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RESTAURANTS Dining Out

By D Magazine |

Las Pampas. A Chilean and a Spaniard hire a Yugoslavian waiter and a Dallas-born chef to open an Argentinian restaurant. Not bad, even for Dallas. The theory behind Las Pampas is fairly simple, though: When we asked the waiter for his recommendations, he hummed to himself for a minute, then asked, “Do you like meat?” And he was right: If you like meat, you got meat, and in portions ample enough to send you home to lie quietly on the carpet for an hour or so. Of Las Pampas’ ten dinner entrees, seven are steaks, and one each chicken, sausage, and lamb. From the beef roster, we tried a large tenderloin, beef brocheta, flank steak with melted cheese topping, and the mixed grill (flank, chicken breast, link of mild sausage). All were good cuts cooked properly and kept hot on a table-top grill; and all were served with only cursory nods to frills like salad and vegetables. Lighter eaters may find the best bets among the appetizers, especially the em-Danadas (ground beef with

Las Pampas. A Chilean and a Spaniard hire a Yugoslavian waiter and a Dallas-born chef to open an Argentinian restaurant. Not bad, even for Dallas. The theory behind Las Pampas is fairly simple, though: When we asked the waiter for his recommendations, he hummed to himself for a minute, then asked, “Do you like meat?” And he was right: If you like meat, you got meat, and in portions ample enough to send you home to lie quietly on the carpet for an hour or so. Of Las Pampas’ ten dinner entrees, seven are steaks, and one each chicken, sausage, and lamb. From the beef roster, we tried a large tenderloin, beef brocheta, flank steak with melted cheese topping, and the mixed grill (flank, chicken breast, link of mild sausage). All were good cuts cooked properly and kept hot on a table-top grill; and all were served with only cursory nods to frills like salad and vegetables. Lighter eaters may find the best bets among the appetizers, especially the em-Danadas (ground beef with herbs, onions, raisins, and parsley in a pastry shell) and the cheese fundido, melted cheese you ladle into flour tortillas with a liberal dose of chimichurri, Argentina’s all-purpose condiment. This marinade consists of two parts oil to one part vinegar. Add to that a handful each of chopped parsley and onion, and season to taste with oregano and thyme. Delicious. The gazpacho was better than average, though the paté pais tasted like it had begun with a tube of Oscar Mayer Braunschweiger. Of note is Las Pampas’ varied assortment of Argentinian and Chilean wines. All in all, a friendly place, and a slightly exotic addition to Dallas’ beef palaces. (2408 Cedar Springs at Fair-mount. 742-5311. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11; closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$)



Chester’s. If you’re looking for a place to recover after selecting your fall wardrobe, consider Chester’s, a new luncheon spot just over the threshold from the notions and accessories counter at Lester Melnick’s in Preston Royal Village. Safe and chic are the key words here, with nothing to offend the eye or the palate. Chester’s serves three entrees each day, including whole tomatoes stuffed with chicken salad, a cheese torte with salmon topping, and a boneless chicken breast in noncommittal tomato sauce. Our only complaint about the food is that it is bland, even slightly geriatric, and that the portions are skimpy. But then we don’t expect to see many stevedores here. Service is brisk and solicitous, and between courses models stroll past with the latest news about skirt lengths and synthetics. So if you like this kind of place, Chester’s is the kind of place you’ll like. Will open for dinner in October. (618 Preston Royal Village. 691-8808. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-3. Reservations. MC, V. Bar by membership. $$)



T. Miller’s. In its previous incarnation as Bayou Rapides, this place had disaster written all over it, and it looks like it’s headed that way again. The main clue: There are 30 seafood entrees on the menu, including exotica like dolphin and grouper; only the most credulous could believe they’d serve a menu like that without first signing a contract with some distant Stouffer’s processing plant. The worst item we sampled was the stuffed Florida lobster, a profoundly lifeless creature sharing its shell with a glob of Stovetop, but it was all bad – with the exception of some nice oysters on the halfshell. Besides seafood, T. Miller’s serves chicken and steaks, which are much better, and such oddities as Greek salad (a very un-Mediterranean mix of iceberg lettuce and dry feta cheese). Not much to recommend the kitchen, at least as long as it in-sists on serving a little bit of everything. The location – in the Corner shopping center – is handy to a number of apartment complexes, though, and the interior design is still unusually pleasant; if T. Miller’s would pare down the menu to the four or five seafood items it can buy fresh and cook properly, it’d probably do a wonderful business. And it does have one really nice thing going for it: a waitress named Fay, who, if we ever get around to listing the best pro waitresses in Dallas, will definitely make the list. (8021 Walnut Hill at Central Expwy, in The Corner shopping center. 696-2100. Daily: 11-11. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

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.

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.



