; less than good luck with the shrimp appetizer and most of the
vegetable offerings. At lunch, the menu shrinks a bit, and quality and service drop a notch. Chateaubriand is what
dining meant before there was a Greenville Avenue. (2151 McKinney. 741-1223. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-midnight.
Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)




D Revisits Ewald’s. Ewald Scholz’s restaurant helped define continental dining in Dallas in the Fifties and
Sixties, and judging by its continuing good reputation, it’s a definition many locals feel comfortable with. The
emphasis here is on homey comforts and leisurely, classy service – and on these grounds alone Ewald’s beats out many
restaurants serving more interesting food. Fortunately, Ewald’s food is good, with veal and beef dishes the
specialties of the house. Stick with the proven favorites: pepper steak, loaded with grains of hot white pepper;
tenderloin tips a la Ewald, tender chunks of steak with fresh mushroom slices, bell pepper, and pimento. (Too many
patrons have enjoyed the veal au moulin over the years for us to argue, but on a recent visit, it was so salty we’re
surprised it got out of the kitchen.) On the whole, a steady, relaxed restaurant that set its course 20 years ago
and has stuck with it. (5415 W Lovers Ln. 357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10:30, Sat 6-11, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V.
$$$)


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. $$$)




The Grape. Nothing chic here. Just pleasantly tacky decor and consistently good food. You can make a meal out
of a plate of cheese (the best selection in town, served with fruit and fresh bread), soup or salad, and a carafe of
wine, but the entrees won’t let you down. Recent standouts include chicken and artichokes cooked in Scotch,
Chateaubriand in perfect béarnaise, and a delicately prepared filet of sole. Still one of the most dependable
restaurants in Dallas. (2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 823-0133. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30,
open later on Fri & Sat fbr wine and cheese. No reservations. MC, V. $$)


Jennivine. The notion of an English wine bistro is a bit odd, but Jennivine has to be considered more than a
curiosity. Lunch has been especially good recently – there’s a delightful quiche divan, packed with chicken; a
nicely prepared roast loin of pork; and an excellent spinach-and-sprout salad. The dinner menu includes a perfectly
cooked red snapper filet and a dish called chicken Wessex that is heavy, soggy, and downright unappealing. Great
sourdough bread. The wine list lacks the offbeat selections one expects in a serious wine bar. (3605 McKinney.
528-6010. Tue-Sat 11:30 am-11:30 pm, closed Sun & Mon. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)


Pyramid Room. 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 approach to splendid food.
We’ve recently sampled the excellent veal chop baked with honey and dressed with grated car-rot; 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 cart incredible. We even tried the “Pyramid Hamburger.” It 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. $$$$)




D Revisits Old Warsaw. No one under 30 admitted to Old Warsaw unless accompanied by an adult. Just an
impression, of course, but not too far from the truth. Old Warsaw has the brandy-and-cigar motif down pat, as well
as most of the dishes that fall under the general heading of continental. In addition to standard offerings such as
escargots and vichyssoise one finds a delightful brie soup, a superb artichoke-heart-and-sweetbreads appetizer in
madeira sauce, and a terrine de poisson that is both rich and light. As for the entrees, we’ve never tasted a better
duck a I’orange or a more delicate poached salmon, though we’ve never had salmon in champagne sauce before either.
The beef bourguignon, while more ambitious than most, was still just beef bourguignon, and our creamed veal, usually
a standout, was curiously unappetizing. But that was the only letdown. Since we couldn’t decide between the Grand
Marnier and the chocolate souffles we compromised and had both. The edge goes to the Grand Marnier – barely.
Although no longer without competition among Dallas’ continental restaurants, Old Warsaw hasn’t slipped dramatically
like some other old stand-bys. And only the Dallas zoo has more intriguing flamingos. (2610 Maple. 528-0032.
Tue-Sun 6-10:45, Sat till 11:45. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)




Three Vikings. This is a delightful 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. (2831 Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770. ?Mon-Sat 6-11.
Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)




DELICATESSENS



Kuby’s. Some purists gripe a bit – Kuby’s gives them lean corned beef when they’d prefer greasy, plain old
rye or white when they’d like an onion roll. But over the years, most of us have adjusted, and keep on turning up at
Kuby’s for good thick soups, a succulent tartar sandwich, delicious hot potato salad and sauerkraut, first-class
wurst, and pastries that have caused many patrons to take up jogging in penance. Always crowded at noon, but you can
slip around to the take-out window for a brown bagger that will make you the envy of the office’s egg-salad set.
(6001 Snider Plaza. 363-2231. Mon-Sat 8-6, sandwiches till 5:30. No reservations. MC for purchases over $15.
$)




