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DINING NEW ARRIVALS

The hottest new restaurants in Dallas
By D Magazine |

Han-Chu. (Chinese) Anyone who drives North Central Expressway knew about this restaurant months before it opened because of the billboard emblazoned with its name. The publicity pulled crowds of people into the place even in its earliest weeks. But even though they may initially have visited because of sheer curiosity, they’ll probably keep coming back because of the quality. In this location, which used to house Yunnan Dynasty, the owners of Taiwan have produced an even more tastefully appointed new Chinese restaurant than their lovely one in Addison. Han-Chu is sleek, with a dimly lit decor of plum and black, and is so sophisticated-looking that its rather casually attired diners almost look out of place sitting at tables set with fine china and being served by tuxedoed waiters. Much effort has obviously been expended on the hand-painted murals and the nicely set-off dining areas, but equal care has been taken with the menu. The food breaks a lot of new ground for Chinese food in Dallas, and it will take some time to assess just how remarkable many of the interesting-sounding new dishes really are.

Although the offerings among the appetizers are not among the groundbreakers, the hot towels that are presented at the beginning of a meal, followed by a complimentary dish of vinegary Chinese pickles, are a pleasant touch. There are first-rate shrimp toast and pleasant chicken slices coated with sesame seeds, but the spicy chicken salad is unremarkable. The soups are a bit more unusual: Both the Szechuan soup with vegetables and the pork and pickled cabbage soup are worth exploring.

The main dishes offer the greatest senseof adventure at Han-Chu. The ham servedwith jujubes (Chinese dates) and twists ofsteamed bread on the side is wonderful forthose who want a sweet dish to balance thespicier ones; and the chewy beef with crispynoodles, while difficult to manage withchopsticks, is worth the effort. The steamedduck served over a bed of spinach has awonderful smoky flavor and a smooth andslippery texture quite unlike any other duckdish. The simpler dishes, such as chicken orshrimp with vegetables, are also executedwell, with the best of each ingredientbrought out. At no other restaurant in towncan you so easily get a meal with the classicChinese balance of flavors and textures.There’s even a selection of unusual Chinesesweets for dessert. Han-Chu is the most important new Oriental restaurant to come toDallas in quite a while. (Caruth Plaza, 9100N. Central Expwy, at Park Lane, Suite 191.691-0900. Mon-Thur 11:30 a.m.-10:30 p.m.,Fri & Sat 11:30-11:30, Sun 5-10:30 p.m. Allcredit cards. $$) 7.0

Enclave at the Spectrum. (Nouvelle) This new restaurant, in the building at the hub of all the Addison development (the Spectrum is the sculptured-looking building with two towers at the corner of Belt Line and Dallas Parkway), shows almost no family resemblance to its namesake on Walnut Hill except that there is a dance floor in the bar. One enters the Addison enclave through a small water garden, and the dining rooms are well removed from the bar and its band (they have an airy view of the burgeoning high-rises to the north). If the older Enclave is known for its rather stuffy traditionalism, the new one has a much more inventive and novel feel to it.

The Enclave at the Spectrum has a prix fixe dinner for $22.50-one of the most reasonable in town for an elaborate continental meal. Its closest competitor is Ceret, in the downtown warehouse district, which is undoubtedly more stylish in its decor and more authentically French. But in the quality of the food-all of which is vaguely nouvelle in approach-the new Enclave seems to hold its own. It is strongest in the main dishes. The duck, for instance, comes in meaty pinkish slices, surrounded by a honey-cider sauce (neither too sweet nor too sour) and topped with crisp cracklings of skin. The salmon with crayfish and beurre blanc is tender and moist, and a Bordelaise sauce, complete with a round of beef marrow, complements the well-aged steak, which is cooked nicely to order. But the Dover sole, filets of which are rolled up, set on their sides and accompanied by a green sauce, can be disappointingly tasteless.

The best of the appetizers are the oysters baked with a chive sauce. The duck pate’ with hazelnuts is pleasant, though unremarkable, and the shrimp mousse with a light curry sauce tastes mostly of the curry. Dinners come with a sorbet (we tried the raspberry and pear-the cactus leaf was unavailable when we visited) and a salad of Boston lettuce, watercress, cucumber andtomato. The desserts-coffee mousse, chocolate cake, custard with kiwi and raspberrysauce, and a fruit-and-cheese plate-don’tquite match the quality of what has comebefore, but are tasty enough. The welcomeis most hospitable, and the wine steward ishelpful without being patronizing. On thewhole, the new Enclave at the Spectrum isa good value and a valuable addition to thatgroup of restaurants at the lower end of the”expensive” category. (5080 Spectrum Dr.,Suite 115E. 661-3390. Lunch: Mon-Fri U-2;dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat 6-11:30. Allcredit cards. $$$) 6.0

Rusty Pelican. If Fantasy Island has a seafood restaurant, it’s probably an outpost of this California-based chain. A healthy-looking young man in a polo shirt greets you pleasantly at the entrance to the parking lot and tells you where the nearest empty space is, and a beautiful young lady in a skimpy sarong stands on the porch of the place to welcome you. Inside the enormous freestanding building (with plants on the roof that make it look like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon) on Dallas Parkway, these fresh young faces are multiplied by the dozen; the service staff is plentiful and seems intent on truly serving. To the right of the entranceway are a couple of bars and a patio (there’s live music in the evening), and to the left are a variety of seating areas where the music is not too intrusive. Plants hang down from everywhere, photographs of catamarans dot the walls, and instead of rotary fans on the ceiling there are large cloth ones that move back and forth in synchronization.

The Rusty Pelican is a seafood chain, as you can tell by the display of iced-down fish that also greets you when you enter-but it shouldn’t be confused with the other seafood chains that bear similar names. This one makes every attempt to be a quality operation. The variety of fish is impressive, with species from all over the world (especially the Pacific and the North Atlantic), all fresh. There is variety in every department, including the bar, which claims to stock more than 40 imported beers and offers a couple of Chardonnays by the glass every night in addition to the house wine.

The quality of the cooking at Rusty Pelican is impressive, too, although it doesn’t quite match the level of Dallas’ best independent seafood restaurants. The assorted seafood appetizer presents fresh shellfish-tiny shrimp, a couple of oysters on the half shell, particularly attractive cracked crabs-along with a rather oily hunk of smoked salmon, some wedges of fresh fruit and a bit of cheese. The Cajun shrimp come in their shells and are seriously spicy, and the nachos could stand as a lesson to some Mexican restaurants we know. Each main dish is accompanied by soup or salad. Both the Manhattan and the New England clam chowders are exemplary, and the spinach salad comes with a homemade bacon dressing.

There are several specialties among the main courses that do interesting things to seafood. The cashew shrimp, for instance, contains a wide variety of crisp Chinese vegetables in a savory soy sauce. And there are a couple of beef dishes for those who don’t want seafood; the prime rib has been aged correctly and comes cooked to order. But the main things here are the broiled or sautéed fish. The Gulf red snapper sautéed with almonds is as tasty a version of that standby as you can find in Dallas. The list of broiled fish is very long and contains a number of items likely to be unfamiliar to most customers. We sampled the ahi (yellow-finned tuna) and the Pacific salmon and found both impeccably fresh but both a bit dried-out from the charcoal. The garnishes-a pilaf of rice-shaped pasta andsteamed vegetables-were perfectly done,however. The sourdough bread is excellent,and is even better transformed into theParmesan-coated garlic bread. The dessertsare mostly concoctions of good-quality icecream; the most exciting is the pecan andchocolate pie. You can dine at the RustyPelican very reasonably if you order one ofthe cheaper entrées and no appetizer ordessert. If you order the works, the bill willmount up well into the expensive range, andyou probably won’t be able to eat everything.(14655 Dallas Pkwy., Addison. 980-8950.Sun-Thur 4:30-11 p.m., Fri & Sat 4:30 p.m.-midnight. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 6.0

Chow to Go. (Gourmet Carryout) Caterer Mike Hearn, whose business, Chow, is one of the best-known in Dallas, has opened a takeout establishment with a few tables available for eating lunch on the premises. So far, the fere at lunch resembles one of the nouvelle sandwich establishments like Pacific Express more closely than, say, Mira-belle. A blackboard, beautifully decorated with colored chalk drawings of flowers, advertises the selection. They sound fairly far-out, and they taste that way, too. The lamb sandwich, for instance, comes with caprino (a goat cheese that’s made in Dallas) and sun-dried tomatoes-but it comes off as a trifle gimmicky and even a bit dry on its croissant (or whatever-the diner has a choice of breads). The sandwich of smoked turkey, jack cheese, guacamole and salsa is much more successful, although the feeble-hearted should be warned about its picante salsa.

There’s a selection of unusual salads; theone with shrimp and shell pasta is ourfavorite. The salad of ribbon pasta with pinenuts, which accompanied the sandwiches,suffers from mushy noodles. But perhapsthe best things at Chow to Go are the bakedgoods. Muffins are available in a variety offlavors, as are brownies (we prefer the GrandMarnier to the Kahlua). The cookies aretops-the chocolate chip ones are the onlystore-bought cookies we know that are asgood as Grandma makes. (2404 CedarSprings at Maple. 871-7145. Mon-Sat 10a.m.-7 p.m. No credit cards. $$) 5.5

El Gallito. (Mexican) This Mexican restaurant on Ross Avenue east of downtown looks as though it has been around for a long time. The outside is unprepossessing, with a venerable-looking sign with a neon rooster on it (gallito means “little rooster”). The interior is well-worn, with large chairs covered in plastic around a few tables, and some booths lining the sides. But once you receive a menu, you realize that El Gallito is not the old-line Mexican place it appears to be. In fact, it’s a new restaurant altogether, although it occupies the older premises and keeps the older name. The menu indulges in the fashionable dishes of the day (fajitas are the leading item), and we can’t recall any other Mexican restaurant at which you can’t even buy an enchilada. Innovation is good, but this may be going a bit too far.

The fajitas are, in fact, one of the less successful dishes at El Gallito. Our skirt steak was cut with the grain instead of against it, and it was quite tough. But the grilled steak and the chicken breast basted with garlic butter are both extremely well-prepared; both were fresh, smoky-tasting and tender. The guacamole is unequivocally our fevorite version in Dallas-properly thinned out and acidified by plenty of tomato and onion. Another top appetizer is a quaint cocktail of tiny shrimp in a sweet picante sauce. That about exhausts the excellent Mexican specialties at El Gallito. The tacos and flautas are perfunctory, but the hamburgers and chicken sandwiches (grilled chicken, not chicken salad) are worth sampling.

Much of El Gallito’s charm comes fromthe relaxed atmosphere created by the efficient staff. Food is also served on a smallpatio filled with flowering plants and trees,and drinks come in old-fashioned ice-cream-soda glasses. If the rest of the food were upto the level of the guacamole, the steak andthe chicken, this place would be a real contender among Dallas’ Mexican restaurants.(4202 Ross Avenue. 826-6681. Mon-ThurSat 11:30 a.m.-3 a.m., Sun 4 p.m.-3 a.m.AE. $$) 4.5

Robert’s. (Mexican) Housed in the building where Hamp’s Hoffbrau used to be, Robert’s is making an impressive showing on the local dining scene. The waiters are courteous and professional, and the menu boasts well-prepared dishes that, while not totally laudable, are definitely worth a try. The best steak, appropriately called Robert’s Steak, is as wide as it is thick; in fact, the one we devoured reminded us more of a brick than a steak. But our fears about its texture were soon allayed when we slid our knife effortlessly into it.

The fajitas had been recommended as being the best in town. We admit that they weretop-notch, although they still face stiff competition from the South Side’s Benito’s (westill.like the flamboyant presentation of thesizzling fajitas, despite the excellent marina-tion of the meat at Robert’s). The guaca-mole, however, surpasses all others we’vetasted in Cowtown. It was chunky andspiked with just the right amount of chilisauce. Our waiter brought our guacamole afew minutes before our entrees arrived; bythe time he returned, the bowl was empty.Skip the house wines, but don’t worry-themargaritas can make up the difference. (215 University. (817) 877-5515. Mon-Thur 11a.m.-10 p.m., Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-8p. m. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS



D’s revised dining listings have been categorized according to geographical locations, beginning with downtown Dallas and radiating outward to the suburbs.

For restaurants that have more than one location, the review is listed under the original location’s listing. All branch locations are listed with their respective addresses and are cross-referenced for your convenience.

The parenthetical phrase immediately following the restaurant’s name indicates the culinary focus as described by that establishment.

These listings are updated and supplemented periodically. Visits by our critics are made anonymously to avoid preferential treatment. Inclusion in this directory has nothing to do with paid advertising.

The pricing symbols used are categorical, not precise.

They indicate 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. Expect to spend more than $20 for a complete meal for one (excluding wine and cocktails).

$$$$ Very expensive.

“Reservations’ indicates that the restaurant will accept reservations.

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.

Restaurants have been rated on a 1 to 10 scale, with a rating of 10 being the highest recommendation.

Restaurants receiving a rating of 7.5 and above have been designated with a bold D.

DOWNTOWN/WEST END



Antares. (Continental) This is the perfect spot for avisitor to Dallas who is staying at the Hyatt Regency: Ithas an excellent view, good food and adequate service. By the same token, Antares is not an extraordinaryplace for Dallasites who have already seen the view.The specialty here is beef-excellent aged beef, including prime rib that’s of melt-in-the-mouth quality. A smallsampling of seafood and fowl is also available, with afew basic appetizer offerings such as shrimp cocktailand somewhat unimaginative escargots. Desserts areplentiful and full of pizazz. (300 Reunion Blvd. 741-3663. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11-2; dinner: daily 6-11; Sunbrunch: 10:30-2:30. Reservations. All credit cards.>$$$) 4.0

Café Cancun. (Mexican) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane.(Plaza of the Americas. 650 N Pearl. 969-0244. Mon-Fri11 am-7 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.0

D Café Royal. (French/Continental) This excellent restaurant seems to be struggling to findits niche in the hierarchy of Dallas’ French kitchens. The latest gimmick is what Cafe Royal calls itsmenu de degustation-which usually means a multi-course sampling of the chefs specialties. Here it’s reallyjust a prix fixe dinner in which the diner has few choices,but it may be more of a bargain than ordering a la carte.And the chef seems to give more attention to it, so thefood may be better than items ordered randomly off themenu. (Plaza of the Americas, 650 N Pearl. 747-7222.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6:30-10:30.Reservations recommended. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0

Caret. (French/Continental) Francophiles continue torally around what may be the one true French bistro(translation: solid French cooking at moderate prices)in town, but we find that the “haute-y” air here can bestifling. Nevertheless, the food is mostly of the highestquality, and at $20 for four courses, who’s complaining? Occasionally we have hit a sour note: The salmonmousse appetizer, for instance, had an unpleasantlypasty consistency and a canned taste. However, a special, calamari (squid), was meltingly tender and saucedto perfection. Soups are generally excellent: We lovethe mussel soup and the potage aux champignon (asoup du jour), and the oxtail soup is hearty without being heavy. All the seafood entrees are honest and well-prepared, but the rib-eye steak, our waiter warned us,”is not much better than you would get at Cork &Cleaver,” so beware. Two huge scoops of homemadesorbet or the chef’s puff pastry with vanilla sauce top offa meal handsomely. (703 McKinney in the Brewery.720-0297. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30, Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE.$$$) 6.5

Charcuterie. (Lunch) Sanger Harris does an uncommonly good job with their in-house eatery. The croissants are warm and flaky, and if you’re into saladsof any persuasion, they’re bound to serve them here.The onion-mushroom soup deliciously offers the best oftwo favorites. The sandwich offerings are intriguing;the chicken breast with cheese on a croissant was particularly good. (Sanger Harris, 303 N Akard. 749-3990. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3. AE, Sanger Harris charge. $$) 5.0

Ferrari’s. (Italian) Certainly the most confusing Italianrestaurant in town, this new spot can seem both wonderful and dismal on consecutive visits. Go for the appetizers and the snapper cooked in an ivory sauce. Thepasta dishes are inconsistent, but they can be very fine.We wonder why the salads have to be comprised solelyof iceberg lettuce – if this is a trend, we hope it doesn’tcatch on. (1713 Market. 741-5538. Lunch: Mon-Fri11 -2: dinner: Mon- Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11.Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, $$$) 7.0

D The French Room. (French Nouvelle) With its heavy rose-colored draperies and gilt trim, this is the most formal dining room in Dallas. And it’s still probably the best kitchen, too. Few restaurantscombine dependability and excitement so well. Weloved everything about our last meal here, from thelovely salad with goat cheese to the feuillete of berriessurrounded by hot caramel sauce. But be forewarned:If you go in for the lobster or the pastry stuffed with awhole truffle, your meal will be the most expensive in thecity, as well as the most elaborate. (Adolphus Hotel,1321 Commerce. 742-8200. Mon-Sat 6:30-10:30 pm.Closed Sun. Reservations required. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0