CONTINENTAL



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. $$$)

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; Dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-10, bar till 2 am. Plaza: Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. Bagatelle: $$$, Plaza: $$)

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. (2515 Me-Kinney. 741-1223. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-mid-nighl. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)



The Chimney. A nice cozy place with a Swiss accent. The veal is excellent, and it takes many forms. The simplest, the lemon veal, may be the best, because it allows the meat to shine. The calf’s liver, thick and tender, is superb. Lunch is aimed at a matronly clientele, but it recently featured a fiery chicken curry that hearty eaters would scarf up with pleasure. Desserts – sachertorte, Black Forest cake – are worth leaving half your entree uneaten for. Service is pleasant and efficient. (Willow Creek Ctr, 9739 N Cen Expwy at Walnut Hill. 369-6466. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10:30, Sun till 10; Sun brunch 11-2. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$)

Ewald’s. 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 pimiento. On the whole, a steady, relaxed restaurant that set its course years ago and has stuck with it. (5145 W Lovers Ln. 357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10:30, Sat till 11, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V. $$$)



D Revisits Arthur’s. Either we were unlucky or Arthur’s has slipped a notch or two since our last visit – not into the mediocre category, perhaps, but definitely down there among the spottier expense-account establishments. Kind words first: We loved the poached salmon in dill sauce. Had it for lunch and dinner and found it perfectly prepared both times. The grilled calf’s liver with onions was also a triumph, though on a more modest scale than the salmon. Now for the bad news: a cream of avocado soup that tasted like Green Goddess salad dressing, a smoked salmon appetizer that was hacked into unpalatable chunks, and oysters Rockefeller that disgraced the family name. The steak Diane, surely a staple in a business exec’s restaurant like this, was a disaster – a tough, stringy cut of beef that added new dimensions to the term “aged.” When we informed our waiter of the problem, he said, “Thank you very much,” and disappeared. Fortunately there were compensations, like a superb fowl and game pate, and a maple mousse that screamed excess in print yet turned out to be light and delicate in fact. But this kind of roller-coaster experience isn’t what you expect at a restaurant like Arthur’s. Complacency seems to have set in. (1000 Campbell Centre. 361-8833. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Sun-Fri 6-11, Sat till midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)



D Revisits I’Entrecote. L’Entrecote is long on pretense and, at the moment, distressingly short on class. Case in point: Our salmon en croute came garnished with a bright metal staple. We showed it to our waiter, who said he was very surprised and would show it to the chef, who reportedly was also very surprised. But there was no offer of another meal on the chance that the staple wasn’t traveling alone. No amends of any kind, in fact. Shortly thereafter the waiter returned with my veal Oscar, which was supposed to be a veal rib, and had to be argued into taking it back. Other highlights included limp bread, soggy dessert pastry, and a chocolate souffle glace topped with fake whipped cream. The staple could be considered a fluke, but there’s no excuse for fake whipped cream. Which isn’t to say that I’Entrecote does nothing right. The salmon, staple aside, was expertly prepared, with a light pastry shell that was a triumph. On an earlier visit we had excellent tournedos Rossini and roast duckling, though both were covered with undistinguished sauces. Superb lemon souffle and some soothing harp music in the background. Still, it’s difficult to imagine that even the captive expense-account crowd will put up with this kind of erratic, careless performance. After six months, I’Entrecote is still struggling. (Loew’s Analole Hotel, 2201 Stem-mons at Industrial. 748-1200. Lunch (buffet only): Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: daily 6-lf. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)

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 bearnaise, 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 6-11, open later on Fri & Sat for wine and cheese. No reservations. MC, V. $$) Jennlvine. The notion of an English wine bistro is a bit odd, but Jennivine has to be considered more than a curiosity. Don’t get too attached to any one dish, though, since the menu changes daily, alternating between fresh fish (according to season), baked ham, prime rib, and others. One new addition is chicken Mirepoix (sautéed, with vegetables). Great sourdough bread. The wine list features good selections and a high mark-up. (3605 McKin-ney. 528-6010. Tue-Sat 11:30 am-ll:30 pm, closed Sun & Man. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)

La Polonaise. A restaurant with plenty of potential and some truly inspired moments, although the waiters tend either to trip over one another in their eagerness to overserve or to ignore you entirely. The food on our latest visits ranged from average to brilliant. In the latter category were the praline soufflé our choice for the best dessert soufflé in town; an outstanding broiled salmon steak in hollan-daise; delicious escalopes of veal with crabmeat; and the best broiled lamb chops we’ve eaten. La Polonaise does exceptionally well by its entrees while seeming to let the soups and appetizers fend for themselves. Only the vichyssoise was exceptional; our fish soup was much too salty, the leeks vinaigrette tasteless, and the salads half-hearted, except for an excellent oil and vinegar dressing. One welcome change is that the wine list now contains many good selections for under $10. (25 1/2 Highland Park Village. 522-6271. Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$$)