Wall’s. A cozy deli/restaurant that offers everything you can reasonably expect in these parts, including an
extensive list of triple-decker sandwiches, generous servings of creamy chopped liver, and kreplach cooked exactly
right, with just a glimmer of schmaltz on top. Some of the desserts are disappointing (chocolate pie with
instant-pudding filling and a Graham-cracker-and-Nilla-wafer crust?) but most offerings are solid deli fare, served
up cheerfully by some very busy waitresses. As a self-respecting deli must, Wall’s serves Dr. Brown’s cream soda.
(10749 Preston Rd near Royal Ln. 691-4444. Daily 7 am-7:30pm. Reservations. MC, V. $$)



FRENCH



Calluaud. We’ll miss the homey old place on Fairmount, but Guy and Martine Calluaud have brought a great deal
of warmth to their new quarters on McKinney. Better yet, Guy’s kitchen is back in action. The lunch menu is
essentially the same – divine omelettes, soups, pates, and salads, marvelous filet of sole and steak Parisien. The
one new addition is the excellent calf’s liver, done with onions and a touch of vinegar. The dinner menu now
includes treats like pheasant and squab, though if you’re in the mood for exotic fowl, the best we’ve tasted is the
quail in garlic-and-cognac sauce. Another new item, the filet mignon en croǔte in Madeira sauce, bears the Calluaud
trademark of elegant simplicity. For dessert lovers, the legendary fruit tarts are still available, accompanied now
by fine souffles. We know we’re raving, but Guy Calluaud is quite possibly the best chef in town. (2619 McKinney
Ave. 823-5380. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)




La Cave. Great for 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. Service is
informative and efficient. (2926 Henderson. 826-2190. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Fri 5:30-midnight, Sal
I pm-1 am; open all day for package wine sales. No reservations. MC, V. AE. $)




Le France Co. A bustling little place with some of the flavor of a French cafe and some of the quality, too.
Lunch is a small selection of soups, salads, omelettes, and sandwiches that vary in quality-the standout being the
onion soup. Dinner is much better, featuring several well-prepared entrees, including recently an émince de capon
à I’Indienne in a delightful light curry sauce. The crème caramel is a knockout for dessert. The wine list is
short and over-priced. Cheery and casual, a good spot for a light meal. (The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. 742-2276.
Lunch: Tue-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10; closed Sun & Mon. MC, V, AE. $$)




D Revisits Les Saisons. This attractive French restaurant had a lot going tor it when it opened in October: a
varied menu (a bargain at dinner though a bit high for lunch), a reputable chef, and a fine location beside Turtle
Creek. So when we returned recently it was with anticipation. After three dinners and a lunch, we’d say Les Saisons
still has a lot going for it, but food is not turning out to be its strongest suit. Jean La Font’s kitchen served up
several treats in the opening courses (peppery pate maison, cold artichoke vinaigrette, seafood bisque), and at the
far end of the meal, an offbeat dessert called “floating island,” poached meringue served in a sauce of egg yolks,
milk, vanilla, and sugar. But the entrees simply weren’t what they should have been: grilled salmon, dry and top
heavy with béarnaise; tough entrecǒte bordelaise; baked chicken reeking of tarragon; and chicken livers and
grapes, a promising idea whose time passed when we crunched on the first grape seed – be prepared for lots of
spitting if you order this one. All in all, not a strong showing. But Les Saisons does have one of the city’s best
little bars, with a pianist content to play background music, and a wonderful view from Turtle Creek to Reunion
Tower. (165 Turtle Creek Village. 528-1102. Seven days a week, 11:30 am till midnight, bar till 1:30. MC, V, AE,
CB. $$$)




Jean Claude. An exquisite restaurant, with care taken at every point of preparation and service. Chef Jean
Claude Prevot prepares everything in his open kitchen; the menu is small but changes every night, and always offers
an opportunity to try something new. Recent delights have included marvelous duck liver pate, shrimp appetizer
prepared with walnuts and curry sauce (this would have been unspeakable almost anywhere alse in town), veal
tournedos with green peppercorns, and fresh Maine lobster in a light cream sauce. For dessert, try one of the
perfect souffles. It’s hard to think of anything bad to say about this place; the prices, while high, are nowhere
near the highest in town, and when the food is this good, who cares? One of the city’s top three. (2520 Cedar
Springs. 653-1823. Dinner: Tue-Sat 6:30-9:30. Reservations only. MC, V, AE. $$$)


Patry’s. Patry’s has aged better than many of the city’s old-line continental restaurants because it
acknowledges its limitations: The kitchen has the textbook dishes down pat and doesn’t take many liberties. For
openers, try the stuffed leeks or the vichyssoise, as good as any in town. The coq au vin is excellent, as is the
escalope de veau with cream sauce. The only flop among the entrees was the Dover sole meuniére: nice sauce, lousy
fish. For dessert, there’s a Grand Marnier souffle topped with apricot sauce. Rather chilly decor, but warm and
polished service. Overall, a dependable if not adventurous restaurant. (2504 McKinney. 748-3754. Tue-Sun 6-11,
Sal till 11:30, closed Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)


Mr. Peppe. Once one of the best restaurants in the city, though by today’s standards both decor and menu
could use some new life. Mr. Peppe covers the old French standbys, from pate to chocolate mousse, and delivers
competent versions in most cases – recent strong points were surprisingly good beef Wellington, nicely cooked fresh
vegetables, and an excellent crème caramel. With the exception of its charming waiters, however, whatever gave Mr.
Peppe an aura of elegance and excitement has faded. (5617 W Lovers Ln. 352-5976. Mon-Sat 6-10, closed Sun. MC, V,
AE, DC.




