Down-home cooking served up two ways.

Highland Park Cafeteria. For those who imagine all cafeterias dingy havens for senior citizens and bratty children, Highland Park Cafeteria will be a surprise. For those who depend on occasional cafeteria visits to reacquaint themselves with vegetables, it will be a relief. HPC, as some veterans of the long lines call it, is the nicest cafeteria we have seen. Beyond the tasteful surroundings (featuring china in glass cases, rugs as wall hangings, and well-tended plants), the people watching is some of the best in town, with every type from the Highland Park dowager to the construction worker represented. All seem to be on their best behavior, calmed by the soothing surroundings. And there is the food -better than average, with some brilliant spots. OK, OK, it is a little more expensive than its competitors (you will be billed for your salad dressing). You have to realize those soft lights cost more than giant fluorescent tubes. But the price difference is negligible if you consider the unequaled selection of fresh vegetables. Available throughout one week were not only the usual array of salads, but also green onions, sliced purple onions, kiwi fruit, celery hearts, sliced tomatoes, white grapes, sliced peaches, and sliced strawberries. There were also boiled eggs and, of course, the ubiquitous red Jell-O, cubed and jiggly. Moving to cooked vegetables, the death pallor of most cafeteria-boiled veggies is not present, with the exception of the cauliflower. The broccoli manages to retain its crispness, the corn on the cob is not soaked into mushiness, and the green beans still have some snap left. We must also praise the breads, a variety from rolls to muffins. The blueberry muffins, zucchini muffins, and the biscuits are especially tasty. Meats are neither remarkable nor bad. Normally, fried chicken is available, as well as the usual giant ham, roast beef, fried fish, chicken-fried steak, and other meat dishes. Moving to the end of the line, desserts are uniformly attractive if not uniformly good. We recommend the buttermilk pie and fruit cobblers; our chocolate cake was pasty in one layer and dry in another, and the frosting was a tasteless goo. There are disadvantages to HPC -the lines and the scattered parking. We should point out that HPC is closed on Sunday, which might inconvenience those families in the habit of Sunday school-church-cafeteria. The staff deserves a few kind words. They are unusually friendly and will go out of their way to please. We saw one man directing a server to exactly the piece of toasted bread he wanted; no other would do. She very patiently picked up and put down six pieces until the desired one was located. No wonder the lines are so long. (4611 Cole Ave. 526-3801. 11-8 pm daily, closed Sun. No reservations. So credit cards. $)

Cincy Powell’s Peach Basket. Oak Cliff liquor laws being what they are, most restaurants south of the Trinity River can’t serve you any drink stronger than you’d find at an Oral Roberts family picnic. Without the revenue from mixed drinks, it’s almost impossible to make a quality restaurant survive economically, so consequently the principal dining choice for residents of the southern half of this county is between another drive to North Dallas or another meal with Colonel Sanders. One of the few alternatives available is Cincy Powell’s, a quiet little restaurant that skirts the liquor laws with a $5 annual membership fee for those who want drinks and serves the type of sensible, high-quality meal you’d expect to find in the Oak Lawn area or the Addison strip. There’s a credible prime rib selection and doubtless Oak Cliffs only quiche. We also enjoyed the sirloin chunks in burgundy gravy (dubbed a “Free Throw” in the basketball terminology that dominates the menu. Powell is a retired pro-basketball player). And despite its laughable name, the “double dribble,” a chopped sirloin with mushrooms, wine sauce, and cheddar cheese, is worth sampling. If you want to remember you’re in Oak Cliff, there’s a good chicken-fried steak. Weak spots include the soup; our onion soup was not hot enough to melt the cheese sprinkled on top. The restaurant has been around for about two years, but its recently reused menu and location makes it a new dining experience for most of its South Dallas neighbors. (Westcliff Mall, Hampton at Ledbetter, 330-8109. Mon-Fri 11-10:30, Sat 5:30-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservations. AE, MC, V, CB. $$)


These restaurants represent the best in Dallas dining.

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 Card, V/Visa, AE/American Express, DC/Diner’s Club. CB/Carte Blanche. “All credit cards” indicates that all five are accepted.


Antares. The only difference between dining at this restaurant atop Reunion Tower and having a meal on a 747 is that Antares doesn’t wrap your silverware in cellophane. The view is just as breathtaking, and the food just as bland as anything a flight attendant ever pulled from a microwave. Our appetizer of crab soup was instantly forgettable, our scampi and broiled red snapper dry, and the prime rib only a cut above what’s served at Bonanza Steak House. Antares is not without its small successes. The baked onion soup is worth trying and the chocolate mousse (made with white chocolate) is quite good. The best bargain is for children: Their entrées cost half the adult portion price, and they’ll be so busy looking out the windows they won’t notice what’s on their plates. (Reunion Tower at the Hyatt Regency Hotel. 741-3663. Lunch: 11-2; Dinner: 5-midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Arthur’s. Unfortunately, two benefits that haven’t been forthcoming here for months now are consistently fine food and service. On our last visits, Arthur’s served much that was good (smoked salmon, broiled shrimp and scallops, lamb chops, roast duck with black bing cherries) and a few small bursts of excellence (watercress and endive salad, fresh asparagus with hollandaise, and-no joke-yam soup). A few other dishes were well below par, including woody broccoli, bland lobster mousse, and lukewarm lobster tails. Overall, the kitchen’s performance was in no way breathtaking, which doesn’t quite cut it when dinner for two can easily cost $65. Unless you look like you 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. This once solid mainstay of the Dallas continental cuisine circuit has slipped a few notches, possibly because it’s been resting on its reputation. The service can range from indifferent to downright hostile and is consistently condescending. As for the food, some of the Greek dishes, like Greek veal with lemon butter and oregano, can be good, and our veal Oscar was well prepared. But broiled scallops arrived cold and tasteless, and pepper steak was mediocre at best The positive side of Chateaubriand’s menu is that it does contain all the old standbys for a splurge: Maine lobster, roast prime rib. broiled Chateaubriand. But be prepared to pay handsomely for them: a simple shrimp cocktail at lunch, for example, costs $6. (2515 McKinney. 741-1223. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