Old Warsaw. 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 the standard offerings, 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 l’orange or a more delicate poached salmon; the only letdown was the beef bourguignon, which was, well, beef bourguignon. The dessert souffles are wonderful. Although no longer without competition, Old Warsaw hasn’t slipped, like some other old standbys. (2610 Maple. 528-0032. Tue-Sun 6-10:45, Sal till 11:45. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)



The Pyramid Room. Has the Pyramid slipped? Or do so many Dallas restaurants now serve comparable food at lower prices that the Pyramid no longer seems special? Recent visits make us suspect the former. Lunch was a disaster: insipid broccoli hollandaise, dry, hard rolls, steak tartare lost in an excess of condiments, and a dry, breaded lump of red snapper that wouldn’t pass muster at Long John Silver’s. Dinner a few days later was much better, though not up to the Pyramid’s reputation. A few touchstones were well below par: too-salty vichyssoise, a Grand Marnier souffle scorched on top and undercooked in the middle. The rest of the meal held reminders of better days, though, including a stunning lobster bisque and a splendid filet bordelaise. Let’s hope the Pyramid gets some new stars in the kitchen – and some new life – soon. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross & Akard. 748-5454. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-1:30; Dinner: daily 6-9:45. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)

Three Vikings. A warm, family-owned place serving altogether pleasing Swedish cooking. And what is Swedish cooking? That’s still an open question, but Three Vikings has given us the start of an answer with its hearty, well-seasoned soups, pungent sauces, and carefully prepared seafood and meat dishes. For openers, we’ve never gone wrong with the shrimp chowder or the shrimp Erika appetizer. Chef Anders Edman has also concocted an onion soup made from light veal stock and several varieties of onions – delicious. Standards among the entrees include Swedish steak, tenderloin pounded thin and cooked with onions and a rich meaty sauce, and the grilled salmon with dill sauce, though a newer dish – duck with almond sauce – is destined to drive game-lovers wild. The only real weak point is the salads, among which the spinach seems safest. Be sure to try a few slices of Three Vikings’ limpa bread, baked specially in Denton. (2831 Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770. Dinner: Tue-Sat 6-11; Sun brunch 11:30-3; closed Mon. 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 soup 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-7:30 pm. Reservations. MC, V. $$)



FRENCH

La Cave. A delightful, dependable little wine bar which manages to offer a wide selection of good, reasonably priced wines, despite price gouging by French growers and shippers. Just as important, the food is very good. La Cave’s pate maison is among the best we’ve eaten, as are the gazpacho and ratatouille, and we have no complaints about old standbys like the salade Nicoise and artichoke stuffed with shrimp and caviar. Finish up with a slice of almond torte and a pot of fresh coffee and you’ll leave content, even smug. An ideal spot to try a few new wines with a light meal. (2926 N Henderson. 826-2190. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2, cheese plates and wine only 2-5:30; Dinner: Mon-Fri 5:30-11:30; Sat continuous food service noon-11:30. Retail wine sales Mon-Fri 10 am-midnight, Sat 10:30 am-midnight. MC, V, AE. $$)

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 paté, shrimp appetizer prepared with walnuts and curry sauce (this would have been unspeakable almost anywhere else 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. $$$)



D Revisits Calluaud. If you haven’t eaten at this utterly delightful restaurant for a while, now’s a good time to return. Guy and Martine Calluaud have thoroughly revised their luncheon menu, and added five or six new dishes for dinner. Calluaud’s gets our vote for the best lunch in town; everything we tried was simple, elegant, and delicious: medaillons of veal chasseur; a lovely plate of salads (potato, cucumber, ratatouille, carrot, and several others) that we haven’t seen since the days of Calluaud Traitteur; and the nicest bit of self-indulgence available locally, half a chilled Maine lobster with homemade mayonnaise. The only serious loss is Guy’s wonderful French fries, which have been replaced by fussy and rather insipid fried potatoes diced in quarter-inch cubes. Changes at dinner are less dramatic (exotic game, simple steak preparations, veal, and seafood still form the heart of the menu). Winners include the wonderful rack of lamb with garlic and the lobster soufflé appetizer – a fitting end for the lobsters that don’t get sold at lunch. Solidly among the city’s best restaurants, and more adventurous than some of its fellows. (2619 McKinney A ve. 823-5380. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)



