RESTAURANTS Dining Out

Giving credit where it’s fondue

Renaissance. It’s a rare restaurant that tries to revive an old dining fad, but Renaissance is out to do just
that for fondue. We approached the place with a bad attitude, brought about by memories of balky Sterno burners and
bread chunks lost in mid-dip, and the restaurant’s odd billing as a “fondue pub and parlor” did little to restore
our sense of fair play. But, against the odds, the place produced two dinners good enough to remind us of fondue’s
reason for being – the communal pot-dipping ritual, which prolongs the meal in a pleasant and leisurely way.
Besides, the food is good. The limited menu lists four or five fondue entrees (cheese, beef, lobster, and shrimp
every night, scallops some nights on special) accompanied by large salads and vegetables; there are also a few
festive touches like bananas Foster and cherries jubilee, not to mention chocolate fondue with fresh fruit and pound
cake for dipping. We tried all the entrees and liked them, especially the classic cheese and beef fondues; the
seafood, though perfectly fresh, didn’t seem to benefit from immersion in boiling peanut oil, though that’s a matter
of habit as well as taste. The staff was friendly and a bit green, the atmosphere quiet and comfortable, with the
added benefit of live jazz on weekends. (2818 Greenville. 823-4030. Mon-Thur 4-11, Fri & Sat till midnight, Sun
6-11. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)


Mario & Antonio. Transplant Chiquita, lock, stock, and guacamole, from Oak Lawn to LBJ and you have Mario &
Antonio. The concept is not too adventurous: Restaurateur Mario Leal has chosen to use the same menu, same
pastel-dominated decor, even the same white-shoed waiters at the new location. But in only a month of operation,
Mario & Antonio has already been able to duplicate something else Chiquita has: waiting lines at lunch and dinner.
We’ve long been partial to some of Chiquita’s better offerings, like carne asada, tacos al carbon, and chicken a la
parrilla (chicken broiled over hickory and served with lemon butter and broiled tomato). Naturally, we sampled them
all at the new location. We found no disappointments. Entrees like the alambres (a shish kabob served with potatoes
and a soft taco) or pescado marinero (whitefish stuffed with spinach and topped with oysters and shrimp sauce) give
you a less filling alternative to the traditional bur-ritos and beans. The place is not totally without weak spots.
The queso flameado, for instance, is not in the same league as the fiaming cheese appetizer served at Raphael’s. And
the service at Mario & Antonio is still a little uncoordinated, perhaps because the waiters are having difficulty
coping with the instant crowds. (LBJ at Preston. 980-7296. Mon-Thur 11:30-10:30, Fri & Sat till 11. No
reservations. MC, V, AE. Drinks with $5 membership charge. $$)


Sakura. On our first visit to Sakura our waitress kept reminding us, in hushed tones, that the owners had
sunk over $1 million into to their new building. The figure was repeated with each course, as though it couldn’t
help but improve the meal. Looking around, we had no reason to doubt her estimate. Sakura has an exquisite tatami
room complete with bamboo mats and flowered kimonos, an even more impressive sushi bar with a long glass case filled
with fresh fish, plus a hibachi room for the convention trade and a downstairs lounge. In a city that already has
several expense-account Japanese restaurants, Sakura has outdone itself. For atmosphere, it’s tops. But like its
counterparts, it is also rather unad-venturous in its menu, meaning that it’s heavy on the familiar sukiyaki and
teriyaki dishes,and light on what might be considered novel or exotic. The high point of both our meals was the raw
fish – sashimi and sushi – absolutely fresh and served with true understated elegance. The sushi bar is also heavily
patronized by Japanese, always an en-couraging sign. After that, din-ing at Sakura is a hit-and-miss proposition.
The gyoza (egg rolls) and the chicken kara-age were both hits, as was the shabu-shabu, though this boiled beef and
vegetable dish is never as exciting as you think it’s going to be. Among the misses were the lobster teriyaki (tough
and overcooked) and a tempura seafood platter consisting of two mediocre tempura shrimp and an assortment of fish
fried in the best Long John Silver tradition. But if there’s already a million in the building, perhaps some of it
will eventually filter down to the kitchen. (7402 Greenville. 361-9282. Dinner: Mon-Sat 5:30-midnight, Sunday
5:30-11, Lunch: Mon-Fri 1-2:30. 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 $ 15 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. The most spectacular place to be on this monotonous prairie, and a good restaurant to take people
with whom you have very little in common: your most boring client, Aunt Flo and Uncle Herman, anyone under 12 years
of age. When conversation fails, you can always point out the Zale Building as it floats by. As for gastronomy: The
drinks and appetizers were good; the desserts were great, including a super chocolate mousse and splendid
strawberries Romanoff. But the entrees were pretty awful: veal scallopini with bouillony sauce, mushy lobster tail,
and weary vegetables, including a glop of what looked like Rice-a-Roni but didn’t taste that good. Lunch is probably
better – it’s less pretentious and falls into fewer traps. When the check comes, you may feel you’ve been taken for
a ride. You have been, but wasn’t the view terrific? (Reunion Tower at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. 741-3663. Lunch:
11-2; Dinner: 5-mid-night. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)




D Revisits Arthur’s. Things have been uneven at Arthur’s for months now, which is a shame, since it’s the
place we most like to take out-of-towners curious about the customs of real Dallas businessmen. We suspect
that as many deals are struck at Arthur’s as at all-male bastions like the City Club, which has benefits for the
rest of us (in addition to top-flight eavesdropping). These include an absence of hanging plants, a menu that ranges
from double lamb chops and cottage fries to chilled yam soup with crabmeat, and a fine little bar. Unfortunately,
two benefits that haven’t been forthcoming lately are consistently fine food and service. On our last visits,
Arthur’s delivered much that was good (smoked salmon, broiled shrimp and scallops, lamb chops, filet mignon, roast
duck with black bing cherries) and a few small bursts of excellence (watercress and endive salad with tarragon
dressing, perfect fresh asparagus with Hollandaise, and – no joke – the yam soup). A few other dishes were well
under par, including woody broccoli, bland lobster mousse, and lukewarm lobster tails. Overall, the kitchen’s
performance was reliable but in no way breathtaking. The operation was surprisingly amateurish at times; we had to
ask our waiter, the cocktail waitress, and the busboy (twice) to get a single glass of wine. Worse yet, our waiter,
evidently under pressure to free up a table, asked if we would rather have dessert and coffee in the cocktail lounge
– hardly a fitting finish to a $65 dinner. So, unless you look like the sort of person who might own Republic Bank,
expect a rough ride. (1000 Campbell Centre. 361-8833. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Sun-Fri 6-11, Sat till
midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)