D REVISITS



Hampton’s Seafood Market. (Seafood) For aHampton’s sampler, start with a bowl of the unusually thick, murky gumbo, so redolent of bay leaves,sage and the mysterious je ne sais quoi thatbelongs to this dish. After a crab or oyster cocktail,try the salad platter, featuring mounds of tuna,halibut and crab with a heap of savory coleslaw. Onthe way out, browse through the market, which features fresh flown-in herring, sea bass, Louisianaextra-select oysters and other treasures from thedeep. (801 S Pearl. 742- 4668. Mon-Wed 8 am-6:30 pm, Thur-Sat 8-8, Sun 8 am-5 pm. No creditcards: personal checks accepted. $$) See PrestonRoyal. 6.5



D Newport’s. (Seafood) You can’t buy fresher-tasting fish and shellfish than that served at Newport’s. We tried a half dozen each of the tiny bluepoint oysters and the heftier Louisianas, and all were fresh and cold. The boiled shrimp are also first-rate, whether alone in a cocktail or with crab in a Dijon sauce. The fried shrimp and oysters stand out in our memory, and the french fries were light and crisp. But our memories of the charcoal-broiled swordfish and salmon are heavenly, too. Newport’s looks very dramatic, with several airy levels of tables on rough wooden floors surrounding a huge well (which once held the water that went into making the beer at the brewery that long ago occupied the premises). (703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, DC. $$$) 8.0<BR>Pacific Express. (Nouvelle Lunch) New downtownrestaurants are popping up as fast as skyscrapers; oneof the nicest is Pacific Express, next door to the MajesticTheatre. You’ll never eat in a fancier place where youhave to carry your own food on a tray. The food mightbe characterized as “New Wave tearoom.” You’ll findsalads and sandwiches and desserts, plus suitable accompaniments such as fresh-squeezed orange juiceand several vintages of wine available by the glass. Themeat in the chicken salad has been smoked, and it’scoated with shallot-vermouth mayonnaise. Fresh pastasalad comes with peas, cherry tomatoes, goat cheeseand pesto sauce. (1910 Pacific, Suite 130. 969-7447.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2. No credit cards. $$) 5.5

The Palm. (Steaks & Seafood) This new branch of thefamous New York restaurant is for big spenders. Areyou ready for a lobster that costs $72 – without salad orpotatoes? Our New York strip was disappointing: Themeat wasn’t as butter-rich and tender as corn-fed beefshould be, and it had been so carelessly cooked that ittasted of nothing but its charred exterior. It’s too badthat the star attractions of the Palm were such busts,because there was a lot of good cooking going on inother departments. The potato dishes (the crunchyhash browns and the crisp, thin cottage fries especially) and the delicate strings of onion rings were sensational (although we couldn’t understand why they wereserved before the appetizers and a half hour before themeats they were meant to accompany). Lunches areless devastating to the pocketbook, but the food is evenless successful. (701 Ross. 698-0470. Mon-Thur 11:30am-10:30 pm, Fri 11:30-11, Sat 5-11 pm. Sun 5-9:30pm. All credit cards. $$$$) 6.0

Pranzo’s. (Italian/Lunch) When you get right down to it, there aren’t many nice places downtown where you can enjoy a basic business lunch. Despite the goodfood, La Pranzo doesn’t quite fill the void. At this downtown lunch spot, we tried a salad of mozzarella, tomatoes and zucchini with basil dressing that would makea delicious light lunch in itself. Sfinciuni, much like adelicate, double-doughed pizza encasing a hearty filling of either cheese and vegetables or sausage andham, was delicious. But the restaurant has alreadysparked a reputation of being too slow for anyone withhopes of returning to work with time left in the day, andon our first visit, the service was confused to the pointof being comical. (SPG Building, 1530 Main, 2ndfloor. 698-0493. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 pm. MC, V, AE,DC. $$$) 5.0

Richard’s Café Americain. (Lunch) If you’re the type of person who favors light lunchtime fare, replete with colorful pates, spiced tea, tiny muffins with strawberry butter and inventive variations on salad and sandwich themes-in short, if the word “dainty” is for you an appealing adjective-then climb high atop the Manor House to this cozy little tearoom in the sky. It’s brightly adorned with pleasing pastel colors and original art, and the service is both competent and attentive. A pianist adds spice to the melange in the afternoons. (Manor House, 1222 Commerce, 25th floor. 761-0143. Lunch: daily 11-2:30; tea: daily 3-5; happy hour: Mon-Fri 5-9; Sun brunch: 11-3. MC, V, AE, DC. $) 5.0

Tangerine. (Chinese) This informally elegant newChinese restaurant is one of the best restaurants downtown. Beautiful porcelain figures and dark orange accents lend a festive air to the high-windowed rooms withtheir dramatic views of the new skyscrapers in theneighborhood. The food is excellent, too; one sensesa definite desire to avoid cliche. But for now Tangerineis open only for lunch. (2401 Ross. 969-1011. Mon-Fri11 am-2:30 pm. MC, V, DC. $) 6.0



MCKINNEY/OAK LAWN



Adriano’s. (Italian) The delights of salmon-and-goat-cheese pizza don’t seem to have caught on in Dallas the way they have in Los Angeles. Can it be that we’re obtuse here, or just more sensible? But even if you don’t go for Adriano’s more exotic offerings, you can enjoy pizza with pancetta (an Italian version of bacon), crispy brown roast chicken or any of a number of other not-too-trendy items. The rich chocolate ice cream is a good follow-up. (The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. 871-2262. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. MC, V. AE. $$) 6.0

The Bronx. (Eclectic) After our recent meal here, we’re ready to hand out “Honk if you love the Bronx” bumper stickers. Everything from start (chunky, lemony gua-camole with crisp tostadas) to finish (a not-too-sweet but creamy amaretto cheesecake) was a delight. The menu is not expansive, to say the least: Variations on the omelette theme are the mainstays. But the omelettes, sautéed in butter, are fluffy and filling, and they come with various side dishes, such as bagels or Italian sausage (try one with a glass of delicious spiced iced tea). The wooden booths lining the walls make intimate conversations easy; the service is prompt and efficient. (3835 Cedar Springs. 521-5821. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-3; dinner: Mon- Thur 5:30 pm-12:30 am, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-1:30 am: Sun brunch: 11-3. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

D Calluaud. (French) After a rather disappointing lunch not long ago, we went back to Dallas’ establishment French restaurant-and we’re happy to report that all was well. The appetizers showed that owner/chef Guy Calluaud is willing to buck French tradition if a good idea comes to him: Where in the old country can you find a refined version of ceviche cloaked under the description “marinated seafood salad”? Our main courses-which is where we had problems the last time-were back on track, with perfectly cooked scallops and sweetbreads, both of which had just the right touch of garlic. We also detected a local influence in one of the luscious desserts-or do they really make lemon tarts with fluffy meringue tops in la belle France? (2619 McKinney.823-5380. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur6-10, Fri & Sat seatings at 7 & 9:30. Closed Sun.Reservations. Jackets and ties required. All creditcards. $$$$) 9.0

Café Rincón. (Mexican) If you stick to the best disheshere, you can get a sensational meal served on theshady patio. Cafe Rincón serves the tenderest, mostbuttery-tasting beef in town in its Mexican steak dishesand alambres (shish kebab). The red snapper is alwaysimpeccably fresh and can be ordered with a picanteveracruzana sauce of peppers, onions and tomatoes orwith mole de ajo, a strong garlic butter. The service iswarm and efficient beyond compare-we don’t know ofa friendlier restaurant. (2818 Harry Hines. 742-4906.Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat 5 pm-midnight.Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.5

Chiquita. (Mexican) This has been one of Dallas’ dining treasures for a long time. It was the first of the fancier restaurants serving more authentic specialties along with Tex-Mex plates, and it may still be the best. The standard line about this place is that the specialties are better than the Tex-Mex dishes, but on our last visit, the basic enchiladas and tacos were well above average. The fajitas were rather odd (no sizzle and little flavor), but we enjoyed the steak studded with garlic and peppers, accompanied by a soft taco and a roasted potato, as much as ever. (3810 Congress. 521-0721. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30am-11 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.5

Ciao. (Italian) Although pink neon, a checkerboard-tiledfloor and a gallery of black-and-white photographsspeckled with colored glitter beckoned us inside, thereal welcome at Ciao was its carefully prepared (andamply proportioned) Italian offerings. We started ciao-ing down on a salad that was topped with mounds ofParmesan and freshly ground pepper and was accompanied by a complimentary loaf of hot, crusty bread.We also tried an appetizer of fettuccine, rich andcreamy with spicy bits of bacon, and a gourmet pizzaadorned with spinach sautéed in garlic butter andpimentos. Stuffed but not daunted, we ended our feastwith a piece of nutty, spicy Italian Wedding Cake- trulya marriage made in heaven. (3921 Cedar Springs.521-0110. Mon-Sat noon-midnight. Sun 5 pm-midnight.MC, V, AE. $$) 6.0

D REVISITS



Clair de Lune. (Traditional French) Located in one corner of the Quadrangle, this handsome French restaurant offers good (although not consistently good) food at moderate prices. Opting for lunch inside the airy dining room (there’s also a popular outdoor patio), we began our meal with a pleasantly spicy gazpacho. Our entrées were enjoyable but uneven in quality – the trout amandine was deliciously executed, but the accompanying potatoes were a disappointment; the roast beef sandwich was dressed in too much cabbage, but the bread was crunchy and fresh. This trend continued with the desserts: Although the chocolate mousse was rich, the texture was grainy, and the apple pie won’t satisfy any sweet tooths. Service was crisp and has vastly improved from past visits. (The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. 871-2288. Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun 11-11. All credit cards. $$) 4.5



Crackers. (Greek/Eclectic) Greek food is the specialty at this 81 -year-old house on McKinney Avenue, but you’ll also find quiche, burgers, sandwiches, soups and assorted entrées such as steak and fish. Both the moussaka and souflaki are fine, while the spanokopita (a flaky phyllo pastry filled with spinach and feta cheese) is exciting but very rich. Soups are usually good, and the large Greek salad is wonderful. The patio and balcony make Crackers ideal for sunny luncheons. (2621 McKinney. 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, DC. $$) 5.5

Cremona. (Northern Italian) Tucked away on a side street off Cedar Springs, Cremona is a restaurant with no pretensions. A typical luncheon menu might offer one appetizer (sautéed mushrooms with garlic), a wide choice of pastas and a single lackluster chicken dish. Among the pastas, the tortellini was delicate and rich,the lasagna good but unprepossessing. Although wedon’t usually like flavored cheesecake, the one withamaretto is a fine end to a meal. In nice weather,Cremona’s sunny patio is a pleasant place to dine.(2600 Woodrow between Cedar Springs and Routh.742-4330. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. Reservations. Allcredit cards. $$) 5.0

D. Michael. (Nouvelle) This new arrival serves some of the farthest-out nouvelle cuisine in town. Not all the recipes sound as strange as the “breast of moulard duck with candied jalapenos, served with cassis sauce,’ but most of them are pretty recherche, whatever their description. The general complaint here is that wonderfully cooked meat is accompanied by blah sauces, the primary exception being the Pacific king salmon roasted with thyme, tarragon and fennel. The presentation of five colorful scoops of sorbet on one dish is lovely, but who needs three melon ices (honeydew, cantaloupe and watermelon) in a single serving -especially if the other two are mango and blackberry? (2917 Fairmount. 871-0123. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2: dinner: Tue-Sun 6:30-10. Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Fran’s. (Southern) Don’t be fooled by the men in coatsand ties; wear your jeans and T-shirt and get set forsome good, down-home cookin’ -maybe even a mitebetter than Mom used to make. The atmosphere hereis down-to-earth: The walls are shingled, the windowsare filled with pots of English ivy, and the blue jean-cladwaitresses are friendly and attentive. We were impressed with the chicken-fried steak and the catfish,both of which were topped off with home-cookedmashed potatoes, squash and corn bread. The menuchanges daily, so bring your bifocals to read thechalkboard menus that hang on the wall. (3005 N Hall.741-7589. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 5-11. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 5.5

Fuddrucker’s. (Burgers) Fuddrucker’s lives up to its boast of presenting the “world’s greatest hamburgers.” The home-baked buns are grilled to perfection, and the meat is tender and juicy. The other sandwiches may be even better-the steak sandwich is a sizable rib-eye,the hot dogs come with two lengthy links, and there areboth white and red sausages for wurst fans. All thesecan be fixed up to the individual’s taste at bars burstingwith onions, tomatoes and pickles. Avoid the dessertsat the bakery counter: Both kinds of cookies and thebrownies are tasteless and overpriced. (2614 McKinney. 871-2068. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11am-11:30 pm. Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC, V, AE. $) 6.0

Herrera. (Tex-Mex) The most outstanding characteristic of this pleasantly dumpy Tex-Mex house is its small-ness. Hot hot sauce, greaseless tacos and dynamiteflour tortillas may draw hungry crowds to Herrera, butyou can bet that the masses don’t sit down to sup together-there isn’t room. But if you don’t mind a line andguaranteed tight quarters, if you’re looking for authenticity and for fresh, high-quality ingredients, and if yourtongue is flame-retardant, then head for Herrera. (3902Maple. 526-9427. Mon, Wed& Thur 9 am-8 pm, Fri-Sun9 am-10 pm. Closed Tue. No credit cards. $) 5.5

J. Pepe Gonzalez. (Mexican) This fancy new Mexicanrestaurant in the Quadrangle isn’t for purists (themargaritas are sweetish, and the food doesn’t havemuch zing to it), but there seems to be an infinitely expandable market for safe, responsibly prepared Mexican specialties. The combination plates provide lots ofvariety-there are several with excellent sour creamchicken enchiladas as well as the ones made with beef.Probably the most unusual among the more authenticMexican dishes are the shrimp-and-spinach enchiladas. They aren’t particularly exciting, but it was niceto know we were getting our daily quota of green vegetables. Polio a la Pepe (grilled breast of chicken) andthe carnitas dinner (with three baked pork burritos)were substantial and tasty. (The Quadrangle, 2800Routh. 871-0366. Mon-Thur 11 am-2:30 pm & 5:30-10pm, Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5:30-11 pm. Sat 11-11, Sunnoon-9 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

D Jean Claude. (Classic French) Jean Claude Prevot has abandoned his kitchen in order to spend his time greeting guests (and appearing as a guest himself on Julia Child’s new PBS show). But his food doesn’t seem to be suffering. We aren’t sure of the wisdom of coating scallops with a mustard sauce,but everything else on our last visit was heavenly: asweetbread paté with crunchy vegetables, lamb showered with fresh herbs and accompanied by a little ballof lamb stuffing, golden sea bass in a tomato and hol-landaise sauce, a perfectly caramelized upside-downapple tart and a cloudlike chocolate souffle. Over theyears, this restaurant has become more confidentlyFrench (salads are now served after the main dish as amatter of course) and more confidently wonderful. (2404 Cedar Springs. 748-6619. Tue-Sat seatings at 6& 9 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations required.MC, V, AE, DC. $$$$) 9.0

D Jennivine. (Continental) Heavens! Jennivine, once a bastion of excellent, rather down-home British-style cooking, has gone nouvelle on us! No more simply broiled fish, no more bowls of delicious mashed potatoes and home-style carrots. Now, poached salmon comes with an arty sauce and a spray of underdone vegetables on the side. You can also find the likes of quail with passion-fruit sauce. The food, mind you, is still excellent-and, given the level of the cooking, is actually underpriced. But we confess that we do miss the old style a bit, since nearly every other place in town is going the chichi nouvelle route. At least we can content ourselves with the extraordinary plates of patés and cheeses-they’re just like the Jennivine of old. (3605 McKinney. 528-6010. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards. $$) 7.5

Jozef’s. (Seafood) This pleasant seafood restaurant, with its small dining room and rough wood walls, is warm yet elegant. We began our meal with fresh, chilled oysters on the half shell and ceviche, a tangy, fresh combination of fish, onion, tomato, green pepper and cilantro in a lime-juice marinade. Our entrées, however, drew mixed responses. The scallops in cream sauce had a wonderful flavor, but they were rather tough. And the Maine lobster, likewise, was sweet in flavor but chewy in texture. But the chocolate mousse cake (which we swear looked exactly like a pie) was a melt-in-your-mouth ending. (2719 McKinney. 826-5560. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) See Stemmons/Bachman Lake. 5.5