Patry’s. Patry’s has aged better than many of the city’s old-line 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 meunière: 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, Sat till 11:30, closed Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Le Rendez-Vous. A charming French restaurant, brasserie-style: long hours, a la carte menu, first come first served. The lengthy menu covers all the bases, from salads and omelettes to seafood and steaks, but it pays to be adventurous. Try the subtle fish mousse, shrimp croquettes in tomato-based sauce Nan-tua, cucumber salad, filet of red snapper in pastry shell, or sautéed rabbit in a beautifully seasoned brown sauce. This is also the place to try prosciutto and melon – the prosciutto is the real thing – and the pepper steak, served with a boat of cream and pan drippings, is one of the best ever. Service is occasionally awkward, but we expect Le Rendez-Vous’ waiters to develop the esprit de corps that we associate with Alberto Lombardi’s other enterprises. (3237 McKinney at Hall. 745-1985. Mon-Sat 11:30-1 am, closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)



0 Revisits Le Boul’ Mich. This little bistro has so much going for it in the way of location and atmosphere, not to mention prices, that we hope the kitchen can catch up. It’s certainly trying. You no longer wait an hour for your meal to arrive, and when it does, it is more dependable and bountiful than when the doors first opened. We were delighted with the soups, especially the carrot and the vichyssoise, even though the latter looked a bit like wallpaper paste. In fact, none of our meals were what you’d call eye-catching. Our roast beef salad, large and expertly seasoned, was awash in beet juice. And if there’s anything less appetizing than a bowl of burgundy potatoes, burgundy onions, and burgundy roast beef we don’t want to know about it. Our steak Parisien was overcooked, our coq au vin and scallops in curry sauce much better, though once again the monochromatic presentation was dispiriting. Perhaps the chef could hang a color wheel next to his spice rack. Finish up with coffee and a dish of homemade ice cream, preferably strawberry, and you’ll be in a mood to forgive anything. Not quite there, but closing fast. (2704 Worlhinglon. 626-0660. Mon-Sat 11-midnight. Reservations for six or more. MC, V, AE. $$)



INDIAN



India House. The kitchen has undergone a rather stunning rejuvenation, raising hopes that Dallas will at last get a curry worthy of the name. Be prepared: the Vindaloo (hot) curries here are the genuine article. We were also impressed with the Saagwalla dishes (meat cooked in a spicy spinach purée) and the Bhunna (marinated meat, seafood, or vegetables sauteed in spices), with special praise going to the lamb and the shrimp. If you’re not especially hungry, try the hors d’oeuvres platter and the unusual breads. (5422 E Mockingbird. 823-1000. Lunch: 11:30-2:30; Dinner: 5-10, Fri A Sat till 11. Reservations. MC, V. $$)



ITALIAN



Campisi’s. Campisi’s would probably have the same crowd queued up every evening if it didn’t serve any food at all. That is not to say that the food is necessarily bad – the thin crust pizza is quite good, and the spaghetti is better than Stouffer’s – but that it’s beside the point. The point is that you’re going to Dallas’ original pizza parlor, Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant, where it’s cool and dark and you sit in red leatherette booths and are served by some of the city’s finest pro waitresses. It’s a great place year round, but especially hospitable for lunch on a summer day, when it make the heat, noise, and traffic outside seem like a bad dream. Try this for nostalgia: The cocktail list includes Shirley Temples and Roy Rogers. (5620 E Mockingbird. 827-0355. Mon-Fri 11 am-midnight, Sat till 1 am, Sun noon-midnight. Reservations for 6 or more. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$)

lanni’s. If you revel in such tackiness as a vast arbor of plastic grapes and a Dmitri Vail portrait of Mickey Rooney, you’ll become a regular; if not, you’ll never come back. Being a regular means learning your way around the menu, which is mostly good but has some definite pitfalls. Winners include the antipasto plate, broiled shrimp and broiled sausage appetizers; the veal scallopine pizzaiola, eggplant parmigiana, and fettucini. Service is invariably warm and efficient. Not a restaurant that will win awards, but over the years it has definitely won some hearts. (2230 Greenville. 826-6161. Dinner: daily 5-11:30. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)



D Revisits Lombardl’s. Lombardi’s has enough good choices on its menu to maintain its place as one of the best restaurants in Dallas. The veal is a can’t-miss proposition, as veal limone, parmigiana, marsala, or saltim-bocca romana (veal in a tremendous cheese and white wine sauce). The eggplant parmigiana is superb. The kitchen staff performs magic with fish in dishes like turbot with lemon sauce, sole mare adriatico, and crab canelloni. Lombardi’s offers some very good light meals, too, like the frittate (Italian omelettes served at lunch) and the spinach salad. The only out-and-out failure we’ve had is the heavy, doughy tortellini alla panna. Service is consistently spirited and efficient. (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. $$$)



Mario’s. A mainline classy restaurant whose kitchen is capable of great things, even if its standard performance is less than consistently excellent. The seafood appetizers are good, especially the hot antipasto tray, and the lemon veal and lamb chops are well above average. For dessert, try the chocolate cheesecake, or order a Cognac and coffee – if that ritual ever makes perfect sense, it’s at Mario’s. The one-item dress code requires men to wear jackets. (135 Turtle Creek Village, Oak Lawn at Blackburn. 521-1135. Daily 6-11, Sat till midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

