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DINING NEW ARRIVALS

Mudbugs, misser wott, kow-kow and filets.
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Rocco Oyster Bar. Rocco’s isn’t perfect. What it needs is an oceanfront site within viewing distance of some fishing skiffs at a pier. A salty taste to the air would be nice. And seagulls riding on the breeze. But we guess we’re lucky to have Rocco’s at all this far inland – with its panoramic view of Cedar Springs that will no doubt be cluttered soon with hungry patrons waiting in line. If you can forget that we’re landlocked in Central Texas, there’s no less splendid place than Rocco’s to act like a drunken sailor and eat fresh seafood that still smacks of brine. If owner Shannon Wynne had decided to limit Rocco’s repertoire to mixed drinks and beer, it would have been a relentless success. But he chose to compete on a higher plane, and he’s serving fresh bluepoint and Louisiana select oysters on the half shell, several varieties of crab (including soft-shell in season), mudbugs and lobster (as ever, priced accordingly). We began our meal with oysters and a side order of hot-water cornbread that came hot off the grill in two hand-shaped patties tasting slightly sweet. This we chased with an order of angulas. What’s that, you ask? Inch-and-a-half long baby eels all cute and squirmy straight from Spain and served in an avocado half dressed with vinaigrette. Eels – at least these eels – could be best likened to unsalted anchovies or perhaps sardines. We didn’t regret the experiment. On our first trip, our entrees were uniformly delightful: fresh sole almandine, soft-shell crab (not the best we’ve had in town but quite good) and the Big Mix – a brochette of shrimp, scallops, green pepper, tomato and oysters smoked until heated through, but still moist. We weren’t as impressed during our second trip – the sautéed scallops were a bit dry, and the sea bass was delivered uncooked (our waitress apologized profusely, took the plate and re-served the same piece of slightly more grilled, crumbling fish). We also discovered a rather large hunk of shell in our Mabels Baked Shrimp appetizer (boiled shrimp in a sour cream and mustard sauce). Be sure to look at the stained-glass windows designed by Judy De Sanders – little glass angelfish in green and blue are sealed in the prism-like glass that refracts light within the porthole pane. Chic industrial lighting overhead and blue neon tubing that glows here and there make Rocco’s an exceptionally attractive place straight off a movie set in Milan. (2520 Cedar Springs. 747-6226. Sun- Wed 11-11, Thur-Sat 11 am-12:30 am. AE, MC, V. $$)

The Blue Nile and The Red Sea. Vietnam markets, Thai restaurants, sushi bars, Korean steakhouses – such eating establishments are now commonplace in the Dallas area. Five years ago, Mexican and Italian were considered adventuresome cuisine for most Dallas diners. It’s a sign of the times that Dallasites are developing more cosmopolitan tastes. Dallas’ two latest dining additions both offer Ethiopian food and are actually quite similar. The Red Sea, located on the fringes of Oak Lawn, and The Blue Nile, in East Dallas, have menus that list many of the same items, word for word – doro wott, beyaynetu and minchet abesh, to name a few. These strange-sounding dishes, which are stew-like, range from mild (alitcha) to spicy (wott). Doro wott is chicken spiced with hot pepper; minchet abesh wott is finely chopped spiced beef; atkelt alitcha is a mild vegetable dish. Beyaynetu is the Ethiopian combination plate usually consisting of yebeg wott (lamb stew with spiced butter and herbs), minchet abesh, atkelt alitcha and misser wott (lentil stew with herbs). In Ethiopia, as in most Islamic countries, it is customary to eat with the right hand. Instead of using a knife and fork, Ethiopians tear off a piece of in-jera (Ethiopian bread that is spongy and pancake-like), scoop up some zilzil tibs (beef strips fried with a tangy sauce) and gracefully deposit it in their mouths. Contrary to what you may think, you won’t need a handful of napkins during dinner. Eating the Ethiopian way isn’t necessarily messy and it’s a lot of fun. Eating at either restaurant is a delightful experience, but don’t go for the atmosphere. The Red Sea and The Blue Nile both look like former pizza parlors-The Blue Nile even serves its delicacies on pizza pans. Service is helpful and friendly, and if you don’t know how to eat the food, just ask for assistance. (The Red Sea, 2926 Oak Lawn. 528-8476. Daily 11-11. No credit cards. $ The Blue Nile, 7242 Gaston. 324-0471. Tue-Sun noon-midnight. Closed Mon. AE, MC, V.$)

