DINING NEW ARRIVALS

Silver-plated dining adventures.

Lurtino’s. From an investor’s viewpoint, there are several good bets in Dallas. A mirrored glass company. A BMW dealership. A Mexican restaurant. Recently, though, we ran across some pretty daring individuals. They opened an Italian restaurant right in the middle of North Dallas. It’s called Lurtino’s and it’s good. The atmosphere is fairly posh, but the waiters aren’t stuffy. We began our meal with a wonderful house specialty called sausage and peppers neopolitan. The Italian sausage was spicy and tasted homemade, the large chunks of green pepper were crunchy and flavorful and the marinara sauce was just right. Another good bet is the Scungilli Genovese (snails sautéed in a cream sauce). The snails were served on a light, flaky biscuit and smothered in a creamy garlic sauce. The house salad is the typical lettuce and tomatoes, which could have at least been spiced up a bit by a tangy Italian dressing. But the entrees are grand. A fine selection of pastas is available, the best of which is the tagalirini with white clam sauce. Unlike other versions of this sauce that we’ve tasted, this one was chock-full of tender clams. And the garlicky sauce wasn’t too floury, but was rich and creamy. The baked lasagna is authentic, but our portion was rather skimpy. Lurtino’s also offers a number of veal dishes. The Vitello Piccata, (escallops of veal sautéed with an herb lemon-butter and fresh romano cheese) was tasty but almost a bit too rich. Desserts get mixed reviews. The fresh berries in Frangelico Cream were so sweet that even a child might push them aside. But the Amaretto cheesecake was absolutely heavenly. (13601 Preston Road C22, 661-9755. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sundays. Reservations. No jeans. All credit cards. $$$)

Laurent. Three adjectives perfectly describe Laurent: crisp, smooth and light. Crisp are the linen napkins and the French bread. Smooth is the flow of the service. Light is the ambiance of the French brasserie. Everything from the appetizers to the desserts was authentic, fresh and served with some of the most artful garnishments we’ve ever seen. The gazpacho was served perfectly chilled and seasoned with a rich but not overwhelming combination of spices. The puréed mushroom soup was delicate and creamy. The endive and watercress salad was decoratively dressed with a raspberry vinaigrette concoction that truly tamed the often bitter taste of watercress. Slender French green beans marinated in walnut and peanut oils also made for a pleasing salad. The regular entrees at Laurent include the classic French fish, fowl and beef and a plethora of daily specialties. The escallops of veal we tried was served in a Calvados sauce that wasn’t laden with the liquor, but was gently laced with it. The swordfish, though slightly burned around the edges, was served in a light, tart shallot sauce. Another nice thing about Laurent is the elegant portioning of the dishes: Each serving is prepared for light consumption, course by delicate course. Upon completion of the entree, a beautiful display tray of pastries is brought to the table. The custard meringue cake was laced with a fruity sauce, then rolled in almonds. The chocolate cake is the brightest spot on the dessert menu. It is so moist that it practically drips with semisweet chocolate. The shell is a light, crunchy pastry that balances the flavor of the chocolate. If we have one complaint about Laurent, it’s an odd one: We didn’t like the seating arrangements. The tables are placed so close together and the atmosphere is so quiet that it’s almost impossible not to hear the conversation of the diners on either side of you. (502 Sakowitz Village on the Parkway. 960-2988. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6: 30-11. Closed Sunday. Reservations. Jackets required for dinner. MC, V, AE. $$$)

Maple Street East. We know what you’re thinking: Maple Street East has been around for months and D is just now getting around to reviewing it? Our response: We never claim to be predictable. And apparently, neither does Maple Street East, for every time we’ve been, we haven’t been able to find much consistency. On one occasion, the food was great, but the service wasn’t. The next time, just the opposite was true. The escargot burgundy-style was a tasty appetizer; the escargot were plump and tender and the sauce was light but well-seasoned without tasting too “winey. ” On the other hand, the artichoke “stuffed” with crab meat was a true disappointment. Ours apparently had been sitting in the kitchen much too long; the whole thing was sitting in a puddle of water. And rather than being stuffed with crab, a few meager pieces of meat were sprinkled over the artichoke. The house salad is a good, basic dinner salad: Bibb lettuce, cherry tomatoes, black olives and artichoke hearts are covered with a smooth house dressing. The heart-of-palm salad is good, too, but a little unimaginative: a few green beans, hearts of palm and slices of tomato. Basically, most of the entrees are winners. The rainbow trout is served stuffed with shrimp and artichoke hearts and is truly delicious. The sword-fish grilled with capers and onions was also a perfectly prepared success. The high point of the menu, though, is the grilled lamb chops. Ours were succulent, tender and very flavorful. The sauce was tangy with a hint of mint, and each glorious chop was a mouthwatering masterpiece. To finish, the only outstanding dessert item is the English trifle, which is authentic and definitely worth the calories. One nice touch is the selection of house blend coffees and some of the best decaffeinated coffee in town. All things aside, Maple Street’s biggest attraction is the building itself-a converted Victorian house. Although it has been elegantly refurbished, the charm of the old place still shines through. (2508 Maple Ave., 698-0345. Lunch: daily 11: 30-2: 30; Dinner: daily 6-10: 30. Reservations for dinner. MC, V, AE. $$$)

Le Jardin. Naturally, Fort Worth has a dining reputation based upon beef. Restaurants such as Cattleman’s and Angelo’s have become Fort Worth institutions for serving the best juicy, tender beef. But the cowtown is building as quickly as downtown Dallas, and with the growth has come elegant, continental dining. A new restaurant, Le Jardin, has appeared on the Fort Worth dining scene that hopes to join in the continental cuisine competition, but dining here can be a bit of a puzzling experience. Le Jardin is located in a shopping center several doors down from an Old South Pancake House. The decor is an odd mix of disco, deco and subdued elegance. But probably the most disconcerting thing about Le Jardin is the music. Since the restaurant shares a bar with Pipp’s, a nightclub next door, diners willhear all the Top 40 hits from 10 years ago.The Archies’ Sugar Sugar is just not thebest music to dine by. Once we had decided to order, the waiter informed us thatthere was no menu; the restaurant offersnightly specials. Unfortunately, the waitercould not recite the entrées; he had to readthem from his note pad. Each entree camewith a cup of vegetable soup in a clearbroth that was so hot that it burned ourmouths. The soup was followed by a coolgreen salad with carrot slices and bits ofradishes. As for the entrees, one was disappointing, the other was delightful andsatisfying. The trout was tastefully presented, topped with slivers of carrot andonion, but it was just too fishy tasting.The steak Diane, prepared at the table,was deliciously tender and covered with adelectable brown sauce with mushrooms.Both were served with perfectly cooked asparagus that was just faintly crunchy. Desserts are the standard flamboyant offerings: bananas Foster, cherries jubilee,crepes Suzette and baked Alaska. (6500Camp Bowie Blvd. (817) 731-8764. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur5: 30-11, Fri & Sal till midnight. AE, MC,V. $$$$)

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS



These restaurants represent the best in Dallas and Fort Worth 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/MasterCard, V/Visa, AE/American Express, DC/Diners Club. CB/Carte Blanche, “All credit cards” indicates that all five are accepted.