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. And the food is good – creamy tagliolini with salty ham slices, fresh lemon veal, tremendous creme 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 & Sat till 11, closed Sun & Mon. No reservations. MC, V. $$$)

II Sorrento. II Sorrento reopened recently after a serious kitchen fire, and on the face of things, nothing has changed: the same campy decor, pro waiters, strolling violinist and accordionist. The kitchen is even better than it was, however. We tried some old favorites and found them improved over our last visits – tournedos Rossini, as close as you come in this town to the real thing; saltimbocca with a light wine sauce laced with sage; excellent veal and a thick bed of fresh spinach. The vegetables, soups, salads, and desserts were all good, but the wonderful entrees overshadowed them. Welcome back, II Sorrento. (8616 Turtle Creek, north of Northwest Hwy. 352-8759. Daily 5:30-11, Sat till midnight. Reservations except on Fri & Sat. All credit cards. $$$)



MAINLY FOR LUNCH



The Bronx. If you want to listen to the Pachelbel Canon and pretend you’re in San Francisco, the Bronx is a great escape. Always reliable for lunch or a light supper, and the dinner specials have become more promising lately; they include such varied plates as roast pork, burritos, lasagna, and red snapper. We’re partial to the regular menu, especially the omelettes and the magnificent chef’s salad. The Bronx chocolate mousse has become a legend in its time, but the peach and walnut pie is not far behind. Very casual, very solid. Beer and wine only. (3835 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn. 521-5821. Mon-Thur 11:30-2am, Fri till 1:30, Sat 6-11:30, bar till 2, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V. $$)



Gallery Buffet. All you need to know about this place is that it’s there, it’s good, and it’s cheap. Catered by members of the Museum League, the Gallery Buffet has been serving light lunches for several years in a room next to the museum store on the ground floor of the DMFA. The food is simple – soups, salads, sandwich halves – and well-prepared, just the thing if you’ve been trudging by pre-Columbian fertility statues all morning. And it costs only $3.50. Bonus: You get to eavesdrop on my-son-the-doctor conversations at the next table. (DMFA, Fair Park. 421-4187. Tue-Fri 11:30-1:30.No reservations. No credit cards.$)



The Stoneleigh P. Everything a great bar needs: a jukebox with greatest hits from the past 250 years, Andeker on tap and Moose Head in bottles, and an excellent grill. The Stoneleigh’s cheeseburgers (with provolone on dark rye buns) are firmly established in the ground chuck pantheon, but the chicken breasts, pork chops, spinach salad, artichokes, and gazpacho are all simple, all good. For dessert, there’s Godiva pie; one slice can sustain a chocolate addict several days. Besides standard drinks, there’s a list of “house specialties,” including orange Negronis. (2926 Maple. 741-0824. Mon-Thur 11-midnight, Fri & Sat till 1:30, Sun noon-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 jalapeflos. 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, Sal 5-11, Sun 5-10. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $)

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. S21-0721. Mon-Thur 11:30-10:30, Fri & Sal till 11. No reservations. MC, V, AE. $)

Javier’s. Javier’s boasts “gourmet Mexican” cooking, and decor, bar, menu, and tab all contribute to the atmosphere of class dining. The closest thing to Tex-Mex on the menu is carne asada, and Javier’s thick filet bears little resemblance to the usual run of thin, well-done flank cuts. From the entrees (mostly steaks and seafood) the high points are shrimp Guaymas, broiled in garlic and butter, and a steak filet served with huitlacoche crêpes (huitlacoche is a fungus that grows on cornstalks, a rare delicacy this far north). But the real treats come before and after the main course. Don’t miss the cheese panelas (thin flour tortillas wrapping cheese, green pepper, and chorizo) or the crepes with cajeta flamed in brandy and Amaretto. (4912 Cole. 521-4211. Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri&Sat till 11. 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. (2126 N St Paul at McKinney. 742-0747. Sun-Thur 11-9, Fri & Sat 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. $)

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. $$)



ORIENTAL

Asuka. Bright and spacious, with flag blue and natural wood contemporary furniture – a delight to the eye. The food is delightful, too, simply prepared and beautifully presented. Of the main courses, we tried sushi (tuna, squid, and salmon); tempura shrimp and vegetables in a light, tasty batter; and ishiyaki, a rather dull beef-and-onion dish whose single novelty is a bed of hot stones in the bottom of the platter. The vegetables were all steamed and chilled, which lent a note of the exotic to an otherwise very East Texas lineup: okra, new potatoes, sweet potatoes, radishes, and turnips. Our principal difficulty was with the speed of the service; meat dishes were served while we were still sorting out our second appetizer. Not until the tempura ice cream (yes, fried ice cream) could we relax and talk about how good it all was. Prices are much higher than average. (7236 Greenville between Park

and Walnut Hill. 363-3537. Lunch: 11-2; Dinner: 6-11; closed Mon. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)