Jade Palace. It is said that pink walls will soothe the most savage and cynical prison inmates. So it is with the hard-to-impress admirers of Chinese cuisine. While we found Jade Palace’s food nothing to write home to Peking about, something-perhaps the service, perhaps the pinkness of the restaurant walls – made us like the place enough to not leave it disgruntled or upset. We preferred our lunch to the evening fare we sampled here. We began the midday meal with an excellent kow-kow platter: beefy ribs, good egg rolls stuffed with fresh sprouts, gingery bits of broiled chicken and generous portions of skewered beef. The Gung Bo Combination – chicken bits, beef, tiny shrimp with vegetables and crunchy peanuts on top – was a rather nice companion to our fried rice, which was fine but unap-petizingly gray in appearance. Our evening entrees came loaded with chunks of fresh bok choy; the helpings of vegetables seemed generous. We figured their proportions had something directly to do with the rather stingy use of chicken and beef. Our favorite entree was the Si Jiu Gai Kew with fermented bean sauce, but it too contained far greater percentages of vegetables than anything else; the beans saved this dish from evaporating into dining mediocrity. Our waitress was quite pleasant and quick to fill our ever-emptying glasses of water. There are fewer hot-and-spicy selections on Jade Palace’s menu than we’re accustomed to, but the chef can be encouraged to spice up your choices. The owners also operate a Northwest Highway restaurant called Yet Lau. We guess they’re trying to capitalize on the new waves of Chinese food-loving newcomers north of LBJ. (10560 W. Walnut Street at Piano Road. 487-0115. Sun-Thur 11-10, Fri 11-11. All credit cards. $$)

Hearthstone Manor. Believe it or not, it’s a good idea to get in your car in traffic-clogged Dallas and drive the 30 or so minutes it will take to wind up (in hopes of winding down) on Main Street in Lewis-ville. This forgotten small town, rudely bisected by an interstate, tempts few motorists to pause, save for rest stopping. But Hearthstone Manor now lends cause for an exit off I-35E. The elegant old house, built in 1885, originally belonged to Dr. J.W. Kennedy, who, it is said, was kidnapped several times by outlaws Sam Bass and Jesse James, blindfolded and taken to their hideout to care for wounded outlaws. His house has been completelyrestored, filled with antiques, freshflowers and plants, and made into a relaxing continental restaurant. Each of therooms of the mansion is decorated differently and aptly named: the BurgundyRoom, the Garden Room, the GreenRoom. The food is basic and wonderful,for the most part. Hot, homemade breadis hard to beat, and Hearthstone serves avariety of muffins and rolls. Steamy bakedpotatoes in full-dress, and all-Americanentrees such as filet mignon, shrimp, snapper and veal make for a wholesome, memorable meal. The most expensive menuitem is lobster tails: $14.95. We don’trecommend Hearthstone for those looking for glitter and disco inferno, but we dorecommend it for a quietly pleasant evening; an enjoyable, well-served meal; anda modest check. And don’t forget dessert:We had fresh peaches and cream. The onlydisappointment was the broccoli. Thesauce had grown’ thick and cold, and thestalks were too chewy. (208 E. Main, Lew-isville. 221-4514. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2;dinner: Tue-Sat 5:30-10; Sun brunch: 11-2. All credit cards. $$$)

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. One noteworthy entree is the sliced breast of duck and drumstick served with pink peppercorn sauce. For dessert, the elaborate pastry cart offers pecan cheesecake, tarts made of delicate pastry filled with cream and topped with orange slices, and a fresh strawberry torte. (15501 Dallas N Pkwy in Adelstein Plaza. 4580702. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$$)