Chateaubriand. Chateaubriand delivers mainline excess with flair. With live music and dancing, a meal here
amounts to a big evening’s entertainment, but the place continues to serve impressive food, in spite of an unusually
large and varied menu. We played it safe this time, with lobster tails and lamb chops (both quite good), but strayed
enough to try the pastitsa and dolma appetizers, a better sampling than you’ll find at the city’s full-fledged Greek
restaurants. With the exception of a curt and rather formidable hostess, the service was friendly and skillful. All
in all, a good place to tie one on. (2515 McKin-ney. 741-1223. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-midnight. Reservations. All
credit cards. $$$)




The Chimney. Make reservations: Homestyle atmosphere and superb Swiss-Austrian food have built the Chimney a
loyal following, and the place is usually overflowing. Lunch is like a formal meal at a relative’s – it includes an
obligatory first course of bouillon and cheese wafers – though the food is probably a lot better. We loved the
scallop casserole, with white wine sauce over rice, and the chicken breast with orange-almond sauce. For dinner, you
might try venison (the only place in town you can get it) or one of the veal offerings, like lemon veal or veal
ricotta. The calf’s liver is legendary – thick, tender, and topped with perfect onion rings. Save room for dessert.
Service is pleasant, though sometimes bordering on stuffy. (Willow Creek Ctr, 9739 N Central at Walnut Hill.
369-6466. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10:30, Sun 6-10. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$)




Ewald’s. Long one of the most comfortable restaurants in town, and though we sometimes wish it were more
adventurous, there’s no arguing with a good thing. Ewald’s service is attentive without being pushy, its atmosphere
quiet and utterly unstuffy; not many places in town manage to make diners feel so thoroughly at home. The food is
consistent and well-prepared, especially the beef and veal dishes; among the best are the veal papagallo (a cutlet
stuffed with Canadian bacon, Swiss cheese, and sour cream), the veal with lemon butter, and the tenderloin tips a la
Ewald (with mushrooms, green pepper, onion, and pimiento). The pepper steak seems to be invariably good. For
appetizers, we recommend the shrimp du chef (broiled in a tangy sauce), priced the same as a shrimp cocktail but
much better. The Black Forest cake is the best of several excellent dessert selections. (5154 W Lovers Ln.
357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10:30, Sat till 11, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V. $$$)




The Grape. A romantic little hole in the wall, where you can spend hours in quiet conversation. Many regulars
fashion simple meals from wine and cheese, salad, and the Grape’s legendary mushroom soup, but those who order
entrees from the chalkboard menu are rewarded with food of steadily increasing quality. On our last visits, we’ve
had a first-rate paté au poivre; the best, richest salmon steak we’ve been served in Dallas; and a good, grainy
homemade vichy-ssoise. The only dull spot was the beef Flamande, a rather gray-looking stew of beef and beer. All in
all, a restaurant with lasting charm, and very hard to beat for the money. (2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 823-0133.
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Tue-Sun 6-11, wine and cheese till midnight. No reservations. MC, V. $$)




Jennivine. Given its early days as a quiche-and-chablis spot, Jennivine has come a long, long way. Our recent
dinners have been delightful, featuring a rare roast leg of lamb (hardly a standard locally), fresh scallops with
lemon butter, and respectable red fish and salmon steak. Patés are featured, with good reason – the paté au poivre
and salmon paté were excellent (and available over the counter). It’s worth noting, however, that as a wine bar
Jennivine continues to do virtually nothing right; they should clean out the dogs and stock up on a few good wines
to do justice to their wonderful chef. Still, one of the best small restaurants in town, and one of the few where a
couple can eat well for less than $30. (3605 McKinney. 528-6010. Tue-Sat 1:30 am-11:30 pm, closed Sun & Mon.
Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)




Old Warsaw. A hardy survivor from the Fifties, still savvy enough to roll over most of its younger
competitors. Granted, there’s plenty of corn in Old Warsaw’s act (including lots of flaming brandy), but there’s
lasting elegance, too, and a willingness to experiment. Some of the nicest surprises are the little things: Brie
soup, a salad of Belgian endive and watercress, and a side dish of wild rice so flavorful it will probably ruin you
for any other kind. As for the main offerings, we’ve had an excellent steak tartare, fish mousse in mersault sauce,
lamb chops, and tournedos in a sauce of red wine and shallots – all classy, all good. The Grand Marnier souffl.e is
legendary. Like most elegant and successful restaurants with a large business clientele (on week nights, the place
resembles the executive annex of Republic Bank), Old Warsaw features flawless service and an outrageously overpriced
wine list. Unlike any other, it throws in a refreshingly down-to-earth sommelier with a Salvador Dali moustache. One
of the city’s very best. (2610 Maple. 528-0032. Sun-Fri 6-10:45, Sat till 11:45. Reservations. All credit cards.
$$$$)


Pyramid Room. If man could live by appetizers alone, our first choice would be the smoked Irish salmon with
chopped egg, capers, onions, and a glass of aquavit at the Pyramid Room. For simple elegance, it is unsurpassed –
and quite foreign to the spirit of the restaurant as a whole, where caviar is served in elaborate ice sculptures and
entrees are accompanied by windmills and various carved animals. Since there’s no way to ignore the show, sit back
and enjoy it. After the salmon, you might try an endive and Boston lettuce salad, a filet bordelaise, and a Grand
Marnier souffl.e; if you prefer a different scenario, try the beef consomm.e with sherry (simple and superb), filet
of sole en croute, and sliced oranges in Amaretto. It’s now possible to find many of the Pyramid Room’s main dishes
prepared as well or better in other Dallas restaurants, but the overall dining experience remains unique: When
you’ve finished you know you’ve eaten out, and there’s a lot to be said for that. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross and
Akard. 748-5454. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-1:30; Dinner: daily 6-9:45. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)




D Revisits Three Vikings. I’m a pushover for any restaurant in which the hostess always remembers my
reviewer’s pseudonym and the host stops at my table, briefly, to chat, and everyone else gives the impression of
belonging to a large and contented family. Three Vikings has the kind of intimate, homey feel that would probably
win you over even if the food weren’t as good as it is. The grilled salmon with dill sauce and the filet of sole
Anders are outstanding, as is the roast duck with almond sauce, a new favorite, and the Swedish steak, a thin
tenderloin covered with onions and a rich gravy. The sauces are the culinary high points here, all prepared by the
owners’ son Anders with exceptional subtlety and restraint. Even the hearty ones aren’t overwhelming. Our only
complaints at the moment are so-so salads, occasionally dull vegetables, and a mediocre wine list, though the latter
has improved considerably in recent months. By now the word is out on Three Vikings so be prepared to wait unless
you have reservations. If you get caught out, console yourself with thoughts of chocolate cheese pie, an obscenely
rich dessert that will leave you blissed out for hours. Do Swedes eat this well back home, we wonder? (2831
Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770. Dinner Tue- Sat 6-11, Sunday brunch 11-3, closed Monday. Reservations. MC, V, AE.
$$$)