CONTINENTAL



Agnew’s. Of the scores of new restaurants in the northern oasis beyond LBJ, the most welcome addition must be Agnew’s in Adelstein Plaza (north of Belt Line Road). Although not extensive, the dinner menu offers a tantalizing array of appetizers, entrees and desserts. Of the five entrees we sampled, three were outstanding, one was excellent and the last was very good. Another noteworthy entree was sliced breast of duck and a drumstick served with pink peppercorn sauce. For dessert, the elaborate pastry cart offered pecan cheesecake, tarts made of delicate pastry filled with cream and topped with orange slices, and a fresh strawberry torte. Lunch also presented a tempting selection of dishes (75507 Dallas N Pkwy in Adelstein Plaza. 458-0702 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10: 30 Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards $$$$)

Belvedere. Mere the red quilted booths are plush, the antique furnishings, lush; and the dinner music, classical. The Belvedere serves basically the same kind of delicious Swiss-Austrian food as its older sister, The Chimney. The veal (the restaurant’s specialty) approaches L’Ambiance’s in excellence, and the beef is tender, but the light, spirited sauces make the meal. (4242 Lomo Alto. 528-6510. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6 10: 30. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$)

Café de Paris. Continental cuisine served in a comfortably sophisticated and cheery atmosphere. Offerings include tender beef bourguignonne, salmon béarnaise covered by a tasty sauce, and a French onion soup that is easily one of the best in the area. Dessert highlights are the fruit tart, served warm with fresh whipped cream, and the praline pie (2800 Routh, The Quadrangle 653-1027. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11 -2: 30; dinner; Mon-Thur 5: 30-11, Fri&Sat 5: 30-11: 30. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Cafe Riviera. The culinary emphasis here is on seafood and continental offerings, both Italian and French The food preparation can be haphazard, considering the hefty bill Entrees include steak au poivre and shrimp Riviera (breaded shrimp wrapped in bacon). For dessert, the amaretto cake is superb. (73607 Preston at Alpha. 233-1456. Mon-Fri 11-midnight, Sat 6-midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$)

Café Royal. The surroundings are as exquisite as the Mozart played by the pianist on duty during dinner. Good bets are scallops in pepper sauce-a fine appetizer-and such nouvelle cuisine entrees as flavorful duckling supreme and piquant veal steak with lime butter. Service can be slow. (Plaza of the Americas. 650 N Pearl. 747-7222. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6: 30-11. Jackets and ties required tor men. All credit cards. $$$$)

Calluaud. Some of the dishes on Calluaud’s updated menu qualify as “best in the city” or in some cases, “only such dish in the city. ” Prime examples include veal in a creamy hazelnut sauce, deliciously seasoned turbot with champagne and truffles, and a notable quail and duck steak with lime. As openers, the delicate lobster souffle and garlicky escar-gots de bourgogne are excellent Lovely terra-cotta and cream-colored surroundings are quietly elegant, as is the service. (2619 McKinney. 823-5380. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat seatings at 7 and 9: 30. Closed Sun. Jackets required for men. Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$$)

The Chimney. Service is sometimes slow and the appetizers can be unappetizing, but the entrees at this understated restaurant are wonderful. Ten of the 18 listed are veal, so we expected the veal for-estiere to be good; it was better than that Also recommended is the Rehsteak Chimney, breathtakingly tender tournedos of Montana venison. (WillowCreek Center, 9739 N Central Expwy at Walnut Hill. 369-6466. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10: 30. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

The Enclave. Here you expect all of the waiters to be named James and to be gentlemen’s gentlemen in their moonlighting hours. As for the food, the filet can be a bit dry, but is usually very good; the pepper steak flambé and the lightly breaded veal Oscar are tastefully presented. The house vegetables have been the only disappointment. The tab is reasonable, considering the plush elegance of the place. (8325 Walnut Hill Lane. 363-7487 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2: 30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11. Fri & Sat 6-11: 30. Happy Hour Mon-Fri 4: 30-7. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Ewald’s. Less pretentious and flashy than most continental restaurants in Dallas, Ewald’s ranks in the highest echelon when it comes to the quality of its food. Among the standouts are the tournedos St. Moritz. veal steak au moulin and veal Pagallo. Superb desserts include the strawberries Romanoff and the crème caramel. (5415 W Lovers Lane. 357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10: 30, Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. Reservations. MC. V, AE $$$)

Francisco’s. Francisco’s, although not the same caliber as the best of the continental restaurants, is still good and reasonably priced. Soups are the high point on the menu. Clear mushroom soup, with mushrooms floating in consomme and topped with light pastry, is superb. Minestrone, a soup of the day, is almost as good. Among lunchtime entrées, the chef’s salad is commendable. (2917 Fairmount. 749-0906 Lunch: Tue-Fri 11-2: 30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11. Fri & Sat 6-11: 30: Sat seatings at 7 & 9: 30 Reservations. MC, V, AE. $$$)

The French Room. Even if The French Room didn’t serve the best food in Dallas, dining here would be a worthwhile experience. The opulent decor is reminiscent of a Louis XIV dining room. Every dish is superb-from the bisque of langoustine and crawfish to the foie gras in aspic, the roast lobster with thyme and caviar sauce, and the Grand Marnier mousse. Service is excellent and intimate (the restaurant has set a limit of 90 diners per evening). Allow one to two weeks waiting time if you want a weeknight reservation or a month if you want a weekend reservation. (Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce. 742-8200. ext 191. Reservations required. Jackets and ties required lor men. Mon-Sat 7-11 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$$)

Frenchy Café. As close as you’ll come in Dallas to a real Parisian cafe Standards include baguettes, butter croissants, quiche and soups. The salads are outstanding, but the pates are the best examples of French culinary skill. (5940 Royal, 369-1235. Mon-Sat 11-5: 30. Closed Sun MC, V. $)Tha Grape. Everyone loves The Grape, but the people who seem to love it most are lovers. Candlelight is conducive not only to romantic conversations but also to discussions of bad poetry and good dance. The food is excellent. Quiche Lorraine is a staple, as are the homemade mushroom soup and Boston lettuce dinner salads. The patés are consistently noteworthy. Service is provided by bright, young people who probably live lives more fascinating than any of their clientele (2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 823-0133. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Sun-Thur6-11, Fri & Sat 6-1. AE, MC, V. $$)

Jean Claude. In 1977, Jean Claude began serving haute cuisine on a basis the city hadn’t seen before. No menus, no advertising, reservations-only seating. Now Jean Claude is something of a haute cuisine shrine for most astute Dallasites. For $29. 50 per person, diners can have a complete meal with entrées such as lobster in a light cream sauce, salmon menuiner or duck roasted in ginger sauce, not to mention excellent choices of veal And the dessert soufflés – ahh. (2404 Cedar Springs 653-1823. Tue-Sat seatings at 6 and 9 Reservations only MC, V, AE. $$$$)

Jennivine. Although the atmosphere is British, Jen-nivine offers a lovely selection of French wines, pates and cheeses from various countries. The dinner menu, which is written on a blackboard, varies according to the fresh seafood that is available. Tender sea scallops and filet of sole are worth noting. Service is friendly and sometimes English-accented. (3605 McKinney. 528-6010. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11. 30-2: 30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10: 30. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)

L’Ambiance. This is definitely the best continental food you’ll ever eat in a converted gas station. Salads are impeccable; soups are fresh and flavorful. Recommended entrées are the medallions of veal with mushroom puree and the pepper-sauced filet mignon. The pastry selection is varied and gorgeous. (2408 Cedar Springs. 748-1291 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Fri 6: 30-10. Sat 6: 30-10: 30. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$)

La Vieille Varsovie. Table-side food preparation with a theatrical flair highlights dining in the Old Warsaw. Poached salmon in champagne sauce, fresh lobster and Dover sole with lemon butter are standouts. (2610 Maple. 528-0032 Sun-Thur 6-10: 30, Fri & Sat 6-11. Reservations. Jackets required for men. $$$$)