Belvedere. 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. $$$)

Cafe de Paris. Here you’ll find continental cuisine served in a comfortably sophisticated and cheery atmosphere. Offerings include tender beef bour-guignonne, 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. Entrees include steak au poivre and shrimp Riviera (breaded shrimp wrapped in bacon). For dessert, the amaretto cake is superb. (13601 Preston at Alpha. 233-1456. Mon-Fri 11-midnight, Sat 6-midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$)

Cafe 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 lor 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. (2679 McKinney. 823-5380. 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. (Willow Creek 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 10 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 créme 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 11:30-2:30: 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 6:30-10:30 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. $)

The 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 pates 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-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat 6-1. AE, MC, V, DC. $$) The Inn of Country Sonshine. The inn is an intimate, graceful little spot at Preston Trails and FM Road 544 on the southwest side of Piano. Its menu is an ambitious one-duckling a I’orange to veal specialties. Most of the time, the chef’s skills are up to his visions, but occasionally he misses. We had a veal and crab-meat dish that, while good, just didn’t have the zing needed to make it really first-class. In retrospect, it could be that the combination is not a particularly workable one. The duckling, on the other hand, was perfect-the orange sauce providing just the right touch of sweetness. It was hit-and-miss with the vegetables, too-the salsify was delicious: the broccoli in Chinese bread crumbs, too salty. (1933 Preston. 596-0903. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10. All credit cards. $$)

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 entrees 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, DC. $$$$)

Jennivine. Although the atmosphere is British. Jen-nivine offers a lovely selection of French wines, pates ana 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 entrees 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 lor men. $$$$)



Laurent. Three adjectives perfectly describe Laurent: crisp, smooth and light The regular entrées at Laurent include the classic French fish, fowl and beef and a plethora of daily specialties. 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. If we have one complaint about Laurent, it’s an odd one: The tables are placed too close together and the atmosphere is almost too quiet. (502 Sakowitz Village on the Parkway, 960-2988. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6:30-77. Closed Sunday. Reservations. Jackets required for dinner. MC, V, AE. $$$)

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 trite. 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. 8260660. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-77.30 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. MC. V. AE. $$$)Le Rendez-Vous. Service is consistently good, and comfort marks an unpretentious formality. A great late-breakfast omelet is offered beginning at 11. Also, look for the lunch specials with homemade soups, fresh fish and veal. Dinner standouts include extensive seafood entrees, veal in lemon butter, pepper steak and uncommon offerings of duck and rabbit. (3237 McKinney at Hall. 745-1985. Sun 11-1 am, Tue-Sat 11:30-1 am. Closed Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$)

Les Saisons. 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. $$$)

Lurtino’s. The atmosphere at Lurtino’s is fairly posh, but the waiters aren’t stuffy. We began our meal with a wonderful house specialty called sausage and peppers neopolitan. Another good bet is the Scungilli Genovese (snails sautéed in a cream sauce). The house salad is the typical lettuce and tomatoes, but the entrees are grand. A fine selection of pastas is available, the best of which is the tag-alirini with white clam sauce. Lurtino’s also offers a number of veal dishes. Desserts get mixed reviews. (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. $$$)

Manhattan. 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, elegant variations that succeed beautifully. We began 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 béarnaise. We also sampled sole Rebecca, a breaded fish topped with a sauce of mushrooms, pimentos, shallots and capers. (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-2:30; brunch: Sat noon-2:30, Sun 11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11; supper: Mon-Thur 10:30-midnight, Fri & Sat 11-midnight. Reservations. Jackets and ties required. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$$)Maple Street East. This handsome Victorian house has been a favorite since it opened, even though the food was a little uneven. Now all that’s straightened out, and Maple Street East is consistently pleasing. The salads are lovely, and the fettuccine verde is especially nice at lunch, as is the crab, bacon and avocado sandwich. At dinner, try the tournedos, with English trifle for dessert. (2508 Maple. 698-0345. Daily: 11:30-2 and 6-10:30. MC, V, AE. $$$)