The Chimney. The Chimney has built its reputation on its veal dishes, and if our recent visits are any criterion, that reputation is well deserved. We tried lemon veal and the more adventurous veal picatta (medallions of veal with zucchini and capers) and found both superb, with subtle sauces. The Chimney is also one of the few restaurants in the area that serves venison, in this case tournedos from Montana that were as tender as any filet mignon. So why don’t we rank the Chimney with the very best continental restaurants in town? Because once you’re past the veal and the venison the fare becomes quite ordinary. Our poached salmon steak was overcooked and un-derseasoned. the soups and salads only, so-so. the rice and vegetables that accompanied each entrée uninspired. One could say that while The Chimney keeps a sharp eye on its specialties it has little peripheral vision We enjoyed the rich sacher torte even if it was immobilizing. Service at The Chimney is gracious, if sometimes a bit too formal, and the wine list contains some outstanding German and Austrian selections. Overall, a very dependable restaurant with a few flashes of genuine brilliance. (Willow Creek Center, 9739 N Central at Walnut Hill. 369-6466. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2:00; Dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10:30, Sun 6-10. Reservations. MC, AE, V. 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. 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), veal with lemon butter, and the tenderloin tips à la Ewald (with mushrooms, green pepper, onion, and pimiento). 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. Black Forest cake is the best of several excellent dessert selections. (5475 W Lovers Ln. 357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10:30, Sat till 11, closed Sun. Reservations. MC, V. $$$)

The Grape. This small, dimly lighted restaurant remains one of the best for leisurely and dependable, sometimes inspired, meals. The menu lists numerous imported cheeses, available in combinations with fruit or singly, a superb fresh mushroom soup, and the usual sandwiches and salads. Chalkboard listings vary, including such entrées as beef au chasseur, sautéed in a lovely white wine and garlic sauce with tomatoes and mushrooms, veal cordon bleu, and the like. Seafood dishes are not a strong point here: We’ve been disappointed by dried out soft-shelled crabs in lime juice, and a filet of sole smothered in an acidic tomato sauce. The Grape recently expanded, taking over the beauty parlor next door and converting it into an elegant wine bar. (2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 823-0133 Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2; Dinner: daily 6-11, late night menu Fri&Sat 11-1, wine and cheese till midnight. No reservations. MC. V. $$)

Jennivine. When it comes to continental cuisine, generally we agree with Calvin Trillin, who wrote that such food “will sound European but taste as if the continent they had in mind was Australia.” Jennivine, which bills itself as “an English wine bistro serving line wines and continental cuisine,” isn’t that bad. In its favor, count the relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere; pretty enough decor; and friendly if sometimes inefficient service. Wines can be tasted before ordering by the glass, which is pleasantly educational. Paté au poivre-rough-textured, aromatic of pork, pungent with pepper-was terrific; we also enjoyed Saxon paté of lamb and raisins. Snapper, a fish-of-the-day selection, was simply and perfectly cooked. Against Jennivine, count muffed execution of what could have been fine dishes Prawns Jenni came in flavorful garlic butter with scallions and nicely sautéed mushrooms, but the prawns themselves were rubbery. Swordfish was dry and chewy. Veal with lemon butter was not properly sautéed, resulting in tough veal and a gluey flour coating. Real, creamy mashed potatoes and overcooked carrots accompany all entrées; surely there are better vegetable choices for summer Desserts are bad news: Cheesecake was disagreeably tallow-like, and fruit tarts of fresh blueberries and raspberries were ruined by a soggy, cloying crust. Coffee tasted thin and boiled. (3605 McKinney. 6-10:30 Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10:30, closed Sun & Mon. Reservations. MC. V. AE. $$)

D Revisits Old Warsaw. The Old Warsaw is one of those rare restaurants-rare for Dallas, at least -where you can easily spend $100 on a dinner for two, have a meal that is certainly not worth $100, and still walk out happy and satisfied. The place has an infectious kind of charm, an appeal that has little to do with the food itself. Much of it has to do with the sense of confidence that pervades this restaurant, a sense of quiet know-how that accrues from three decades of experience. There are no cheap tricks, no showy frills, no pompous displays. It doesn’t need them. Over the years, Old Warsaw has earned a coterie of well-heeled loyalists who enjoy dining here in luxury without being reminded of it. That’s not to say the place is without its eccentricities of character-it still boasts its pink flamingo paintings and is still capable of serving a side dish of potato chips in a little basket sculpted of French fries. Unfortunately, the place still boasts, not so proudly, its eccentricities (spell that inconsistencies) in the kitchen. How can a place create a Grand Marnier soufflé that is unrivaled and still not be able to produce a decent vichyssoise? However, you can always get a solid meal of the very traditional continental sort without a flaw; for example, start with the escargots (still as good as any in Dallas), then a little steak tartare (when was the last time you had steak tartare? It’s not easy to find anymore. And this version, although much too generous in portion, is as good as there is), followed by an entrée of good ol’ duck à l’orange (flamed tableside in Grand Marnier, and avoiding the usual goopy marmalade saucing, this dish is still a simple masterpiece). There are a multitude of more exotic offerings, particularly seafood and veal, but a meal of old favorites somehow seems most fitting to this favorite old place. But don’t forget that you will pay the price, especially when you venture into the wine list which, despite some beautiful selections, ranks as one of the most absurdly overpriced in restaurantdom. So just sit back, listen to the piano, gaze at the flamingos, nibble the soufflé, and pretend you can afford it anyway. (2610 Maple. 528-0032. Sun-Fri 6-10:45. Sal till 11:45. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)

Patry’s. It’s hard to order an imaginative meal here, since the list of appetizers includes nothing more outré than sweetbreads. On the other hand, dining at Patry’s is virtually risk free, and that feature obviously still sells it. We’ve had well-prepared basics like crab Nantua and stuffed leeks, endive salad, pepper steak, and grilled lamb chops-all good, and some, especially the pepper steak, very good. Like most of Dallas’ older French and continental restaurants, the service is attentive, even gracious; unlike most others, the decor is rather cold and formal. All in all, no triumphs here and no disasters. (2504 McKinney. 748-3754. Tue-Thur & Sun 6-10:30, Fri & Sat till 11. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