DELICATESSENS

Kuby’s. Where else in Dallas will you find such animated polyglot service accompanied by tips on knish
baking, sausage stuffing, herring pickling, and a dozen other matters of interest to aspiring gourmets? As for the
food, it’s still as reliable as any in town: an impressive selection of wursts and cold cuts, superb soups, hot
potato salad, steak tarlare, and pastries rich enough to immobilize an army of Valkyries. But perhaps the easiest
way to understand Kuby’s appeal is to drop by on a Saturday when the doors are jammed open by mobs of shoppers and
the whole place takes on the character of a street carnival. This, almost as much as the food, is what draws people
to Kuby’s: the sense of participating in a genuine old-world food fest in the middle of an emphatically new-world
city. Deserves the label “institution” as much as any restaurant in Dallas. (6001 Snider Plaza. 363-2231. Mon-Sat
8-6, sandwiches till 5:30. No reservations. MC for purchases over $15. $)


Wall’s. A cheerful, albeit slightly dingy deli with the best cheese blintzes in town. At midday, Wall’s
hospital green back room clatters with the soup-and-sandwich bunch, but the best time to go is Sunday morning, when
serious eaters meet for hours on end of schmoozing and fressing. You might order a combination platter
of smoked fish (it’s not on the menu, but you can work something out); the best is the fragrant barbecued salmon,
followed by the Nova Scotia salmon and lox. Add to than an order of herring in sour cream, scrambled eggs with lox
and onions, apricot Danish, juice, and coffee; this comes to about $20 and feeds two or three. The baked goods are
not up to snuff, but all else seems good by local standards. Oddly, Wall’s closes at 6:30, just when we’re nearly
ready for dinner. (10749 Preston near Royal Ln. 691-4444. Daily 7 am-6:30 pm. Reservations. MC, V. $$)

FRENCH



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. We were delighted with the soups,
especially the carrot and the vichyssoise; our roast beef salad was large and expertly seasoned; the coq au vin and
scallops in curry sauce were quite good. On the minus side was an overcooked steak parisien, and none of our meals
was what you’d call eyecatching. Perhaps the chef could hang a color wheel next to his spice rack. Finish up with 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 Worthington. 626-0660. Mon-Sat 11-midnight. Reservations for six or more. MC, V, AE.
$$)


Calluaud. Solidly among the city’s top restaurants, and more adventurous than some of its fellows. Calluaud’s
gets our vote for the best lunch in town. Everything we tried was simple, elegant, and delicious: médaillons of
veal chasseur; a lovely plate of salads (potato, carrot, cucumber, ratatouille, and several others); and the nicest
bit of self-indulgence available locally, half a chilled Maine lobster with homemade mayonnaise. Exotic game, simple
steak preparations, veal, and seafood still form the heart of the dinner menu. Among the additions, we particularly
liked the lobster souffle appetizer, and you can’t beat the old standby rack of lamb with garlic. An utterly
delightful place. (2619 McKin-ney. 823-5380. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Reservations.
All credit cards. $$$)




D Revisits La Cave. When it opened two years ago, La Cave was the city’s first wine bar, and it’s still the
best. The place is designed to encourage experimentation, with wine specials on chalkboard and menu, a cellarful of
reasonably priced alternatives at the back, and a menu that doesn’t run out after the standard array of patés and
cheese boards. La Cave’s versions are as good, and often better, than you’ll find elsewhere, but they also offer a
cold artichoke with homemade mayonnaise, sausage sandwich, avocado stuffed with shrimp, and a number of other
delights. The soups have been an especially strong point lately. The French onion (Wednesdays only) is a legend, and
we’ve sampled excellent tomato mushroom, split pea, and a highly spiced chicken vegetable as well. The only dish
that just plain doesn’t cut it is the sliced cold prime rib, which requires working around too many ribbons of
congealed fat. If there’s another place that consistently delivers small, elegant things so well, we don’t know of
it. (2926 N Henderson. 826-2190. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2, cheese and wine only 2-5:30; Dinner: Mon-Fri 5:30-11:30;
Sat continuous food service noon-ll:30. Retail wine sales Mon-Fri 10 am-midnight, Sat 10:30 am-midnight. MC, V, AE.
$$)


Jean Claude. Right up there with the best, always good, often brilliant, and never merely an also ran. The
menu changes nightly, but let’s just say that if you’re offered a choice of Maine lobster in white wine and butter
sauce, or rack of lamb, or veal tournedos with green peppercorns, or poached salmon, say yes. Add to that the salmon
mousse, which has become our favorite appetizer. There are, in fact, only a few miscues among Jean Claude’s
offerings (our chocolate souffle didn’t, and the shrimp in brandy sauce sounded better than they tasted). Everything
else, from the service to the loaves of coarse, thick-crusted bread of impressive weight and taste to the
after-dinner port (a Quinta do Noval 1963) was first rate. The place is expensive, but unlike so many other
expensive restaurants, it convinces you that your money is going for food and service instead of show. (2520
Cedar Springs. 653-1823. Dinner: Tue-Sat, seatings at 6 and 9. Reservations only. MC, V, AE. $$$)


Patry’s. Patry’s sometimes seems to belong to the dowager generation of Dallas restaurants, but it has a
reputation for being steady and reliable. Patry’s has the basics down pat, including excellent appetizers – we had
an old favorite, the stuffed leeks, and a well-prepared crab Nantua – and perhaps the lightest, most delicious
chocolate mousse in town. The Chateaubriand was superbly grilled and fork-tender. On the other hand, the coq au vin
tasted warmed-over in a sauce that was over-seasoned. The place has a somewhat fussy decor that seems out of sync
with its size and unpretentious menu, but service is pleasant and responsive. (2504 McKinney. 748-3754. Tue-Sun
6-11, Sat till 11:30, closed Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)




D Revisits Le Rendez-Vous. An attractive French restaurant and watering hole that draws friends as well as
lovers, husbands, wives, and others, far into the night. The brasserie-style menu offers light dishes as well as
full meals, but here, more than most places, the great and near-great mingle with the lacklustre and disappointing.
Thus, even if one is lucky enough to order the pepper steak – which is divine – or the red snapper in pastry dough,
or the rabbit, or the veal with a mushroom and cream sauce, he will still have to make his way around uninspired
vegetables and a perfectly fine dinner salad rendered dull – as are all salads, even the Nicoise – by an abundant,
tasteless while dressing. The cap-pucino pie is superb and the chocolate Rendezvous, exquisite. Disappointments
include canned artichoke bottoms topped with frozen crabmeat and some very tough profiteroles. The service is
cordial, even thoughtful. (3237 McKinney at Hall. 745-1985. Daily 11-3 pm, 6 pm-3 am; Dinner till 2 am.
Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)