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 I’orange. lamb chops and veal in lemon butter are consistently tasty entrées. 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, floss 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 & Sat 5-11. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)



Kebab-N-Curry. If you’re in for something new and you’ve never tried Indian food, this is the perfect atmosphere in which to learn. The place is small, the waiters are friendly and very knowledgeable about Indian food and its history, and the food is authentic. The chicken chat is a tasty appetizer, as are the samosas, a turnover-type pastry stuffed with either vegetables or meat. A wide assortment of Indian breads, pita-like and quite unusual, is offered. Thus far, Kebab-N-Curry has no liquor license, so either bring your own or sip on a “Lassi, ” a frothy yogurt drink that cools the mouth after the hot Indian food. Takeout is available. (401 N Central Expwy, Suite 300. 231-5556. Lunch: daily 11 30-2:30; dinner: daily 5:30-10:30. Reservations. MC. V. AE. $)



Sahib. On visual terms alone, Sahib is commendable: Gauze canopies float over a lovely teal and peach color scheme. As for food, the Maharaja Pati-ala 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 mis-leadingly referred to as “brunch” on weekends). (9100 N 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-Fn 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 food 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. Reserva tions for six or more. No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $$)

Caruso’s. If you like arias with your antipasto. Carusos’ 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, Fn & 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 can be spotty. But the pasta is homemade and the sauces are innovative, delicate and subtle You’ll be able to relish the fresh butter and cream flavors. (3136 Routh Street in Chelsea Square. 742-4330. Mon-Sat 11:30-2 and 5 30-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V. $$)

Fabio’s. Orchestrating an Italian restaurant is no easy trick and should be applauded when done successfully. Fabio’s has pulled together a class act in a very short time and offers a varied menu, classical music and friendly service. The eager-to-please chef doesn’t mind splitting orders of pasta or serving appetizer portions of most entrées, so if you know what you want, you can arrange just that. The fettuccine al’ amatriciana sported more sauce than we prefer, but a fine sauce it was. Our entrees were served with fresh green salads, but nondescript green beans and carrots. The vitello al portafolgio (veal stuffed with prosciullo ham. cheese and mushrooms) was far too rich, but we scraped away a few of the trimmings and enjoyed the tender veal The gamberi alla Fabio-shrimp with scallops and mushrooms-was served in a creamy white sauce (9820 N Central Expwy, Suite 504. Corner Shopping Center 987 3226. Mon-Thur 6 10:30. Fn & Sat 6-11. MC, V. AE. Reservations. $$$)

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 Lombard!. 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 salfimbocca Romana) and first-rate tarts and other desserts, all with Lorn-bardi’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 lor men. All credit cards. $$$)

P.J.’s Ristorante. 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-/0. Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$)



MEXICAN



Adellna’s. This tiny hole-in-the-wall in Preston Center dishes up wonderful huevos rancheros for breakfast plus other Mexican morning specialties such as migas (eggs scrambled with tortilla bits, cheese and tomatoes) and huevos con chorizo. The accompanying potatoes are honest and hearty. For lunch try the tamales, which are outstanding, or the fajitas (grilled strips of beef in a flour tortilla with lettuce and tomato). Adelma’s also caters any night except Thursday, with a limit of 50 guests (6027 Berkshire Lane. 363-8680. Mon-Sat 8-3. Thur 6-9. No credit cards. $)

Café Cancun. Most good Tex-Mex in Dallas is served in places you wouldn’t feel safe visiting at nignt-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 tew 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-mid-night. Sat 5-midnight, Sun noon-10. No reservations. AE, MC, V. $$)

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 Mete de la casa (filet mignon dishes) and the tortilla soup. (3810 Congress off Oak Lawn. 521-0721. Mon-Thur 11 30 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30-11. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE. $$)

EI 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. 7420747 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, the beef dishes, creditable. For dessert, try the smooth, satisfying mango mousse or the cafe 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 11-10 & Sat noon-10. Sun noon-6. MC, V. AE. SS)