Le Boul ’Mich. Certainly. Le Boul ’Mich has had Its ups and downs, but It’s on the upswing now. serving one of the best omelets in town and a very respectable French steak pomme frite. The asparagus would have been better if it were fresh, but the sourdough bread is delicious, the espresso is serious, the prices are reasonable and the old house with the porch on three sides is charming. (2704 Worthing-ton. 826-0660 Mon-Thur 11 am-10: 30pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11: 30 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations. MC. V. AE. $$$)

Le Rendez-vous. Service is consistently good, and comfort marks an unpretentious formality. A great late-breakfast omelet is offered beginning at 11. Also, look for the lunch specials with homemade soups, fresh fish and veal. Dinner standouts include extensive seafood entrées, veal in lemon butter, pepper steak and uncommon offerings of duck and rabbit (3237 McKinney at Hall. 745-1985 Sun 11-1 am, Tue-Sat 11: 30-1 am. Closed Mon. Reservations All credit cards $$$)

Les Salsons. Here you’ll get what restaurant critics call a “dining experience. ” The food is French, the waiters are French (or are at least good impersonators) and the decor is set approximately in turn-of-the-century suburban Paris. Meals at Les Saisons are traditional, expensive and predictably excellent. There are some interesting twists such as roast Cornish hen with tarragon sauce, braised sweetbreads and sirloin saute with Roquefort cheese and green peppercorns. (165 Turtle Creek Village, Oak Lawn at Blackburn 528-1102. Sun-Thur 11: 30-11, Fri & Sat 11: 30-midnight. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Manhattan. The atmosphere ranges from Scandinavian to English-garden to early-Fifties cocktail lounge, but the food and service at this North Dallas continental restaurant are strictly first-class. The menu features the safe bets of continental dining, but the chef has come up with some simple and elegant variations that succeed beautifully. We began our meal with smoked salmon and mushroom caps stuffed with crab meat. Next came veal Manhattan, lightly breaded and tender scallops of veal covered with crab legs and shrimp, then topped with bear-naise. We also sampled sole Rebecca, a breaded fish topped with a sauce of mushrooms, pimentos, shallots and capers. The dessert tray was loaded with various French confections. (1842 Preston Forest Square. 385-8221. Lunch: daily 11: 30-2: 30: dinner: daily 5: 30-11. All credit cards. $$$)

The Mansion. The place to see and be seen in Dallas, the Mansion offers an elegant decor often supplemented by dining celebrities. Menu stars include the tortilla soup, the béarnaise sauce that tops the red snapper, and the pate that garnishes the duck with brown sauce A new chef from The Jockey Club in Washington has added soft-shelled crab to the house specialties. (2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Breakfast: daily 7-10: 30; lunch: Mon-Fri noon-2; brunch: Sat noon-2, Sun 11-2; dinner: Sun-Fri 6-10: 30, Sat 6-11; supper: Mon-Thur 10: 30-mid-night, Fri & Sat 11-midnight. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$$)

Patry’s. This can be an excellent place to have a quiet and elegant continental dinner, provided you arrive when the place is not too crowded. Pepper steak, duck a l’orange, lamb chops and veal in lemon butter are consistently tasty entrees. The cream of broccoli soup is among the best in the city. One of Patry’s stronger points is its extensive wine list, which complements the menu. (2504 McKinney. 748-3754 Sun, Tue-Thur 6-10: 30, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)

Pyramid Room. Courteous and thorough service is the rule here, from matchbooks embossed with the customer’s name to the presence of the charming Italian wine steward. Lunch includes Irish smoked salmon and oysters Kirkpatrick. Topping the dinner lineup are the house pate of fish and lobster with two sauces, and the steak au poivre. (Fairmont Hotel, Ross and Akard 748-5454. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner daily 6-midnight Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$)

Three Vikings. Weekend diners are still lining up to try the city’s only samplings of Swedish cuisine. Entrees include roast duck with almond sauce and lamb chops with wild mushroom sauce. The veal Oscar and grilled salmon steak are both excellent. And there’s no nicer way to begin a meal than with the offerings on Three Vikings’ relish tray. (2831 Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770. Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)



INDIAN



India House. Dinner service is extremely attentive in this establishment where the selections are not exactly part of the American culinary mainstream. Fresh-from-the-oven breads and appetizers such as the chicken chat are superb. Both the tandoori chicken and beef, marinated delights served with shovel-sized portions of fluffy rice, are tasty and extremely filling. The cheese balls in sweet milk are perfect for dessert. (5422 E Mockingbird. 823-1000. Lunch: daily 11: 30-2: 30: dinner: Sun-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sal 5-11. Reservations. All credit cards $$)

Sahib. On visual terms alone. Sahib is commendable: Gauze canopies float over a lovely teal and peach color scheme. As for food, the Maharaja Patiala Sahib’s Dinner, an assortment of Sahib’s specialties that includes wonderful preparations of chicken, lamb and shrimp, is the star of the menu. Also offered is a $6. 95 lunch buffet (somewhat misleadingly referred to as “brunch” on weekends) (9100 Central Expwy, Caruth Plaza. 987-2301. Lunch: daily 11: 30-2: 30: dinner: daily 5: 30-11. MC. V, AE. $$)

ITALIAN



Bugatti. This place has consistently superior homemade pasta, the quintessential element for any good Italian restaurant. But Bugatti goes far beyond that. The chef handles veal as well as any of his Dallas contemporaries, and the homemade soups are among the best in the city. Other standouts include the tortellini alla crema (homemade pasta shells stuffed with veal and engulfed in a rich white cream sauce), the crab cannelloni and the fettuccine della casa. (2574 Walnut Hill. 350-2470. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner: Mon-Thur 5: 30-10: 30, Fri & Sat 5: 30-11. Closed Sun. AE. V. MC. DC $$)

Campisi’s. In a dark room lined with celebrity photos is served the tood that has made Campisi’s an institution. Veal marsala with rich mushroom sauce, fettuccine, garlic toast, pizza and desserts- solid Italian cooking at bargain prices. (5610 E Mockingbird. 827-0355. 827-7711. Mon-Fri 11 am-mid-night. Sat 11 am- 1 am, Sun noon-midnight. Reservations for six or more. No credit cards: personal checks accepted $$)

Caruso’s. If you like arias with your antipasto, Caruso’s singing waiters will gladly oblige you. The Italian selections include basic pasta and veal dishes, and steaks are available. Wine lovers will appreciate Caruso’s bottomless glass, while lovers will enjoy the candle-lit booths. (706 Medallion Center, Northwest Hwy at Skillman. 691-9944 Sun-Thur 5: 30-10, Fri & Sat 5: 30 11. All credit cards. $$)

Cremona Ristorante Italiano and Deli. Park your car on the dead-end street, wind your way around the little junque stores, find a table near a window and prepare yourself for a no-nonsense Italian meal The ladder-back chairs, wooden blinds and starched white tablecloths lend country-inn romance; the service is first-rate. At lunch, try the fettucine “della casa, ” made from homemade pasta, lovely butter and cream enhanced with mushrooms, ham and peas. (3136 Routh Street in Chelsea Square. 742-4330 Mon-Sat 11-2 and 5-10 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V. $$)

DiPalma. Whether or not you’re Italian, DiPalma is the perfect place to indulge in homemade pasta. This Italian restaurant/food store offers some delicacies not often found at other Italian establishments, such as chicken lasagna and lemon garlic chicken, and some standbys like eggplant parmigi-ana and bracciole. A daily special is always offered on the menu Desserts include pastries, fresh pear cake and a delicious orange hazelnut torte. (1520 Greenville. 824-4500 Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat till 10: 30 Closed Sun. MC, V. $$)