The Wine Press. True to its name. The Wine Press is a wine bar and boasts an interesting and well-chosen array of both California and imported wines, at legitimate prices (legitimate considering what most places do with wine prices). The blackboard offers daily by-the-glass selections, occasionally studded with gems. (You won’t find too many places serving a 1966 red Bordeaux by the glass.) And unlike many wine bars. The Wine Press also serves a full range of cocktails. (After all, sometimes you just don’t feel like wine.) So much for drinking; eating is a different proposition The kitchen is more of an afterthought. If you’re there and you’re hungry, there are decent things to eat; but if you’ primary goal of the evening is dinner, there are better choices. Best options are the omelettes or cheese and fruit boards. They also serve salads, sandwiches, and burgers, and a reasonably good London broil or broiled chicken. The best treat here is the appetizer of baked Brie with almonds with a side loaf of French bread, ranking with the world’s great munch-ies. (4127 Oak Lawn. 552-8720. Daily 11 am-2 am. No reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)

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 entrées 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, filet bordelaise, and a Grand Marnier soufflé; if you prefer a different scenario, try beef consommé 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 m 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. $$$$)

Three Vikings. This place has the kind of intimate, homey feel that would probably win you over even if the food weren’t as good as it is. Grilled salmon with dill sauce and filet of sole Anders are outstanding, as are roast duck with almond sauce and Swedish steak, a thin tenderloin covered with onions and a rich gravy. Sauces are the culinary high points here, all prepared by the owner’s son. Anders, with exceptional subtlety and restraint. Our only complaints are so-so salads and occasionally dull vegetables; the once-mediocre wine list has improved considerably in recent months. The word is out on Three Vikings so be prepared to wait unless you have reservations. (2831 Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770. Dinner: Tue-Sat 6-11. closed Sun & Mon. Reservations. MC, V. AE. $$$)


Kuby’s. Tucked away in Snider Plaza near SMU, Kuby’s is a gold mine of good German food. Homemade German sausage is Kuby’s specialty, and the bratwurst is proof of that. Limit yourself to the half-order (one brat, hot potato salad, and pickle) if you intend to try a dessert. All that’s missing is a mug of cold beer: Although the walls are lined with decorative Bavarian steins, Kuby’s is in a dry area. You’ll have to go to Kuby’s Ratskeller in the Meadows Building to get brats and beer. The fresh desserts are consistently good. The cheesecake is light and lemony, the Black Forest cake always fresh. (Of the two types of Black Forest offered, try the one covered with chocolate shavings.) If you’re going just for dessert and coffee, try Saturday afternoon, when portions of the cakes that won’t last until Monday may be larger. And before leaving, browse the store for homemade wursts and baked goods Kuby’s also has a lot of interesting imported foodstuffs, and if you’re into the language, you can pick up German fashion or news magazines. (You’ll hear a lot of German spoken here.) (6001 Snider Plaza. 363-2231. Mon-Sat 8-6. sandwiches till 5:30. No reservations. MC for purchases over $15. $)

Shalom’s. Shalom’s deli shares a false front with a Western wear shop, but once through the door, most traces of Dallas disappear There’s a bountiful deli case stocked with smoked whitefish. lox. herring, and the like; next to the door is a framed letter of appreciation from the rabbi at Tiferet Israel. In the adjacent dining room we’ve tried smoked whitefish and Nova Scotia lox platters (with tomato, onion, and Greek olives), both of which are generous and tasty, and sandwiches, including line pastrami, chopped liver, and salami All come with a bottomless bowl of authentic kosher dills-no stingy sliced quarters here. All in all. a friendly place and a real addition to Dallas’ somewhat barren deli scene. (6045 Forest Ln at Preston. 386-5620. Mon-Thur 8:30am-7pm, Fri till 5 pm. Sun 8-8, closed Sat. Bar by membership. No reservations. MC. V. $)

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 that 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 7am-6:30pm. Reservations. MC, V. $$)


Le Boul’ Mich. From the sunny, restored house with patio to the china and cutlery, care and class are the keys here. Unfortunately, le Boul’ Mich sometimes acts as if it were the only good-looking restaurant in town, and as if that were enough You can get better steak Parisien, quiche, veal, soups, you name it, at a dozen places in town, perhaps half of which are in le Boul’ Mich’s neighborhood The only thing you can’t get better anywhere is bread-a crusty, coarsegrained loat. Add a pot of sweet butter and a glass of wine and the meal gets off to a good start, at least. The best entrée we’ve sampled is haddock bonne femme, nicely cooked with a light cream sauce; apart from that, you take your chances. (2703 Worthington. 826-0660. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-3: Dinner Mon-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat till midnight. MC, V, AE. $$)

Calluaud. Calluaud prefers quiet elegance and understatement to whistling sommeliers and pyro-technical displays with chafing dishes, which is fine with us, because over the long haul it delivers as well or better than the city’s more flamboyant restaurants A list of absolutely dependable entrées includes rack of lamb, filet mignon with hearts of palm, veal chop, and medallions of veal. But the menu contains many small, unsuspected pleasures as well: duck paté en croute, red snapper mousse, roast duck with fresh pears and port sauce. The chocolate and strawberry soufflés, however, aren’t the best in town. Service is cordial, with occasional lapses at peak hours. (2679 McKinney. 823-5380. Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

La Cave. The city’s first wine bar is still the best, with wine specials on chalkboard, a cellarful of reasonably priced alternatives, and a menu that doesn’t run out after the standard array of patés and cheese boards. La Cave’s versions are 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 French onion soup (Wednesdays only) is a legend, and we’ve sampled excellent tomato mushroom, split pea, and a highly spiced chicken vegetable as well The only real disappointment is the sliced cold prime rib, which requires working around too many ribbons of congealed fat. (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-11.30. Sun 5-11. Retail wine sales Mon-Fri 10 am-midnight. Sat 10:30 am-midnight: Sun 4-mid-night. No reservations. 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, rack of lamb, veal tournedos with green peppercorns, or poached salmon, say yes Add to thai the salmon mousse, our favorite appetizer. There are. in fact, only a few miscues among Jean-Claude s offerings (our chocolate souffle didn’t, and 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, (2520 Cedar Springs. 653-1823. Dinner: Tue-Sat seatings at 6 and 9. Reservations only. MC. V, AE. $$$)