ITALIAN



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 stick to the basics and enjoy the atmosphere. At
its best on a Friday night. (5610 East Mockingbird Ln. 827-0355. Mon-Fri 11-midnight, Sat till I am, Sun
noon-midnight. No credit cards, but personal checks accepted. Reservations 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 Ianni – and terrific appetizers. The “house specialties,” on the other hand, are
nothing special. 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. $$)


Italian Pavilion. An almost overbearingly opulent restaurant atop the Le Baron Hotel, which nevertheless has
its virtues, including attentive service, comfortable seating, and a good selection of Italian wines. Unfortunately,
much of the food is only so-so. Recommended dishes are the veal Fiorentino with butter and béarnaise and the shrimp
Fra Diavolo with peppery tomato sauce. Vegetable side dishes are excellent. Somebody should take a cloth to the
glasses and silver, though – housekeeping was wretched on a recent visit. $10 annual membership required for
alcohol. (Le Baron Hotel, 1055 Regal Row at Carpenter Fwy. 634-8550 ex 7200. Mon-Sat 6-11:30, closed Sun.
Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)


Lombardi’s. Servizio con brio. That’s one reason Lombardi’s has become one of the most enjoyable
restaurants in town. Another is the food. The saltimbocca is right at the top, along with the veal limone and the
zuppa de pesce, which is now served at lunch every Friday. And don’t pass up the mussels and langostinos when
they’re available. The pasta dishes can be uneven, but with so many unusual choices, why be mundane? The more
limited lunch menu includes roast veal and peppers, frittatas (an Italian omelette shaped like a pancake), and
excellent spinach salad. (2815 McKinney. 823-6040. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat
5:30-11, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$)




D Revisits II Sorrento. Just after we revisited Il Sorrento last December, a kitchen fire shut the place down
for several months. Some of us were pretty uneasy about the renovation: Would the plaster doves and fake facades be
replaced by flocked wallpaper and smoked mirrors? Would the strolling musicians be supplanted by Muzak? Worst of
all, would the kitchen turn into an assembly line of microwaves? On the face of it, nothing has changed: The same
campy decor, the same pro waiters, the same strolling violinist and accordionist playing “La Vie en Rose” and “I
Write the Songs.” But there’s even better news: If that fire did anything to the kitchen, it must have made it
better. A brief visit between opening and deadline didn’t give us a chance to sample widely from a menu that is, to
say the least, enormous, so we tried some old favorites and found them improved over our last visits. The tournedos
Rossini is as close as you come in this town to the real thing: tender beef, perfectly cooked, topped with excellent
pǎté and a fine bordelaise sauce. The saltimbocca featured a light wine sauce laced with sage, excellent veal, and
a thick bed of fresh spinach. The real surprise was the vegetable of the day – a scoop of squash that looked rather
dull but turned out to be flutty, buttery, ana sweet, the perfect complement to the wine sauces. Most of the
trimmings, from soups to salads to desserts, were good – though the entrees overshadowed them. (8616 Turtle
Creek, north of Northwest Hwy. 352-8759. Daily 5:30-11, Sat till midnight. Reservations except on Fri & Sot. All
credit cards. $$$)




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, paté, 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. $$$)




Paisan’s. A deceptive place, whose unengag-ing exterior hides a splendid kitchen. We’ve never had anything
but masterly meals here (though we’ve heard of occasional off nights). The best opener is the zuppa pavese, beef
broth with a poached egg and parmesan, but it’s with the entrees that this menu shines. A few favorites: veal
Siciliano, topped with eggplant and green peppers in a wonderfully rich tomato sauce; and sausage alia Turiddu with
black olives and green pepper, surely the best sausage dish in town. For dessert, you need not look past the
cheesecake with white raisins and pine nuts. (9405 Overtake. 352-1765. Daily 5:30-11. Reservations. MC, V, AE,
DC. $$$)