II Sorrento. The exterior of this Italian shrine is so incredibly overdone that it’s almost beyond belief. And the interior is just as pretentious-mammoth Roman urns and headless concrete statues, a strolling accordion player. The food is standard Italian fare, made much more appealing by the outrageous production (8616 Turtle Creek. 352-8759. Sun-Fri 5: 30-11. Sat 5: 30-midnight. Reservations on weekdays only. All credit cards $$)

La Tosca. Elegant, understated surroundings and food equally as tasteful greet diners at La Tosca Octopus salad and pepata di vongole or cozze (a clam dish) stand out on a menu that includes excellent scaloppine al marsala and involtini nicola. two veal dishes Dessert treats are profitterol al cioccolato (a cream-filled pastry) and ice cream with Strega, an Italian liqueur. (7713 Inwood 352-8373. Sun, Tue-Thur 5: 30-10: 30, Fri & Sat 5: 30-11. Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$$)

La Trattoria Lombardi. This place may never be as good as the old Lombardi’s on McKinney, but at its best, the pasta is inspirational. Also offered are superior soups (clam chowder and minestrone excel), fine veal dishes (especially veal with lemon butter, veal marsala and saltimbocca Romana) and first-rate tarts and other desserts, all with Lombardi’s traditionally good service. (2916 Hall. 823-6040. Lunch: 11 -2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5: 30-10: 30, Fri & Sat 5: 30-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$)

Mario’s. Out of the vein of most pizzeria-style Italian eateries. Mario’s offers first-rate, napkin-placing, cigarette-lighting service and food. Superb pasta, veal entrees and sauces are fitting preludes to dessert, possibly one of Mario’s outstanding soufflés (135 Turtle Creek Village, Oak Lawn at Blackburn. 521-1135. Sun-Thur 6-10: 30, Fri & Sat 6-11. Reservations. Jackets required for men. All credit cards. $$$)

P. J. ’s Ristoranle. This is another of those wonderful little retreats with an unlikely exterior. P. J. ’s isn’t to be judged by its shopping center neighbors or its disco-like front wall. Inside, soft lights, cordial service and sumptuous homemade pasta beckon. The pasta Giovanni, named after the son of P. J. ’s owner Papa Jack, is a pasta-lover’s fantasy The heaping plate offers spaghetti, ravioli, manicotti, meatballs, lasagna and sausage. It is almost impossible to finish, but great fun to try. (5410 E Mockingbird. 824-1490. Daily: 5-10 pm or, on weekends, as late as necessary. AE, V. $$)

Sergio’s. An elegant, formal dining establishment with reasonable prices The menu includes seven reliable veal dishes, sole saffron, chicken Florentine and homemade pasta. And Sergio’s makes one of the better omelets available in Dallas, as well as one of the better appetizers: Sergio’s version of marinated crab claws. (Suite 165, The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. 742-3872. Lunch: Sat 11: 30-6: dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)



MEXICAN



Café Cancun. Most good Tex-Mex in Dallas is served in places you wouldn’t feel safe visiting at night-perhaps that’s Café Cancun’s secret to success This isn’t Tex-Mex, but Mexico City-style Mexican food. The standout menu items are too numerous to sample during one visit, but there are a few superlative items you shouldn’t miss. Try the corn soup, which is thick with cheese and corn meal, and the enchiladas verdes (chicken enchiladas with spicy green tomatillo sauce). Then sample the excellent tacos al carbon, the quesadillas Cancun and the nachos Cancun (black-bean nachos). (4131 Lomo Alto. 559-4011. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11-midnight, Sat 5-midnight, Sun noon-10. No reservations. All credit cards. $$)

Chiquita. With its pastel tablecloths and candles and the color-coordinated costumes of the waiters, Chiquita is no ordinary Tex-Mex restaurant. Therefore, it’s appropriate that Chiquita excels with its out-of-the-ordinary specialties. Skillful preparations include carne asada tampico style and filete de la casa (filet mignon dishes) and the tortilla soup. (3810 Congress off Oak Lawn. 521-0721. Mon-Thur 11: 30-10: 30. Fri & Sat 11: 30-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$)

El Taxco. If El Taxco were located near a superior Mexican restaurant, it would probably dry up and blow away. But it isn’t, so the food here seems okay. Stick with the basics-enchiladas, tacos, tamales, chiles rellenos, guacamole-and you’ll leave satisfied, with only a minimal dent in your wallet. (2126 N St Paul at McKinney. 742-0747. Daily 11-10. Closed Tue. All credit cards. $)

Escondido. This place looks like a Hell’s Angels habitat on the outside; and inside, the decor is late-New York subway, with spray-can graffiti all over the ceiling. The dishes are standard no-frill, reasonable-bill Mexican food. The chicken nachos are among the best in town and the combination platter’s tacos and salsas are top-notch. (2210 Butler. 631-9912. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 5-9. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $)

Guadalajara. The ambiance of this establishment is border-town bordello, but the food is worth sampling. Among the consistently good offerings are the enchiladas, tacos, tamales, chiles rellenos and fri-joles, as well as some decent chalupas. Service can be a bit slow because management knows it has a good thing going and loyal customers are willing to wait, (3308 Ross. 823-9340. Tue-Sun 11 am-3: 30 am. Closed Mon. No reservations. No credit cards. $)

Herrera. Despite the fact that this dumpy little restaurant on Maple Avenue has more customers than it can possibly serve, the food and the service have remained consistently good. Suggestions include the Jimmy’s special or the Pepe’s special; both of which are virtual Tex-Mex smorgasbords. The only bad news is that Herrera’s has no liquor license, so bring enough beer to carry you through the wait and the meal. (3902 Maple. 526-9427. Mon, Wed, Thur 9 am-8 pm, Fri-Sun till 10. Closed Tue. No reservations. No credit cards. $)



Javier’s. Quite a bit different from the standard Tex-Mex found at most Mexican restaurants, Javier’s offers Mexico City-style gourmet dining. The fish and chicken dishes are excellent; and the beef dishes, creditable, for dessert, try the smooth and satisfying mango mousse or the café Pierre, which is flamboyantly prepared at the table. (4912 Cole. 521-4211. Sun-Thur 5: 30 10, Fri & Sat till 11. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)

La Calle Doce. Gracefully housed in a converted house on 12th Street, La Calle Doce features a menu of seafood and steak specialties prepared Mexico City-style, as well as Tex-Mex basics. The atmosphere is relaxed and homey; the service, friendly and fast; and the food, carefully prepared and well-presented. (415 W 12th 941-4304. Mon-Thur 11-9, Fri & Sat noon-10, Sun noon-6. MC, V, AE. $$)

La Esquina. What you find at this Mexican food restaurant located in the Loews Anatole is what you would expect to find in a Mexican food restaurant located in a large hotel: slightly above-average food at the higher-than-reasonable prices that tourists are willing to pay. But the quality of ingredients used is generally high, and the view inside the Anatole’s atrium is beautiful. (Loews Anatole Hotel. 2201 Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2: 30; dinner: daily 6-10:30. All credit cards. $$$)

Mario & Alberto. Dining here is a completely pastel experience, like a meal inside a great peach petit four. Strong margaritas. good chips and hot sauce, chicken nachos and flautas con crema set a fine mood lor main courses chosen from a vast menu (which includes everything from standard bean and taco plates to zucchini stuffed with ground sirloin). (425 Preston Valley Shopping Center, LBJ at Preston. 980-7296. Mon-Thur 11: 30-10: 30. Fri & Sat 10: 30-11. Closed Sun. Drinks with $5 membership charge. MC. V. AE. $$)