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. $$)

China Coast. China Coast has all the charm of a Grange hall, but the food is good enough to distract your. The Hunan/Szechuan menu emphasizes seafood dishes, and these are certainly the stars, particularly the green jade scallops (with snow peas, broccoli, and water chestnuts), the four-flavor shrimp (actually one-flavor shrimp and three-flavor vegetable), and the crispy whole fish served with a delicate sweet-and-sour sauce. China Coast’s other dishes are less memorable, though the sliced chicken with orange peel and the paper chicken appetizer were delightful. Watch out for overseasoning in the Hunan lamb, eggplant with garlic sauce, and hot-and-sour soup – the last can give you laryngitis. The staff is efficient and eager to please, and for the most part, China Coast does precisely that. (2930 Northwest Hwy at Bachman Blvd. 350-6282. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-ll pm, Fri & Sat till midnight, Sun 12-11. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)

Fujl-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 tonkatsu (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 Coil Road. 690-8396. Tues-Sun 11-10; lunch 11-2. Closed Mon. 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-II, Fri & Sat till midnight. Sun till 11. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)



Mihama Ya. A slightly screwy place with good, inexpensive Japanese food. This time we tried the gyoza (egg rolls, something like Chinese pot stickers) and kara age (marinated fried chicken) appetizers, both excellent. The tempura plate was bountiful and nicely prepared, though the evening’s excitement was provided by chirashi donburi, a collection of raw tuna, shrimp, and squid on sushi rice, served in a lovely lacquered box. Each entree comes with soup and a salad whose principal value is for chopstick practice. Lunch is a bargain at three dollars for entree, soup, salad, and rice, though the fare is limited to America’s favorites. Ambience provided by Japanese top-forty music. (7713 lnwood Rd. 351-9491. Lunch: Tue-Thur 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Tue-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat till 11, Sun 1-10. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)

Royal Tokyo. Over the years, Royal Tokyo’s food has suffered from its emphasis on production values (fish pond, dancing waitresses, cleaver-wielding chefs in the Hibachi Room), though our last visits held some pleasant surprises. The deluxe sushi dinner, a plate of raw tuna, shrimp, octopus, squid, and lobster roe on rice cakes (each with a pellet of hot green mustard inside), was good-looking and as fresh as it obviously has to be; the shabu-shabu (a sort of meat and vegetable fondue) continues to please. Lunch featured a wonderful soup, with a thick cloud of pulverized soy suspended in tasty chicken broth. The suonomo (sliced cucumber) salad and scallops kushi were both fine, though the standard entrees – tempura, gyoza, teriyaki – could use some work. (7525 Greenville Ave. 368-3304. Lunch: Sun-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat rill 11:30, Sun till 10. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)

South China. A dependable alternative if you’re burned out on Szechuan restaurants with copy-cat menus. Although South China isn’t on anyone’s list of Dallas’ top ten, it handles standard Chinese fare – sweet and sour dishes, moo shi pork, etc. – with finesse. The beef with oyster sauce is excellent, the shrimp curry delicious and deceptive, with each bite hotter than the last. The place (tucked in that curious shopping center across from the Dr Pepper plant on Mockingbird) is rather drab, suggesting a restaurant settled in for a long stay with no desire to change. (5424 E Mockingbird. 826-5420. Lunch: daily 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thur 11:30-11, Fri & Sat till midnight. Reservations on weekends. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)

Szechuan. A dependable neighborhood restaurant with the menu shared by most of the town’s Szechuan-style restaurants. A few of the “Chef’s Speciallies” 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 lake-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. $$)



SEAFOOD

Fausto’s. A chic, comfortable grotto off the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Hotel, with varied seafood dishes ranging from the simple to the excessively complex. We ate well as long as we stayed with the plainer fare-raw oysters, broiled Gulf trout, gumbo, and red snapper Provencale were all good. So was the imposing crab Louis, a huge platter of excellent crab-meat, lettuce, grapes, tomatoes, and fresh pineapple that is probably the perfect uptown lunch. More complicated fare didn’t hold up as well, and is probably irrelevant to basic seafood lovers anyway. The steaks are fine. Fausto’s offers fresh lobster, but they only come in on Fridays and Saturdays, so reserve your table early. (Hyatt Regency Hotel. 6$ 1-1234. Lunch: Sun-Fri 11-2; Dinner: daily 6-11:30. Reservations All credit cards. $$$)