D L’Ambiance. (French Nouvelle) We love thisplace so much that we’re even becoming convinced it has atmosphere. Maybe it’s the talented guitarist who plays during dinner that compensates for the crowded tables. But it’s the food that hasus hooked, although on our last visit, the appetizer ofnoodles in a basil and tomato sauce disappointed us bybeing overcooked and flavorless. But it was clear sailing from there: The thin slices of poached salmon in arich green sauce, the crisp sliced duckling in raspberrysauce and the sautéed striped bass were without flaw.Don’t skip the salad or the desserts here; the watercresswith bacon and goat cheese, the Concord cake ofchocolate and meringue and the Floating Islanddessert are all great. (2408 Cedar Springs. 748-1291.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10. ClosedSun. AH credit cards. $$$) 8.0

La Trattoria Lombardi. (Northern Italian) More thanany other type of food, Italian cuisine sets a mood, andLombardi’s hot, creamy pasta manages to warm andrelax you and make life in general seem considerablymore pleasant. At La Trattoria, quiet music, brick archways and traditionally good-natured and competentservice completed the spell that began when we sampled several appetizers. Carpaccia (perfectly spiced,paper-thin slices of juicy raw beef served with capersand light Dijon mustard) practically dissolved in ourmouths. But the veal with sweetbreads and the chefsown recipe for homemade green lasagna were thecrowning glories of the evening. (2916 Hall. 823-6040;528-7506. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur5-10:30, Fri & Sat 5-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards.$$$) 6.0

D La Vieille Varsovie (The Old Warsaw). (French/Continental) This grand old place is a Dallas tradition, with its violinist and pianist and its flamingoes on the walls. Our last meal was a trifle disappointing-the pastry in our salmon feuillete was tough, for instance – but there’s no doubt that standardsare higher here than they were a few years ago. The ornate salads and the dessert souffles are consistentlysatisfying. (2610 Maple. 528-0032. Sun-Thur 6-10:30pm, Fri & Sat 6-11 pm. Reservations. Jackets required.All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0



D REVISITS



Lawry’s. (Prime Rib) There’s something reassuringabout Lawry’s unabashed adulation of thick, juicyred meat. Here’s an establishment that has refusedto succumb to the nouvelle bent, and the result issolid, satisfying fare: top cuts of prime rib cookedthe way you like it, a choice of potatoes (we liked theoven-roasted version best), thick slices of hot sourdough bread and a wine list that’s (appropriately)strong on full-bodied reds. We like the Old Worldfeel of the neoclassical facade and the dubby feeling of the bar and dining rooms. It feels a little likeanother era-even another city. (3008 Maple.521-7777. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11:30, Sun 4-10. Allcredit cards. $$$) 5.5

Le Boul’ Mich. (French) We’ll hesitantly continue to recommend dinner at this elegant old house across the street from the Quadrangle, despite the fact that on our last visit we experienced some unforgivably absent-minded service and less-than-spectacular food. (Even so, it gave us plenty of time to munch soft, hot bread, sip wine and enjoy the view through the large windows that line the front of the restaurant.) The menu is short but varied, and specials are offered every evening. The pea soup had a rich, bacony flavor, and the spinach salad had much more than the obligatory sprinkle of bacon and egg. One of the specials, sole meuniere, came lightly breaded (though a tad soggy) in white sauce; and the steak au poivre was likewise drenched in sauce, although the meat itself was good. But the chocolate-chip cheesecake isn’t worth the calories. (2704 Worthington. 826-0660. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11:30 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$) 5.5

Lea Saisons. (Country French) This is a lovely place for lunch or dinner, although the construction going on outside has taken some of the charm away from the view from the dining rooms. The standard bistro menu is executed with aplomb, and you can find all the old favorites, from paté to chocolate mousse. Ordering a steak will get you exquisite french fries as accompaniments. (Turtle Creek Village. Oak Lawn at Blackburn,Suite 165. 528-1102. Sun-Fri 11:30 am-11 pm, Sat11:30 am-midnight. Reservations recommended. Allcredit cards. $$$) 6.5

Lucas’ B&B. (American/Breakfast) Our previous reviews of this Oak Lawn institution were more than glowing, but our last visit was disappointing. It occurred to us that regardless of how charmed we are by the waitresses’ beehive hairdos and orange vinyl booths, $4.55 is pretty steep for two eggs, a patty of sausage, two biscuits and coffee with one warm-up-especially since our Saturday morning service was slow and careless. Lucas’ may be an endearingly Texan place to take visitors from out of town, but for the working man’s breakfast, we’ll opt for Bubba’s. (3520 Oak Lawn. 526-8525. Daily 24 hours, except 1:45-3 pm. MC, V. $) 2.5

D The Mansion on Turtle Creek. (AmericanNouvelle) The miracle in the kitchen here continues on apace-and of course, this has always been one of the grandest-looking restaurants intown. Most of the menu is now nouvelle to the point ofoverkill. On our last visit, we marveled over an appetizerof red shrimp, a salad of smoked tuna and a side dishof grilled asparagus. Even old favorites such as greenpasta with medallions of lobster had a wonderful newtaste; for once, the shellfish was tender and the pastaal dente. We also found that the service was morepleasant than before, although we still hear complaintsthat it can be haughty and sullen. (2821 Turtle CreekBlvd. 526-2121. Main dining room (jackets and lies required, except at brunch)-lunch: Mon-Fri noon-2:30;brunch: Sat noon-2. Sun 11-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 6-10:30.Fri & Sat 6-11, supper: Mon-Thur 10:30-midnight, Fri &Sat 11-midnight. Promenade Room-breakfast: daily7-10:30; lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; tea: Mon-Fri 3-5:30.Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.5

Marty’s. (Gourmet Carryout) Our dream is to be able to afford to do all of our grocery shopping at this granddaddy-of-’em-all gourmet carryout shop. Specialty foods from around the world are offered here: scores of imported cheeses, homemade patés and carryout entrees such as duckling, pasta (the tortellini is superb), aged meats, smoked meats and a variety of French specialties. The desserts (mostly pastries) are scrumptious; the cheesecake (which comes in a variety of flavors) is extra special. Marty’s is the perfect place to pick up everything -appetizers, entrees, desserts,coffee and wine-and then take it all home and pretendyou made it yourself. (3316 Oak Lawn. 526-4070. Mon-Sat 10 am-6:30 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, Marty’scharge. $$) 7.0



D REVISITS



Mario’s. (Italian/Continental) Red velvet walls,Watercolors of game birds and classical music givethis Italian restaurant its longstanding reputation forritziness. Perfectly prepared beef tournedos makethis place more than just a fine purveyor of pastaand veal. The prices are high, but justifiably so, andthe service is pleasant, though at times a littleforgetful. The management of Mario’s has done agood job of not allowing this Dallas legend to decline. (135 Turtle Creek Village, Oak Lawn at Blackburn. 521-1135. Sun-Thur 6-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat6-11 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5



Mexico. (Mexican) The cooking here has really come together since a rather shaky period after the opening. Now the conejo borracho (“drunk rabbit,” marinated in tequila and then grilled) is juicy, with a wonderful tang added by the alcohol. The chicken chimichangas top any in our experience, with a light, flaky crust that reminds us of a good French pastry. Both the unusual dishes (such as the vegetarian enchiladas) and the standard Tex-Mex items seemed well-thought-out and consistently prepared. Since the eclectic decor-with flying angels and strings of chili-pepper lightbulbs- has always been an attraction here, that leaves only the service to be worked on: It was friendly but slow and slack on our last visit. (2911 Routh. 760-8639. Tue-Fri 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Sat & Sun 11:30-11:30. Closed Mon. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.0

Moctezuma’s. (Mexican) A few blocks down from itsold location, the new Moctezuma’s has lots of spaceand a patio out front – great for sunny days if you canstand all the dust from the nearby construction. Thefood, starting with great chips and hot hot sauce, canbe excellent. The appetizer plate is grandiose, withflautas and spinach quesadillas in addition to the usualguacamole and nachos. The standard Tex-Mex, including homemade tamales, is fine, but the many specialty dishes deserve the name the restaurant gives itself:”gourmet Mexican.” The carnitas of pork, wrapped in aflour tortilla, are delicate and come with a sauce loaded with fresh cilantro. (3202 McKinney. 559-3010. Sun-Thur 11-11, Fri& Sat full menu 11 am-11:30 pm; appetizers 11:30 pm-12:30 am. Reservations for parties of sixor more. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Raphael’s. (Mexican) We had almost given up on theold locations of Raphael’s on McKinney and on Greenville, but the new place on the Addison strip seems toembody the virtues that once made Raphael’s the topMexican restaurant in town. The food is good, from asimple plate of enchiladas to such complexities as carnitas of beef, grilled shrimp with lots of garlic andchicken breast covered with cheese and lots of cookedfresh peppers, onions and olives. Even more refreshingis the solicitous service we encountered at the new BeltLine location (the waiters at the older ones sometimeshave seemed to be competing for new levels of churlishness). Our only problem with the new spot is thateveryone else in North Dallas seems to have discovered it too. (3701 McKinney. 521-9640. Mon-Fri 11:30am-3 pm & 5:30- 10:30 pm, Sat noon-10:30 pm. ClosedSun. Reservations Mon-Thur only. MC, V, AE, CB. $$)See Upper Greenville/North Central, Addison/Richardson/Far North Dallas. 5.5

D REVISITS



Ratcliffe’s. (Seafood) On our latest visit to one ofDallas’ favorite seafood restaurants, we weredaunted by the appetizers-a bland assortment ofcrab, shrimp and oysters and a strange fishmousse covered with a filet of smoked salmon andserved cold – but the rest of the meal was heavenly. The grilled swordfish couldn’t have been sweeteror juicier, and an extravagant dish of filets of threedifferent kinds of fish sautéed and served over vegetables with a light sauce was succulent. Did wesay heavenly? Maybe we should have said “astronomical”- prices here rival all but the most expensive French restaurants. (1901 McKinney. 748-7480 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: daily 6-11.Reservations. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5



Rocco Oyster Bar. (Seafood) Are we just gettingblase, or is the high-tech look getting a bit dated? Wefind that the lower, patiolike room at Rocco is nicer tolook at than the chic starkness of the main room. Luckily, the food holds up better than the decor. We like having a choice among oyster varieties, and the crab meatcocktail is generous in size, though pricey. Both broiledfish entrees we tried – redfish and salmon – were doneto a turn. Desserts are mostly ice-cream pies-again,pleasant but rather overpriced. (2520 Cedar Springs.747-6226. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat11:30-midnight. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.5

D Routh Street Café. (American Nouvelle) This is the hardest restaurant at which to get a reservation in town, and perhaps the finest as well. The new American cuisine includes exquisite preparations of every dish, starting with the muffins-flavored perhaps with squash or hickory nuts-that begin themeal. Among the choice things on the menu, whichchanges daily, are the flaky tart filled with wild mushrooms, the game dishes (the wild boar was divine -unexpectedly mild and tender), the unusual sorbetsand ices and the rich, rich desserts. The wine list,printed by a computer daily, contains only Americanvintages-too bad if you had your heart set on a Frenchgrand cru to accompany the wonderful food. (3005Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Mon-Sat 6-10:30pm. Lounge: Mon-Fri 4:30 pm-1:30 am, Sat 6 pm-1:30am. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All creditcards. $$$$) 9.0

S&D Oyster Company. (Seafood) A line from Jonathan Swift hangs in the entry of S&D: “He was a boldman that first eat an oyster.” But what a trend that manset, and what a perfect atmosphere for letting severaldozen of the slimy little jewels shimmy down your gullet.This New Orleans-style anchor is always crowded, andunfortunately (for us at least), the peak crowd lasts fromearly afternoon until midevening. But if you don’t mindwaiting in line, the coleslaw is spectacular (and coleslawis rarely spectacular), the shrimp are juicy and meaty,and everything from the red snapper filets to the friedoysters tastes fresh and is never greasy. (2701 McKinney. 823-6350. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri& Sat 11-11.Closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $$) 5.5

Uptown Deli. (Gourmet Carryout) It seems that our appetite for gourmet-to-go is insatiable: Yet another chic little takeout place-cum-caterer has opened on lower McKinney. Not to sound blase, but there are the usual oh-so-trendy salads, a quiche of the day and sandwich fare on croissants. You’ll find some novel twists, however: hot Mexican panuchos (flour tortillas packed with cheese, ham and stick-to-the-ribs refritos) and a special “San Francisco-style” (whatever that is) entree each day.The sweets reflect the same care and quality as everything else; we especially like the rich, thick cheesecake.But why, oh why, do they have to close at 3 pm? (2404McKinney. 871-7120. Mon-Fri 10 am-3 pm. No creditcards; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.5

Via Veneto. (Northern Italian) In the former quarters ofSergio’s, under the same ownership and with the samephone number, Via Veneto really is a new restaurant -with a new menu and new ambitions to match. Many ofthe antipasto dishes are based on shellfish. Perhaps thebest is a dish of large scallops tossed with strips of peppers and slices of black olives. When it comes to pastadishes, almost all are available either in smaller portionsas first courses or as main courses. It’s hard to chooseamong the spinach ravioli in a fresh-tasting tomatopuree, the tortellini in a richly colored sauce, the fettuc-cine with mushrooms and ham and the tagliarini tossedwith bits of fresh clams. The most promising entrees arethose from the grill: The thick veal chop, still on its bone,came off the fire at just the right moment, showing justa blush of pink when sliced. But the service is less thanattentive. (The Quadrangle. 2800 Routh. 742-3872.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri& Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. Reservations for dinner only.MC, V, AE, DC. $$$) 6.0



KNOX/HENDERSON



D Atlantic Café. (Seafood) With its etched glassand elegant stone floors, this new seafood restaurant has a chic air and a glamorous clientele. You may well have a wait, but you will also havesome marvelous food. Among the first courses, theceviche of shrimp and scallops is the standout, and thebaked oysters and the exquisite tomato and fresh moz-zarella salad are also memorable. Our salmon steakwas perfectly broiled, with a crunchy exterior and ajuicy interior, and our sautéed scallops were delightfullysauced. The angel-hair pasta with seafood was a pleasant change of pace for those not in the mood for fish byitself, and there is an ample selection of veal and beefofferings, too. (4546 McKinney at Knox. 559-4441.Lunch: daily 11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri& Sat 5:30-11. MC, V, AE. $$$) 8.0

D REVISITS



The Beefeater. (Steaks) This place has beenaround under one guise or another for a long time,and time seems to stand still amid the dark woodsand oil paintings. The service can be so leisurely asto stand still, too, but it is wonderfully hospitable,and the Beefeater’s relaxed atmosphere is delightful after the hustle and bustle of chain steakhouses.Red meat and potatoes are handled with great skill.Sirloin, tenderloin, prime rib, huge lamb chops andbaby back ribs all satisfy the carnivorous spirit, andthe baked, au gratin and hashbrown potatoes areadmirable accompaniments. Everything else ispretty much a throwaway, but that doesn’t keep theBeefeater from being a rewarding place to eat.(3010 N Henderson at Central Expwy. 826-2553.Mon-Thur 6-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 6-11:30 pm.Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$) 5.0



Bohemia. (Czechoslovakian) A little corner of the old country is hidden behind the unprepossessing exterior of this place. Airy lace and perpetual Mozart set the tone here, and the food can be first-rate. We especially enjoyed the rich liver pate as an appetizer, and the strudel is the real thing. But the main dishes show that the food is basically sturdy, Czech-style home cooking rather than anything more elaborate. The sauces on the sauerbraten and the pork roast are excellent, but the meats themselves are sliced coarsely and thereby lose appeal. But is there any other place in Dallas where you can order Tokay, the Hungarian dessert wine, by the glass? (2810 N Henderson. 826-6209. Sun & Tue-Thur 5:30-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Reservations recommended. $$$) 6.0

Café Oceana. (Seafood) The look hasn’t changed much since Piaf’s became Cafe Oceana; we still like the spacious, airy feeling and the crisp green of the plantsagainst white and wood tones. The specialty now isseafood. It isn’t bad, but we wish it were better. Amongthe array of appetizers, we tried the gumbo (too thick forour tastes), the boiled shrimp (too bland) and theoysters Rockefeller (which tasted as though they hadbeen cooked in a simple sauce of mock hollandaiseand frozen spinach). The main courses showed a bitmore talent in the kitchen. The fried fish (especially thecatfish) was very well-prepared; the barbecued shrimp,cooked on a brochette in a tomatoey barbecue sauce,were fine for those who like their seafood on the sweetside. The side dishes ranged from creditable fried potatoes to one of the oddest coleslaws we’ve ever had -it was dressed in a reddish sauce that smacked ofhorseradish. (4527 Travis. 526-3730. Lunch: Mon-Fri11 -3; dinner: Mon- Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-11:30. ClosedSun. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 3.5