Moctezuma. Besides the usual Tex-Mex, Moctezuma’s features some excellent chicken and fish dishes. The nachos and the margaritas are tops. On sunny summer days you can sit outside on the terrace, sip a stout margarita and watch the traffic go by. (3236 McKinney. 559-3010. Sun-Thur 11-10: 30. Fri & Sat 11 midnight. Reservations tor parties of six or more. All credit cards. $)Pepe’s Café. Pepe’s is a marriage of good basic Tex-Mex and unpretentious but gracious surroundings and service. The owner and employees manage authentic fare of everyday Mexicans without the usual dirty-Formica atmosphere of such establishments. The nachos. flautas and pork dishes are all delicious Breakfast is served from 9 until 11 a. m. (3011 Routh. 698-9445 Mon-Fri 10: 30-2: 30 & 5: 30-10. Sal 10: 30-10. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $)

Raphael’s. We’ve grown suspicious of civilized Mexican restaurants, guessing that their best is only fresh from the freezer. But Raphaels throws a kink in this philosophy. The food is better than average, the surroundings are pleasant and the prices are comparable to our favorite dives. Strong points are the appetizers (including quesadillas) and the desserts (try the sopapillas con fresas) (3701 McKinney. 521-9640. Mon-Fri 11: 30-10: 30. Satnoon-10. Raphael’s Greenville 6728 Greenville. 692-8431. Mon-Thur 11: 30-10: 30. Fri 11: 30-11: 30. Sat noon-11. Closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thur only. All credit cards. $$)

Rosita’s. The unanimous conclusion of our party after only a first few bites at Rosita’s was that “Yes, indeed, it’s better than Escondido’s. ” And not nearly as scrungy The chicken enchiladas and chicken flautas we tried were reliably tasty and inexpensive. The tacos de carbon were a little dry. as was the carne asada. Our only other substantial complaint was that some of the dinners lacked rice and beans, absolute staples lor a Mexican dinner, and not too much to ask for $3. 95. The sopapillas. served with cinnamon and honey, were better than run-of-the-mill. Outside seating is available. (4906 Maple. 521-4741. Mon 7-3, Tue-Fri 7-10, Sat & Sun 9-10. All credit cards. $)



MIDDLE EASTERN



Javiers, formerly the Pita Place. It is important to the management that you know that this is an Israeli restaurant (although the food resembles Lebanese). Whatever you call it, this is good food. Try the specials, such as the Jerusalem chicken (a tender, spicy, roasted chicken served with rice, beans and a salad) or the kebab (ground sirloin with chopped onions, parsley and spices). And you obviously wouldn’t want to eat here without trying the fresh pita bread; we recommend hoummus (ground chickpeas with lemon and garlic) as an excellent dip/ spread (The Corner Shopping Center. 9820 N Central Expwy at Walnut Hill. 987-3226 Tue-Sun 11-10. Closed Mon. AE, MC. V. DC. $)

NATURAL FOODS



Marvins Garden. There is an earthy charm about this small, comfortable restaurant that we have not felt elsewhere in Dallas, Purity in food is the emphasis here, but your taste buds may find some dishes bland The Mexican offerings seem consistently good, and the Sunday brunch is a laid-back work of art. (6033 Oram at Skillman. 824-5841. Sun-Thur 11-10: 30; Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V, DC. $$)



ORIENTAL



Asuka. Dining at Asuka is a soothing experience that will transport you a thousand miles away from the traffic and congestion 50 yards outside the door. Try any one of the Kaiseki dinners, such as the Ishi-yaki Kaiseki-beef and vegetables served over sizzling stone pebbles: it is delightful At lunch, the food is just as palate-pleasing and pretty. (7136 Greenville. 363-3537. Lunch: Tue-Sun 11-2; dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10: 30. Closed Mon. Reservations. AE, V. MC, DC. $$$)

August Moon. What you’ll get on an average day is better than what you’ll find in a neighborhood Chinese place; however, some of the sauces have been tempered to suit Cream of Wheat North Dallas tastes Recommended are the spicy and tangy lamb, the Mongolian barbecue, curried beef hibachi and the rumaki. (75030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. Mon-Thur 11-10: 30, Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11. Sun noon-10: 30. Reservations tor eight or more. Bar by membership. AE, MC, V, DC. $$)

Fangti China 1. The features worth mentioning about this place are the service and the hours At all times of the day and night, the waitresses are chipper and cheerful. Because Fangti is open until six in the morning on weekends, it attracts an eclectically interesting crowd. The special soup and the hot and sour work well at late hours. The entrees, however, are inconsistent, (Twin Bridge Shopping Center. 6752 Shady Brook Lane. 987-3877. Sun-Thur 11-4 am, Fri & Sat 11 -6 am, Sun 5-4 am. AE, DC, MC, V. $$)

Hunan Imperial. The difference between this Chinese restaurant and every other new Chinese restaurant begins with its extensive menu. There are offerings that are just not readily available at other Dallas Chinese restaurants. String beans with pork, for example. The beans are crisp and flavorful, with just a smidgen of pork flavor. Another dish we found both palate-pleasing and pretty is the shrimp with pine nuts. The vegetables and the pine nuts are crisp and crunchy; the shrimp, well-cooked but not tough or mushy; barbecue ribs, tops. The atmosphere, although not quite imperial, is at least subdued and conducive to fine dining. (The Corner Shopping Center, Walnut Hill and N Central Expwy. 363-3858. Sun-Thur 11: 30-11, Fri & Sal 11: 30-3 am. AE. V. MC. $$)

Sakura. The program here seems designed for local business people on expense accounts entertaining out-of-town business people on expense accounts. There is a $15 fee for the tatami rooms, but you can sit on the floor and wear Japanese “happy robes” for free. If raw fish is what you’re interested in. try the sushi bar. As for other entrees, the beef dishes are above average, but the lobster entrees can be questionable (7402 Greenville near Walnut Hill 361-9282. Mon-Thur 5: 30-11: 30, Fri & Sat 5: 30-mid-night, temporarily closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Sawatdee. If your culinary tastes are inclined toward the adventurous and experimental, this is truly an excellent restaurant in which to indulge them. Among the specialties of the house worth noting are the red chicken curry. South Seas scallops and the dinner portion of moo satay. Be sure to clearly indicate to your waiter how spicy you like your food: otherwise you may be surprised or disappointed by the degree of seasoning. (4503 Greenville at Yale. 373-6138. Daily: 11: 30-2: 30 & 5-10: 30. AE, MC. V. $$)

Siam. Siam opened up new worlds tor us when it brought Thai food to Dallas. For the uninitiated. Thai cuisine is often fiery hot. using peppers and curry sauces, and blends in several elements that separate it from spicy hot Chinese cooking such as Szechuan or Hunan. An excellent beginner is the moo-sar tey (pork strips on bamboo skewers served with a peanut sauce) and slices of cucumber and hot pepper. For an entree, try the gand ped-a rice dish with curry, bamboo shoots, coconut milk, mint leaves and your choice of pork, beef or chicken. Another standout is the pard Thai, a rice noodle dish with shrimp, pork, eggs, hot chili peppers, bean sprouts and green onions. (1730 W Mockingbird near Harry Hines. 631-5482. Mon-Thur 11-10, Fri & Sat 11-11 Closed Sun. All credit cards. $)

Szechuan. This oasis in the Lemmon Avenue fast-food strip offers reliably good, if never great. Szechuan and standard Chinese dishes Main-dish standouts include shredded pork with garlic sauce, moo shi pork, chicken with cashew nuts and the chicken and shrimp combination Lunch specials (served Monday through Saturday) are real bargains ($2 50 to $3. 75). (4117 Lemmon near Douglas. 521-6981. Sun-Thur 11: 30-1030. Fri & Sat 11: 30-11: 30. MC. V. AE. DC $$)