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 Stem-mons 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 for 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. Mocte-zuma’s features some excellent chicken and fish dishes. The nachos and the margaritas are tops. On sunny 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 for 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 Mexicana 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 Raphael’s 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-10:30.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 for 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-Fri 7-10, Sat & Sun 10-10. All credit cards. $)



NATURAL FOODS



Marvlns 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. (15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. Mon-Thur 11-10:30, Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11, Sun noon-10:30. Reservations for 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. Since 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-r 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, the 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. Daily: 11:30 am-midmght. AE, V, MC. $$)



Peking Szechuan. We found ourselves in agreement with the praise other reviewers have heaped upon this place Nothing-save a lard-loaded egg roll-was disappointing, and the service was pleasantly well-paced The lamb with green onion and the scallops with hot garlic sauce were extremely nice -both contained fresh, neatly chopped ingredients that maintained their own distinctiveness and crunch. Although one of our entrees contained canned mushrooms, we found them as a whole a welcome change from the gummy, gooey dishes served at some establishments. (2560 W Northwest Hwy. 353-0129. Mon-Thur 11:30-10, Fri & Sat 11:30-11, Sunday noon-10. 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 for 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 moosar tey (pork strips on bamboo skewers served with a peanut sauce) and slices of cucumber and hot pepper For an entrée, 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-tood 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 11:30-10:30, 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 noncombustible 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 lor its seafood as for 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 11-11, Sat 5-11. Sun 5/0, All credit cards. $$)

Fausto’s. Among the culinary triumphs listed on the ambitious menu are lender 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 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 tor dinner. Jackets required tor 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. Reservations optional. AE, V, DC, CB. $$$)

Seascape Inn. This seafood restaurant is one of Dallas’ finest eateries We’ve never had a bad entree, 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 establishment? 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 heat 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, luscious hot rolls and cobbler for dessert. Breakfast begins with biscuits-with gravy or in sausage sandwiches. This is 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 tor 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 tor 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 7:30 am-11:30 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 lor a generous slice of beet 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 lor real barbecued meat. (2202 Inwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 7 am-5 pm, Sat 7 am-3 pm. Sun 11 am-2 pm. No reser-vations. No credit cards. $)



STEAKS, BURGERS, ETC.



Albert’s Delicatessen and Catering. The menu features deli sandwiches and “specialties,” which include croque monsieur sandwiches, soups, hot dishes such as lasagna and moussaka, and bastur-ma, an egg dish fixed with aged beef that tastes a lot like country ham. Al also serves up a creamy, cinnamon-flavored cheesecake and lots of friendly chatter with the customers Albert’s has a nice, neighbory feel to it. (1416 Avenue J. 424 4534 Mon-Fri 7 am-8 pm. Sat 7am-4 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $)



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 pre-pared 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. Daily: 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. 527-5821. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-230: dinner: Mon-Thur 5.30-12 30. Fr,530-1:30. Sat 6-1:30; Sunday brunch: 11:30-4. MC. V. AE. $$)



Chili’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 take 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 Bell 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 reservations MC. V. AE. $)



Chips. Basic burgers, with everything necessary to make them good: fresh, lean ground meat, onions, tomatoes, lettuce, mustard and mayonnaise, and a fresh poppy-seed bun The options include cheese, of course, and double meat And there’s a taco salad large enough to feed a family of four, and the best con queso we’ve had outside our own kitchen. Chili is available, too, but we found it bland. Service is as fast and friendly as you want it because you order at the counter and then pick it up when your name is called. The atmosphere is basic burger joint, loose and relaxed. (4501 S Central Expwy. 526-1092 Mon-Thur 11-10. Fri & Sat 11-1. No credit cards: personal checks accepted. $)



Crackers. Greek dishes prevail at this casual, comfortable restaurant. Dine on moussaka. spano-kopita. baked chicken Greek-style or souflaki on the balcony amid the trees, or in the pleasant, but nondescript dining rooms. For something on the lighter side, quiche and sandwiches are available. Almost all entrees are preceded by a cup of soup and a crunchy cheesy tidbit followed by a fresh green salad. (2621 McKmney. 827-1660. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30, Sat 11-3, Sun 11 -5; dinner: Sun-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11. MC. V, AE. $)