Pietro’s. High spirits prevail here – on a good night, spontaneous toasts, crying babies, and a hearty Muzak
rendition of “Santa Lucia” blend into one of the most pleasantly chaotic atmospheres in town. The food seems
secondary, though it’s pretty good – creamy taglio-lini with salty ham slices, fresh lemon veal, tremendous crème
caramel, and a nice wine list. The minestrone, spaghetti, and salads are ordinary, but it’s a big menu. Expect
crowds on weekends. (5722 Richmond off Greenville. 824-9403. Tue-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sal till 11, closed Sun A
Mon. No reservations. MC, V. $$$)




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 meatioai. ine 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. $$)




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 broiled boneless chicken and 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-midnight; bar daily till 1 am, Fri & Sat till 2. No reservations. No credit cards. $)


MEXICAN



Casa Dominguez. Casa Dominguez was the first of Pete Dominguez’ chain of Tex-Mex enterprises, and is still by
far the best. The tacos are still crisp, with perhaps the best-seasoned filling in town. Over the years, the menu
has expanded into some specialties: an excellent carne asada, fine tacos al carbon, a good chile relleno. In
addition to the standard bowl of hot sauce, with your tostados you get a delightful pico de gallo-a spicy vegetable
mixture with carefully seeded jalapenos. There are some weak spots: the cheese on the con queso items is
gluey-apparently a pasteurized process cheese “extended” with flour-and the tasty guacamole comes in stingy
portions. The other Dominguez restaurants are pleasant -especially the cheerful Los Vaqueros in Highland Park
Village-but the food is best at Casa Dominguez. (2127 Cedar Springs. 742-4945. Tue-Thur 11-10, Fri 11-11, Sat
5-11. Sun 5-10. No reservations. AE, DC, MC, V. S)


Chiquita. Chiquita has been one of the city’s most popular restaurants for years, largely because Mario Leal
is usually on the spot to see that things go right. Popularity means crowds – big crowds – though once the food
arrives you probably won’t care. Stick to the specialties here, especially the pescado marinera and the grilled
chicken breast with lemon-butter sauce. The standards – enchiladas, tacos, rice and beans – are fair to good, but
avoid anything with ranchera sauce, a concoction that tastes like Campbell’s tomato soup. The appetizers and dishes
made with Linares cheese, like the queso flameado, are wonderful. Bright, charming surroundings and attentive
service. (3810 Congress, off Oak Lawn. 521-0721. Mon-Thur 11:30-10:30. Fri & Sat till 11. No reservations. MC, V,
AE. $)




El Taxco. This place made its reputation with generous, delicious, cheap Tex-Mex, though it’s no longer as
consistent as it was. Stick to the standards – enchiladas, tacos, rice and beans – and you’ll probably find it
satisfactory. But the more ambitious the item, the more unpredictable the results. Watch out for the chile relleno,
a flaming capsule loaded with seeds, each a tiny dynamite charge; the cheese enchiladas, topped with a pleasant
tomato and onion sauce, are a better bet. El Taxco now has a full bar, but the drinks are pretty bad – especially
the bilious Kool-Aid margaritas, mostly syrup with a drop of tequila. Service can be hassled and surly. (2126 N
St Paul at McKin-ney. 742-0747. Sun-Thur 11-9, Fri & Sal till 10, closed Tues. No reservations. MC, V. $)


Herrera Cafe. Forget the Lemmon Avenue location and head straight for the Maple Avenue hole in the wall.
You’ll probably stand in line, but the food has soul. All the standard Tex-Mex fare is good, especially the nachos,
guacamole, and magnificent thick flour tortillas. Portions are large: Two people can stuff themselves for well under
$10. No alcohol served, so bring your own. (3902 Maple. 526-9427. Mon, Wed, Thur 9-8, Fri-Sun till 10, closed
Tue. No reservations. No credit cards. $)


Javier’s. One of the most attractive dining rooms in town, and some of the most interesting food. It pays to
be adventurous here – Javier’s eschews standard Tex-Mex in favor of steaks, seafood, and chicken dishes from Mexico,
like shrimp broiled with lots of fresh garlic and chicken in the best mole sauce we’ve had. The thin flour tortillas
wrapped around baked Linares cheese, green pepper, onion, and sausage make a wonderful appetizer. Save room for the
crepes topped with cajeta (caramel sauce) and flamed with Amaretto and brandy -they’re a knockout. (4912 Cole
Ave. 521-4211. Sun-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat till 11:30, bar till 2 am. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)


Raphael’s. This standby lacks some of the pizzazz that once set it apart from Dallas’ other Mexican
restaurants, but there’s still plenty to like here, from the cozy ranch-style decor to the attentive service and
occasionally wonderful food. The queso flameado appetizer and the flautitas are excellent appetizers, and among the
main dishes, we especially enjoyed the flounder Veracruzano and the carne asada. You probably won’t enjoy the
crowds, though; the dinner rush is being handled more efficiently than before, but there’s still a good chance of
sitting on somebody’s enchiladas or having somebody sit on yours. (3701 McKinney. 521-9640. Mon-Fri 11:30-10:30,
Sat noon-10:30, closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thur only. MC, V, AE. $$)