D REVISITS



Chip’s. (Burgers) What a great hangout! Chip’s hasall the ingredients: iced-down longnecks in an old-fashioned cooler near the door, a barrel of peanutsfor munching, neon beer signs on the wall and aTV. Of course, there are also some great burgers,with one-third pound of beef, sliced onions, pickles,tomatoes and assorted condiments and sauces-all on a grilled poppy-seed bun. A shish kebab, asteak or chicken sandwich, a Coney dog or a tacosalad are also listed on the chalkboard menu, andthe tasty fries are especially good. (4501 N CentralExpwy. 526-1092. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat11-11. No credit cards; personal checks accepted.$) 5.0



D Exposure. (Continental) The proprietors here will give you a friendly welcome even if you aren’t among the beautiful people who make up the regular clientele. Chef Bruce Auden’s food is wonderful -he recently added duck to the nightly menu – and can be had most reasonably on the special pre-theater prix fixe dinner or on the late-night breakfasts. The prix fixe meal includes marvelously original soups, zestful salads, almost any main course on themenu, dessert and coffee. But to get one of Auden’s innovative appetizers, you have to order a la carte. (4516McKinney. 528-0210. Mon-Sat 4 pm-2 am. Closed Sun.All credit cards. $$$) 8.5

Highland Park Cafeteria. (Southern) Everybody inDallas knows about the great home-style cooking atHighland Park Cafeteria, but not everyone has heardabout the lavish buffet sometimes offered upstairs. Weused to think of it as a clever and sybaritic way of avoiding the crowded lines in the regular cafeteria – but theprice ($9 for adults, $4 for children) means that you can’tquite take the alternative lightly. Go when you’re reallyhungry and can eat a mountain of the salads, friedchicken, brisket, fresh broccoli and squash casserole,rolls and the always-tempting desserts-meringue, apple and rhubarb pies, multilayered cakes and the like.We stuck to one dessert apiece and thought ourselvesimpossibly virtuous. (4611 Cole. 526-3801. Mon-Sat 11am-8 pm. Closed Sun. No liquor. No credit cards. $)See Addison/Richardson/Far North Dallas. 6.0

Hoffbrau. (Steak) If what you want is a thick, juicy slabof beef without a lot of unnecessary frills, head for Hoffbrau. You won’t find any pseudo-English pub atmosphere here; the decor can only be loosely described as”fun Texas funk.” And there’s not a lot of choice aboutwhat will accompany your steak (a salad and potatoescome with each entree; only one salad dressing is offered, and the chunky potato slices are pan-fried), butit doesn’t really matter. Everything we tried was good,especially the steaks. The service was efficient, andgold stars must be given to the busboys in particular:Friendly and sharp-eyed, they were poetry in motion.A hint: Go early to escape the inevitable wait. (3205Knox. 559-2680. Mon-Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11 pm, Sunnoon-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Javier’s. (Mexican/Continental) Billing itself as a “gourmet Mexicano” restaurant, Javier’s serves fare that comes under the one hyphenated abbreviation we don’t hear very often in Dallas: Mex-Mex (or Mexican food a la Mexico City). The unfancy decor of stone, dark wood and plants is shown up by the downright exotic selection of mostly beef and seafood dishes preparedwith pungent marinades and topped with, for example,black pepper sauce or garlic sauce. We enjoyed thefilete cantinflas, a beef tenderloin stuffed with MontereyJack cheese and seasoned butter and topped with achile mulato sauce and sliced avocado. The polio alajillo (chicken sautéed in garlic sauce) was a bit dry butwell-flavored, and the bean and cheese nachos, madewith black beans, were some of the best we’ve tried.(4912 Cole. 521-4211. Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30 pm, Fri&Sat 5:30-11 pm, Sun 5:30-10 pm. Reservations. Allcredit cards. $$) 5.5

Knox Street Oyster Garage. (Seafood) Under thesame ownership as (and sharing a kitchen with) Hoffbrau, Knox Street Oyster Garage goes for a sleekercrowd. But the food disappoints. The peel-em-yourselfshrimp have little taste other than salt and can be chewyto the point of toughness. The kitchen fries only shellfish – shrimp, scallops and oysters, and only the oystershave much interest. Of the house specialties, thewaitress told us that the scallops with fresh mint werethe best. We hope she was wrong, because they weretough and fishy, and the sauce (composed of lots offresh mint, tomatoes and onions) had an unpleasanttaste. (3201 Knox. 5220842. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11am-midnight, Sat 5 pm-midnight, Sun 10 am-3 pm &5-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

On the Border. (Mexican) On the weekends, it seemsas though everyone in town is trying to crowd into this”South Texas Cafe,” as it bills itself. And no wonder,since this place may serve the best fajitas around. Thesizzling strips of beef (or chicken, if you prefer) aremeaty, tender and not overly marinated, as theysometimes are elsewhere. The grilled whole chickenbreasts come from the kitchen golden from the smoke.And the praline cheesecake makes a sweet ending.(3300 Knox. 528-5900. Mon-Thur & Sun 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am. All credit cards. $$) SeeLas Colinas/Mid-Cities. 5.5

Tolbert’s Texas Chili Parlor. (Texana) Frank Tolbertmay be gone, but his legacy lives on at his chili parlor.There should be consolation enough in this Elysium ofTexas Red -the chili is still tasty, and the burgers areoutstanding, too. The one problem we found in thisparadise was with the chicken-fried steak. It was the realthing, all right-a single piece of meat rather than someprefabricated substitute. But the crust didn’t hold ontoit very well, and the gravy was unremarkable. Thecrunchy fries, large drinks and our sweetheart of a waitress just about made up for it. (4544 McKinney. 522-4340. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight, Sunnoon-11 pm. MC, V, AE. $) 5.0



MARKET CENTER



Aw Shucks. (Seafood) See Lower Greenville. (4535 Maple. 522-4498. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11:45 pm, Sun noon-9 pm. No credit cards. $) 6.0

The Bay Tree. (Continental) The Wyndham Hotel recently changed management teams and put a new chef in its petite dining room -to the improvement of the food, if not the overbearing service. Previously, the cooking was satisfactory, but now several of the dishes are much better. It sometimes seems that every restaurant in town has a sautéed shrimp appetizer, but the one at the Bay Tree is a marvel. Intense heat has given the crustaceans a lovely reddish-brown crust, and the buttery wine sauce tickles the tongue. The noisettes of lamb are sauced superbly, too, although they havehardly a trace of the fresh rosemary mentioned on themenu. There are still some rather pedestrian thingshere, such as the asparagus soup and the sautéedsnapper with a pistachio breading, but the comparatively moderate prices and the improved foodmake the Bay Tree worth considering even if you’re notstaying at the Wyndham. (The Wyndham Hotel, 2222Stemmons Frwy. 631-2222. Daily 5-10 pm. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Café Italia. (Italian) This is strictly an unpretentiousstorefront operation, although there are some nicedecorative touches in the apricot-colored tableclothsand the airy white metal chairs. The menu mainly offersNorthern Italian dishes, and they are priced at the lowend of the local scale for this sort of thing, especially atdinner (when prices are about the same as they are atlunch). Although the kitchen doesn’t make its ownpasta, it cooks its noodle dishes so well that we thinkthey are the best bets. The linguini pescatore, flavoredwith shrimp, clams, scallops and plenty of garlic, wasamong the tastiest in town. The veal and chicken dishesare good without knocking your socks off. (5000 Maple.521-0700. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat5:30-10. Closed Sun. $$) 4.5

Escondido. (Tex-Mex) If we called this place a “dive” in the literal sense, Escondido would make your ears pop. But don’t despair when you see Escondido’s ramshackle white frame exterior or its late-New York subway interior. The Tex-Mex food is superior, the chips are just greasy enough, and the servings are massive considering the price. But skip the chalupas, and don’t be too critical of the basic nachos. You aren’t here for anything chichi (although the mushroom enchiladas are quite good); you’re here for extraordinary beans, rice, tamales and tacos. (2210 Butler. 631-9912. Lunch; daily 11-2; dinner: daily 5-9. No credit cards. $) 5.0

Gonzalez. (Tex-Mex) For a fried-chicken stop gone Tex-Mex. Gonzalez does a reliable job, though never an outstanding one. Both in atmosphere and in spice, the word is bland. The nachos we tried were nothing but store-bought tortilla chips with cheese and scant peppers, and they arrived at the same time as our entrées. And the margarita we ordered was too sweet tofinish. But the meal was quick, and the place was clean. We prefer a mediocre chile relleno to the unknown chicken any day. (4333 Maple. 528-2960. Daily 7 am-9 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Mistral. (French/Japanese) In this disco/restaurant, a huge screen displays Duran Duran videos, and neon abounds (we counted seven shades of red and blue in the ceiling decoration alone). How many $45 per person prix fixe dinners have you eaten while seated on plastic-upholstered banquettes, looking at statues of swans lighted by rose-colored spotlights and being served by a hunk dressed punk-style with a single diamond stud piercing his left ear? The food is excellent without being extraordinary – rather far-out nouvelle with even more Asian influences than usual in the style (the chef was born in Japan and trained in Europe – he once cooked at Buckingham Palace). We found the service, though earnest, to be a trifle gauche. (Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Frwy. 760-9000. Tue-Sat 7-11:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$$) 6.5

Plum Blossom. (Chinese) The simplicity of the surroundings here bespeaks elegance, and the careful service contributes to the peaceful atmosphere as well. The menu offers a choice among elaborate set dinnersthat range from $20 to $27.50 (with a smattering of a lacarte offerings). We splurged on the most expensiveand were served delicious scallops in a potato nest, aChrysanthemum Firepot (a tureen of rich broth in whichall kinds of meat and vegetables cook), Peking duckand other treasures. The meal was satisfying, except forthe chicken and banana roll in a sweet-and-sour sauce(which tasted as unappetizing as it sounds) and thelychee sherbet. (Loews Anatole Hotel. 2201 StemmonsFrwy. 748-1200. Mon-Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations required. Jackets required. All credit cards.$$$)6.5



D REVISITS



Nana Grill. (American Nouvelle) The most beautifulview of the city may be from this spacious restaurant atop the new addition to the Loews AnatoleHotel. The food is the “New Southwestern Cuisine”- which in this case means that all meats andfish are grilled over mesquite and are accompaniedwith sauces that include lots of cilantro, peppersand spices. The grilling is expert, leaving the basicfoodstuffs juicy and tender. Side dishes can be interesting or just plain odd, and the desserts seemto have improved enormously since the placeopened. (Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 StemmonsFrwy. 748-1200. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner:daily 6-10:30. Reservations recommended for dinner. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Ray’s Blue Note. (American Nouvelle) This place now serves Texas nouvelle cuisine, and the new menu concentrates on mesquite-grilled red meats and a bit of seafood. Everything is served with fantastic attention to visual detail, with garnishes such as flowers or baskets carved out of tomatoes and flavorful relishes made of sweet and hot peppers. The steak and the pork chop were delicious with their crusty, seared surfaces. The sausages (which include some venison) are both robust and excellent. The apricot-and-apple is actually sweeter than either of the dessert specialties: an odd, grainy rice pudding and a weird serving of vanilla ice cream with “spiced” fresh fruit-“spiced” in this instance meaning peppery-hot. The neighborhood is run-down enough to discourage some diners. (5490 Denton Cutoff. 631-6199. Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 4.5

Rosita’s. (Tex-Mex) Rosita’s sits on the edge of the Maple Avenue Hispanic district, both geographically and metaphorically. The neighborhood patrons and the North Dallas tourists, with a full spectrum of Dallasites in between, make up a thoroughly eclectic crowd. This restaurant’s universal appeal comes from its longstanding success at producing simple, well-prepared Tex-Mex standards, served by an efficient and courteous staff for a reasonable price. The atmosphere is that of a south-of-the-border bar in a Grade-B Western, and pictures of such infamous outlaws as Pancho Villa, Geronimo and Willie Nelson make you feel obliged to order a bottle of mescal (or something equally revolutionary) from the fully stocked cantina. This is a great place for Texans to get their weekly taco/enchilada fix. (4906 Maple. 521-4741. Tue-Fri 7 am-10 pm, Sat& Sun 9am-10pm. Mon 7am-2:30pm. MC, V, AE. $) 5.0

Siam Orchid. (Thai) Under its new management and name, this place continues to turn out excellent Thai food. We don’t seem to be able to eat here without ordering our old favorites- pork sate, spring rolls and the intriguing noodle dish called pud Thai-but there are plenty of dishes on the menu to reward a bit of exploration. The beef with lime leaves in a spicy sauce, for instance, offers a truly novel flavor for the adventurous. And you have to feel adventurous even to venture into the Siam Orchid, which is situated among adult bookstores and theaters. Inside, however, the polite staffmakes everyone feel comfortable. (1730 W Mockingbird near Harry Mines. 631-5482. Mon-Thur 11 am-2:30 pm & 5-10 pm, Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5-11 pm, Sat & Sunnoon-11 pm. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Sonny Bryan’s. (Barbecue) Lordy, can these folkscook barbecue! The brisket is tender and juicy, with acrisp crust that is the essence of woodsmoke; the ribsare perfection. It’s of little consequence, we suppose,that the side dishes are nothing to speak of and that thehubbub and housekeeping are insufferable. If suchthings really bother you, you can do as many others doand order to go. (2202 Inwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 8am-5 pm, Sat 8 am-3 pm, Sun 11 am-2 pm. No reservations. No credit cards. $) 6.5



OAK CLIFF / DUNCANVILLE



Hondo’s. (Texana) Although the sign on top of the restaurant says “Real Texas Burgers,” the boasting at Hondo’s is about its chicken-fried steak, which it claims is the best anywhere. Unfortunately, this lexas-sized boastfalls short of the mark. The meat was tender, but the batter was bland; the gravy, tasteless. The steak was morelike what you’d find in a TV dinner than anything evenremotely resembling homemade. But the surroundingsare typically Texan, with old bottles, rusty horseshoesand weathered lumber creating a thoroughly rusticlook. It’s too bad the food wasn’t as authentic. (Wheat-land Plaza, 450 E Wheatland, Duncanville. 298-0873.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3, Sat 11-4; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-8, Fri5-9, Sat 5-8:30. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $) 4.0

La Calle Doce. (Mexican) This comfortable Oak Cliffrestaurant serves excellent Tex-Mex food as well as awide range of more authentic specialties. We’ve had thebest luck when we’ve ordered the beef dishes. The car-nitas tampiquenas, though uncharacteristically cookedwith soy sauce, are delicious, as is the stewlike guiso.The accompanying beans, rice and flour tortillas arememorable, too. Our only real disappointment was aslightly fishy-tasting snapper veracruzana. (415 12th St.941-4304. Mon-Thur 11 am-9:30 pm, Fri 11 am-10:30pm, Sat 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Sun 11:30 am-8:30 pm.MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 5.5



D REVISITS



Longhorn Bar-B-Q. (Barbecue) This far SouthDallas restaurant may be lacking in atmosphere,but it serves outstanding beef, sausage and ribswith all the usual side dishes. The beef sandwicheshave plenty of lean, tender, tasty meat on freshgrilled buns. The french fries and baked potatoesare good, too, and the cafeteria-style service isfast and courteous. (315 S Hwy 67, Cedar Hill.299-5092. Mon-Sat 11 am-8:30 pm. No creditcards. $) 4.0

Pies’ Barbecue. (Barbecue) Mr. Pies started his catering business in 1931, and except for a little work that he’s done for Mobil Oil on the side, he’s been turning out barbecue ever since. In his recently converted Dairy Queen, Ples and his wife prepare delectable ribs, sliced beef and sausage, and they serve it cafeteria-style with all the trimmings: turnip greens, beans, corn on the cob, corn bread and a slab of sweet potato pie that is poetry en croute. (1212WKiest. 371-5533. Mon-Thur 11 am-8 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-9 pm. No credit cards. $) 6.0



PARK CITIES/LOVERS LANE



D Au Bon Gout. (French) We’ve been listing this enterprise as a gourmet carryout business for several months, but now it has become one of the premier places to eat in Dallas as well. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, chef Christian Gerber prepares whatever he feels like cooking for no more than 30 people. The $35 prix fixe is worth every penny and more: The food is perfection. (4424 Lovers Lane. 369-3526. Tue & Wed 11 am-6 pm, Thur-Sat 11 am-6 pm & 7-10 pm. All credit cards; personal checks accepted. Reservations. Lunch $$, dinner $$$$) 8.5

Belvedere. (Austrian) If we mention that Belvedere (under the same ownership as the Chimney) is on the second floor of a retirement apartment house, you’ll probably get a false impression. Actually, the restaurant is airy, elegant and undauntedly cheerful, with lovely appointments and very helpful service. The food is pleasing without being exciting. Veal is the specialty, but the portion we were served was not quite tender and tasted a bit overfloured. The scallops in mustard sauce were much more satisfactory. (4242 Lomo Alto in the Crestpark Hotel. 528-6510. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