Dalt’s. This is a formula restaurant (it’s owned by the same people who own TGI Friday’s), but it doesn’t look or feel like a formula restaurant. Dalt’s resembles a Thirties malt shop-lots of black and white tile and such. The burgers are big and juicy, as are some of the concoctions that come from the bar. And Dalt’s has some excellent malt shop offerings such as shakes, sodas and sundaes. (5100 Belt Line. Sakowitz Village, Suite 410. 386-9078. Daily: 11 am-2 am. All credit cards. $)

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 full 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. $$)

Joe T. Garcia’s. By definition, there can be but one best Mexican restaurant in North America. There have been times when we were wont to bequeath that title to Joe T. ’s in Fort Worth, but now that isn’t the issue. We are here to talk about an upstart: Garcia does Dallas After several months’ consideration, noting that the owners feel confident enough to sell greeting cards and T-shirts Six Flags-style, we’ll just say we enjoyed the new Joe T. ’s. The margaritas are delightfully, dangerously stiff; and the food, still one-shot standard Mexican fare, is pleasingly dependable. The atmosphere (with some token leaning walls) is not plagiaristic enough of the mother Joe’s to be offensive. We had a good time, enioyed our Tex-Mex family-style grub and plan to go back. But for now we’ll take cash: that’s all they accept. (4440 Belt Line. 458 7373. Mon Sat 11-3 and 5-11. Closed Sun. No 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 can become unbearably thick. 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 for 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 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 11-8. All credit cards. $$)

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

TGI Friday’s. The creator of singlemania, Fridays 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, 363-5353. 5100 Belt Line. 386-5824. Mon-Sat 11:30-2, Sun 11-2. No reservations. All credit cards. $$)

Tolbert’s Chili Parlor. Tolbert’s may have left Oak Lawn, but nothing else has changed at this chili institution (except the crowds gotten even bigger). You’ll still find great mainline Texas cooking-Tolbert’s version of chili (Texas red), burgers with every type of dressing, burritos, hearty fries and superb onion rings-but now you’ll 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) 3320357. Mon-Sat 11-10. Closed Sun. No reservations. No credit cards. $)

The Back Porch. A fun place to visit after an afternoon in the park or an hour at the museum. Wholewheat pizzas, a weigh-and-pay salad bar (which, for 16 cents an ounce, includes fresh, juicy 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. No credit cards. $)

The Balcony. Here you’ll find continental cuisine, specializing in beef dishes, fried shrimp and veal cordon bleu. The elegant restaurant overlooks bustling Camp Bowie Boulevard and is a good place for relaxed dining and conversation. (6100 Camp Bowie. (817) 731-3719. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat 6-10:30. Reservations. Jackets required for dinner. All credit cards. $$$)



Benito’s. This is a real Mexican restaurant, not the place for Pancho-style taste buds or first-semester Spanish students. This small, family-run establishment is managed by the daughter of the former headwaiter at Caro’s, and she’s made sure her restaurant’s beans and rice are just as tasty and non-greasy as theirs. But she’s done more: Benito’s (named after owner Maria’s husband) serves all sorts of Mexican breakfasts, as well as specialties such as menudo-that’s tripe, in case you don’t know; it’s supposed to be great for hangovers. (1450 W Magnolia. (817) 332-8633., Mon-Thur 8 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 8 am-3 am. Sun 8 am-10 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $)



Bill Martin’s. A family seafood restaurant with notable hush puppies and fried, baked and broiled fish of many breeds. The peel em and eat ’em shrimp is a favorite with regulars. We’ll take the large portion of catfish filets. The newspaper theme is followed in the menus and names of all the “editions.” (2nd Edition, 4004 White Settlement Road; 737-4004. 3rd Edition, 5425 E Lancaster; 451-7220. 4th Edition. 7712 South Freeway; (817) 293-9002. Tandy Edition, 1 Tandy Center; 336-2667 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 4:45-10, Fri 4:45-11, Sat 11-11, Sun 11-10. All credit cards. $$)