Taiwan. This restaurant is dressier and a bit more expensive than a lot of Chinese places in town, but it stands head and shoulders above most of them when it comes to food. The choices, particularly in terms of appetizers and soups, are extremely varied; the Kuo-Teh meat dumplings, the flaming pu pu platter and the sizzling rice soup for two are outstanding The kitchen is at its best with the hot and spicy Szechuan dishes Service can range from nerve-rackingly overattentive to somewhat absent-minded. (6111 Greenville. 369-8902 Mon-Sat 11-3 am, Sun 10 am-11 pm. Reservations. MC. V. AE. $$$)

Yunnan Dynasty. The boneless duckling with ginger root in hot pepper sauce and most of the other specialties here are hot and spicy, but some of the non-combustible dishes, such as beef and scallops with oyster sauce, are also solid selections. One of our all-time favorites is steamed fish (served whole) with garlic and black-bean sauce, which is not only spicy and tasty, but is also low in calories. Yunnan’s pleasant decor and location raise it a notch above its Oriental competitors. (Caruth Plaza. 9100 N Central Expwy, Suite 191. 739-1110. Sun-Thur 11: 30-10. Fri & Sat 11: 30-11. AE. V. MC. DC. $$)



SEAFOOD



Charley’s Seafood Grill. Charley’s is worth a visit not so much for its seafood as tor its atmosphere-the brass-trimmed, floor-to-ceiling mirrored bar filled with row upon row of assorted liquor bottles is really quite a sight. The seafood, unfortunately, is less impressive Charley’s chowder is truly bland, and the numerous fried offerings are only average, but the charcoal-broiled fish (trout, red snapper, swordfish steak) can be quite good. (5348 Belt Line. 934-8501. Sun-Thur 11-10. Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. $$)

Crazy Crab. This is the kind of place that seems franchised even though it isn’t yet (lots of little gimmicks). It’s a family place-a restaurant where you can find decent Dungeness crab from the West Coast, when it’s in season, and good steamed Alaskan king crab legs. (3211 Oak Lawn at Hall 522-5310. Mon-Thur 11-10. Fri 11-10. Sat 11-11. Sun 5-10. All credit cards. $$)

Fausto’s. Among the culinary triumphs listed on the ambitious menu are tender and sweet frog legs, juicy swordfish steak and poached salmon steak topped with a luscious green peppercorn sauce The extras are equally deserving of praise: marbled black and rye bread toast with Parmesan cheese that arrives before the menu, homemade pear sorbet to clear your palate before the main course, and decadent desserts. All these delights are served up in a darkened dining room that is one of the city’s plushest. (Hyatt Regency Hotel. 651-1234. Daily 6-11; Sun brunch: 10: 30-2: 30. Reservations for dinner. Jackets required for men. All credit cards. $$$$)

Jozef’s. Selecting carefully is the way to enjoy the seafood at Jozef’s. Smoked freshwater trout with horseradish sauce, mushrooms stuffed with crab meat imperial and basic entrees such as live Maine lobster or char-broiled fish of the season are all recommended. Tasty blueberry cheesecake is a nice finish. Service is attentive but not overbearing. (2719 McKinney. 826-5560. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: 30: dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Ratcliffe’s. The decor looks like New Orleans, and the fish compares favorably. Especially noteworthy are the clam chowder and sourdough bread. Add a house salad and soothing raspberry mousse, and you have a pleasant lunch. For evenings try the pasta with seafood or red snapper, plus vegetables. (1901 McKinney. 748-7480. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: 30: dinner: Sun-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11. No reservations. AE, V. DC. CB. $$$)

Seascape Inn. This seafood restaurant is one of Dallas’ finest eateries We’ve never had a bad entrée, and Chef Jean LaFont’s specialties are always just that-special treats. The Dover sole Veronique and the salmon in puff pastry are two wonderful selections. “Gracious” best sums up the service and atmosphere, it is elegant but not pretentious. (6306 Greenville. 692-6920. Lunch: Mon Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 5: 30-10: 30, Fri & Sat 5: 30-11: 30. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$)

S&D Oyster Company. S&D could easily survive for years on its substantial assemblage of regulars who would much rather fight the growing crowds than switch. Why do droves flock to this humble establishment9 Because S&D has some of the best fresh seafood in Dallas. Period. Broiled whole flounder and fried shrimp are among the freshly simple choices. And don’t forget S&D’s great sides- crisp coleslaw, crunchy hush puppies and French fries. (2701 McKinney. 823-6350. Mon-Thur 11-10, Fri & Sat 11-11. Closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $$)

Turtle Cove. Decisions are easy to make at Turtle Cove: Order the fresh seafood broiled over a mes-quite wood fire, a whiff of which you’re bound to inhale as you enter. The mesquite provides a low. moist heal that cooks the seafood to perfection. Mesquite-broiled vegetables are a better choice than salad, and the best appetizers are the fresh oysters and broiled shrimp Just remember to stick with the fresh seafood. (2731 W Northwest Hwy near European Crossroads. 350-9034. Mon-Sat: 11-11. Sun noon-11. MC, V. AE. $$)



SOUTHERN SPECIALTIES



Broussard’s. The specialties of this backwoods Louisiana Cajun diner, located in Irving, are all fried-oysters, shrimp, catfish, frog legs, hush puppies and potatoes with the crunchy skins left on. All are very simply prepared with lightly spiced coatings and are properly fried, complemented nicely by the homemade red sauce. The food is served cafeteria-style, but the wait is shortened by the great jukebox. (707 N Belt Line in Irving, one mile S of Hwy 183. 255-8024. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11 -2, dinner: Mon-Fri 5-10. Sat 11-10. Closed Sun. No reservations. No credit cards. Personal checks accepted $$)



Bubba’s. This slate-gray art deco lunch stop near the SMU campus offers dependable chicken-fried steak, fried chicken and chicken and dumplings With them you can have mashed potatoes and cream gravy, vegetables cooked with salt pork, salad and luscious hot rolls, and cobbler for dessert. Breakfast begins with biscuits-with gravy or in sausage sandwiches. A great place for reading the Sunday papers, or in the case of one SMU history prof. Pericles. (6617 Hillcrest. 373-6527. Daily 6: 30 am-10 pm No credit cards. $)

Celebration. This is the closest thing to a home-cooked meal you’re going to find in a Dallas restaurant. Meat loaf, pot roast, baked chicken and fresh trout are proven favorites. But most of Dallas knows about Celebration, so either go early or be prepared for a half-hour wait. (4503 W Lovers Lane. 351-5681. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner: Mon-Thur 5: 30-11, Fri &

Sat 5: 30-11, Sun 5: 30-10. Reservations for six or more. V. AE, MC. $$)

Crawdaddy’s. Here you can dine on a terrific whole catfish dinner in rough-cut wood surroundings. The catfish is moist and tasty and accompanied by the best, lightest hush puppies you’ll ever eat. Although it doesn’t seem to be in season very often, try ordering some form of crawfish when it is available. The beignets sprinkled with powdered sugar make a perfect finish. (2614 McKinney. 748-2008 Sun noon-11, Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11-11: 30, Sat noon-11: 30. No reservations. MC, V, AE. $$)Highland Park Cafeteria. To dine at this Dallas institution can mean waiting in line for as long as 20 minutes at peak hours. But don’t give up. the line moves quickly and soon you’ll be enticed by the aroma of HPC’s home-style food. HPC offers all kinds of green salads, coleslaw, congealed salads and fresh fruits Next in line are the entrées-roast beef, fish-baked or fried, casseroles and more The vegetables here are actually semi-crisp, not steamed into mush. The assortment of breads and desserts is tempting. (4611 Cole. 526-3801 Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm Closed Sun. No liquor. MC, V. $)