D Revisits Le Rendez-Vous. Le Rendez-Vous has been one of the most dependable restaurants in town, a sure bet for a pepper steak or cold salmon platter or an apres-opera omelette. It may have been the heat, but on several recent visits the entire operation seemed to go limp. The vichyssoise was bland and watery, somewhat like skim milk, the salmon bearnaise, another old standby, was dried out, and the seafood salad, though generous, was swamped in a mediocre white dressing. This is not the restaurant we’ve known in the past, so maybe the lapses are only temporary. On the plus side was a superb veal Calvados (scallops of veal in an apple cider brandy sauce) and outstanding shrimps Pernod, The service, as usual, was expert, and few restaurants in town can match Le Rendez-Vous’ blend of stylish decor and feeling of street life. But some tightening up is in order, so that once again the food will match the service and the setting, (3237 McKinney at Hall. 745-1985. Lunch: MonFri 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11. Fri & Sat 5:30-1 am. Closed Sunday. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)


India House. Lets face it: Not that many Dallas diners know the difference between alu tikki and chicken tandoori. Selections like these are not exactly part of the American culinary mainstream. But even if you don’t know what you are eating at India House, you’ll discover one thing quickly: It’s very good. We’re convinced the best bet is simply to order the Shahi dinner, an eclectic sampler of some of the best in Indian cuisine. Both the chicken and beef tandoori. marinated delights served with a shovel-sized portion of fluffy rice, are tremendously tasty, if extremely filling. And the appetizers, such as chicken chat-chunks of chicken served with mint chutney-are superb. Abundant fresh-from-the-oven breads are excellent. India House even offers a surprisingly reasonable ($3.95) lunch buffet, which sometimes gets a little unorganized when the crowd starts to outnumber the waiters by loo large a ratio Dinner service, however, is extremely attentive. Save room for dessert: the cheese balls in sweet milk are delightful. (5422 E Mockingbird. 823-1000. Lunch:Daily 11:30-2:30;Dinner:Sun-Thur5-10. Fri & Sat till 11. Reservations. MC, V. $$)


Campisi’s. The best bets here are the old favorites a good, hearty lasagne, fennel-scented sausages with peppers, lightly fried shrimp scampi, and, despite its weird shape, a memorable pizza, belter, 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, even if it comes with clams. The chocolate layer cake is delicious: likewise, the cheesecake. If you arrive before 6 pm. you can sail right in; otherwise, expect a wait. As for the name Campisi’s Egyptian Room, the place used to be a bar called-you guessed it-the Egyptian Room, until the Campisis bought it 33 years ago. For some reason, rather than changing the name, they added theirs. (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. $$)

Il Sorrento. What most people think of when they think of II Sorrento is its amusement park decor (if Texas had ever come under the dominance of Italian invaders. Six Flags would have a section that looks like II Sorrento-street scene setting, bread venders, strolling musicians, the works). But it’s the food, not the frills, that has given this restaurant longevity When people think of the food here, they think of the six-page menu filled with elaborate Italian specialties, of dishes like the medallions of beef “Siciliana”-a filet richly drenched with olive oil. tomatoes, capers and black olives. So last visit we tasted two pasta staples, lasagne al forno and fettucine alla Alfredo. The lasagne was heavy with meat, strong and spicy the way lasagne should be but often isn’t. And the fettucine is arguably the best in the city, prepared at tableside with a raw egg flourish. After all these years of thinking that the decor and the fancier food were the hallmarks of II Sorrento, it’s nice to discover that it’s pasta that really makes the place tick. (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. $$$)

Lombardi’s. Some offerings here are sensational, our favorites being shrimp all’aglio, in a fresh parsley, garlic, and butter sauce; shrimp Lombardi, in a fragrant tomato sauce; and great, thick minestrone. We found the snapper St. Gennaro, in a tomato and olive sauce, to be pleasant, but the sole Adriatico. a kind of fish Parmigiana. seems a pretty poor idea from the start. Lombardi’s pastas are sometimes under par-soggy fettucine, and overcooked rigatone drowning in an underspiced pesto sauce. Linguine in a white clam sauce loaded with flour has also been disappointing. Lombardi’s lovely renovated clapboard house is intimate and welcoming, and the mellow shade of paint on the walls quite beautiful. Service is attentive and spirited. (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. $$$)

Sergio’s. Sergio’s smacks more of Italy than most of its more comfortable counterparts, and the authenticity starts in the kitchen (separated from the dining room only by a burlap partition), with, of course, the pasta. The manicotti-so light it floats- is the best around, and the fettucine ranks with the best in town. The dinner menu offers eight variations of veal and two chicken dishes in addition to pasta. The most interesting is the veal Giorgio, a perfectly sautéed slice of veal in a sauce of sweet Vermouth, scallions, and tarragon. The best choice at lunch is the eggplant parmigiana. a sort of layered eggplant lasagna A perfect menu? No. we didn’t like the can-noli. Service is brisk, and food arrives at a breakneck pace, but the hustle is tempered by host Sergio, who has pulled a page from the book of charm as authored by his former boss Lombardi across the street. (Suite 192. The Quadrangle. 742-3872. Mon-Sat 11-10. Reservations. MC. V. AE. $$)

Pietro’s. This could be the best Italian restaurant in town. But they would have to move the place to Midlothian or Wiley first. Pietro’s used to be high on our list of purveyors of good pasta, but the competition has grown more intense from restaurants like Sergio’s and Lombardi’s. When it comes to delicate dishes, Pietro’s can’t hold a candle to some of its highbrow competitors. Our veal in lemon butter, for instance, was simply devoid of taste And escargots were downright awful. But there is one redeeming factor: Pietro’s still excels with Sicilian home-style dishes The spaghetti and meatballs, simple but tasty. are a good bet, as is the chicken tetrazzini. Pietro’s still serves respectable pizza and excellent cannelloni. And the home-style concept goes beyond the cuisine. Pietro’s is less pretentious than most of the other good Italian restaurants in town; it’s one of the few remaining places where a couple with an assortment of unbridled children can still feel comfortable to drink beer and eat spaghetti without being stared at. (5722 Richmond off Greenville. 824-9403 Tue-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat till 11, closed Sun & Mon. No reservations. Beer & wine only. MC. V. $$)