ITALIAN

Lombardi’s. Lombardi’s has enough good choices on its menu to maintain its place as one of (he best
restaurants in Dallas. The veal is a can’t-miss proposition, as veal limone, parmigiana, marsala, or saltimbocca
romana (veal in a tremendous cheese and white wine sauce). The eggplant parmigiana is superb. The kitchen staff
performs magic with seafood 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 McKin-ney. 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 Campisi’s. After a long Thursday, after close to an hour’s wait outside, after the aging ex-prom
queen in front says “Excu-use you” each time she bumps into us, it’s still fun to stroll into Campisi’s, to slide
across the familiar red vinyl booth, drop a coin in the jukebox and, once our eyes have dark-adapted, wave to the
waitress who reminds us of our favorite crossing guard. Top hits here are mostly golden oldies: a good, hearty
lasagne; fennel-scented sausages with pepper; lightly fried shrimp scampi; and, despite its weird shape, a memorable
pizza, better, we think, with extra cheese and pepperoni than “all the way.” The “pisghetti” and ravioli are only
fair by grown-up standards – kids four and under will eat anything on the menu here, even if it comes with clams;
what’s more, if you arrive before six, you can sail right in – the manicotti is pleasant, and the crab claws in
butter a worthy appetizer or side dish. The chocolate layer cake is delicious, likewise, the cheese cake. As for the
name Campisi’s Egyptian Room, the place used to be a bar called – you guessed it – Egyptian Room, until the Campisis
bought it, 33 years ago. For some reason, rather than change the name, they added theirs. Any more questions?
(5620 E Mockingbird. 827-0355. Mon-Fri & Sun 11 am-midnight, Sat till 1 am. Reservations for 6 or more. No credit
cards; personal checks accepted. $$)




Marcello’s. The decor is dingy, and the service brusque, but oh, the pasta. Marcello’s makes its own
cannelloni, manicotti, and lasagna, using an anachronistic recipe that calls for hand-rolling, and then ensures that
every diner gets a taste, at least as a side dish. Our favorites were the cannelloni with cream sauce and the
cheese-packed lasagna, among the best we’ve sampled. Apart from thoroughly ordinary salads and bread, just about
everything from Marcello’s kitchen was good. For appetizers, you might try the stuffed mushrooms (with light, lemony
seafood-and-vegetable stuffing) or the clams Possillippo, a sort of zuppa di pesce with a lovely homemade broth. The
seafood was generally quite good, and the veal picante (called lemon veal at most places) was outstanding. One final
compliment: Every dish is hot, so hot, in fact, that you can’t get near it for several minutes. You’ll probably wish
you could enjoy Marcello’s food in more pleasant surroundings – the place looks like a basement rec room, complete
with fish tank – but as long as the pasta is this strong, it’s hard to argue priorities. (9507 Overtake.
352-9594. Daily 5:30-11. Reservations. MC, V, 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, Sal till midnight.
Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)




Pietro’s. Pietro’s strong points have always been hearty, no-frills Italian cooking served in a homey, Mama’s
kitchen style. Well, Pietro’s is still noisy and crowded, especially on weekends, and the portions certainly haven’t
shrunk, but as the local competition has improved, its shortcomings have become more obvious. For instance, the
bread (no heft, no crunch), salads (iceberg garnished with tomato wedge and a lone hot pepper), and tomato sauces
(generally thick, acidic, and overwhelming). Sauces aside, we’re still fond of Pietro’s cannelloni (with a trace of
anise) and think its antipasto, crème caramel, and cannoli are among the best in Dallas. But we can’t say much for
its pasta, and with so much good pasta now available, that’s a major problem. The same for Pietro’s specials, like
the over-designed vio alla Veronese – scallops of veal in lemon and wine sauce, topped with asparagus spears, served
on a bed of toast points. So, old loyalties notwithstanding, Pietro’s needs some revamping. (5722 Richmond, off
Greenville. 824-9403. Tue-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat till 11, closed Sun & Mon. No reservations. MC, V. $$$)

Sergio’s.
Pasta will usually tell you what you need to know about an Italian restaurant. If it huddles
protectively in the center of the plate, or sticks to the roof of your mouth like bad bridge-work, you’ve got
problems. No problems at Sergio’s. We tried the cannelloni and the manicotti (both homemade) and found them
outstanding. Sergio’s salads and antipasto are nothing to wax operatic about, and the tomato sauce isn’t much better
than at many other restaurants in town, but we have no complaints about the saltimboc-ca, or the eggplant
parmigiana, or the chicken regina (breast of chicken in white sauce served on a bed of homemade spaghetti). In its
first few months, Sergio’s survived staff problems and a fire that put it out of commission for several weeks. One
can only speculate about where it would be if it had gotten off to a clean start. (Suite 192, the Quadrangle.
742-3872. Mon-Sat 11-10, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)


II Sorrento. What Trader Vic’s is to the South Seas, II Sorrento is to Italy, except that II Sorrento’s decor
– one part each sidewalk cafe, village square, and archaeological site – is a lot classier. And its food much
better. From the long list of appetizers, the littleneck clams, minestrone, and antipasto were fine (the only
off-note being some mushy snails). Among the entrees, we especially liked the manicotti and the fettucine al pesto,
whose fresh basil sauce is lovely and, incidentally, sticks to your teeth in little green globs. For a sampler of
elaborate dishes, which are more characteristic of II Sorrento’s kitchen, you might try the Combination alla
Sorrento No. I (rolla-tina of veal, beef pizzaiola, breast of chicken Parmesan); all are house specialties, and
quite good. A well-run restaurant with the customers to prove it, and more gracious to children than the prices
might suggest. (8616 Turtle Creek, north of Northwest Hwy. 352-8759. Daily 5:30-10:30, Sat till 11:30.
Reservations except Fri & Sat. All credit cards. $$$)




LUNCH



The Atrium. A good spot for salads, sandwiches, and quiche, and something of a haven for downtown lunchers.
The menu is small and generally well-prepared. We loved the Atrium salad, made of lettuce, cucumber, tomato, Swiss
cheese, bell pepper, mushrooms, avocado, and chicken; whatever your salad choice, try the creamy Italian house
dressing with capers. The quiche Lorraine was better than average; our daily special, shrimp Orleans, was spicy,
packed with shrimp, and set off by some extremely good stir-fried mushrooms and celery. (1404 Main. 651-8414.
Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30. No reservations. No credit cards. $)


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. $)




D Revisits The Bronx. Nothing on the menu will change your life or make you want to write the chef into your
will, but there are no disappointments at this solid little Oak Lawn lunch spot either. The chalk board
announcements of the daily noontime fare always include some robust listings like roast pork, lasagna, and
home-style burritos. The omelettes are a can’t-miss selection, especially the ham and cheese, generously laden with
ham. The chef’s salad has been first-rate for quite some time and was unchanged when we tried it recently. One of
the nice little things about the Bronx is the excellent coffee, freshly ground of course. It goes especially well
with the stellar chocolate mousse or the homemade pie. Service is quick and courteous. This is the type of place in
which you’ll feel quite comfortable in faded jeans, but not out-of-place if you go there for a light business lunch.
(3835 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn. 521-5821. Mon-Thur 11:30-2 am, Fri till 1:30, Sal 6-11:30, bar till 2. Beer
and wine only. Closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V. $)