S & D Oyster Company. This bustling oyster bar limits its menu to what it can get fresh and serve right. The gumbo is thick with shrimp and light on okra, the oysters and shrimp perfectly fresh, and the broiled fish simply the best in town. (Of those, the snapper and Gulf trout are most flavorful, though the blandness of the flounder is offset by your waiter’s fine performance filleting it tableside.) The waiters continue to be one of the main attractions – some gruff, some courtly, all dedicated. Stay away from the desserts – the lemon meringue pie is so sweet it’ll make your sinuses hurt. There’s a line nearly every noon and evening, but the noise and bustle inside keep turnover high – and the profit margin fat. (2701 McKinney. 823-6350. Mon-Thur 11 am-lOpm, 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 sutlers from over-exposure to the infra-red lamps. Bring your own liquor. (707 N Belt Line Rd, Irving, 1 mile 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 one in town has successfully duplicated Celebration’s winning formula: five entrees, salad, and fresh vegetables served in big bowls (“family-style”), at an all-you-can-eat rate, dessert extra. Period. It works so well they don’t take reservations; people still line up on the front porch for half an hour. We’ve always touted the pot roast, but the broiled trout, baked chicken, and meat loaf add up the same: plain and enjoyable. Yes, you still get those little biscuits and yes, they’re still delicious. (4503 W Lovers Ln. 351-5681. Mon-Thur 8:30-10, Fri A Sat till 11, Sun 5-10. No reservations. MC, V. $)

Plttman House. This place boasts a classy kind of home cooking, food like mother would have made if she’d been really good at it. And sometimes (especially at dinner) it delivers. But things have slipped lately. At lunch the terrific avocado-crabmeat-and-bacon sandwich has turned into a mayonnaise-laden mess with a few filaments of crab, and the little complimentary rolls seem to be smaller and more warmed-over. At dinner, we had good shrimp rémoulade and quail, but nothing else was up to snuff. The pound cake and ice cream ball were still good, though. It’s time to rethink your menu, Pittmans. Simplify, simplify. (2911 Routh. 745-1149. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; Sal & Sun 12-2:30; Dinner: Sun-Thurs 6-10, Fri A Sal 6-10:30. Reservations evenings only. MC, V, AE. $$$)

Red Moon Cafe. 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, with eggs, grits, biscuits, and some of the best coffee in town. Already a neighborhood resource; with 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 11; Sun Brunch: 10-2. No reservations. MC, V. Si)

Sonny Bryan’s. Yes, they really do cook 800 pounds of meat a day, and it’s usually gone before they close at six o’clock. Sonny Bryan’s is a Dallas institution with great barbecue, onion rings, and cole slaw. The best time to go is Friday lunch, when the place is absolutely packed – while you wait, you can guess the age of the soot on the walls and watch other patrons try to ease into rickety little school desks while balancing plates of ribs and beans. Great fun. Beer only. (2202 Inwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 8-6 or until the meat’s all gone; Sat 11-3, Sun 11-2. No reservations. No credit cards. $)



STEAKS, BUROERS, 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. $)

Kirby’s. A still point in the turning, restless restaurant business. Kirby’s still serves good steaks, big baked potatoes, and chocolate sundaes with real whipped cream for dessert. For a family dinner (or if you simply want a steak without having to become your waiter’s best friend) it’s Dallas’ Old Reliable. Just settle in, have a couple of drinks, order a sirloin, and let the waitress play mother. Kids love Kirby’s, which offers them their choice from a basket of little plastic toys on the way out. (3715 Greenville. 823-7296. Tue-Sun 5:30-10, Fri & Sat till midnight, closed Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)

Strictly Ta-Bu. The decor is Forties seedy, overpoweringly seedy in the daylight. But the food is a pleasant surprise. The pizza is excellent (though small for the price), a crispycrust version with plenty of cheese and fresh toppings. The burgers are good, as are the Italian entrees listed on the blackboard. Ta-Bu also offers a dining adventure: the Ta-Bu special, a sandwich with ham, turkey, bacon, and a mouthful of Thousand Island dressing-a lapful if you bite incautiously. 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 & Sal 61. No reservations. MC, V. $$)

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-arti-choke 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. $$)



FORT WORTH RESTAURANTS



Angelo’s An old, shacky building in an industrial complex, with regulars sipping Coors from tub-sized goblets and 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 excellent sauce. The ribs are even better, and the hot links a spicy addendum to the combination plate. Prices are high and servings enormous. 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 White Settlement Road. (817) 332-0357. Mon-Sat 11-10. No reservations. No credit cards. $)

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. $$$)



D Revisits Endlcott’s Ore House. This place leaves us feeling a bit winded. Order what we will, the food comes zip, zip, to the table (“I’ll just slide your salad over here, sir”), then coffee and the check, and presto, we’re out the door and gone. This wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am system (even when the restaurant is not crowded) leads us to believe that the world’s fastest microwave oven is working out there in the kitchen. Funny, but the food doesn’t taste microwaved. The Ore House’s burger is large and juicy and worth its exceptional price; the Neptune omelette, garnished with tiny shrimp and chives, is a finely tuned concoction with just the right seasoning. Escargots with mushrooms, spinach salad – the food is consistently good. The checks are modest – and arrive like speeding bullets. (7101 Calmont. (817) 732-8031. Lunch: Mon-Thur 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5-11; Fri & Sat continuous service 11 am-midnight. Sun till 10. No reservations. All credit cards. $$)