Bubba’s. (Southern) Is this the Park Cities riposte to fast foods? Or an art deco diner? Whichever, Bubba’s serves some of the best fried chicken and hot rolls anywhere. The other down-home dishes are not quite so memorable, but they’re still good. Not only does Bubba’s offer chicken-fried steak and chicken and dumplings, but you can also find vegetables such as black-eyed peas, corn and green beans, plus a slaw with a touch of garlic. You’ll certainly never feel trendier at a place where you carry your own food on a tray. (6617 Hillcrest. 373-6527. Daily 6:30 am-10 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 5.5

Café Cancun. (Mexican) We’re not so sure that this is the best Mexican restaurant in town anymore (perhaps expansion to three locations has compromised qualitya bit), but Cafe Cancun does serve many excellentdishes, from the charming appetizer of julienne jicama(a mild-tasting root vegetable) to the rich desserts. Thetampiquena steak comes with an excellent enchiladaand other side dishes, but the mole sauce on thechicken tasted as though the chef had taken the common shortcut of using a prepared mix of spices ratherthan starting from scratch. The Caruth Plaza location isdecorated nicely enough, but it’s too crowded to betruly charming. (4131 Lomo Alto. 559-4011. Sun-Thur11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat 5-11 pm. MC, V, AE. $$)See Downtown/West End, Upper Greenville/NorthCentral, Las Colinas/Mid-Cities. 6.0



D REVISITS



Casa Rosa. (Mexican) If you come here when the crowds are lining up outside to get in, you may think that Casa Rosa is slow to serve you because of all the business. Rest assured that it’s just as slow at off hours. The food is obviously carefully cooked: The tamales taste homemade, and the enchiladas are rolled to order. But it all seems a little too prim for the robust pleasures of Tex-Mex. And we don’t think chicken fajitas should come with melted cheese on top. Probably the best dish here, the biftec concamarones-a thin steak nicely grilled with a couple of big shrimp on top and a cup of black beanson the side-seems to fit the preppy atmospherebetter than the more typical Mexican food. (Inwoodat Lovers Lane, Suite 165. 350-5227. Mon-Thur11:30 am-2 pm & 5-10 pm, Fri 11:30 am-2 pm &5-11 pm, Sat 11:30 am-11 pm, Sun 11:30 am-10pm.) 4.5

Ewald’s. (Continental) Time hasn’t diminished thisplace’s popularity. How many restaurants of a certainage are full even on a Monday evening? Maybe thepatrons come here to be reassured-there’s nothingtrendy about Ewald’s, and it is highly dependable. Thespecialties are veal and beef, cooked authoritativelyand smothered in heavy sauces. The accompanimentscan be rather odd: bananas stuffed with raisins and abit of curry, parsley fried to an appetizing crisp, cannedhearts of palm instead of artichoke bottoms atop a vealsteak. (5415 W Lovers Lane. 357-1622. Mon-Fri 6-10:30 pm, Sat 6-11 pm. Reservations recommended.All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

II Sorrento. (Traditional Italian) With its showy, intricate re-creation of an Italian piazza, II Sorrento has long been a favorite Dallas dining spot- Even on a weeknight there can be crowds, and since the restaurant doesn’t take reservations on weekends, there’s almost always a wait. While the food isn’t sensational, it’s easy to see the appeal. The menu is huge, with house specialties such as shrimp Diane (in a buttery sauce flecked with scallions) and veal zingara (meaning “gypsy-style”) with ham and mushrooms. The best part of our last meal here was the desserts: a rum cake with cream and orange rind and a dense, bittersweet chocolate mousse. (8616 Turtle Creek Blvd. 352-8759. Sun-Thur 5:30-11.30 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. All credit cards. $$$) 5.0

La Tosca. (Northern Italian) Why can’t everything here be as good as the best things? We had an ethereal appetizer of steamed mussels on our last visit, followed byovercooked and underseasoned paglio e fieno (greenand white pasta in a sauce touched with tomato andcream). Our main dishes of veal and shrimp were unexciting. Still, this may well be Dallas’ best Italian restaurant by default. (7713 Inwood. 352-8373. Tue-Sun 6-10:30pm. Reservations Tue-Thur & Sun only. ClosedMon. All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

Le Panier. (Eclectic) At lunch, this place serves sandwiches and other light meals and calls itself the Lunch Basket. In the evening, it becomes a bit more formal, ups the prices (though they’re still reasonable) and becomes Le Panier. The cozy atmosphere provides a pleasant environment in which to sample good recipesfrom all over. They range from “Oklahoma Burn”-asteak seared to the point of blackness outside butperfectly cooked within-to a Central European duckwith blackberry sauce. The staff is efficient and knowledgeable, although the servers don’t seem to smilemuch. (3404 Rankin. 369-3241. The Lunch Basket:Mon-Sat 11 am-3 pm; Le Panier: Tue-Sat 6-10 pm.Reservations for evenings only. MC, V. $$) 6.0

Los Vaqueros. (Tex-Mex) Los Vaqueros, HighlandPark’s longtime favorite place to eat an enchilada, is oneof the most dependable places in town for old-fashioned Tex-Mex. Over the years, the management hasadded fancier dishes to try to emulate the upscale competition. But we found the tacos al carbon tough, andthe filete de casita had a dispirited color that remindedus of boiled beef. From now on, we’ll stick to the first-ratetacos and tamales. (Highland Park Village. Preston atMockingbird, Suite 77. 521-0892. Sun-Thur 11 am-9;30pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Mirabelle. (Gourmet Carryout) Located in the heart ofHighland Park Village, this gourmet takeout shop is afeast for the eye-and the palate. Pinky-peach wallsand wicker baskets laden with croissants and importedjams soften the high-tech look of chrome counters, andjust looking at the neat rows of boxed biscuits, tins andfull wine racks is a delicious experience. But don’t stopthere: A world of freshly prepared delights awaits you.Offerings change periodically; On our last visit, wesampled salmon mousse; a heavenly chicken salad;crisp, delicately spiced carrots and zucchini; and twokinds of prepared salads – a pasta salad and a chunkypotato salad. (Save room for desserts-the goodies areout of this world.) Given the quality of the food, Mira-belle’s prices are very reasonable. (Highland Park Village, Preston at Mockingbird, Suite 73-74. 528-7589.Tue-Sat 10:30 am-7 pm, Sun& Mon noon-6 pm. MC,V, AE. $$) 7.0

Mr. Peppe, (French) This is a Europeans European restaurant: not lavishly decorated, not terribly high-priced, but consistently right on target. The escargots in garlic herb butter were tender, though a bit grainy.The crab-stuffed artichoke bottom, however, was oneof the best cold appetizers we’ve sampled in awhile.Soup or salad comes with every entree, and the creamof mushroom soup is a buttery delight, chock-full ofmushrooms and onions. The beef Wellington is superb,with a flaky crust, tender beef and a rich brown sauce.The veal in lemon butter is a simple masterpiece, anddelicate seafood offerings such as lobster tails withdrawn butter are cooked to perfection. An unusual cantaloupe sherbet is a perfect ending. (5617 W LoversLane. 352-5976. Mon-Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V,AE, DC. $$$) 6.5

Pat’s Sandwich Delicatessen. (Deli) This cheerful deliis usually packed with shoppers at lunchtime. Pat’s isprobably best known for its incomparable roast beefsandwiches: paper-thin slices of flavorful, deep pinkbeef served on a buttered Kaiser roll. But Pat’s alsoserves one of the best corned beef sandwiches outsideNew York City, as well as hearty Irish stew and creamycheesecake. (31 Highland Park Village. 526-5353.Mon-Sat 8 am-6 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. $)See Addison/Richardson/Far North Dallas. 5.0



D REVISITS


Peggy’s Beef Bar. (Barbecue) The most surprising thing about Peggy’s is the funky, old-time-barbecue-joint atmosphere in the middle of thePark Cities- although the ladies behind the counterare too refined to remind you of the people whoused to work in such places. The barbecue is good,if unremarkable, and the portions are not overwhelmingly large. The best of the accompanimentsare the onion rings. (6600 Snider Plaza. 368- 9422.Mon-Fri 7 am-6 pm, Sat 10 am-4 pm. No creditcards; personal checks accepted $) 4.5



The Rib. (Barbecue) This place is rather a paradox, with courtly waiters in tuxes attending tables covered with oilcloths. Oh well, barbecue was never meant to beelegant. Relax with the appetizer of grilled sausage,then dive into short, sweet pieces of the ribs for whichthe place is named. Don’t overlook the barbecuedshrimp, which are juicy and taste of real smoke. Pricesare rather high here – especially if you take the all-you-can-eat option-but the portions are huge. (5741 WLovers Lane. 357-8139. Daily 5-10 pm. Carryout available daily 4-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

The Ribshack. (Barbecue) Good mental health demands at least occasional barbecued ribs:/Tearing attender, juicy columns of meat and allowing streams ofthick red sauce to drip down one’s chin satisfies theprimal spirit and makes a tough impression at a powerlunch. The Ribshack is right for enjoying all forms ofbarbecue, beans, cole slaw and ice-cold beer. And thechili rice is out of this world. (4615 W Lovers Lane.351-3400. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun11 am-9 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$) See White Rock. 5.5

The Riviera. (French Provencal) The Riviera, as itsname hints, largely concentrates its offerings on thespecialties of the south of France – a region known forits flamboyant use of herbs, tomatoes and garlic. Anumber of the famous specialties of that part of theworld show up on the menu. The modestly named lobster stew is a version of its fabled fish soups and includes lotte (a firm-textured fish), scallops and mussels,along with a bounteous portion of the lobster. A bowl ofrouille (a garlicky light mayonnaise) is served on theside. The veal chop, too, has the heady perfume of Provence; the big, meaty chop is topped with rosemarybutter and a sprig of fresh rosemary. One accompanying vegetable dish is zucchini with peppers and onions(a ratatouille without the eggplant), cooked better thanit is anywhere else in town. The hardwood floors and thewarm, not-too-formal decor make you feel you are truly in an elegant country inn. (7709 lnwood. 351-0094.Mon-Thur 6:30-10:30 pm, Fri&Sat6;30-11 pm. ClosedSun. All credit cards. $$$$) 7.0

Szechuan Pavilion. (Chinese) Some restaurants soarand flame like comets, then are gone. And some, likethis one, continue with quiet, reliable excellencethrough the years. All of our entrees, especially themasterfully prepared Prime Minister’s Chicken, werefresh and subtly layered with delicate, unexpectedtastes. Chicken and shrimp with cashew nuts (withbamboo shoots, baby corn and mushrooms to supplement the crunchy nuts) ran a close second, and weespecially recommend the hearty egg drop soup. Butthe egg rolls had a leathery crust-a minor and, wehope, temporary failing. (8409 Preston. 368-4303.Mon-Thur 11:30 am-2:30 pm & 4:30-10 pm; Fri 11:30am-2:30 pm & 4:30-10:30 pm, Sat noon-10:30 pm, Sunnoon-10 pm. MC, V, AE, DC $$) 5.5



LOWER GREENVILLE/EAST DALLAS



Aw Shucks. (Seafood) You can enjoy open-air dining on the shucks or squeeze into this tiny oyster bar and stand-up eatery for large fantail shrimp, authentic gumbo and fried oysters that are tasty but small. That’s the only drawback here: The meals are simple and good, but the portions are skimpy and padded with french fries. If you like oysters on the half shell, don’t miss the horseradish – its shotgun kick will quickly clear your sinuses. (3601 Greenville. 821-9449. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11:45 pm, Sun 10 am-9 pm. No credit cards. $) See Market Center. 6.0

Banno Brothers. (Seafood) Like so many good, moderately priced seafood restaurants, Banno Brothers is cool and dimly lit, with a garish decor no doubt salvaged from a closeout sale in Davy Jones’ Locker. The menu can be trusted from top to bottom, from oysters on the half shell (shucked on location) to large, meaty fantail shrimp drenched with butter. The fried snapper has taken a quantum leap for the better since our last visit; now it’s tender, not too crusty and large. By the way, this is the sort of place where you can still order a “schooner” of beer and be understood. Ignore Banno’s venial sin of charging for hush puppies, and enjoy.(1516 Greenville. 821-1321. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm,Fri 11-11, Sat 5-11 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V. $$) 4.5

Campisi’s. (Italian) The legend of this dimly lit Mockingbird landmark is one of the first ones that a Dallasnewcomer hears. It is the story of hot, floury-crusted,four-star pizza loaded with ingredients and cut into rectangular slices. But save for an occasional delicious artichoke heart, we’ve found it wise to stick to enjoyingCampisi’s pizza and reputation-the rest of the menuwould best be forgotten. The lasagna tasted cannedand, like the veal, was drenched in a nasty all-purposesauce. (5610 E Mockingbird. 827-0355, 827-7711.Mon-Fri 11 am-midnight, Sat 11 am-1 am. Sun noon-midnight. Reservations for six or more. No credit cards;personal checks accepted. $$) 4.5

Chickeria. (Texana) Inside this small, spare diner withits turquoise tables and chairs, you’ll find a variety ofdown-home selections as well as a few Tex-Mex items.Chickeria’s specialty is barbecued chicken grilled overa mesquite fire, and it’s just what it’s supposed to be:juicy inside and smoky outside. Other choices from thegrill include ribs and shrimp, and all are offered withtasty homemade vegetables such as corn on the cob,baked beans and mashed potatoes (mashed with theskin on). If home-style cooking doesn’t suit your tastebuds, try the fajitas (served on a flour tortilla with someexcellent guacamole on the side) or the deliciouschicken tacos. (601 N Haskell. 821-9072. Daily 11am-10 pm. V, AE. $) 6.5



D REVISITS



DiPalma’s. (Italian) It’s a delicatessen! It’s a wine bar! It’s a bakery! No, it’s a super Italian restaurant – or rather, it’s all of the above, and it’s wonderful. Theimported food, the Italian wines (including a marvelous selection by the glass) and the pastries willall knock your eyes out even before you get yourdinner. The antipasti salads are mouthwatering, butthe pasta is even better: homemade, cooked perfectly al dente and anointed with subtle sauces ofcream, wild mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes.The main dishes are not foolproof (the roast chickencan be a tad dry, with skin less than perfectly crisp),but they can include such delicious offerings as abroiled skewer of shark and shrimp that is moistand meaty. (1520 Greenville. 824-4500. Lunch:Mon-Sat 11-3; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-10:30, Fri& Sat5-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$) 7.0



Genaro’s Tropical. (Mexican) The magical ambiancehere is out of a Thirties movie, and the swordfish kebabis to die for. But a lot of the other dishes, including themuch-touted ones based on seafood, can be pretty ordinary. The crab meat enchiladas, for instance, aremerely fishy. And why wont these folks put up a signoutside? You could drive up and down for an hour andstill not find this place-it occupies the corner whereSkillman dead-ends into Live Oak. (5815 Live Oak atSkillman. 827-9590. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm; Fri-Sun11 am-11:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

The Grape. (Continental) We’re ever loyal to TheGrape. The hot, soft bread, classical music, interestingwines by the glass and the best mushroom soup intown are enough to keep us true. But we’re also impressed with the grace and imagination evident in otheritems served here. Veal topped with toasted peanutsand brown sauce showed confidence and flair on thepart of the chef; a generous slice of duck pate was acomplicated master blend of seasonings. Even TheGrape’s amaretto cheesecake was lighter and more enjoyable than the heavy slabs we’re accustomed to finding elsewhere. (2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 823-0133.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 6-11. Fri &Sat 6 pm-midnight. MC. V, AE, DC. $$) 6.0

La Pagode. (French/Vietnamese) Situated on the border of Deep Ellum. this restaurant hasn’t drawn the crowds it deserves. The standard Oriental dishes are fresher than usual here, and the French influence offers a surprising selection of entrees and soups, as well as a more European than Vietnamese decor. Banh Xeo,La Pagode’s special crepe, is filled with a choice ofchicken, pork or shrimp and-why not?-bean sprouts.For dessert, choose lechees on ice, beans with coconutmilk or, if you prefer, a more familiar French pastry.(4302 Bryan. 821-4542. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-10 pm. Sat& Sun 11-11. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.0<BR>

D REVISITS



D L’Ancestral. (Country French) We’retempted to say that L’Ancestral presentshome cooking, French style. The veal roastwith onions is simple and unpretentious and comeswith fried potatoes any Texan would recognize andadmire. And for dessert, the clafoutis is for all theworld like a bread pudding studded with cherries.But we don’t know many homes where you couldget such feather-light creations as the quenelles ofred snapper or the Floating Island with a sauce ofcassis and creme anglaise. (5631 Alla. 826-0006.Tue-Sun 6:30 pm-1 am. Closed Mon. All creditcards. $$$) 7.5