The Atrium. It’s a shame that a restaurant with as much promise as the Atrium should consistently muff such basic items as bread-bland and spongy -and soups which range from the barely palatable (beer cheese, tomato bisque) to an OK-in-a-pinch cream of chicken and broccoli. Service can also be erratic. Having said this we must also say that we’re fond of the Atrium salad (chicken. Swiss cheese, mushrooms, bell peppers, in a creamy Italian dressing), the shrimp supreme (a dozen fresh shrimp in a tasty cream sauce), and the many different varieties of quiche. Desserts are nothing special, but if you’ve had one of the salads you won’t be interested anyway. (1404 Main Street. 651-8414. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30. No reservations. No credit cards. $)

D Revisits The Bronx. The manager will seat you, if you wait long enough, but he probably won’t argue if you find your own roost. This is a wonderful change from a previous visit when we were told by a petulant waiter to move from a booth in the otherwise uninhabited dining room to the bar if we were only drinking coffee. Although the coffee by itself is reason enough to seek out this narrow, dark but cozy cubbyhole of a restaurant, it does not overcome rudeness. The best blueberry cheesecake in town does. The service, fortunately, has improved. A second pleasant surprise was the best fish and chips plate outside S & D Oyster Co., with French fries that hadn’t lost their connection to the vegetable world by being cooked to mush in the middle. The fish was flaky and very lightly breaded. Only your mother’s smothered steak could rival The Bronx version. The broccoli-chicken casserole was somewhat disappointing; the chicken was tender and flavorful, the broccoli al dente, but the white sauce was reminiscent of cream gravy ladled over breaded steaks in these parts. One other pitfall-the chocolate mousse was not fresh-tasting or adequately chilled. All these dishes were blackboard specials, listed daily. There is also a menu, including a few staples such as the omelettes, which are almost always four-star because the kitchen is willing to match specifications if you can explain them clearly to the waiter. The recent addition of liquor and other spirits to the menu allows you to drink yourself silly at the cool, dim bar. Worth remembering is that The Bronx is open fairly late in the evening as well as lunchtime. The nighttime atmosphere is quieter than at the noisy noon hour, and well suited for an end-of-the-evening cup of coffee and piece of cheesecake, blueberry or otherwise. (3835 Cedar Springs near Oak Lawn. 521-5821. Mon-Thur 11:30-12:30am, Fri till 1:30am, Sat 6pm-11:30, closed Sunday. No reservations. MC. V. $)

Tossed Greens and Things. Tossed Greens survives by applying a simple formula shrewdly -offering a limited number of choices, and none of them fancy. The chef, Italian, and fresh fruit salads are all above average, as are the health and avocado if you’re a member of the bean sprout brigade. We can’t say anything good about the tuna or the almond chicken salad, except that like everything else they’re generous The soups are mediocre, particularly the staple Cheddar cheese, and you’ll find better quiche at half a dozen other places in town. (Underground Thanks-Giving Square. Ervay and Pacific. 744-2254. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30. Takeout service. No reservations. No credit cards. $)


Casa Dominguez. Is Pete Dominguez content to sit on his asada while one of Dallas’ more legendary Mexican restaurants stagnates? After recent samplings of some of the extraordinarily bland offerings from Dominguez’ menu, we wonder. Perhaps Dom-inguez is sliding into the El Chico syndrome: None of the entrées will bite back or make you sick, but none of them are particularly exciting to consume. The tacos are certainly tacos, the enchiladas are a reasonable facsimile of enchiladas, and the tamales, frijoles, guacamole. and chicken mole are all well above the send-it-back-to-the-kitchen category. But the food seems to lack the zest it once had. Some exceptions to the overall blandness do exist. The tacos al carbon are still well above the average Dallas offering, and the carne asada is good if not great. The bean and cheese nachos, which have a slight hint of chili, are the most memorable item Casa Dominguez serves. And the restaurant is more generous with its tortillas and hot sauce than most places in the city. Service is courteous and usually quick. (2727 Cedar Springs. 742-4945. Tue-Thur 11-10, Fri till 11, Sat 5-11, Sun till 10. No reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $)

Chiquita. You’ll find this restaurant does good things with all the old standbys: enchiladas, tamales, tacos, frijoles, 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 marinera (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, surprisingly, 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 S Sat till 11. No reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)

La Esquina. The prices here are higher than most honest restaurateurs would dream of asking ($10.95 for a combination Mexican plate), but there are redeeming factors that make an occasional visit worthwhile. The view inside the cavernous glass atrium is great, and the food is holding its own: light, tasty guacamole, respectable chiles rellenos, enchiladas, and tacos. Highbrow dishes like carne asada and camarones (barbecued shrimp) are well prepared and seasoned, and there’s an unusual standout on the menu as well-tacitos, which are fried tortillas stuffed with sweet and spicy beef. There’s also a consolation for those offended by the high prices: They don’t get higher for dinner than they are at lunch. (Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stem-mons Fwy. 748-1200. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-3; Dinner: daily 6-/7. Reservations tor 8 or more. All credit cards. $$$)

Guadalajara. Little Mexican cafés seem to come and go, but Guadalajara may live-and excel-forever. There’s lots to choose from and it’s hard to go wrong We suggest the chiles rellenos (with cheese, not beef), the carne asada. and the soft cheese tacos. The menu also includes some unusual items like nopalitos con huevos (cactus and eggs), chila-quiles (a traditional Mexican egg and tortilla dish), and a simple papas con huevos (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. The atmosphere is less than polished. (There’s a second Guadalajara on Henderson, but it doesn’t compare to the original.) (3308 Ross Avenue, 823-9340 Tue-Sun 11 am-3:30 am, closed Mon. No reservations No credit cards $)