NATURAL FOODS



Health Nut. Not everybody’s cup of herb tea, but the Health Nut continues to persuade lots of palates with
its 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 11-9, Fri & Sat till 10. No reservations. $)



ORIENTAL



Bo Bo China. Don’t let the plastic food on display in the entryway scare you, because good Mandarin cooking
waits inside. The Peking duck, with its honey-crisped skin served as a separate course, is outstanding (a day’s
notice is required on this order), as is the Mo Shu Pork, delicately seasoned and served with four paper-thin
pancakes and plum sauce. (Two weaker entrees are the shrimp with lobster sauce and the Bo Bo Beef.) The appetizers
are a real treat, especially the pot stickers – deep-fried meat ravioli. The service is attentive and friendly.
There is one drawback: no liquor. (10630 Church Road at LBJ Freeway. 349-2411. Lunch: Daily 11-2:30, except Sun &
Mon; Dinner: Tue-Thur 11-9, Fri & Sat till 10, Sun till 9. Reservations. MC, V. $$)


Chinese Pavilion. They make few attempts at chinoiserie in the decor, preferring to save their efforts for
the kitchen. The menu 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 11:30-11, Fri & Sat till
midnight. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)


Fuji-Ya. Possibly the best Japanese restaurant in town, and certainly the most reasonably priced. You have to
work to spend $10 and can usually eat like an emperor for considerably less. Start with the sashimi (raw fish),
especially if it includes tuna or yellow-tail. The egg rolls, shaped like ravioli and deep-fried, are delicious, as
is the suimono soup, a chicken broth with pieces of shrimp and chicken added. Among the entrees, only the Yosenabe
(a vegetable and seafood stew) was below par: It tasted cooked out. The shrimp tempura and the sukiyaki are both
excellent, but if you prefer something less ordinary try the yakisoba (a pan-fried noodle with beef and vegetables)
or the Tohkatsu (pork cutlet in special sauces). For dessert there’s only sherbet and a Japanese bean cake, which
our waitress said Americans don’t like. She was right. Fuji-Ya has also begun preparing sushi on Thursdays. Lunch is
limited to a few teriyaki dishes and a daily special. Ours was a delicious chicken cutlet tempura. Club memberships
required for alcohol. (13050 Coit Road. 690-8396. Tues-Sun 11-10, lunch 11-2, closed Monday. Reservations. MC, V.
$$)


Hunan. Where the Szechuan boom began, and still some of the best in town. A current favorite is the San Shien
soup (pork, shrimp, chicken), and the abalone with chicken is a strong second place. Everything except champagne
chicken and crab velvet-bad ideas to start with-seems to be top-notch. On its way to becoming a Dallas institution.
5214 Greenville at Lovers Ln. 369-4578. Mon-Thur 11:30-11, Fri & Sat till midnight, Sun.till 11. Reservations.
MC, V, AE. $$)


Mihama Ya. A family-run Japanese restaurant with a gift shop 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 lnwood Rd.
351-9491. Lunch: Mon-Thurs 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thurs 5:30-10, Fri & Sat tilt 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. $$$)


Szechuan. A dependable neighborhood restaurant with the menu shared by most of the town’s Szechuan-style
restaurants. A few of the “Chef’s Specialties” really are special: Try the house chicken with scallions, celery, and
green peppers. One of this restaurant’s virtues is a dependable take-out service. The moo-shi pork is an old
take-out favorite that is sometimes sensational. Very friendly, ever-smiling staff. (4117 Lemmon near Douglas.
521-6981. Sun-Thurs 11:30-11, Fri & Sat till 12. Reservations on weekends. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)


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 Tilling, and the white mushrooms with crisp broccoli.
South China sometimes fumbles the appetizers, but the shrimp toast, beef strips, fried wonton, and sizzling rice
soup are fine. Not to 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 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-2:30; Dinner:
Sun-Thurs 5-10, Fri & Sat till 12. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)