Tossed Greens and Things. A cheerful little place hidden under Thanks-Giving Square, which serves up salads,
soups, and sandwiches at reasonable prices. But hang the prices: The appeal of Tossed Greens and Things is its
mild-mannered health-food orientation, blessed relief in a downtown sea of Pickle Barrels. The salad plates
(chicken, tuna, spinach) and sandwiches are huge, constructed according to your specifications; the place also
serves a remarkably good gazpacho. Nice touch: pink lemonade. (Underground Thanks-Giving Square, Ervay & Pacific.
744-2254. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30. No reservations. No credit cards. $)




MEXICAN



Casa Dominguez. Pete Dominguez’ empire has grown into a taco conglomerate, with locations stretching from the
bowels of One Main Place to the Addison strip. You’ll still find the best food at the original location, however.
The carne asa-da and tacos al carbon, the two big beef items on most Mexican menus, are better than average, and the
special Mexican and Poblana dinners both give a credible cross section of Tex-Mex. The bean and cheese nachos have a
slight hint of chili, which gives them an edge over some of the good but predictable items on the menu. Another
bright spot is the pico de gallo – a spicy vegetable mixture served alongside the standard tos-tadas and hot sauce.
Service is courteous and quick. (2127 Cedar Springs. 742-4945. Tue-Thur 11-10, Fri till 11, Sat 5-11, Sun till
10. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $)


Chiquita. No Mexican restaurant in Dallas has a wider variety of entrees or delivers more consistently good
offerings than Chiquita. You’ll find this restaurant does good things with all the old standbys: enchiladas,
tamales, tacos, fri-joles, guacamole. It’s all there and it’s all good. But you can also do well by ordering some of
the more unusual fare. The pescado marinero (sole stuffed with spinach and topped with a cheese and oyster sauce) is
an excellent choice if you have the extra half hour it takes to prepare it. The kitchen staff is also skilled with
chicken (enchiladas, grilled chicken breasts with lemon-butter sauce, even chicken nachos). We’ve grown particularly
fond of the tortilla soup, which combines shredded tortillas, cheese, and a chili-seasoned hot sauce for a mixture
that, suprising-ly, is not quite as heavy as a bowl of chili. The place is a little more formal than most of its
competition, but still relaxed. (3810 Congress off Oak Lawn. 521-0721. Mon-Thur 11:30-10:30, Fri & Sat till 11.
No reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)


Guadalajara. Little Mexican cafes seem to come and go, but Guadalajara may live – and excel – forever.
There’s something about this spot that reminds us more of Mexico than anyplace else in Dallas. That has something to
do with its somewhat gritty surroundings and less-than-polished atmosphere, and a lot to do with the food. There’s
lots to choose from and it’s hard to go wrong. We suggest the chile relleno (with cheese, not beef), the carne asada
(the real thing – no fancy trimmings), and the soft cheese tacos (the best in town). The menu also includes some
unusual items like Nopalitos con Huevos (cactus and eggs), Chilaquiles (a traditional Mexican egg and tortilla
dish), or a simple Papas con Heuvos (eggs and fried potatoes); great late-night food, and you can eat it here until
3:30 in the morning. And don’t leave without one of their fine sopapillas with honey and cinnamon. (There’s a second
Guadalajara on Henderson, but it doesn’t compare with the original.) (3308 Ross Avenue. 823-9340. Tue-Sun 11
am-3:30 am, closed Mon. No reservations. No credit cards. $)


Herrera Cafe. The tinier and dumpier a restaurant, the better the food, right? Then stray no farther. You
want the original, unchanged, adobe shack on Maple Avenue, where patrons queue in sun and sleet, the restrooms are
in the kitchen, and you have to brownbag your own beer. Anybody can make a good nacho; Herrera’s makes a great
nacho. And superb soft cheese tacos with the best con queso sauce in town. Most everything else is unrivaled, too.
If you must have frozen Margaritas and American Express, however, you could do worse than Herrera’s newer Lemmon
Avenue branch. (3902 Maple Avenue. 526-9427. Mon, Wed, Thur 9-8, Fri-Sun till 10, closed Tue. No reservations. No
credit cards. $)


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 crepes
(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. $$)


Raphael’s. Expansion of the old ranch-style building to include a cocktail lounge has helped; now you can sit
and drink Margaritas while you wait for some of the best Mexican food in the city. Start with the queso flameado, a
flaming white cheese appetizer seasoned with chili and rolled up burrito-style. Most house specialties, like chicken
mole, carne asada, flounder Vera-cruzano, and chiles rellenos are superb, but the carne Tampiqueno and polio
Tampiqueno are in a class by themselves. Save room for the stellar sopapillas topped with whipped cream and
strawberries; they are decadently delicious. Service is attentive and courteous. (3701 McKinney. 521-9640.
Mon-Fri 11:30-10:30, Sat noon-IO:30, closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thur only. MC, V, AE. $$)


El Taxco. Some regulars feared that Taxco’s spiffy new interior would mean the loss of that certain something
in the kitchen. We’re happy to report that nothing essential has changed. The old favorites are intact, right down
to the chile relleno, still a test of any fire-eater’s mettle. Special attractions include carne asada, a good-sized

steak piled high with grilled onions; sour cream and chicken enchiladas; and tostadas a la McCaffrey, with lettuce;
ground beef, guaca-mole, sour cream, and other ingredients too numerous to list. N.B.: The Margaritas, which have
been described in these pages as “bilious” and “Kool-Aid,” are now really pretty tasty, and a bargain at $1 from 11
to 5. (2126 N St Paul at McKinney. 742-0747. Wed-Mon 11-10, closed Tue. No reservations. MC, V. $)



NATURAL FOODS



Sh-Boom’s. A quiet, rustic spot whose menu has enough twists and turns to accommodate less than true
believers – like wine, beer, chicken, fish, and a generous hand with seasonings. Sh-Boom’s real successes include
its whole-grain rolls and muffins, excellent coffee, and a wonderful vegetable tempura plate with zucchini,
cauliflower, broccoli, and a soy sauce dip. Strangely, just about everything else we tried was overdone, not a
common offense at health-food places. In the overpowering category, include the shrimp de Jon and the seafood crepes
and quiche at Sunday brunch, all of which were topped by rather intimidating, paprika-laden sauces. So stick to the
simpler things, like sandwiches, soups, and vegetable plates. And order at least one Mimosa, a decadent concoction
of fresh-squeezed orange juice and champagne. (4356 Lover’s Ln. 692-1411. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Mon-Sat
5:30-11; Sun brunch 11:30-2:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)