Herrera. This little café is a dump, housed in a building that would look like a warehouse if it weren’t so small. But the tacos, enchiladas, tamales, nachos. and guacamole are as good as you’ll find north of San Antonio. At this, the original Herrera. they don’t sell liquor, or take credit cards, reservations, or people with an aversion to standing in line. The newer and larger Herrera at Lemmon and Wel-born is the Anglicized version. They serve margari-tas and take every conceivable credit card except Sears, but the food doesn’t have the zest you find at the old location. Nevertheless, they serve above-average Tex-Mex at either place. One caveat: Steer clear of the steak, our carne asada was tough enough to be used for shoe repair. (3902 Maple Ave. 526-9427. Mon, Wed, Thur9-8, Fri-Sun till 10. closed Tue. No reservations. No credit cards. $)

Javier’s. You’ll be hard pressed to find a taco on Javier’s menu, and the offerings you do find will have some rather staggering prices beside them. (Typical entrées are in the $9 range.) Some are worth it. The shrimp Guyamas, broiled in garlic and butter and served with rice and green peas, is excellent, as is the barbequed shrimp; portions of both are generous. Our serving of carne asada, although succulent, nonetheless reminded us too much of a large postage stamp. Javier’s has several good baked chicken dishes, but the best bet is undoubtedly the heaping plate of combination nachos made with black beans, guacamole, sour cream, and linares cheese. The atmosphere is as good as the best of the food-and makes an ideal environment for hours of sampling Javier’s wide selection of Mexican beer. (4912 Cole. 521-4211. Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat till 11. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)

D Revisits El Taxco. A standing-room-only crowd at noon doesn’t always mean what you might think. If El Taxco were located near a superior restaurant like Guadalajara or Raphael’s, it would probably dry up and blow away. Instead, El Taxco is fortunate enough to be only a couple of blocks from an El Fenix, so by comparison the food is tremendous. And El Taxco is the only good Mexican restaurant within walking distance of Thanks-Giving Square. Our recent samplings of the food showed us that the same rule still applies to El Taxco that has been in effect for several years there: Stick with the basics-enchiladas, tacos, tamales, chiles rellenos, guacamole-and you’ll be glad you came. Venture away from the mainline Mexican standbys, and you’ll probably feel that you’ve been had. Our chicken enchiladas, for instance, were bland; the chicken was too stringy. Our carne asada was mediocre, even though its price wasn’t. One house specialty on which El Taxco succeeds is the tostadas à la McCaffrey, made with guacamole, ground beef, sour cream, lettuce, tomatoes, and several other tasty ingredients. El Taxco has cleaned up its act on its once horrible margarita, now serving one of the better versions of that drink to be found in Dallas. The massive noontime crowds have given the management the confidence to be obstinate about one thing: They refuse to make separate checks for customers dining together. Service is otherwise good. (2676 N St Paul at McKinney. 742-0747. Wed-Mon 11-10, closed Tuesday. No reservations. MC, V. $)

Raphael’s. Granted, the chicken and sour cream nachos are divine, but on a Saturday night, we’d rather be bowling than sitting around Raphael’s back room sipping lime green margaritas out of a mixer as big as a Maytag and listening to the names of the about-to-be seated broadcast over a microphone. Better, we think, to hit Raphael’s on a week night, when the wait is a mere 15 minutes, not a grueling 90, and the service unhurried. After being disappointed by some of the more complicated specialties-among them, an inauspicious flaming cheese, dried-out shrimp enchiladas, and an unlikely polio Tampiqueno-we advise heading straight for the simple and/or Tex-Mex. Our favorites include the assorted appetizers, featuring splendid nachos and tiny flautitos: a great guacamole loaded with cilan-tro; any of the chicken or beef enchiladas; and if you’re a fan, the enchiladas topped with a spirited mole sauce. (3707 McKinney. 521-9640. Mon-Fri 11:30-10:30, Sat noon-1030. closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thur only. MC. V. AE. $$)


D Revisits Marvins Garden. If natural food restaurants bring Annie Hall visions of plates of mashed yeast to mind, take heart. Marvins Garden offers a refreshing variation on two common restaurant themes: pizza and Mexican food. Pizza, you say: That’s junk food. Could Mr. Jim’s pizza, a garden of fresh vegetables and cheese on a whole wheat crust be considered junk food? We think it could do with more tomatoes, but it’s too wholesome and tasty to be considered anything other than delicious. Mexican food, however, is the real forte of this intimate café. Starting with outstanding creamy garlic dressing over a crisp dinner salad, we had a most satisfying meal. A tropical cooler of papaya and lime juice and Perrier over crushed ice effectively combats the heat of the day. Quesadillas filled with flavorful soft white cheese are covered with a ranchera sauce. Cheese enchiladas come filled with the same cheese and are covered with bean chili sauce or ranchera sauce, which we prefer. Good Mexican food can usualy be judged by the quality of the rice and beans it keeps. We weren’t disappointed here: The black beans, though short on garlic, are well prepared and make for an impressive display, and the brown rice is the best we’ve tasted. We were disappointed only by the store-bought, oversalted tortilla rounds and the absence of real coffee (there’s grain coffee instead) to savor with the apple cake. (6033 Oram at Skillman. 824-5841. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2: Dinner: Sun-Fri 5:30-11, Sat 2-11. No reservations. MC, V. $)


Asuka. An authentic, traditional Japanese restaurant whose offerings include airy butterfly shrimp tempura, shabu shabu, and other delicate casseroles cooked at tableside: tonkatsu and ebi fry, pork and shrimp crisp fried, and beef ishiyaki grilled over hot rocks. For seafood lovers, there’s a splendid yosenabe: clear broth loaded with shrimp, scallops, oysters, fresh fish, abalone. and other exotica. Whether one sits in the light, clean-lined dining room or a tatami room, the table will be laden with small lacquer bowls of pickled vegetables, miso or clear soup, and seaweed. Sharing is often the way to go, and feel free to order more as the meal progresses. The waitresses, dressed in kimonos, are gracious and helpful, but service, even with a few patrons, can be slow. Asuka’s wood sign is barely visible from the road; drive two blocks north of Park Lane, look for the Shamrock station, and hang a right. (7238 Greenville between Park and Walnut Hill. 363-3537. Lunch: 11-2: Dinner: 6-11, closed Mon. Reservations. MC. AE $$$)