Papa Zaby’s Cafe. A cross between Dixie House (up the road) and Little Gus’ (down the street). Papa Zaby’s is a welcome addition to the lower Greenville Avenue area Breakfasts are noteworthy: fluffy omelets, biscuits, gravy and hashbrowns. At dinnertime, the chicken-fried steak with a bacony country gravy, mashed potatoes and vegetable of the day is entirely satisfying. (2114 Greenville. 821-4563. Mon-Fri 9: 30 am-11 pm. Sat 8 am 11 pm, Sun 10 am-11 pm. MC. AE, V. $)

Sonny Bryan’s. There’s a reason all those people are standing in line in front of this greasy, fly-blown former drive-in: They are praying to the great god of barbecue, and Sonny Bryan is their Moses They’re waiting for a generous slice of beef in the $1. 90 sandwich; for ribs crusty and crinkled on the outside. juicy inside, with a sauce good enough to slurp out of the cardboard basket. They are here for real barbecued meat (2202 lnwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 7 am-5 pm, Sal 7am-3pm. Sun 11 am-2pm. No reser-valions. No credit cards $)



STEAKS, BURGERS, ETC.



Bohemia. The owners of this charm-laden little Bavarian restaurant are Czechoslovakian, but the cuisine is not all that different from your favorite German establishment, and odds are that it’s prepared with more care. The menu includes a lot of goulash-style dishes, dumplings, veal and vinegary sauces. The vegetables were outstanding, cooked perfectly. The sauerkraut, in fact, was the best we’ve ever had-two extended visits to Germany notwithstanding. The desserts, too. were homemade-a fluffy cheesecake with real whipped cream and an apple strudel of flaky pastry and tart, plump fruit slices (2810 N. Henderson. 826-6209. Dinner: Tue-Sun 5: 30-11. Closed Mon. MC, V, AE. $$)

The Bronx. Pinpointing the ambiance of The Bronx is not easy-it’s somewhere between SoHo chic and Southern simplicity. In any case. The Bronx is a great place to sit back, relax and choose from a limited menu of quiches, omelets and salads, or perhaps the meat loaf plate, all of which are sure bets. The Bronx has daily wine specials and the best glass of spiced tea around. (3835 Cedar Springs. 521 5821. Mon-Thur 11: 30 am-12: 30 pm. Fri 11: 30 am-1: 30 am, Sat noon-1: 30 am MC. V. AE. $$)

Chill’s. Once you’re finally inside Chili’s and find most of the hired help rushing around in tennies, it may require a conscious effort to keep from joining the frenzy and gulping down your food and drink Luckily, the burgers are consistently good-thick and juicy and available with all kinds of toppings You can expect a long line almost any time of the day on weekends, but lake heart, the line moves quickly (all that hustling and bustling) and there’s a bar right inside the door Just grab a frozen margarita and relax. (7567 Greenville, 361-4371. 4291 Belt Line. 233-0380 1901 N Central Expwy. 423-0925. 924 Copeland. 261-3891. Mon-Thur 11-11: 30. Sat 11: 30-1 am. Sun 11: 30-11. No reserva tions MC. V. AE. $)

Hoffbrau. Sink into the deep vinyl booths (deep because the springs are shot), put your elbows on the table, have a beer and listen to the genuine Texas accents of the polyester-clad cowboys (the kind that let you know, in case you doubted, that this is a real steak restaurant). The chief charm of this delightfully Austinesque restaurant is the atmosphere, followed closely by the juicy lemon-butter steaks. But you’ll leave as lull as your Levi’s can handle for less than $15. (3205 Knox at Cole. 559-2680 Mon-Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11, Sun 4 10. All credit cards. $$)

Kobe Steaks. This plush Japanese steakhouse offers combinations of steak, seafood and/or chicken. Beef is the featured attraction, and it is of the highest quality. Dinners come with delicious beef broth, a piquant shrimp appetizer and smooth green tea as well as salad and rice. However, the group seating arrangements offer little privacy while you dine. (15000 Quorum Drive at Belt Line off Dallas Pkwy, Suite 600. 934-8150. Sun-Thur 5-11. Fri & Sat 5-midnight. All credit cards. $$$)

Nostromo Bar. By the time this high-tech bar/restaurant opened its unmarked door, it was already one of the “in” places to see and be seen in Dallas. Lately, we’ve noticed that the vogue atmosphere has become so thick that it is sometimes almost nauseating. Late-night patrons seem to be trying to out-New Wave each other with their apparel. Meanwhile, management has come up with a limited menu that includes a good steak and a new homemade soup each day (4515 Travis at Knox. 528-8880. Mon-Sat 11: 30-2 am. Sun 6 pm-2 am. Jackets required tor men Reservations. AE, E, MC. $$)

The Palm Bar. Nowhere downtown can you find a lighter, lovelier or more innovative meal than at The Palm Bar in the Adolphus Hotel In addition to such predictable selections as salads, white-tuna plates and New York deli-style sandwiches, you’ll find lunch variations such as the croissant sandwich with turkey or roast beef and a pot of fresh steamed vegetables dressed with a dab of herb butter A limited menu is available through cocktail time. (Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce. 742-8200. Mon-Fri 11-3: 30. All credit cards. $$)

Ruth’s Chris Steak House. The unprepossessing no-frills steakhouse appearance of Ruth’s makes the prices here a real sh&ck. The entrees (sirloin strip, filet, ribeye and porterhouse) begin at $17 With that you get bread only. But the steak, pan-broiled in butter, is served sizzling hot, juicy and is very good. (6940 Greenville. 691-6940. Mon-Fri 11: 30 am-11: 30 pm, Sat & Sun 5 pm-11: 30 pm. All credit cards. $$$)

TGI Friday’s. The creator of singlemania. Friday’s is still the spot for after-hour intermingling. The pace is frenetic; the noise level, deafening; the drinks, plentiful; and the food, consistently reliable Try the great potato skins, Mexican pizza or the numerous burger selections (5500 Greenville, 363-5333. 5100 Belt Line, 386-5824. Daily 11 am-2 am. No reservations. All credit cards $$)

Tolbert’s Chill Parlor. Tolbert’s may have left Oak Lawn, but nothing else has changed at this chili institution (except the crowd’s gotten even bigger). You’ll still find great mainline Texas cooking-Tol-bert’s version of chili (Texas red), burgers with every type of dressing, burritos. hearty fries and superb onion rings-but now you II get it served up in an even bigger warehouse-style room with even more photos. (4544 McKinney. 522-4340. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight, Sun noon-11 pm. No reservations. V, MC, AE. $)



FORT WORTH RESTAURANTS



Angelo’s. Hallowed has become the name of Angelo’s among devotees of the almighty rib. and for a real taste of Texas, we’ll take the tender, meaty. succulent barbecued ribs served here For $5. 75, you get a pile of ribs, beans, potato salad, coleslaw, pickle, onion, sauce and bread. Ribs are served after 5 p. m. only. The kitchen closes at 10 p. m., after which the price of beer doubles. (2533 White Settlement Road. (817)332-0357. Mon-Sat 11-10. Closed Sun. No reservations. No credit cards. $)