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. The building is a dump, the food superb. And there’s always a crowd; plan on waiting 10 or 20
minutes to be seated. You may spend longer than that with the extensive menu. Start with the kuo-teh, a tasty,
ravioli-style appetizer, or the won ton soup, almost a one-dish meal. Of the more than 40 entrees, we’ve tried
chicken with plum sauce, shrimp with lobster sauce, black mushroom pork, and green pepper beef, and haven’t yet been
disappointed. If you want something extra fancy, try the Peking duck, which must be ordered a day in advance. Lunch
costs about the same as a Big Mac with fries and is served even faster. (10630 Church Rd at LBJ Fwy. 349-2411.
Lunch: Tue-Sat 11-2:30; Dinner: Sun, Tue-Thur 11-9. Fri & Sat till 10. No liquor license. Reservations. MC, V.
$$)




D Revisits China Coast. The magic has gone out of Hunan-Szechuan cooking in Dallas. Everyone is doing it, and
only a few restaurants are managing to do it with style and consistency. China Coast isn’t quite in that group; it’s
still a place where you have to pick and choose. But if you pick and choose among the seafood dishes, the house
specialties, you’ll do very well indeed. We recommend the crispy whole fish in a spicy sauce, mainly ginger, the
fresh scallops in garlic sauce, the shrimp in ginger and hot sauce, and the shrimp with peanuts. They’re all as good
as you’ll find in town. So is the shark fin soup and the velvet corn with crabmeat soup. But the farther you get
from the sea, and the spice rack, the more pedestrian things become. The pu-pu platter, containing the usual
assortment of egg rolls, shrimp toast, and paper chicken, is mediocre, and you can do the basic wonton, fried rice,
and sweet and sour pork routine as well at a dozen other restaurants in town. So stick with the chef’s suggestions.
Since our last visit to China Coast, the cavernous dining room has been divided into a dine’n ’dance section with an
oversized television screen, and a smaller, quieter dining room. If the new arrangement hasn’t produced elegance, it
has at least brought order out of chaos, especially on weekends. The management is extremely pleasant and the
service cheerful and efficient. Overall, a dependable and occasionally sparkling restaurant. (2930 Northwest Hwy
at Bachman Blvd. 350-6282. Mon-Thur 11:30-11:00, Fri&Sal till 2am, Sun 11-11. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)




Fuji-Ya. Probably the most interesting restaurant in far North Dallas, though that’s not nearly strong enough
praise, since some of its principal competitors are the Arby’s and McDonald’s in the same shopping center. The menu
includes plenty of entrees that you can get kids to eat – shrimp tempura, beef and chicken teriyaki, suki-yaki. All
very good, though hardly a trip to the Far East. The adventurous diner will start with sashimi (sliced raw tuna,
yellowtail, squid, octopus, and giant sea clam), served with a mix-it-yourself sauce of soy and wasanabi, an
incredibly potent green horseradish. Then it’s on to the Makunouchi Fuji-Ya Special, a.k.a. Combination C, a
lacquered box containing pickled radishes, sauteed seaweed, tempura, rice cakes, and the star of our meal, marinated
grilled salmon. A beautiful sushi plate is offered on Thursdays and Fridays. (13050 Coil Rd. 690-8396. Tue-Sat
11-10, Sun noon-10, closed Mon. Bar by membership. No reservations. MC, V. $$)


Hunan. You’ve probably wondered why all of Dallas’ Chinese restaurants are the same. The reason is that when
this one opened a few years ago, it was wildly successful; even asbestos-tongued chili heads had to admit that there
was something to be said for Chinese food. Then, through some inscrutable process, facsimiles of Hunan’s menu –
faithful even to its typographical idiosyncracies – started appearing everywhere. Through it all, Hunan has been the
best. Maybe not good enough, if you’re used to New York and San Francisco. Hunan’s range is narrow, and its
successes are mostly on the hotter end of the spectrum. We recommend the hacked chicken, a cold appetizer with a
wonderful spicy peanut sauce, and the crabmeat with corn rice soup. Of the entrees, only the fiery chicken and
shrimp Hunan showed any flair – or maybe we should say flare. If you’re planning on being a hermit for a day or so,
try the eggplant with garlic sauce – it’s good, and, uh, memorable. (5214 Greenville at Lover’s Ln. 369-4578.
Sun-Thur 11:30-11, Fri & Sat till midnight. 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 lacqured box. Each entree comes with
soup and a salad whose prinicipal 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. Ambiance provided by Japanese top-forty
music. (7713 Inwood Rd. 351-9491. Lunch: Tue-Thur 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Tue-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sal till 11, Sun
1-10. Reservations. MC, V, AE, D. $$)


Royal Tokyo. Still the top expense-account Japanese restaurant in Dallas, and several notches below the best
places. You have a choice of two menus, one containing more or less authentic sukiyaki, shabu-shabu, etc., and
another with a limited selection of special dinners served in the hibachi room to the accompaniment of clacking
cleavers and rattling salt shakers. The better food is often found in the latter, even if there’s nothing exciting
about filet mignon and chicken breasts. In the tatami room, where you sit unshod on thin cushions, things are more
ambitious and erratic. Good news first: excellent gyoza and superb sashimi appetizer. Our large (and expensive)
sushi dinner contained fresh tuna, abalone, and snapper, along with a few in-edibles such as red clam and an aged
omelette stuffed with rice. In the unqualified disaster category were the gluey shrimp tempura and a salmon steak
teriyaki that had been broiled nearly to powder. There’s no excuse for flubbing these basic dishes. So, not a
restaurant for gourmets, but satisfactory for dabblers and dilettantes. (7525 Greenville Ave. 368-3304. Lunch:
Sun-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat till 11:30, Sun till 10. Reservations. All credit cards.
$$$)




SEAFOOD



Crazy Crab. The trick here lies in knowing your way around the pun-filled menu. What not to order is
anything fried; what to order is any of the non-fried shellfish offerings. Our favorite meal consists of a dozen
oysters, a small order of boiled shrimp, and a whole Dungeness crab. The dinner comes with “seaweed,” Crazy Crab’s
delicious fried onion rings; fresh vegetables; and a large, dull salad. If you’d rather not swing at crabs with a
hammer, you might try Ahoy Polloi, fresh broiled crabmeat sautéed in butter; Old Salt’s Surprise, a properly
underbroiled red snapper; or Cortez’s Cuisine, filet of sole sautéed with onions, chili peppers, and tomatoes. The
large dining hall, with mile-high ceilings and newspaper-strewn tables, is too cavernous to be cozy, though it’s
much improved now that the salty sayings and fishnets have been scraped from the walls. (3211 Oak Lawn at Hall.
522-5310. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri till 11, Sat 5-11, Sun 5-10. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$)


Fausto’s. One of the few elegant restaurants in Dallas where you don’t have to buck the noon crowd. We showed
up for lunch without reservations recently, got a prime table by the fountain, and enjoyed an excellent meal of
baked giappino (seafood bisque heavy on crabmeat), trout amandine, and baked filet of sole. Fausto’s is crowded
enough at dinner to make reservations advisable, and prices go up when the sun goes down. But one of the most
expensive items also happens to be the best: the whole lobster, served with drawn butter (available on Fridays and
Saturdays only). A few of the appetizers, like the crabmeat Orleans, are worth their somewhat inflated price tags.
Service is attentive and agreeably formal. (Hyatt Regency Hotel. 651-1234. Lunch: Sun-Fri 11-2; Dinner: Daily
6-11:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)