Bo Bo China. This unpretentious little place, with an exterior reminiscent of Kip’s Big Boy, serves some of the better Chinese food in town. For starters, we enjoyed sizzling rice soup, replete with shrimp, chicken, black mushrooms, and other vegetables, topped with a golden crust of sizzling rice. An unusual appetizer worth sampling is kuo-teh or “pot stickers,” crispy triangular Chinese dumplings filled with a fluffy pork mixture. Among the many entrées, standouts include the Szechuan-style Kung Pao chicken with raw peanuts (featuring wonderfully tender chicken chunks and a hot sauce) and sautéed happy family, a combination of fresh whole shrimp, sliced scallops, abalone, mushrooms, and miniature corn in a rich hoisin sauce touched with garlic. Servings are generally gargantuan: Our order of Moo Shu Pork arrived with four pancakes larger than our dinner plates. After cramming them all to capacity with the delicious filling of eggs, pork, dried lily flowers, and Chinese vegetables, we still had a big container-ful of the stuff to bring home. (70630 Church Rd at LBJ Fwy. 349-2411. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11-2:30: Dinner: Sun. Tue-Thur 11-10. Fri & Sat till 11. No liquor license, no reservations. MC. V. $$)

Fuji-Ya. The key to Fuji-Ya’s continued success is restraint. No dancing waitresses or cleaver-juggling chefs, no six-page menu that would tax the resources of a hotel kitchen. The most elaborate dish is the Combination Dinner C, containing shrimp tem-pura. marinated fish and chicken, rice cakes, sautéed seaweed, and noodles, all served in a lacquered box that would do credit to Matisse. Nothing else on the menu is comparable in elegance, but most of the dishes are equal in quality, whether it’s the standard suimono soup, or the Sashimi, particularly tuna and yellowtail, or the yosenabe (vegetables, seafood, and chicken served in a broth) and yakisoba (a pan-tried noodle with beef and vegetables) On Thursdays and Fridays the sushi chef arrives, and judging from the crowds he’s a very popular fellow. Lunch is limited mainly to tempura and teriyaki dishes, but the portions are generous. (13050 Coit Road. 690-8396. Tue-Sat 11-10. Sun noon-10. closed Mon. Bar by membership. No reservations. MC. V. $$)

D Revisits China Coast. China Coast has all the charm of a mini-warehouse, with bar, disco, TV screen, and dining rooms piled on top of one another, separated only by a row of fish tanks. And yet despite its chaotic appearance, China Coast delivers, if not always memorably, then at least so consistently that it deserves to be ranked among Dallas’ top Oriental restaurants. We recommend the seafood dishes, especially the green jade scallops, the whole fish in spicy sauce, and the Lake Tung-Tin shrimp. Standard Hunan-Szechuan dishes such as lamb with green onions and diced chicken with peanuts are also well above average. As important as anything else is China Coast’s care about basics such as rice (moist but not gooey) and garlic sauce (with a trace of ginger) and shrimp toast that doesn’t go plop in the night. There’s also a smattering of standard Cantonese dishes; although not bad. they’re not nearly as interesting as the house specialties. Service is quick and efficient except when the band is on. at which time you might as well be at Willie Nelson’s Fourth of July picnic. Overall, an unpretentious restaurant that frequently outdoes itself. (2930 Northwest Highway at Bachman Blvd 350-6282. Mon-Thur 11:30-11, Fri & Sat till 2 am. Sun 11-11. Reservations. MC. V. AE $$)

Mihama Ya. The grocery store/curio shop is gone from the front of Mihama Ya, and with it some of the zaniness that made this such an appealing restaurant. Instead of paper fans and sacks of rice one now finds a sedate tatami, just like every other tatami room in town, and a second area presided over by a large grill where the chef prepares chicken, shrimp, and steak in what’s reputed to be Japanese barbecue style (robata) We ordered the shrimp and they arrived cooked to the consistency of charcoal briquettes The same visit we tried the shrimp tempura. which were as soggy as the first shrimp were crunchy Fortunately, things went better the second visit, highlighted by an excellent Sashimi (raw tuna, yellowtail. and abalone) and an exquisite sushi platter that included wafers of dried seaweed so that you could roll your own. Mihama Ya does a very creditable yakiniku (sliced beef with peppers and onions) and outstanding egg rolls, fried or boiled. Overall, however, the new menu is tailored more to American tastes. And even when the individual dishes are well prepared, the experience isn’t what it used to be Perhaps the management could be persuaded to hang a few dried fish around just for old times’ sake (7713 Inwood Rd. 351-9491. Lunch; Tue-Thur 11:30-2:30; Dinner: Tue-Thur 5:30-10:00, Fri & Sat till 11. Sun 1-10. Reservations. MC. V, AE, DC $$)

D Revisits Hunan. Selecting from the large menu of this restaurant specializing in the spicy cuisine of the province of Hunan is like throwing darts: You may hit. and leave thinking you have dined splendidly, or you may miss, and leave feeling thoroughly dispirited. On one recent visit, our food wasn’t even on the dart board. Appetizers-won ton soup, egg rolls, shrimp toast, and hacked chicken-were among the worst we’ve ever had. (Entrée portions are extremely generous, so appetizers can easily be skipped.) Diced chicken with peanuts was tender, with crunchy peanuts, but the unnervingly bright orange cast could have used some color contrast for visual relief, and the pieces of gristle were unforgivable. River Shang pork-shredded pork with vegetables in black bean sauce-was blandly forgettable. On another visit, we were in luck. Shredded pork with garlic sauce was inspired, with black mushrooms, chopped seal-lions, and julienned water chestnuts in a delicious, garlicky sauce. Lake Tung-Tin shrimp was tasty, although we could have done without the limp, overcooked celery. Surroundings are standard Chinese restaurant decor with a few upscale touches: tablecloths, candles, and waiters in tuxes. (5214 Greenville at Lovers Ln. 369-4578. Sun-Thur 11:30-10:45. Fri & Sat till 11:45. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)