Burgundy Tree. A pleasant spot for good omelets, crepes, quiches and even an occasional London broil. The Burgundy Tree’s University Drive location makes it an easy drive from Casa Manana. Will Rogers or a show on Camp Bowie. (1015 University Dr. (817) 335-2514. Mon-Thur 11-11. Fri & Sat 11-1; Sun brunch: 11-2. V, AE, DC, MC. $$)

Caro’s. A longtime favorite Mexican food outpost, Caro’s offers the best plate of mixed goodies in the Southwest. “Mixed goodies” is Caro-lingo for 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 pretty much resembles that of any restaurant of its genre, except it’s 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 Cur-zon, (817) 737-0304. Lunch: Tue-Sun 11-2; dinner: Tue-Sun 5-10 at Blue Bonnet and 4:30-10 at Curzon Closed Mon. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$)

Carshon’s Delicatessen. They fell us there isn’t another corned-beef sandwich in Texas like Carshon’s, and, judging by the reputation Carshon’s has held in Fort Worth for 40 years, we tend to agree. This deli-catessen-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 to 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: daily 5-11; Sunday brunch: 11-2. Reservations. Jackets and ties required for 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 entrees, 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 lor 10 or more. All credit cards. $$)

Joe T. Garcia’s. This Fort Worth temple to Tex-Mex serves up industrial-strength margaritas that are champions, and superior 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. But it’s the best, and it 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 tor 20 or more. 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 5:30-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 evokes 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 one fresh strawberry dipped in chocolate (300 Main Street. (817) 332-8900. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservations are recommended. MC, V. $$$$)

Massey’s. Knowing a chicken-fried steak at Mas-sey’s is knowing the best of the breed, the crème de la crème, the piece de resistance of chicken-fried steak. The portions are huge, and the tender meat is cooked with a heavenly breading and topped with yellow creamed gravy, just the way they do it on that great spread beyond the sunset At lunchtime, you get salad, two vegetables and homemade biscuits with your steak. Seafood and Mexican dishes are also served. (1805 Eighth Ave. (817) 924 8242. Daily: 8 am-10 pm. MC, V. $)

The Melting Pot. Regardless of how good a restaurant is, a shopping mall address draws skepticism. But we were favorably impressed by The Melting Pot, on the upper level of Ridgmar Mall (also around the corner from Neiman’s), which offers a full menu, including savory baked brie to be scooped from the plate with a homemade Melba toast or an apple slice Among the appetizers is a whimsical selection of croissants, omelets, fondues and pasta. All are reasonably priced (nothing on the menu costs more than $11 25; many entrees are under $5.) Everything we tried was good-the crab-meat croissant was filling, flaky and well-seasoned. The pasta arrived delightfully hot. but could have been more vigorously seasoned (Ridgmar Mall, 2166 Green Oaks Road. 731 1502. Mon-Sat 11:30-9. AE, 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. $$$)

River House. This welcome spot considerably lessens the pain in a city aching (or reasonably priced, yet digestible seafood. The seafood platter is a delightful sampling of shrimp, oysters, fish and deviled crab; the assorted shore dinners, which include an appetizer, salad, entree, drink and dessert (try the Key lime pie), are a worthy catch. (1660 S University. (817) 336-0815. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon & Tue 5-9, Wed-Sat 5-10. Reservations for six or more. All credit cards. $$)

Zeke’s. This smaller sister-restaurant of The Hop (it’s run by the same family) was for many years happily located next to Freak Imports and is run by what is a minority In Cowtown: longhaired, freaky people. The kind that need not apply at other, stuffier establishments We love Zeke’s longhairs, fried fish. tartar sauce, beer garden and music. (5920 Curzon. 731-3321. Sun-Thur 11-11; Fri & Sat 11-midnight. No checks, no credit cards. $)

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