SEAFOOD



D Revisits Fausto’s. Dallas needs another seafood restaurant, with more variety and quieter surroundings than
the redoubtable S&D. So far, Fausto’s comes the closest. The dining room is definitely uptown, a comfortable grotto
with a fountain in the center. As for the food, we were happy as long as we stayed with the simple things. The raw
oysters were absolutely fresh, and the Gulf sea trout was broiled just right. The gumbo was excellent, spicy, full
of shrimp and crabmeat – and easy on the okra, which was fine with us. At lunch we tried red snapper Provencale
(broiled and topped with garlic, fresh mushrooms, and tomatoes sautéed in white wine) and crab Louis, an imposing
platter of excellent crab-meat, lettuce, grapes, tomatoes, and fresh pineapple. The steaks were good: We sampled a
New York strip sirloin and “rotisserie beef,” slices of roast sirloin with fresh mushrooms. The disappointments came
when we ordered more elaborate dishes. The “Clams from Fausto’s” were so heavy with bread crumbs and shallots that
the chopped clam meat wouldn’t have been missed. The barbecued shrimp just wasn’t very good and once you’ve eaten
your half-dozen shrimp, you’re left with a bowl of soggy bread. For dessert we tried chocolate cheesecake,
distressingly dry, and Pistachio ice cream pie, wretched excess in the form of a half-pound pyramid of ice cream
with meringue and strawberry sauce. Of course Fausto’s offers fresh lobster “at market prices,” but they only come
in on Fridays and Saturdays, so you’d better reserve your table early. We got there at 10 o’clock Friday night, and
the Dental Mid-America conventioneers had eaten every one. (Hyatt Regency Hotel. 651-1234. Lunch: Sun-Fri 11-2;
Dinner: Sun-Fri 6-11. Reservations. All 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 hush-puppies, 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 McKin-ney near Routh. 823-6350. Mon-Thur 11-10, Fri & Sat
till 11, closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $$)




SOUTHERN SPECIALTIES



Broussard’s. In a new location, it still has a raucous boarding house atmosphere and superb oysters, fresh or
fried; sweet catfish; outstanding piquante and gumbo; and the best crawfish this side of Baton Rouge. The only weak
spots are tough and tasteless frog legs and the jambalaya, which frequently suffers from over-exposure to the
infra-red lamps. Bring your own liquor. (707 N Belt Line Rd, Irving, 1 mite S of Rte 183. 255-8024. Lunch:
Mon-Sat 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Sat 5-10. Closed Sun. No credit cards. No reservations. $$)


Celebration. No-nonsense home cooking – baked trout amandine, pot roast, a huge salad, biscuits, three
vegetables, homemade pies and cobblers. 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-Thurs 5:30-10. Fri & Sat till 11, Sun
5-10. No reservations. MC, V. $)


Pittman House. We’ve had some disappointing lunches here, but the dinners have been wonderful. Standouts
include jumbo broiled unshelled shrimps in butter, file, and other seasonings; red snapper Veracruz, with tomato,
onion, and garlic; brace of quail sauteed in white wine, topped with cherries. The vegetables are firm and fresh,
and the desserts consistently excellent: light pound cake with baked apples, lightly whipped cream, and rum sauce;
ice cream with pecans and dark, buttery hot fudge. Service ranges from fair to excellent. (2911 Routh. 745-1149.
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30, Sal & Sun 12-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thurs 6-10, Fri & Sal 6-10:30. Reservations evenings only.
MC, V, AE.$$$)


Red Moon Cafe. Things are looking up at this attractive little neighborhood restaurant. Creole specialties
are the heart of the menu, and the Red Moon’s versions are good (if occasionally unorthodox). But don’t stop there:
The liver and onions, omelettes, salads, and vegetables are terrific, as are the homemade desserts (especially the
buttermilk-pecan pie). Early risers should check out the breakfast menu, which runs from grits and pancakes to fresh
croissants and some of the best coffee in town. Already a neighborhood resource; with a little more polish in the
service and a cheerier decor, the Red Moon could be a real contender. (4537 Cole at Knox. 526-5391. Breakfast and
lunch: Mon-Sat 7:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat till II; Sun Brunch: 10-2. 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 Inwood. 357-7120.
Mon-Fri 8 am-6 pm, Sat 11-3, Sun 11-2. No reservations. No credit cards. $)




STEAKS, BURGERS, ETC.



Chili’s. Not ambitious, but expert. The Old Timer (mustard, lettuce, tomato, etc.) and the Terlingua Pride
(everything in the kitchen plus chili) are the best of the burgers, the soft tacos the best of the other items.
You’ve probably tasted better chili, but never, never better French fries. Pleasantly casual atmosphere and quick
and friendly service once you get inside. There’s usually a long waiting line. (7567 Greenville at Meadow.
361-4371. Daily 11 am-2 am. No reservations. MC, V. $)
Cork ’n’ Cleaver. Despite the cute name and the
fact that this is a chain restaurant, the prime rib is excellent- and you can have seconds of it at no extra charge.
The steaks are equally good, and the salad bar is varied: spinach, mushrooms, cottage cheese, cauliflower, sprouts,
grated cheese, and assorted other goodies-a lunchtime meal in itself for $3.25. The only annoyance is a phony
Colorado motif, especially in the bar. The current leader in the steak-and-salad-bar sweepstakes. (8080 Central
Expwy at Caruth Haven. 361-8808. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Sal till 12, Sun till 10.
Reservations for parly of six or more. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)