Sakura. This handsome, extravagant, multi-leveled restaurant boasts a sushi bar so splendid we plan to keep on coming as long as the tuna run. Sushi-in most cases raw fish wrapped around vinegared rice -is a high point of Japanese dining, raised still higher when you sit at an authentic, dimly lighted sushi bar, choose from the delicacies on display, and watch them prepared and set before you in a matter of minutes. Our favorites include the rosy red tuna sliced thin (sashimi) or rolled in laver or seaweed (teka make); lovely fresh boiled shrimp and. even nicer, the large sweet shrimp, eaten raw; briny clams and sea urchins; octopus, yellowfish, and salmon roe. The sushi chef is kindly, masterful, and generous; we ate to our heart’s content. Unfortunately, when you venture forth into other parts of the restaurant, you court disappointment. We were turned off by the lackluster preparation of very standard Japanese dishes like sukiyaki. chicken teriyaki, yosenabe. and tempura: by confused, discordant service; and by the din of a cocktail piano warring with the sabers slashing at hibachi tables nearby. If you go this route, be prepared to slip off your shoes. slip into a kimono, and pay relatively high prices for rather small portions. Tatami rooms are extra. (7402 Greenville near Walnut Hill 361-9282 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; Dinner: daily 6-11. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)


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 en-loyed 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:daily6-11:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

D Revisits Crazy Crab. The concept of a mentally unstable crustacean never struck us as making an appealing restaurant theme, but if you can gel past that you’ll find that the food is markedly better than the nomenclature. The standout of the menu is definitely the Dungeness crab, served with a tangy sauce and a large wooden mallet, which is the only instrument that will allow you to extract the tender and tasty white meat from the shell Hammering your way through a course of Dungeness crab is more than just filling, it gives you a certain sense of accomplishment after you’ve smashed those formidable-looking crab claws into a pile of harmless shells. For the serious-minded diners who prêter to just eat their food rather than be entertained by it. we suggest the Ahoy Polloi, made with broiled crabmeat sautéeed in butter About the only unsuccessful medium for crabmeat at Crazy Crab is the crab chowder, which we found to be loo pasty and underseasoned to deserve another try. A good choice from the menu is appropriately “Too Much.’’ an eclectic sampling of oysters, clams, shrimp, sole, and scallops in various states of fried, broiled, and boiled. No one could eat it all and still have room for the excellent Key lime pie But if you want to cheat and take oysters home in a doggie bag, they’ll let you. A staple with almost every order is the “Seaweed.’’ a dumb name for some of the best thin-sliced onion rings you’ll find in Dallas. (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. $$)

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. 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 ail. 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-10 pm, Fri & Sat till 11, closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $$)

Oysters. Oysters remains successful by offering a limited but very adequate seafood menu. The interior is pleasant, and although no reservations are accepted, the wait is not long, even on a Friday or Saturday night. The fresh fish, which includes red snapper, scrod. flounder, and sole, is good, with flounder the best. The raw oysters and the fried shrimp are excellent, but the best part of the meal may be the appetizers, including outstanding fried zucchini and eggplant, as well as “spicy shrimp dip’ ’ and gumbo. The cole slaw, “natural’’ French fries, and hush puppies which accompanied the meal were very good, but desserts were disappointing. A tip for those who don’t like seafood-the hamburgers are delicious. With friendly and efficient service. Oysters does almost everything right (4580 Belt Line Road. 386-0122. Mon-Thur 11 30 am-10 pm, Fri till 11, Sat 5pm-11 pm. Sun 5 pm-10pm. MC. V. AE $$)


D Revisits Broussard’s. The name may sound fancy, but the place isn’t. Expect disposable din-nerware and cafeteria-style line These probably sound like disadvantages, but such imperfections lend an atmosphere much less affected than that of other Louisiana-style restaurants here Between the down-home service and the Ca|un music on the jukebox (not to mention the excellent food), you can’t help feeling you’ve somehow stumbled into a transplanted Louisiana back-roads eatery We especially relished the spicy etoufee and generous plates of boiled shrimp However, we are fairly certain the creatures swimming in our etouffee were crawfish, and not the shrimp they were billed as. The French fries, with their skins still on, were as good as French fries can get; the fried oysters, supreme The clientele was quite mixed in the evening-everything from guys with greasy fingernails and gimme caps to very stylish-looking old ladies-and it was a fun group to wait with. If you go early, about 5 or 6 pm, you can catch the line at its low point. This is a good place to stoke up before traveling the nether reaches of the turnpike between Hampton Bulk Mail Center and the first glimpse of the Fort Worth skyline. Bring your own liquor, in brown bag, of course (We’re sad to report thai Broussard’s in Richardson is not up to standard Disco music and cheap-tacky rather than sincere-tacky decor were nearly as unappetizing as the mistreated boiled crab and too-tomatoey shrimp creole we were served.) (707 N Belt Line Rd in Irving. 1 mile S of Rte 183 255-8024. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2; Dinner: Mon-Sat 5-10. closed Sun. No reservations. No credit cards. $$)

Celebration. You’ve eaten this kind of food before. It’s what your mother serves you when she thinks you need more balanced meals. Hearty meatloaf Pol roast. Baked chicken Heaping bowls of vegetables like steamed broccoli, pinto beans, and mashed potatoes. Huge green salads with homemade dressings All is served “family style’’ (big bowls for the entire table instead of individual servings) by waiters as eager to bring you second helpings as your mother would be. The only item on the menu that doesn’t automatically entitle you to the vegetables is the spaghetti plate. Hot biscuits come with every dinner, of course. The only shortcoming of this restaurant is that it is not open for lunch. Expect a brief wait in line some evenings. (4503 W Lovers Ln. 351-5681. Mon-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat till 11. Sun 5-10. No reservations. MC. V, AE $)

Crawdaddy’s. Success is often writ small at Crawdaddy’s-truly good cole slaw, lighter than lead hushpuppies. tasty red beans and rice-but occasionally, it’s writ large as well. The gumbo is excellent, rich, and spicy, and the barbequed shrimp is the best in Dallas, a spicy mess that leaves you greasy to the wrist and utterly satisfied. The fresh crawfish remains a mystery, however, since one of our visits coincided with heavy flooding in Louisiana and the other with the end of the season (this year, roughly late March through the first of May) Until next season, content yourself with the crawfish etouffe, made from frozen crawfish but not bad at all. Apart from the fried seafood platter, the only disaster was the doughy beignets. (2614 McKinney. 748-2008 Mon-Thur 11-10. Fri till 11. Sat noon-11 Sun noon-10. MC. V. AE No reservations. $$)


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