Oysters. Oysters avoids trouble by serving straightforward fish dishes in no-nonsense New England style.
Diners have a choice of, naturally, oysters (fried or on the half shell), boiled shrimp, seafood gumbo, or a number
of daily specials including scrod, sole, red snapper, fried blue fish, or some other fresh catch of the day. We’ve
yet to have a bad meal at Oysters, though the scrod and sole have consistently been better than the other entrees.
The fried zucchini and fried eggplant appetizers are excellent, and a bargain at $1.75 for a large basket. For
dessert, there’s carrot cake, as well as praline ice cream and lemon sherbet. And that’s about the whole story. The
one serious omission is a sampling of good white wines to offset the mediocre house offering. Otherwise, a
dependable, unpretentious place in an area already over-populated with gee-whiz theme restaurants and dreary steak
and barbecue spots. (4580 Belt Line Rd. 386-0122. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat till 11, closed Sun. MC. V,
AE. $$)


S&D Oyster Company. A high-spirited oyster house whose plain good looks, bustling service, and simple
offerings suggest a busy terminal not far from the sea. On a recent visit, the raw Gulf oysters sparkled, the red
snapper shone, and our gallant waiter, straight off the old Congressional dining car, dazzled as he whipped up a
fine red sauce with plenty of lemon juice and a touch of Tabasco. On an earlier trip, we had been surprised by
uncharacteristically tired oysters and a waitress so surly she was surely on her way out the door. Even so, we
enjoyed the homemade gumbo, thick with meat and fish; the pungent shrimp salad; and the boiled shrimp. S&D does
almost everything well. Their fried shrimp and oysters are so good they almost convince us that fried isn’t such a
bad idea after all. They do fall down in the baked goods department, though; we still can’t tell the lemon meringue
pie from the cheesecake. Otherwise, no problems – except the line. (2701 McKinney. 823-6350. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm,
Fri & Sal till 11, closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $$)




STEAKS, BURGERS, ETC.



Chili’s. We wish we’d discovered Chili’s – and then not told anybody about it, so we wouldn’t have to stand
in line. But no matter, Chili’s enormous success has given it a stability that virtually nothing else along the
silly Greenville Avenue restaurant strip can equal. As for the hamburgers: Chili’s has chosen the middle road, and
to our conservative tastes has established a standard by which all Dallas burgers can be measured. The Rojo Burger,
for example, is what Harvey Goff’s Number 2 with Cheese is supposed to be: an inch-thick patty with hickory sauce
and a slice of cheese, not a thin smattering of grated. The soft tacos, with chili, cheese, and lettuce, are
also good, as are the fabled French fries (on our last visit they were slightly overdone, though that didn’t stop us
from munching our way through two baskets-full). The prices are low, the service swift, and the noise level high.
But Chili’s is a place to pig out, not to linger. (7567 Greenville at Meadow. 361-4371. 4291 Bell Line, Addison.
233-0380. Sun-Thur 11 am-11:30 pm, Fri & Sal til 1:30 am. No reservations. MC, V.$)


Las Pampas. Argentinean food served in a refurbished Shell service station? Yes, and consequently, Las Pampas
is a real sleeper. Argentineans are big fans of charcoal-broiled meat, and that’s what’s served here: steak,
chicken, lamb, and sausage, served on tabletop grills, accompanied by vegetables and potatoes. The best option is
the mixed grill (chicken, flank steak, and si jsage); a true Argentinean mixed grill includes the innards, but
management wisely decided to play it safe. The least successful item is the lamb chops, which lean to the greasy
side. Most fun are the appetizers, especially the empanadas (delicate fried meat pies), the chicken tortillas al
carbon (flour tortillas with a filling of broiled chicken chunks, onions, and green pepper), and the cheese fundido
(three flour tortillas accompanied by a bowl of melted cheese and butter, which you spoon up, roll, and eat; simple,
but a knockout). For a remodeled gas station, the place is really quite nice, aided and abetted by an easy-going
staff and a charming maitred’. (2408 Cedar Springs at Fairmount. 742-5311. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner:
Mon-Sat 6-11, closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$)




D Revisits Kirby’s. December marked the 26th anniversary of Kirby’s Steak House, and an evening there is a
trip to 1949, or at least to what our fairly callow editorial staff imagines that year to have been like. That means
it’s dark and has red leatherette booths and motherly waitresses and serves steaks and fried things. And it’s
terrific. True, the atmosphere is comfortable to the point of dowdiness. But what Kirby’s lacks in flair it more
than make up in dependability. The top sirloin, rib eye, and tenderloin are all generous cuts of high quality. The
shrimp cocktail and sauteed mushrooms are iffy, but given the size of the dinner you won’t miss them anyway. The
motherly waitresses are efficient and friendly – questions about varying cuts of meat may send one bustling to the
kitchen for a platter of uncooked steaks for your inspection. (3715 Greenville. 823-7296. Tue-Sun 5:30-10, Fri <$ Sat till midnight, closed Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)



T.G.I. Friday’s. Friday’s doesn’t serve any light meals. The menu, with scores of entrees, tempts to excess,
and the kitchen delivers it. Any of the appetizers (try the fried artichoke hearts or potato skins) is plenty for
supper, and a main dish will quell even the most severe case of munchies. There’s every variety of burger; steaks,
chicken dishes, and omelettes (we like the artichoke /crab-meat); and nifty pocket bread sandwiches. The preparation
and presentation aren’t always terrifically careful, but there are always plenty of first-rate ingredients; besides,
what do you expect at a singles bar with 250 customers and a hundred items on the menu? If you have any enthusiasm
left after your meal, try one of the incredibly rich desserts – but pace yourself. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville.
363-5353. 5100 Belt Line, Addison. 386-5824. Daily 11:30 am-2 am; Sun brunch 11-2. No reservations. MC, V, AE.
$$)




FORT WORTH RESTAURANTS



D Revisits Angelo’s. in our impossible dream, we drive to this faded-wood structure, park beside the door,
stroll leisurely past the moose head and stuffed bear in his baseball cap, collect a plate of barbecued beef, and
dine – at our own pace – in one of the red plastic booths. That’s not much to ask. But in reality, a line of
barbecue-lovers snakes past the moose and bear right out the door, and we wait. Always, we wait. Many claim Angelo’s
serves the best barbecued beef in Texas. True or not, the beef, ribs, and sausages are good enough to pack the place
day after day. Angelo’s quality, and its beer-joint ambiance, haven’t changed in the 20 or so years we have been
eating there. Once again, we sampled everything: The slabs of beef are tender enough to be cut with a plastic fork,
the ribs juicy and lean, the sausage just spicy enough. But Angelo’s trump card is the sauce – a secret recipe, of
course. Sandwiches only at lunch. (2533 White Settlement Rd. (817) 332-0357. Mon-Sat 11-10, closed Sun. No
reservations. No credit cards. $)