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 wail in the bar, it’s nice that the drinks are excellent. (4 NorlhPark
East at Park Lane and Central. 361-9426. Sun-Thurs 11-11, Fri & Sat till 1 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 fine baked
potatoes topped with everything. (3715 Greenville. 823-7296. Tues-Sun 5:30-10, Fri & Sal till midnight.
Reservations. All credit cards. $$)


T.G.I. Friday’s. Dozens of burgers; enormous portions of beef, chicken, and shrimp; thick, gooey desserts –
Friday’s menu rolls on and on. We’re especially fond of the pocket sandwiches, steak fingers, and
crabmeat-and-artichoke omelette. For appetizers, try the baked brie or the zucchini slices, and for a treat, a side
order of fried potato skins. Always mobbed with singles, but there are compensations – Mexican pizza, for instance,
and those fried artichoke hearts. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville. 363-5353. Daily 11:30 am-2 am; Sun Brunch: 11-2. No
reservations. MC, V, AE.$$)




D Revisits Strictly Ta-Bu. The decor is Forties seedy, and it’s overpowering at lunchtime – several decades
of dust in the draperies create a permanent haze in the sunlight, and there’s a potent smell of dry-cleaning fluid
that’s masked by beer fumes and smoke at night. But the food here is always a pleasant surprise. The pizza is
excellent (though small for the price), a crispy-crust version with plenty of cheese and fresh toppings. The burgers
are also good, and the Italian entrees listed on the blackboard feature plenty of cheese and spicy tomato sauce.
Ta-Bu also offers a dining adventure: the Ta-Bu Special, a sandwich with ham, turkey, bacon, and enough Thousand
Island dressing that if you bite incautiously, you’ll get a lapful of mayo and ketchup. There’s live jazz most
evenings and a great jukebox the rest of the time. (4111 Lomo Alto. 526-9325. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3; Dinner:
Sun-Thurs 5-12, Fri & Sat 6-1. No reservations. MC, V. $$)




FORT WORTH RESTAURANTS



The Balcony. It will never be mistaken for a great restaurant, but it’s a pretty good one, and the
place for Ridglea society matrons to meet for lunch. The trout amandine was too dry on a recent visit, and the
beef oriental is probably called beef Stroganoff in other restaurants but there was a very good vegetable soup. The
service is brisk, competent, and friendly, and the house white wine excellent. (6100 Camp Bowie. (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, AE, DC.
$$$)




Carriage House. You’ll need a reservation here; there’s hardly a lull in the throngs of people, no place to
wait, and limited parking. All of which suggests that the Carriage House’s reputation for excellence continues to be
deserved. The menu is lopsided toward beef (this place knows its customers), but offers more adventurous dishes as
well-we tried the pepper steak and the veal Milanese, both of which were done to perfection. The salads were crisp
and cold, and topped with the house’s tasty avocado dressing. Service, however, is very slow. (5136 Camp Bowie.
(817) 732-2873. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: daily 6-11, Sun 6-10; Sun Brunch: 11-3. Reservations. MC. V, AE.
$$$)


Cattlemen’s. Smack in the middle of the old stockyards, surrounded by more false fronts than the back lot at
Warner Brothers, Cattlemen’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 Cattlemen’s forte.
Service is a delight – more fun than a dinner theater, and there’s no cover charge. (2458 N Main. (817) 624-3945.
Mon-Fri 11-10:30. Sat 4:30-10:30, 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. $$)




D Revisits Angelo’s. It looks like the consummate Texas beer joint – an old shacky an industrial complex,
regulars sip-ping Coors from tub-sized goblets, the nasal voice of Willie wailing out of the juke box. Hard to
believe it’s anything special, but there are those who claim Angelo’s serves Texas’ finest barbecue. We can’t
disagree. The brisket is fork-tender, perfectly cooked and topped with a sauce that stimulates the beef’s flavor. If
anything, the ribs are even better, and the hot links a spicy addendum to the combination plate. Prices are high,
but the servings are enormous; try as we did, we had to ask for a doggie bag. (The beef is just as good warmed over
in sandwiches.) Angelo’s has doubled its seating area in the last year, but a wait is inevitable. Still in place are
the moldy moose head and the enormous stuffed bear wearing T-shirt and cap. (2533 While Settlement Road. (817)
332-0357. Mon-Sat 11-10. No reservations. No credit cards. $)




Hedary’s. The food is pure Lebanese, prepared and served by Hedary, his wife, and seven of their nine
children. The result is a long roster of exotic dishes served in a mildly erratic fashion. We’ve tried the Hummus
Bit-Tahini, a salad of garbanzo beans, pine nuts, spices, and ground beef – the combination was fresh and delicious
– and the Frarej entree, baked chicken and vegetables basted with olive oil and lemon juice. Finish up with Arabian
coffee, brewed bitter and black for sad occasions and sweet for good times. Ours was sweet. (3308 Fairfield in
Ridglea Center. (817) 731-6861. Sun-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-midnight. No reservations. MC, V, AE, 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. $)