Little Gus’. (Greek/Eclectic) By now, most of us know that Little Gus’ is really two restaurants-hamburger heaven at noon, Greek delight at night. Somehow, the Greek cuisine here just keeps getting better, and thateven goes for the dolmas, which are always heavy withherbs and seasonings and are large enough to serveas a meal. Moussaka, the Greek standard, is cookedbetter here than anywhere in the city: With layers ofeggplant and ground beef in cream sauce, the dishavoids the cloying sweetness found elsewhere. Wine,candlelight and Greek music top off a pleasant evening.(1916 Greenville. 826-4910. Mon-Thur 7:30 am-9 pm,Fri & Sat 7:30 am-10 pm. Sun 9 am-1:45 pm. Nocreditcards; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.0

The New Big Wong. (Chinese) Let’s not belabor theobvious. If you’re looking for pleasant, quick service;cheap, hefty lunches; a voluminous dinner menu thatboth challenges and delights; crunchy, colorful vegetables; interesting decor; tanks full of eels and turtles(talk about fresh); and baffling music that changes daily,you’ll find it here. (2121 S Greenville. 821-4199. Daily 11am-3 am. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Panteli’s. (Greek) This wine bar with mostly Greek food is a delightful place for an after-theater supper. The appetizer plate is bountiful, with dolmas and lots of vegetables and hunks of cheese. The skewered lamb is exceptional-tender and full of flavor. The people who work here are exceptionally nice, too; they won’trush you even if you’re the last ones in the place. (1928Greenville. 823-8711. Mon- Thur 11 am-1 am. Fri & Sat11 am-2 am, Sun 4:30-11 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.5

Pietro’s. (Southern Italian) For an unpretentious Italiandinner at unpretentious prices, you cant improve onPietro’s. The basic pastas are reliable, and the salad iscrisp and nicely enhanced by green peppers. The specials are usually pleasant, and the garlic bread is sotemptingly loaded with butter, garlic and parsley that it’shard to stick to just one big slice of it. Although it’s notplaying in the super sweepstakes of some of the newer,higher-flying Italian restaurants in town, this family-run,neighborhood establishment is still a favorite of manywho have frequented it for years. (5722 Richmond.824-9403. Tue-Thur 5:30-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30-11 pm.MC, V. $$) 5.5

The Prospect Grill. (Eclectic) We wanted to thoroughly enjoy our time spent in the chic, mellow atmosphere of this Lowest Greenville Avenue restaurant; unfortunately, we found that there are still a few kinks in the operation. Service is generally good, but it tends to be haphazard. And although a fairly limited menu is supposed to be supplemented by a list of daily specials, at least one specialty in each category (appetizer, entree, dessert) was unavailable when we visited very early in the evening. The good news is that the food is extremely well-prepared. If you’re in the mood for something grilled, go for the vegetable brochette or the fresh seafood brochette. The grilled entrees include sirloin burger, chicken breast, fresh shrimp, swordfish or tenderloin steak-all cooked over mesquite wood, which lends a rich, smoky flavor to the meat. Several light salads are offered, as well as homemade french fries (fried with onions and served with a tangy tomato sauce for dipping). A vegetable of the day (generally cooked to a crisp perfection) is also offered with each dish. (2100 Greenville. 828-2131. Daily 11am-2am. AE. $$) 5.0



D REVISITS



Three Vikings. (Swedish) You probably won’tcome here for the decor, which is basically darkmishmash, but the Scandinavian fare is good, if notmemorable, and the family-style service is warmand charming. Particularly good: the marinated cucumber salad, the roast duck with almond sauceand the very tender lamb chops with wild mushrooms. Also try the house vegetable – potato pancakes, three for 80 cents. (2831 Greenville at Goodwin. 827-6770. Mon-Thur 6-10 pm, Fri & Sat 6-11pm, Sun 5:30-10 pm. Reservations recommended.All credit cards. $$) 6.0



UPPER GREENVILLE/NORTH CENTRAL



Arthur’s. (Continental) The atmosphere, food and service here almost always provide a pleasant dining experience. Among the fine array of appetizers offered, the salmon and the escargots are excellent. But if you’re not in the mood to overeat, you could easily skip them and begin with a salad (portions here are quite large). The Arthur’s special salad, which is big enough for two, contains several types of leafy lettuce combined with fresh shrimp, avocados, hearts of palm and artichokes, all covered with a light dressing. The lobster bisque is a nice starter, too, although at times it has been a little tootomatoey. The entrees include a tremendous stuffedbeef filet, chock-full of crab meat, covered in a beefysauce and served over wild rice. The fettuccine withlobster is another winner, with lots of lobster meat andjust enough rich, creamy sauce. Although a number oftasty desserts are offered (such as a flaky, slightly sweettart), go for the chocolate cake. It’s sinfully rich but worththe remorse. (Campbell Centre, 8350 N Central Expwy.361-8833. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Sun-Fri6-11, Sat 6-midnight. All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

Café Cancun. (Mexican) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane.(Caruth Plaza, Park Lane at Central Expwy. 369-3712.Mon- Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.0

The Chimney. (Austrian) Small wonder that the Chimney continues to comfort its clientele-it radiateswarmth like the coziest fire in winter. The food has always been prepared according to exacting standards,with veal dishes of every description at the top of the list.On a recent visit, the Veal Forestiére, with luscious dux-elles in a fine brandy cream sauce, was excellent, aswas the more plebian but nonetheless tricky Wienerschnitzel. The buenderfleisch (thin, air-cured, beet-redbeef) was tasty and ample enough for two, but thespecial Chimney appetizer – a seafood crêpe in a hol-landaise sauce-won hands down. Another fine starteris the salad with house dressing, which comes with a little mound of delicate fried onions. For dessert, the”Austrian snowball” -vanilla ice cream, almonds andchocolate sauce-is still our favorite. (Willow CreekShopping Center, 9739 N Central Expwy at Walnut HillLane. 369-6466. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservations requested. Allcredit cards. $$$) 6.5

Cunze’s. (Southern Italian) This place has the feel of a cozy neighborhood restaurant-even if you don’t happen to live in the area. The pasta here is good, although the accompanying sauces are rather predictable. We especially enjoyed the boneless chicken with mushrooms. One minor gripe: The service is attentive to a fault- in fact, it makes it difficult to carry on a coherent conversation, much less a meal. (6101 Greenville. 369-5747. Mon-Sat 5-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. Reservations. All credit cards. $$) 4.0



D REVISITS

Fangti China 1. (Chinese) The two things everybody knows about Fangti China is that it was the first Chinese restaurant in town to stay open until the wee hours (things really start hopping around 2 a.m.) and that it was the first to have a woman chef running the kitchen (there are women out front serving customers very efficiently, too). Otherwise, it’s very typical of the many Chinese places that have opened all over Dallas during the last few years. Both the Cantonese and the spicier Chinese dishes will satisfy, if not excite. (Twin Bridge Shopping Center, 6752 Shady Brook. 987-3877. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-4 am, Fri 11:30 am-6 am. Sat 5 pm-6 am, Sun 5 pm-4 am. All credit cards. $$) 5.0



Gulf Coast Oyster Co. (Seafood) Oyster lovers might want to think twice before investing in the shellfish here. We rejected several of ours on sight as simply too small and discolored to consider; they were courteously replaced with specimens that were only slightly larger and rather tasteless. Likewise with the shrimp – or shrimpettes. This is a pleasant, airy little café, but the portions just won’t do. (8041 Walnut Hill Lane. 361 -1922. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$) 3.5

La Tartine. (French Deli) This place on the eastern (less pretentious) end of NorthPark Center serves lovely lunches. Soups include French onion and daily specials such as spicy, thick tomato. Sandwiches, made with the crusty French bread that’s baked in-house, range from roast beef to an informal bread pizza. Most fun of all, you can go to the case beside the cash register to pick out dessert – we tried cheesecake and baba au rhum, but there were fruit tarts and all sorts of other goodies, too. (919 NorthPark Center. 692-8498. Mon-Sat 9:30 am-9 pm. MC. V. $$) See Stemmons/Bachman Lake. 5.5

Le Louvre. (French/Continental) Now under newmanagement and with a new chef, this place is prettymuch what it has always been: a good, solid, unremarkable continental restaurant. Our only real disappointment came early in the meal with a feuillete of sweetbreads for which you needed an ax to chop through thepastry. Otherwise, we enjoyed the meal – especially theCaesar salad (which some diners might have found toogarlicky), the salmon with pink peppercorns and thedense chocolate mousse. The atmosphere is friendly,but the blare of the jazz club upstairs can be oppressive. (The Corner Shopping Center. 9840 N Central Expwy. 691-1177. Mon- Thur 6-11 pm, Fri & Sat 6 pm-midnight. Reservations recommended. All creditcards. $$$) 6.0

Lenotre. (French Sweets) In the high-rent western endof NorthPark Center and in Sakowitz Village in FarNorth Dallas, Gaston Lenotre, one of France’s mostfamous pastry chefs, has opened two of his Americanstores (soon to be followed by several more in Dallas).A meal (at the NorthPark location only) can be rather expensive for what you get and insubstantial; the patésare better bargains taken home by the pound. But inthe store or at home, the sweets are heavenly. The icecream may be the tastiest in town. We were most takenwith both the very dark and smooth chocolate and therubylike raspberry sorbet. The cakes are ornate andunusual; the pastries, rich beyond imagination. (415NorthPark Center. 369-4988. Mon-Sat 10 am-6 pm;tearoom closes at 5:30 pm. AE. $$) See Addison/Richardson/Far North Dallas. 6.0

Mariano’s. (Mexican) This is neither hole-in-the-wall Tex-Mex nor ’gourmet” Mexican, but something all its own. Enjoy the unpretentious but gracious surroundings, the polished service and the menu that runs the gamut from an unusually well-stuffed chile relleno to steak Milanesa and pechuga a la parilla (breast of chicken char-broiled with a delicious mist of garlic butter and cilantro). (Old Town, 5500 Greenville at Lovers Lane. 691-3888. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri-Sun10:30 am-midnight. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Peking China. (Chinese) This restaurant in the middleof Singlesville in the Park Lane area advertises itself asthe first place in town to serve authentic Mandarincuisine. Actually, the menu and the cooking are hardly distinguishable from a couple dozen other Chineseplaces in town. But Peking China (in the location thatonce housed China Sea) is a very creditable and friendly neighborhood restaurant. The Mandarin Beef wesampled had an interesting crinkled texture, with tonsof black and red hot peppers and a hint of vinegar in thesauce. The braised shrimp in a gingery sauce weremarvelously soft – the texture that the Chinese call live.”For dessert, we tried the sugar-spun apples- here, theyare served authentically, with the coating hardened bya short swim in ice water. (7001 Fair Oaks. 369-2737.Daily 11:30 am-3 am. V, MC. $$) 5.5

Prego Pasta House. (Italian) This Greenville Avenuespot owes much of its popularity to its pleasant atmosphere, which is stylish but unpretentious enough thateven families with kids feel comfortable. The pizza is ofthe thin-crust variety. The lasagna is basic-good, filling and inexpensive. Other kinds of pasta are, to ourrelief, not overcooked. But more elaborate entrees suchas veal Marsala aren’t worth the higher prices. (4930Greenville. 363-9204. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11 am-midnight. Sat 5 pm-midnight, Sun noon-11 pm. All creditcards. $$) 4.5

Raphael’s. (Mexican) See McKinney/Oak Lawn. (6782Greenville. 692-8431 Mon-Thur 11:30 am-3 pm &5:30-10 pm, Fri 11:30 am-3 pm & 5:30-10:30 pm, Satnoon-11 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thur only.MC, V, AE, CB. $$) 5.5

Rio Grande Grill. (Mexican) This is the south-of-the-border branch of the Bennigan’s school. Fresh, crisp tortilla chips are served gratis with hot queso sauce.Flautas, fajitas and chimichangas are made with freshbeef and chicken, and good service isn’t in short supply. But, as with any restaurant whose menu beginswith nachos and ends seven pages later with ice creamdrinks, nothing is extraordinary. Save Rio Grande for-those times when only a fern-bar fiesta will do. (5111Greenville. 692-9777. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri-Sun 11 am-1am. All credit cards. $$) 5.0<BR>D Rolfs. (German/Continental) Since it openeda year ago, Rolfs has established itself as a major presence among Dallas restaurants. Thetone is formal without being forbidding, and the food issophisticated and delicate without betraying its heartyGerman roots. Even a simple dish like consomme withliver dumplings is memorable, not to mention suchcomplex creations as the appetizer of tiny shrimp andscallops marinated with fresh dill and dill seeds andflecked with tiny bits of tomato and mushroom. Few restaurants treat pork as royally as Rolfs, with its rolledroast stuffed with sauerkraut and herbs. The only disappointment on our last visit was the vaunted applestrudel (it was mushy from being reheated and wasdoused with too much sauce), but the ethereal cheesecake more than compensated for it. (Caruth Plaza,9100 N Central Expwy, Suite 117. 696-1933. Lunch:Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri& Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 8.0

Royal Panda. (Chinese) The name of one of our entrees, Three Delights, set the tone for a delightful meal. That dish -shrimp, scallops and crab with chopped vegetables in a white sauce-was almost matched by the moo shu chicken, with its tangy sauce and Chinese pancakes cut wonderfully thin. Our appetizers, especially the Royal Panda soup, were nicely presented but lacked significant taste, while the surprisingly largeshrimp toast were some of the best we’ve had. (8021Walnut Hill Lane. 363-3858. Sun-Thur 11 am-4 am, Fri& Sat 11 am-6 am. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 6.0

D Ruth’s Chris Steak House. (Steak) Still thequeen of Dallas steakhouses, this place packsthe customers in at all hours in the quest for theultimate in meat and potatoes. The huge hunks ofUSDA prime beef, perfectly cooked and drizzled withbutter and parsley, look as though no one could everfinish them, but somehow we polished them all off withno need for a doggy bag. The prices here are as highas the quality of the beef; the side dishes (all of which -even salad and potatoes-cost extra) are no greatshakes; and the service can seem harried even if well-intentioned. But none of these things will matter at all tosomeone who insists on the best in steaks. (6940Greenville. 691 -6940. Mon-Fri 11:30-11:30, Sat &Sun5-11:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 7.5

Sahib. (Indian) This is a warmer, friendlier restaurantthan it once was. It was always the most attractive Indian restaurant in town, and now the service adds to thecharm instead of detracting from it. The food, though nolonger extraordinary, is still very good. The appetizersinclude pakoras (deep-fried, battered vegetables) andsamosas (little pastries filled with potatoes and othervegetables). Among the main dishes, we liked thechicken tikkha masala, served in a rich, tomatoeysauce. Don’t fail to order one of the numerous varietiesof Indian flatbreads here, such as the many-layeredparatha of whole wheat. (Caruth Plaza, 9100 N CentralExpwy. 987-2301. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30: dinner:daily 5:30-11: Sun brunch: 11:30-2. All credit cards.$$$) 5.5

Sawatdee. (Thai) You can definitely Thai one on at this place, one of Dallas’ most attractive Asian restaurants. The hot dishes are plenty fiery, but otherwise the tasteshere seem toned down in comparison to those of Sa-watdee’s competitors. We enjoyed several first-rate novelties on our last visit. The Sawatdee Oyster, for instance, contrasts the crunch of the lacy batter aroundthe oysters with the crunch of bean sprouts, and thePanang Beef is served in a sauce heady with the flavorof lime leaves. (4503 Greenville at Yale. 373-6138.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: daily 5-10:30. Allcredit cards. $$) 6.5

Taiwan. (Chinese) The eye is always charmed at Taiwan. For example, a whole fish cooked Hunan style may be garnished by a net carved miraculously from a carrot. But the last time we ordered that lovely-lookingdish, it didn’t taste as good as it looked: The sauce wasbland, and the skin of the fish wasn’t crisp and fresh-tasting. The caring service complements the elegantdining rooms and makes Taiwan one of the most pleasant Chinese restaurants in town in which to dine, evenwhen the kitchen is having an off night. (6111 Greenville. 369-8902. Mon-Fri 11 am-3 am, Sat 10 am-3 am,Sun 10 am-10:30 pm. Reservations recommended.MC, V, AE. $$) See Addison/Richardson/Far NorthDallas. 7.0