The Back Porch. A fun place to visit following an afternoon in the park or an hour at the museum. Whole-wheat pizzas, a weigh-and-pay salad bar (which, for 16 cents an ounce, includes fresh. |uicy hunks of a wide assortment of fruits, and a good guacamole salad), three kinds of homemade soup and great heaping ice cream cones make this a favorite spot for Fort Worth diners. (2500 W Berry (817) 923-0841 Mon-Thur 11-9. Fri & Sat 11-10. Closed Sun. 3400 W Camp Bowie Blvd. 332-3941. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-3; ice cream Mon-Thur 11-9, Fri & Sat 11-10. Sun. ice cream only. 1-9. $)

Caro’s. A longtime favorite Mexican food outpost offering the best plate of mixed goodies in the Southwest “Mixed goodies” is Caro-lingo tor tortilla chips piled alternately with cheese and guacamole after being specially fried to puff up instead of sog down. The selection of Mexican dinners at Caro’s is pretty much like that at any restaurant of its genre, only better. There’s serious spice for those who want it, and not much grease. We like the chicken enchiladas and think the beans are divine. (3505 Blue Bonnet Circle, (817) 927-9948 5930 Curzon, (817) 737-0304. Lunch: Tue Sun 11-2: dinner Tue-Sun 4: 30-10, 5-10 Blue Bonnet Closed Mon. $$)The Carriage House. This is a refreshing retreat from area steakhouses that are big enough to ac-commodate basketball tournaments The atmosphere in the two small crystal-laden dining rooms is not quiet, but it is relaxed. The tenderloins win best of show, with South African lobster tails, mushroom appetizers and soothing brandy ices vying for second place. (5136 Camp Bowie Blvd. (817) 732-2873 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11, Sun 6 10; Sunday brunch: 11-2. Reservations. All credit cards $$$)

Carshon’s Delicatessen. They tell us there isn’t another corned-beef sandwich in Texas like theirs, and, judging by the reputation Carshon’s has held in Fort Worth for 40 years, we tend to agree This delica-tessen-cum-restaurant offers good split-pea, and beef and barley soup and an assortment of kosher-style food. Phone orders are accepted Catering available in Fort Worth. (3133 Cleburne Road. (817) 923-1907. Mon-Sat 8: 30-5: 30, Sun 8-1 pm. Closed Wed No credit cards $$)

Cattlemen’s. First-time visitors are excited by the rustic Texas-style setting in the heart of the old Stockyards area, but the prime steak is the thing that brings them back a second time Blue-ribbon beeves are displayed to document the superb quality of meat that has been devoured here, but tasting is believing. When the steaks arrive, all else becomes incidental. The prime cuts of rib eye and K. C. sirloin are delectable, and the 18-ounce prime boneless strip is a third-degree sin (2458 N Main. (817) 624-3945 Mon-Fri 11-10: 30. Sat 4: 30-10: 30. Closed Sun Reservations Mon-Thur. All credit cards. $$$) Crystal Cactus. The Crystal Cactus, which gets its name from the etched-glass room dividers, is a pleasant repose and an admirable effort to provide quality dining in downtown Fort Worth. The service is proficient and attentive, and the offerings are attractively presented- The rock lobster salad with tarragon dressing is delicious, and the beef tenderloin is equally well-prepared Interesting luncheon specialties are featured during the week, including a spicy fisherman’s stew (Hyatt Regency Hotel. 815 Main. (817) 870-1234 Dinner: nightly 6-11, Sunday brunch: 10: 30-2: 30 Reservations. Jackets and ties required lor dinner. All credit cards. $$$)

Edelweiss. Edelweiss is a big. joyous beer hall with food Of course, there are German wines and beers, and a cheese soup as thick as we’ve ever tasted For entrées, try the sausages in mushroom sauce or the cordon bleu Kartoffein (schnitzel stuffed with ham and cheese), which is reputed to be the house specialty The potato pancakes spiced with onion make a tasty side dish (3801-A Southwest Blvd (817) 738-5934 Dinner: Mon-Sat 5-10: 30. Closed Sun. Reservations for 10 or more. All credit cards. $$)

Hedary’s. Where else in Fort Worth can you sit down to a meal of hoummus bit-tahini (chickpea dip seasoned with lemon and garlic), khyar bil-laban (sliced cucumbers in fresh yogurt) and a plate of magdoos (pickled eggplant stuffed with walnuts)? Hedary’s is intimate, a bit idiosyncratic and thoroughly old-fashioned in its methods. “No hot table, freezer, chemicals or can opener, ” says the menu, and we believe it The bread is baked while you watch. (3308 Fairfield. Ridglea Center oft Camp Bowie Blvd. (817) 731-6961. Tue-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11. Sun 5-10. Closed Mon. No reservations. All credit cards. $$)

Joe T. Garcia’s. This Fort Worth temple to Tex-Mex serves up industrial-strength margaritas that are champions, and family-style Mexican staples. You’ve got your beans, rice, tacos. enchiladas, tortillas and, if you must, nachos No questions. No substitutions. That’s it. It all makes for an inherently good time. Time after time. (2201 N Commerce. (817) 626-4356. Mon-Fri 11-2 & 5-10: 30, Sat 11-10: 30, Sun 4-10. Reservations for 20 or more. No credit cards. $$)

Kincaid’s. This west Fort Worth grocery store serves, almost as an afterthought, the best hamburger in the state of Texas. Kincaid’s cooks more than 1, 200 a day, but each seems to taste as if your mother toiled over a skillet preparing it. Greasy? Of course. They are also the best-tasting, juiciest, meatiest burgers you’ll ever wrap your hands around. That’s why businessmen in three-piece suits are more than willing to stand in line at the noon hour for a chance to grab one of these delightful burgers, a bag of potato chips and a Dr Pepper from the machine. (4901 Camp Bowie. (817) 732-2881. Mon-Sat 10 am-6: 15 pm. No credit cards. $)

London House. Many a prom date, graduate, newly engaged and golden-aged couple have celebrated at the London House. The steaks and chicken are tender and flavorful. The crab, too. is tender and moist The soup and salad bar, always a strong point, has gotten even better with the addition of items such as watermelon chunks. (4475 Camp Bowie Blvd. (817) 731-4141 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11: 30-2: 30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5: 30-11. Fri & Sat 530-midnight. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

L’Oustau. In this pleasant, open room with lots of skylights. French-accented waiters bring forth a fine selection of continental food The best offerings include the lamb chops (served in a delicate sauce) and the coq au vin, which evoked memories of real country cooking in Burgundy Try a strawberry tart, which comes with a layer of custard and a thin crust of chocolate. Or, if you’re into self-denial, limit yourself to a fresh strawberry dipped in chocolate (300 Main Street. (817)332-8900. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11: 30-2: dinner: Thur-Sat 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations are recommended. MC, V. $$$$)

Old Swiss House. From your arrival, when the parking valet assures you that he will not need a name to remember which car is yours, to the likely personal visit of the chef to your table, you will be coddled all evening. The lamb chops and the cherries jubilee are awe-inspiring, and the veal Oscar and King Edward broil (a beef filet) are good. You don’t have to dress up. but the service and attention shown by the staff will make you feel as though your dinner is a special occasion. (5412 Camp Bowie. (817) 738-8091 Mon-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat 6-10: 30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Reflections. The new Americana Hotel is a pleasant place in itself, offering such indulgences during happy hour as complimentary crab claws and boiled shrimp. But Reflections, the hotel’s main restaurant, makes it unnecessary to leave the premises after happy hour for an elegant meal. The filet de boeuf au poivre is a delight; the generous portions of beef are prepared precisely as ordered and enlivened by a remarkably successful marriage of cognac and pepper sauce. The soups and vegetables are tops, and save room for desserts. Don’t miss the fresh blueberries flown in from France and buried in whipped cream. (Americana Hotel. 200 Main. (817)870-9894. Mon-Sat 6-10. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$)

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