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. Funny, it doesn’t look like a shrine. But it is – a monument to the Great Beef God. Cattlemen’s is a world-class steak restaurant settled in the pseudo-western facade of the Fort Worth Stockyards. We took a Northern friend, a confirmed escargot gourmet, for lunch; he tackled the 18-ounce Texas strip sirloin and was born again. We ate lightly, choosing the Arkansas Traveler special, roast beef on open cornbread with brown gravy and black-eyed peas. The medium T-bone, the ribeye. . . each was perfect, fork-tender and juicy. Stick to the steaks here – otherwise there’s no point. (2458 N Main. (817) 624-3945. Mon-Fri 11-10:30, Sal 4:30-10:30, closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)



D Revisits Edelweiss. Edelweiss is a big, joyous beerhall with food. It’s ersatz Texas German food, but who cares? It sounds German and comes in portions large enough to please any aspiring Bürgermeister. Nothing changes from visit to visit. There are crowds at the door; the lederhosen-clad waitresses are prompt and efficient. And always, on the tiny center stage, is Bernd Schnerzinger, with an Alp-sized voice and the proper oom-pah backup. Hokey, no doubt, but Bernd is a charmer – he kissed seven ladies during one song while we were there. Of course, there are German wines and beers, and a cheese soup as thick as we have tasted. For entrees, we tried sausages drenched in mushroom sauce and cordon bleu Kartoffeln (schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese), which is reputed to be the house speciality; it wasn’t sensational, although the potato pancakes spiced with onion made a tasty side dish. None of the above was important, however; we ate and sang along with the crowd, while Bernd performed. We especially liked his version of “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” sung to a couple on their 50th wedding anniversary. (3801-A Southwest Blvd. (817) 738-5934. Dinner: Mon-Sat S-10:30, closed Sun, Reservations. MC, V, DC. $$)



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) 731-6961. Sun-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-midnight. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)

Jimmie Dip’s. Jimmie died, and for a long time, it was easy to forget this long-time Chinese restaurant. But Jimmie Dip’s is still in business: The food remains excellent, the service superb, the decor unassuming and tasteful. We began, of course, with fried won ton all around, and then opted for the Chinese vegetable soup. Both were supreme appetizers. Our main dish was the Almond Gai Ding, diced white chicken meat with snow peas, water chestnuts, bamboo shoots, and mushrooms – so good, we hated sharing. Other dishes we sampled included the War Sui Har (breaded jumbo shrimp wrapped in bacon), the sweet and sour pork, the ginger beef, and the Jimmie Dip Special, which is a mixture of chicken, chicken livers, Virginia ham, and vegetables, sautéed in chicken broth – an unlikely dish that was the best of the evening. This restaurant knows what it’s doing. (1500 S University. (817) 336-4333. Dinner: Tue-Thur & Sun. 4:30-10:30, Fri-Sat 4:30-11:30, closed Mon. MC, V, AE. No reservations. $)



D Revisits Joe T. Garcia’s. The Garcia kitchen resembles a little Balkan war, with workers slinging pans and shouting. The service remains boarding-house casual, the Mexican food fresh, tasty, and bland. There’s still no menu, but the Garcias have finally deemed it necessary to provide alternatives to enchiladas, tacos, rice, beans, guacamole, and tortillas. At lunch, we chose the chicken flautas; they were too crisp and dry, but this is all new to the Garcias, who for years served one meal and one meal only. We also sampled the spicy chile relleno with excellent beef stuffing, and hope it becomes a regular item on the non-menu. You can still go to the ice box and get your own beer if you want, but waiters will now serve at the table, too. As for the Garcias’ vaunted Margarita, its reputation as one of Texas’ best is deserved. Try both sizes, regular and two-hands-full. (2201 N Commerce. (817) 626-4356. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2; Dinner: daily 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. $)

Willow Garden. The menu claims Chinese,Thai, and Mongolian dishes, and who’s to argue? To an American taste, the food is Oriental, good, and inexpensive. To begin with,there is an excellent Moo Goo Gai Pan(breast of chicken with vegetables andmushrooms), a benchmark for Chineserestaurants. The Mongolian Barbecue, chunksof beef and pork in a vegetable sauce, andHung Sui Har, eight jumbo shrimp with a mixof scallions, tomatoes, and ginger, arehighlights from a lengthy menu. All is served inbooths 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 reservations. MC, V,DC. $)

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