Tea Pot Inn. (Chinese) The striking thing about Tea Pot Inn (aside from its subtle, tasteful decor) is just how well the chef executes the old standbys. When was the last time you had a perfectly cooked egg roll with a light, crisp shell and a meaty filling that wasn’t mostly stale-tasting cabbage? The chef at the Tea Pot Inn is Cantonese, but unlike a lot of chefs from South China, he really knows how to cook the spicy Szechuan dishes, too. The shrimp with bean curd is one of the city’s best hot and spicy dishes. If you don’t like spicy food, try the beautifully browned fried dumplings or the Wor Sue Duck. The service is amiable; the prices, exceptionally reasonable. (11343 N Central Expwy. 369-6268. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. $$) 5.5



D REVISITS



Sakura. (Japanese) Sakura, the loveliest of Dallas’ Japanese restaurants, offers something for everyone in its multilevel array of dining rooms: tatami mats where traditional meals can be eaten on low tables, a sushi bar with Western-style tables surrounding it, teppan-yaki rooms where (on Friday and Saturday evenings only) samurai chefs wield their knives around big grills. The food can be excellent, as in the shabu-shabu, a gently simmered casserole of beef and vegetables in broth that’s prepared tableside, and crisply broiled salmon teri-yaki. Or it can be disappointing, as in the tonkatsu, the Japanese version of fried pork chops. The fish offered at the sushi bar is mostly fresh enough to eat as the Japanese prefer (that is, raw), but on ourlast visit, one of those in the selection we tried tasted suspiciously as though it had been soaked in lemon juice to refresh it. (7402 Greenville. 361-9282. Mon-Thurs Sun 5:30-11 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. Reservations recommended on weekends. All credit cards. $$) 5.5



WHITE ROCK



D REVISITS



Alfonso’s. (Italian) This 2-year-old family-owned restaurant is fun (though dry), dependable, and welcomes families. When we called to see if it would be okay to bring “a very good 7-month-old,” they told us: “Sure, and he doesn’t need to be good – none of them are.” We found good pizza, enormous helpings of cheesy lasagna and patiently accommodating service. (328 Casa Linda Plaza, Buckner at Garland. 327-7777. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11 am-2 pm; dinner: Mon-Sat 5-10:30. MC, V, AE. $$) 4.0



China Inn. (Chinese) From the road, China Inn doesn’tlook any classier than the Keller’s Drive-ln or the tacofast food joint nearby. But step inside this cracker box.You’ll discover that there aren’t any Woolworth-vintageOriental chandeliers or tacky Chinese plaques adorning the walls. Instead, you’ll find good food in a quiet,pleasant atmosphere. The egg rolls are crisp and tasty; the rice, tender. We were also pleased with ourshrimp and sweet-and-sour pork entrees. The servicewas very attentive, even though we were lulled intothinking that our cola refill wouldn’t show up on the bill.(6521 E Northwest Hwy. 369-7733. Sun-Thur 11-11, Fri& Sat 11 am-1 am. MC, V, AE. $) 5.0



D REVISITS



Casa Cavazos. (Mexican) This is a Mexican restaurant with decor in the tradition of El Fenix. Inside, the prices are low, and the food can stand upto a trendy hole in the wall any day of the week.Although it’s not superb, it’s well-equipped tostave off cravings for beans and rice. (5409 JimMiller Rd. 388-2292. Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm. MC. V,AE. $$) 3.5



The Ribshack. (Barbecue) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane. (2221 Abrams. 821-8100. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 5.5

Shrimper’s Seafood Cafe. (Seafood) Dallas has so many new seafood places of all sorts that there hardly seems room for another, but Shrimper’s seems more than able to hold its own among the less pretentious ones. The oysters on the half shell were small and sweet and very cold; the boiled shrimp, tasty; the shrimp salad, not too gooey. All the fried seafood we sampled was excellent, especially the oysters. The barbecued shrimp wasn’t very close to the way it is fixed in New Orleans, but the smoky sauce with a strong rosemary taste was good enough on its own terms. All the entrées came with a not-too-sweet slaw, and some were served with a delicious Florentine rice, richly speckled with bits of spinach. (4040 Abrams. 827-5955. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. V, AE, DC. $$) 5.0

Southern Kitchen. (Southern) These two restaurants are old favorites of many Dallasites, especially those who like to consume mass quantities of food. Dinners come in two principal courses. The first brings all the shrimp, crab meat and oysters you can eat. The seafood may be a bit on the bland side, but there is an undeniable joy in being able to satisfy a shellfish craving in this manner. The second round brings on platters of fried and barbecued chicken, fish and delectable homemade biscuits and cinnamon rolls. If you prefer, you can also order steaks (generally excellent) or other items instead. No desserts here, though. Nobody has enough room for them. (6615 E Northwest Hwy. 368-1658. Mon-Sat 5:30-10 pm, Sun 5-9:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$) See Stemmons/Bachman Lake. 4.0



PRESTON ROYAL



Frenchy Café. (French Deli) The surroundings are very informal in this delicatessen/lunch spot, and the food can be very good. In search of a hot lunch on our last visit, we tried the lasagna and found it rich and slightly sweet. A selection of patés can also make a satisfying meal: The truffle patés are smooth and buttery; the pepper paté, coarser and only a little spicy. If you want to splurge on dessert, the chocolate mousse (flavored with orange and topped with whipped cream and cocoa) is a good bet. But be forewarned: The cost-not to mention the calories-can begin to mount quickly. (5940 Royal Lane. 369-1235. Mon 11 am-3 pm,Tue-Fri 11 am-7pm, Sat 11 am-5 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V. $$) 5.5

Hampton’s Seafood Market. (Seafood) See Downtown/West End. (Preston Royal Shopping Center, Preston at Royal, Suite 113. 696-5400 Mon-Wed 10 am-6:30 pm, Thur-Sat 10 am-8 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 6.5

The Hungry Jockey. (American/Breakfast) If you’re a people-watcher and you’re looking for a nice, comfortable spot to have a good, rib-stickin’ breakfast, this is the place for you. The Hungry Jockey is a North Dallas institution – a haven for high-powered business break-fasters and genuine Levi’s-clad cowboys. Most of the food is hearty (although we’ve had some bad luck with dried-up bacon). The blueberry pancakes and the Canadian bacon are top-notch. Grab a cup of fresh coffee, then sit back and enjoy a taste of a real diner, North Dallas-style. (1417 Preston Forest Square, Preston at Forest. 661-0134. Tue-Sat 6:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. No credit cards. $) 4.0



D REVISITS



Royal China. (Chinese) There was a time when this was one of the fanciest restaurants in Dallas. Now it has settled down into comfortable middle age, with warm service and a relaxed, though enthusiastic, clientele. The food has, if anything, gotten better with the years. Two appetizer platters are offered, and the one with shrimp toast, beef strips and egg rolls on it may be the best in town-everything is light and fresh- tasting. Several of the best-known dishes here are variations on old favorites. The Golden Crown Pork, for instance, is moo shi pork with the egg resting on top as a lovely thin omelette (we suggest asking the waiter not to dress the Chinese pancakes on which it’s served with bean sauce). The Royal Prawns are a lovely version of shrimp in chili sauce; they’re hot, sweet and pungent with ginger. (Preston Royal Shopping Center, Preston at Royal, Suite 201. 361-1771. Lunch: daily 11:30-2:30; dinner: daily 5:30-10. MC, V, AE, DC. $$) 5.5



Jean Paul. (French) This small Preston Royal restaurant seems to have an older, more loyal crowd than some of the newer and snazzier French places about town. Its owners have chosen (wisely) to invest in good food rather than in plush decor, but some of the dishes were a little too ornate. Escargots in puff pastry were so heavily doused in sauce as to be indistinguishable from mushrooms in puff pastry. The lamb chops topped with bleu cheese were well worth sampling, though too rich to finish. (5934 Royal Lane. 692-9515. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. MC, V, AE. $$$) 5.5

Manhattan. (Continental) There’s nothing terribly surprising when you enter Manhattan, located in a North Dallas strip shopping center. Unlike some other posh area restaurants, the inside has a fairly nondescript decor that looks sort of thrown together at the last minute. But the food, fortunately, is better than the furnishings. The menu is extensive; the veal and shrimp are especially good, and the vegetables seem to be fresh and well-cooked. But the desserts, for the most part, aren’t worth the effort. (1482 Preston Forest Square, Preston at Forest. 385-8221. Lunch: Mon-Fri & Sun 11-2:30: dinner: daily 5:30-midnight. All credit cards. $$$) 5.0



STEMMONS/BACHMAN LAKE



Bachman Café. (Seafood) This place advertises itself as a “Louisiana-style seafood restaurant.” It’s promising, although it has some way to go to fulfill that promise. The gumbo had the authentic smoky taste of a long-stirred roux and a peppery bite. The catfish filets on the seafood platter were possibly the best in town, but the other components (except for the excellent homemade french fries) were only so-so. (3049 W Northwest Hwy. 351-0959. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm; dinner: daily 5-11 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 4.5

Bugatti. (Northern Italian) Since we’re the ones who did much to trump the old Bugatti, it’s never pleasant to have to take back our praise. But our last experience was definitely a downer. Under the new ownership of Ross Segal (“Mario has gone back to Spain”), Bugatti has retained the old chef, the menu, the location, the works – but something is missing. Maybe it’s the frantic pace of the service, or the fact that the fettuccine della casa comes already heaped with grated cheese. These are surface complaints, it’s true. But worse was the fact that the veal was mealy and tough and the gamberoni shrimp so overrun with a cloying sherry cream sauce as to be almost inedible. One standout remains steadfast, though: the cool, cool cappuccino pie. (2574 Walnut Hill Lane. 350-2470. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. $$$) 4.0

Cafe Moustache. (Russian/Indonesian) This cafeteria-style lunchroom serves a hearty, home-cooked Russian lunch from a menu that typically features three or four selections. We tried the marinated briskette with mushrooms and the ginger chicken with vegetables, although the chicken-stuffed cabbage rolls looked great. Both meats were moist and tender, but the frozen mixed vegetables and the tough broccoli spears were a disappointment. A chocolate amaretto cake, the only dessert offered, was fabulous. Café Moustache serves an interesting selection of Indonesian food on Friday and Saturday evenings. (9454 Marsh Lane. 350-9314. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Fri & Sat 5-10. MC. V. AE. $$) 5.0

Don’s Seafood and Steakhouse. (Steak & Seafood) We mean it in the best of ways when we say that Don’s is the Sears of seafood. This sprawling emporium is a far cry from fancy (who cares about the difference ’twixt turbot and turbo-diesel?), but the long menu of mostly fried fish and Cajun specialties offers a sound value for fish lovers who prefer quantity over chichi any day ofthe week. (2361 W Northwest Hwy. 350-3667. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards.$$) 4.0

Joy Inn. (Chinese) Possibly the most popular Chinese restaurant in Dallas, this place can seat a regiment and still serve a meal in record time if you say you’re in a hurry. The appetizer platter, with its tasty egg rolls and tender shrimp, is a good beginning. But don’t stray too far from the Cantonese standbys when you order main courses, since the so-called Hunan dishes are hardly recognizable imitations. Come here when you want good ol’ moo goo gai pan served with a smile. (9404 Ovella at Northwest Hwy. 352-1088. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. All credit cards.$$) 4.5

Jozef’s. (Seafood) See McKinney/Oak Lawn. (2460 Walnut Hill Lane. 351-5365. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

D Kebab ’N’ Kurry. (Indian) See Addison/Richardson/Far North Dallas. (2620 Walnut Hill Lane. 350-6466. Lunch: daily 11-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30; brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $) 7.5

D REVISITS



Kosta’s. (Greek) This Greek restaurant has a lovely view of old live oaks and Bachman Lake, with a patio where you can dine if the weather is right. What more could you want? Well, you can’t get the whole gamut of Greek dishes here, and some of the best-known (such as the spanokopita) can be disappointing. But you can get fantastic grilled shrimp, a creamy moussaka and rich desserts. The selection of wines is wider than you might expect, and our last visit produced none of the problems with service that we’d had in the past: Our waiter was both well-organized and very helpful. (2755 Bachman. 351-4592. Mon-Sat 11 am-midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 5.5



La Tartine. (French Deli) See Upper Greenville/North Central. (4343 Northwest Hwy, Suite 360. 351-4408. Mon-Sat 9:30 am-7:30 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.5



D REVISITS



Mercado Juarez. (Mexican) If you never get tired of “Guantanamera,” the classic Cuban guitar ballad, then don’t waste a minute: You can hear it played at least four or five times an hour by genial strolling musicians who will play it for you as though it’s their first time. Of course, they’ll play just about anything, but-like the menu choices-choose the familiar, and you’ll be satisfied. The south of the border specialties aren’t prepared as deftly as the more-requested standard Tex-Mex dishes. Perhaps that’s the irony of a large operation: More is less when the menu’s too expansive to adequately handle everything perfectly. But we don’t hesitate to recommend the pork fajitas; they are marinated and broiled to perfection. The other dishes (especially those with pork) are a notch above most Tex-Mex restaurants. And the margaritas (especially those with Cuervo Gold) pack a sure punch. We enjoy everything here except the wait on busy nights. (1901 W Northwest Hwy. 556-0796. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri &Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) See Las Colinas/Mid-Cities, Fort Worth. 5.0

Peking Szechuan. (Chinese) The food and service here more than make up for the odd location and lack of decor. The hospitable, knowledgeable waitresses push several of the house specialities, and they clearly know what the kitchen does well. The Seafood Delight was a delicately cooked assortment of brightly colored vegetables amid shrimp and scallops. The beef with orange peel had a wonderfully crunchy coating under the hot, sweet sauce. We intend to go back and test the waitress’s contention that the chef can cook the whole repertory of Chinese dishes just as well. (2560 W Northwest Hwy. 353-0129. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri &Sat noon-10:30 pm. MC, V, AE, DC. $$). 6.0

Piccolo Mondo. (Adriatic) This restaurant delivers tasty versions of standard Adriatic cuisine, including fine tortellini and fettuccine. Fish and shellfish get a particularly nice treatment, but the standard veal dishes don’t have much zing to them. Our first visits made Piccolo Mondo seem a possible contender for the superior Italian restaurant Dallas doesn’t yet have, but more recent experience hasn’t fulfilled those initial hopes. (9507 Overtake Drive at Ovella. 357-2983. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon- Thur 5-10:30, Fri-Sun 5-11. All credit cards. $$$) 5.0

Pop Bailey’s. (Seafood) This unpretentious place does simple things well. The large Louisiana oysters are bracing, and, for once, the plain boiled shrimp had plenty of taste. Pop Bailey’s does a creditable job of frying-which is, after all, the classic American way of cooking seafood. Perhaps more surprisingly, the restaurant also broils fish well: We were most pleased with the red snapper. There is also a decent rib-eye steak for the seafood hater who is trapped among a bunch of aficionados. (3750 W Northwest Hwy. 350-9748. Mon-Thur 11 am- 10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat 4-11 pm, Sun 4-9:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Southern Kitchen. (Southern) See White Rock. (2356 W Northwest Hwy. 352-5220. Mon-Sat 5:30-10 pm, Sun 5-9:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 4.0

Turtle Cove. (Seafood) Our most recent visit here restored our confidence in the place that set the Dallas trend of broiling seafood over mesquite. Our salmon was perfectly cooked over the coals, and the kitchen showed it could manage other techniques by frying up some snapper perfectly. The trick to keeping the expenses down here is to forego the appetizers and desserts: They run the bill up, and they’re not worth the extra price. (2731 W Northwest Hwy. 350-9034. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V, AE. $$$) 6.5



ADDISON/RICHARDSON/FAR NORTH DALLAS



Agnew’s at the Promenade. (Continental) Tom Agnew’s new venture has nothing to do with the original Agnew’s, which closed a few months ago. The food is something of a surprise. The chef tends to prepare lots of puff pastry for the appetizers, and the sauces for such things as the escargots with cheese and ham are heavy and creamy. The blackened red snapper (blackening fish is all the rage in New Orleans restaurants these days) is superb, and the desserts are very rich, sweet and luxurious. (2500 Promenade Center, Coit Road between Belt Line and Arapaho. 437-0133. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$) 7.0

August Moon. (Chinese) Every time we go back to this Far North Dallas favorite, we are more impressed, August Moon offers a variety of really unusual dishes. Among the appetizers are Ming shrimp in Chinese pancakes and beef-stuffed dumplings that are the tastiestin town. Equally exotic is the authentically prepared Eight Treasure Duck, which is first baked, then steamed and sauced luxuriously. But August Moon does equally well with standbys such as egg rolls and sweet-and-sour pork. The quality here is hardly a secret, so you can expect a wait during peak hours. (15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 11 am-10:30 pm. Dim sum served daily. Reservations for four or more or for special banquets. Bar by membership. All credit cards. $$) 7.0