D Revisits Endlcott’s Ore House. This massive replica of a Colorado gold mine makes its way as a
middle-of-the-road family place. We began with the nachos, which are perhaps the best in town – a huge plate
overflowing with meat, beans, cheese, and jalapeno peppers on crisp tostadas. We sampled the onion rings, which have
virtually no taste, and the Mexican burger (chili and cheese, meat pattie on a large sesame seed bun) – delicious.
From there, we moved on to the “steak on a pick and shrimp,” which turned out to be a shishkebob thingamabob; the
steak was excellent but the shrimp were undercooked. The baked potato was as large as we have seen in any restaurant
and the salad was crisp, especially tasty with the sweet Italian house dressing. Waiters have stopped introducing
themselves as if they were apprentice Encyclopedia Briltanica salesmen but they continued to rush us through the
meal at breakneck speed: 40 minutes from sit-down to tip. (7101 Calmont. (817) 732-8031. Lunch: daily 11-2;
Dinner: daily 4:30-11:30. No reservations. All 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. $)




London House. An old-line favorite for steak-lovers, London House has the basics down pat – salad, beef, and
potato. The decor is ersatz-Tudor English, but a less obvious forgery than those beef-and-ale chain operations. The
steaks come in rather large sizes for the price. If there is a criticism, it could be that the lettuce is not always
as fresh as it should be on the heavily stocked salad bar. (4475 Camp Bowie Blvd. (817) 731-4141. Dinner:
Sun-Thurs 5-11, Fri-Sat 5-midnight. Reservations. AE, MC, V. $$)




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 piece de
resistance.) Service is fast and folksy. (1805 Eighth Ave. (817) 924-8242. Daily: 6:30 am-10:30 pm. No
reservations. MC, V. $)




Merrimac. This restaurant /disco sprang to life beside the Trinity River and instantly became a crowded
weekend favorite. The food is nothing spectacular (although the Alaskan king crab legs are delicious and
well-prepared) and service could be better, so it must be the ambiance, which is cozy and somewhat romantic. The
disco is upstairs and evening diners are shielded from the music, but you may be happier with everything at lunch
when the Mer-rimac is less frenetic. Without reservations on Friday and Saturday evenings, expect an hour’s wait.
(1541 Merrimac Circle off University Dr. (817) 332-9306. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat
6-midnight; Sun Brunch 11:30-2. Reservations. AE, MC, V. $$)




D Revisits Old Swiss House. Walter Kauf-mann is the only chef in Fort Worth who can be trusted with sauces
more complicated than red-eye gravy. With that in mind, we returned once again to Old Swiss House, an oasis in Fort
Worth’s heavy-beef desert. This time we began with escargots (not on the menu, though Walter periodically prepares
them); his light-garlic approach seemed correct. The salads were perfect, although we would have preferred a choice
of dressings. Then the entrees: goulash with mushrooms swathed in a burgundy sauce and, from Walter’s extensive bag
of veal tricks, the escalopes aux champignons. The goulash was a rare treat, perfectly complemented by the sauce;
the veal was bathed in butter and as tasty as any we have eaten anywhere. We ended the evening with cherries
jubilee, the only dish not personally prepared by Walter. His deft hand was missed; too much brandy. One complaint:
the waiters. They’re competent enough, but just once, we’d like to catch one smiling. (5412 Camp Bowie. (817)
738-8091. Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat till 10:30. Reservations. MC, V, AE. DC. $$$)




Rangoon Racquet Club. Even if this weren’t the best singles bar in town, a visit would be required to sample
the hamburgers, which are large and packed with all the trimmings. Other luncheon items include ham hocks and lima
beans. The atmosphere is dark and cozy in this nicely re-done old mansion, the service cheerful and quick. Singles
begin arriving right after work, and the most popular drink seems to be an exceptionally good house Chablis.
(4936 Camp Bowie Blvd. (817) 737-5551. Mon-Sat 11-10. No reservations. V, MC, AE. $)



Willow Garden. The menu claims Chinese, Thai, and Mongolian dishes, ana who’s to argue? To an American taste,
the food is Oriental, good, and inexpensive. To begin withthere is an excellent Moo Goo Gai Pan (breastof chicken
with vegetables and mushrooms), abenchmark for Chinese restaurants. The Mongolian Barbecue, chunks of beef and pork
in avegetable sauce, and Hung Sui Har, eight jumbo shrimp with a mix of scallions, tomatoes,and ginger, are
highlights from a lengthymenu. All is served in booths with beaded curtains. A good buy. (6712 Camp Bowie.
(817)738-7211. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner-daily 5-10, Fri & Sat till 11 closed Sun. No reservalions. MC, V, DC.
$)

Newsletter

Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.

Comments