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, Sat 4:30-10:30, closed Sun.
Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)




0 Revisits The Balcony. We hereby make a pledge: Never, never again will we order the Black Forest cake.
Perhaps it was from one of those plastic displays restaurants use to show off their dishes – excellent plastic, poor
cake. With that out of the way, we generally enjoyed our return to Fort Worth’s perfect luncheon spot. There are
fresh flowers and brisk, courteous, if somewhat unemotional service, and a “correct” menu of light dishes accented
with vegetables. Chauvinistic as it sounds, there are, for us, women’s vegetables and men’s vegetables. Squash and
broccoli are women’s vegetables and they dominate the plates at the Balcony. That may be because the restaurant’s
customers are West Side matrons on a shopping break. We began with a fine little consomme, then moved on to
excellent veal and wild rice.- Our companion opted for the beef Oriental, which has improved greatly since our last
visit. All diners are served small cups of clear beef broth and hot breads are constantly brought to the table (all
good, except the coldwater cornbread, which may have been cut from the same slab of plastic as the Black Forest
cake). We even ate all our broccoli like good little soldiers. (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 Carriage House. On our most recent visit to Fort Worth’s favorite continental restaurant, Charlie,
the lady maitred’ – maitre-d’ess? – seated us just in time to see our waitress give one of her customers a welcoming
kiss on the cheek. Only in Fort Worth. The Carriage House has apparently whipped its service problem, which once had
regular customers grumbling into their artichoke-heart salads. The help has taken to wearing those pasted-on paper
name tags, just like Rotarians at a convention, but perhaps the public identification has raised morale, because we
were served quickly, efficiently, and, best of all, cheerfully. We began lunch with a glass of the fine house
Chablis and pondered the menu; the Juncheon special was chicken-fried steak, which says very little for the Carriage
House’s gourmet reputation but a great deal about Fort Worth. We ignored it and began with the escargots, a dish
that the Carriage House has over-garlicked in the past – not this time. We also sampled the French onion soup, which
was less of a success, probably because it was too cool. Our entree, an herb omelette, was less herby than we prefer
– perhaps the hand that moderated the escargot garlic was at work here. As usual, we finished off the meal with the
house special dessert, which, name aside, is nothing more than a superb chocolate sundae. Our waitress did not kiss
us on the cheek. We tipped 15 percent anyway. (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. $$)


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 Burger-meister. 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’ve ever tasted. For entrees, we tried sausages drenched in
mushroom sauce and cordon bleu Kartoffein (schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese), which is reputed to be the house
specialty; 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. (3801-A Southwest
Blvd. (817) 738-5934. Dinner: Mon-Sal 5-10:30, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V, DC. SS)


Endicott’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 Catmont. (817) 732-8031. Lunch:Mon-Thur 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat continuous service II
am-midnight, Sun till 10. No reservations. All 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) 731-6961. Sun-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-midnight. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC.
$$)


Jimmy 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, and 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 Al-mon 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, sauteed 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. No reservations. MC, V, AE. $)


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. S)


Kincaid’s. As with all great artistic works, the Kincaid hamburger is of unsophisticated design. It begins
with a fist-sized crown of freshly ground lean beef, then adds crisp lettuce, sliced tomatoes, onions, and fresh
buns. You can try it at home, but the taste is never the same. Kincaid’s, of course, is a grocery store, smallish,
unassuming. The burger business began on a single hotplate behind the meat counter, and as word spred, groceries
became a sideline. Daily crowds pack the little store, especially at noon. Everyone waits while the burgers are made
fresh; nothing is cooked in advance. Over the years Kincaid’s has added to its menu: There is excellent
chicken-fried steak with side dishes of black-eyed peas, fried okra, and good cream gravy; and cold tuna, cheese,
and marcaroni salads. Kincaid’s is proof the Mom-and-Pop grocery store can survive the invasion of supermarkets.
(4901 Camp Bowie. (817) 732-2881. Mon-Sat 10-6:15. No reservations. No credit cards. $)

London House. This limited-menu beef restaurant is holding its own comfortably. We found a few chinks in its
British armor front on our last visit but none severe enough to keep us away. We ordered the steak and lobster
combo, and found the lobster exceptionally well-prepared. Perhaps the steak portion was too; we don’t know. It was
cold, probably because it was put on the grill at the same time as our companion’s much thicker rib eye. The rib eye
was as good as the menu writer’s glowing description, however. As always, the salad bar was fresh and the service
competent, though we would prefer a little less Dale Carnegie-style joviality and quicker delivery of the hot bread.
All in all, still a good value. (4901 Camp Bowie. (817) 731-4141. Dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat till
midnight, Sun till 10. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)


Massey’s. More properly known as Herb Mas-sey’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. Unquestionably, the best dining-room view in town belongs to this restaurant/disco
beside-the-Trinity. The Merrimac’s decor is subtle and in good taste, and the service is generally smooth, even
soothing. We only wish the food were better. It’s not bad, but something less than the view and surroundings
require. The chef seems to skip a beat on most dishes: almost, but not quite. For example, the shrimp Merrimac,
eight large shrimp boiled, then sauteed with butter and garlic. Lots of garlic. Too much garlic. The Kansas City
strip was a minute or two too long on the grill, and the side dish of sauteed mushrooms could have done with more
sauteing. The ceviche was, however, excellent, as was the hearts of lettuce salad. None of this was really poor; we
simply expected more. (1541 Merrimac Circle off University Dr. (817) 332-9306. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner:
Sun-Thur 6-11, Fri-Sat 6-12. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)


Old Swiss House. An oasis in Fort Worth’s heavy-beef desert, thanks to Walter Kaufmann, the only local chef
who can be trusted with sauces more complicated than red-eye gravy. He’s deft in the opening courses – a light touch
of garlic in the escargots (not on the menu, though he occasionally prepares them as a specialty) and excellent
salads, although we would prefer a choice of dressings. Then the entrees: goulash with mushrooms swathed in Burgundy
sauce, and from Walter’s extensive bag of veal tricks, escalopes aux champignons. Both were excellent. 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’tthe best singles bar in town, a visit would be required to sample
the hamburgers, which arelarge and packed with all the trimmings. Otherluncheon items include ham hocks and
limabeans. The atmosphere is dark and cozy in thisnicely redone old mansion, the service cheerfuland quick. Singles
begin arriving right afterwork, and the most popular drink seems to be anexceptionally good house Chablis. (4936
Collin-wood at Camp Bowie. (817) 737-5551. Mon-Sat11:30-9, bar till 2 am, closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V,
AE.$)

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