D BIom’s. (French Nouvelle) Dinner at Blom’s is an elegant experience. The inspired menu here is in perpetual flux: The left side changes seasonally; the right side, nightly. The constant is a sense of adventure that blends the methods and some of the style of nouvelle cuisine with the complexity and fantasy of more classic French cooking. Our lamb chops, for instance, came coated with a mousse of capon in which fresh rosemary was embedded, surrounded by a light sauce and a garnish of assorted beans cooked until they were barely tender. A caribou was artfully presented with a subtly tart gravy. Entrées were preceded by a soup containing julienne frog legs and lettuce, an overly vinegared salad and a sorbet of applejack and tarragon. Our dinner ended on a more conservative but delicious note with a gratin of fruit and a chocolate Marquise. (Westin Hotel, 13340 Dallas Pkwy. 934-9494. Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11; Sun brunch: 10:30-2:30. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.5

Boston Sea Party. (Seafood) Quantity rather than quality is what you pay your hefty $22.95 (fixed price) for here. Several of the dozens of mostly seafood items on the all-you-can-eat buffet tables are good enough to devour en masse – we were especially fond of the king crab legs and the hot popovers. There’s even a decent (and again, hefty) cooked-to-order course of lobster, salmon or steak. But far too many of the dishes had a bland, standardized style and a bitter aftertaste suggesting the Deepfreeze for us to take too much pleasure in all this bounty. (13444 Preston. 239-7061. Mon-Thur 5:30-9 pm, Fri & Sat 5-9:30 pm, Sun 4:30-8:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$$) 3.0



D REVISITS



Caté America. (Eclectic) What a disappointment! Maybe we expected too much from this typical department-store lunch spot because it’s housed inside trendy Bloomingdale’s. The badly stained seat cushions and carpet were an immediate affront to cleanliness, and our waiter lacked experience. He advised us not to order a Reuben sandwich because it takes too long to thaw out the corned beef. Later, he acted surprised that we wanted our gazpacho appetizer before our entrées. We opted for a well-seasoned but lukewarm vegetable lasagna and a nicely flavored, spicy Oriental beef dish ladled over crunchy noodles. A final note: Skip the desserts. (Bloomingdale’s, Valley View Center, LBJ Frwy at Preston. 450-2300. Mon-Sat 11 am-8:30 pm. AE, Bloomingdale’s charge; personal checks accepted. $$) 3.5

Café Caprl. (Continental) As soon as we entered this small, softly lit European-style dining room after a long workday, we began to relax. To start our meal, we sampled fresh, chilled oysters on the half shell and a beautifully garnished paté accompanied by small slices of French bread. For our entrées, we chose lamb chops and a veal dish with scallops. The lamb, though a tad more done than we had ordered, was tender, juicy and flavorful; the veal was thinly sliced, breaded and covered with scallops in a cream sauce. But the crowning glory of our evening came after dinner in the form of a very light but rich chocolate soufflé sprinkled with powdered sugar and a flaming liqueur concoction deftly prepared by our charming waiter. By then, our busy day had become a dim memory. (15107 Addison Rd near Belt Line. 960-8686. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$) 5.5



Cantu’s. (Tex-Mex) This old North Dallas standby has moved much farther north and-judging from the crowd the night we went-has taken its loyal clientele with it. Cantu’s offers Tex-Mex with no surprises; it’s rather bland for some tastes, but dependable. The beef enchiladas are meaty-just right for introducing a newcomer from the North to the mysteries of Tex-Mex. The char-broiled specialties such as chicken and shrimp are similarly plain but honest-except for the beef fajitas, which are so heavily marinated as to be unpleasant. The service is earnest and pleasant; the decor, a bit sophisticated. (5290 Belt Line, Suite 132, Addison. 991-9105. Tue-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 5-10 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

Charley’s Seafood Grill. (Seafood) Along the restaurant strip in Addison are three of Dallas’ most successful formula restaurants: Chili’s, Bennigan’s and Charley’s Seafood Grill. All three are winners because they adhere to strict tenets: Keep it simple, and do it right. Charley’s capitalizes on the city’s new-found love affair with fresh fish and shellfish, which is served either mesquite-grilled, lightly fried or sautéed. We tried a temperately spiced brochette of shrimp and scallops (very good) and a portion of fried catfish (tasty and without a trace of grease). Good homemade fries, a simple light slaw and possibly the best hush puppie saround came along as side dishes. If you don’t like cheesecake, you won’t like Charley’s desserts (cheesecake, cheesecake or cheesecake), but don’t worry: Two Snickers candy bars arrive with the check. (5348 Belt Line, Addison. 934-8501. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. MC. V, AE. $$) 5.0

China North. (Chinese) Many of the things that made this place special when we first dined here had disappeared on our last visit. The Peking Duck is still available without notice, but this time it wasn’t carved dramatically at the table, and its skin didn’t have the delicate crunchiness it had before (we were told that the birds are roasted once a week and then frozen). The service posed some communication problems, although the waiters were trying hard to be pleasant. But for fans of the all-you-can-eat Mongolian fire pit, we’re happy to report that the lavish spread of meats, vegetables and sauces that hungry diners can assemble and take to the great metal grill to be cooked remains unchanged. (4021 Belt Line, Suite 101, Addison.788-1811. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5



D REVISITS



Chu’s. (Chinese) From the robust pu-pu platter (with standout shrimp toast) to the plump mushrooms that adorn the General’s Chicken, from the beautifully ornate dishes and colorful Japanese lanterns to the courteous, smiling waitress, our dining experience here was memorable. Just one flaw: The boneless braised duck, while dreamily tender, is not entirely boneless. Watch out. (15080 Beltway, Addison, 387-1776. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 4:30-10:30. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Chuck’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers. (Burgers) The key word here is “old- fashioned.” Chuck’s doesn’t serve those newfangled burgers as big as your fist, but it does offer good versions of the near-vanished kind that have thinnish (though still one-third pound) patties. The burgers come (unless you specify otherwise) with the once-classical trimmings of mustard, onion, pickles, lettuce and tomatoes – no mushrooms or sautéed things on these burgers. But what really makes them good is the grilled buns. Hardly anybody knows how to do that anymore, and it’s the secret of the difference between okay and heavenly hamburgers. (502 Spanish Village Shopping Center, Coit at Arapaho. 386-7752. Daily 11 am-10 pm. No credit cards. $) 4.5

Dovle’s. (Southern) Soldier/actor Audie Murphy’s house used to be out in the country. Now it’s in the middle of booming Addison, and its comfortable and elegant rooms are a good place to eat down-home cooking. The onion soup is the best in town; the chicken-fried steak and pot roast, excellent; the mashed potatoes, homemade rolls and home-cooked vegetables, delicious. The sautéed snapper and the wonderful-sounding desserts were disappointing, but the enthusiastic, skillful service wasn’t. (14671 Midway. 233-9846. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-9:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-10, Sun 5:30-9; Sun brunch: 11-2:30. MC,V, AE, DC. $$) 5.5

Forbidden City. (Chinese) Perhaps because it’s named after the royal heart of China, this place definitely tries harder. The waiters and even the manager line the walls of this ambitious Far North Dallas restaurant, making sure that no empty plate lingers on the table and that no glass goes unfilled. But we do wish that they’d relax and smile occasionally and that the food lived up to all the effort. This is good, standard North Chinese stuff (chicken with cashews, beef with snow peas, shrimp with two sauces), all unexceptionable but unexceptional. How about applying some of that hard work to the kitchen? (5290 Belt Line, Suite 144. 960-2999. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-3 am, Sun noon-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Fuji-Ya. (Japanese) At first glance, this place seems less traditional than other Japanese restaurants in town. There is no tatami seating, for example, and waitresses are more often dressed in jeans than kimonos. The food, though, is both traditional and excellent. We tried most of the appetizers and found that they were appetizing indeed. Among the entrees, the shabu shabu (vegetables and thin slices of beef cooked right at the table) was our favorite. Fuji-Ya also offers “bento” meals, with bits of everything tucked into individual compartments on a lacquered tray. (13050 Coit. 690-8396. Tue & Wed 10-10, Thur-Sat 10am-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. MC.V, AE. $$) 4.5

Gallé. (French/Continental) The burgundy velvet banquettes and etched glass partitions of this roomy hotel restaurant contrast oddly with the sounds of the honky-tonk piano from the bar outside, and on a slow night, the place can seem deserted. But the food is prepared expertly, if not always memorably. The appetizer selection of patés, like all the other dishes here, looks lavish: Three differently patterned patés compete for attention with a tomato tulip filled with caviar. The salads are similarly fantastic: potpourris of Belgian endive, tomatoes, pickled quail eggs and bleu cheese. The portions of sirloin steak and Dover sole topped with crab meat and hazelnut sauce that we ordered were so large we couldn’t finish them, and they were garnished with a bevy of vegetables that included wild asparagus in hollandaise and glazed turnips. (Lincoln Hotel, Lincoln Center, 5410 LBJ Frwy. 934-8400. Tue-Sat 6-11 pm. Reservations requested. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 6.5

Golden Chopsticks. (Chinese) We thought we knew all about Far North Dallas, but Far North Addison was terra incognita even for us. This new Chinese restaurant is attractive enough without being fancy, and it has some excellent dishes, especially in the spicy (though not very hot) Hunan and Szechuan styles. The most impressive one we tried was General Chio’s Spicy Chicken: large chunks of chicken breast fried and then stir-fried, flavored with lots of sweet pepper and fresh ginger. The Pork and Shrimp Hunan Style was a lovely dish, contrasting chewy shreds of pork flecked with black beans with tiny shrimp in a mild, tomatoey sauce. (16601 Addison Rd, Addison. 931-6868. Daily 10:30 am-11 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Highland Park Cafeteria. (Southern) See Knox/Henderson. (Sakowitz Village, 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy, Suite 600. 934-8025. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5:15-8 pm, Sat 11 am-8 pm, Sun 11 am-3 pm. No liquor. No credit cards. $) 6.0

Jasons. (Steak & Seafood) It had been awhile since we visited this cozy, elegant restaurant, because their lobster special wasn’t. Unfortunately, the only thing memorable about our latest visit was the check. It didn’t reflect the skimpy appetizers of steamed clams, crab-stuffed mushroom caps or baked oysters, all of whichwere flavorful except the bacon-laden oysters. The evening special, crab-stuffed calamari, was a disappointment; the crab flavor was overwhelming. A luscious-looking prime rib was flavorless. The evening wassaved, however, by a tasty combination of shrimpscampi and pasta. And a fresh blueberry tart from thepastry cart was a pleasant surprise. (Sakowitz Village,5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. 960-2877. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Fri 5-10:30, Sat 5:30-11.Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 4.5



D REVISITS



Joe T. Garcia’s. (Tex-Mex). The smell of cookingoil pervades this place every time we come here-iteven reaches out into the parking lot. It’s too badthat the oil and everything fried in it is so unpleasant, since there’s some very good cooking going onat the Addison branch of the famous Fort Worthlandmark. The grilled beef, chilaquiles (an egg-and-tortilla casserole), retried beans and guacamole areall exemplary. (4400 Belt Line, Addison. 458-7373.Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5-11 pm, Sal 11 -11, Sun11:30 am-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 4.0



D Kebab ’N’ Kurry. (Indian) You cant buy better Indian food than the last dinner we had here. The flaky fried-pastry appetizers (samosas) filled with meat and peas and the pakoras of cauliflower and eggplant were light and delicate. The main dishes balanced beautifully. We tried boti kebab (lamb) that was fork-tender, korma (chicken) drenched in cream and fresh coriander, eggplant and potatoes in a mild curry sauce. The Indian desserts were rich and flavorful, too. This place is a leading candidate for the best bargain in the city. (401 N Central Expwy, Suite 300, Richardson. 231-5556. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11; brunch: Sat & Sun11:30-2:30. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC. $) See Stem-mons/Bachman Lake. 7.5

Kobe Steaks. (Japanese) Arigato! That’s Japanese for “thank you, thank you, thank you.” Kobe Steaks has again served us a scrumptious feast of unbelievably tender beef, chicken and succulent shrimp, fresh vegetables and hot soup. Best of all, it was done in the Japanese tradition, without all the theatrics of Benihana. A salad, a shrimp appetizer and sherbet desserts areincluded with all entrees. That’s a very filling, economical meal for a little more (or, depending on your choice, a little less) than $10. (The Quorum, 5000 Belt Line, Suite 600. 934-8150. Sun-Thur 5-11 pm, Fri & Sat 5 pm-midnight. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Korea House. (Korean) This place has been less than absolutely dependable throughout its existence. On our last visit, we hit it on a downswing – the fried appetizers, for instance, were dismally soggy. But even when it’s not at the top of its form, Korea House offers many pleasures. The most famous Korean dish, bulgoki (akind of barbecued shredded beef), is always good here, and the side dishes of cold vegetables are wonderful: marinated cucumbers, spinach with sesame seeds and the spicy fermented cabbage called kim-chee. The waitresses, in their long, silk Korean gowns, try hard to please. (Promenade Center, Coit at Belt Line, Suite 610, Richardson. 231-1379. Daily 11:30 am-10:30 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 4.5

Laurel’s. (American Nouvelle) This penthouse restaurant appeals mightily to the eye. The view is breathtaking, the decor is elegant, and the presentation of each dish is elaborately imaginative. The nouvelle food may not taste quite as good as it looks, but it’s excellent nonetheless. The oysters were beautifully poached, and the lamb was cooked to order, but neither of the sauces on the dishes was memorable. The prices, however, are a bit lower here than at most restaurants of comparable ambition. (Sheraton Park Central Hotel, 12720 Merit. 385-3000. Mon-Sat 6-10:30 pm. ClosedSun. Reservations recommended. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Lenotre. (French Sweets) See Upper Greenville/NorthCentral. (Sakowitz Village, 5100 Belt Line at DallasPkwy. 934-8300. ext. 210. Mon-Sat 10 am-6 pm; tearoom closes at 5:30 pm. AE. $$) 6.0

Le Train Bleu. (Continental) It’s not easy to imagine anair of seclusion in the middle of Bloomingdale’s, butonce you board Le Train Bleu, you are indeed inanother world. The offerings here are ambitious (extraordinarily so when you stop to consider that you’resampling department-store fare) and, for the most part,successful. A pate Campagne was wonderfully country-rich and was presented beautifully with thinly slicednew potatoes in a mustard vinaigrette. We tried thesnails served in a hollowed-out square of bread with anunusual sauce of honey, anchovies, garlic and dicedgreen pepper and were delighted with the results. Acold sliced lamb plate was less pleasing; it was properlypink but gritty in spots. A frozen caramel souffle and thecreamy créme brulée confirmed Le Train Bleu’s expertise in French desserts. (Bloomingdale’s, Valley ViewCenter, 13320 Montfort. 450-2290. Lunch: Mon-Sat11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 5:30-8. Jackets requiredat dinner. AE, Bloomingdale’s; personal checks accepted. $$$) 5.5

Mario and Alberto. (Mexican) Probably the best Mexican restaurant in Dallas, this popular place distinguishesitself by constant innovation. Among the new offeringson our last visit were the delightful flautitas (tiny,delicate, crisp fried flutes of chicken-stuffed tortillas) andthe pork in a peppery red sauce. Old favorites such asthe beef tenderloin studded with garlic and peppersnever fail to delight, either. At the end of a meal here,we can never bring ourselves to order dessert off themenu – we look forward with too much relish to eatingthe pralines, which are heavily spiked with cinnamon,(Preston Valley Shopping Center, LBJ Frwy at Preston,Suite 425. 980- 7296. Mon- Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri&Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun. Drinks with $5.50membership charge. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.5

Mother Shuckers. (Seafood) This oyster bar at thewest end of the Addison strip has good food andmodest prices. You order at a counter and take awayfresh-shucked oysters and boiled shrimp yourself(servers bring cooked items to you when they areready). The menu consists mostly of fried seafooddishes, which are done well for the most part. Shrimpfried in a beer batter and whole catfish coated with corn-meal were our favorites among the main dishes. Accompaniments include charming spiral-cut fried potatoes and a slaw that’s not too sweet. There are occasional specials such as boiled crawfish, served all-you-can-eat. (3957 Belt Line between Midway and Marsh.788-2772. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11.Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 5.0



D REVISITS



Oysters. (Seafood) We hate to be redundant, but we’ve got to ask the same question we asked on our last visit: You guys can sure do good things with the fish, so why not give the same attention to the extras? We have nothing but compliments for the redfish, broiled with butter and a touch of lemon juice, and the deep sea scallops, served in a light butter sauce. But the fresh Idaho french fries didn’t taste fresh, the creamy coleslaw tasted watery, and the flavor of the hush puppies was nil. Both the dining and decor in the new Piano location are casual and comfortable, and the service is above average. (4580 Belt Line. 386-0122. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) See Piano, Las Colinas/Mid-Cities. 5.0



Pat’s Sandwich Delicatessen. (Deli) See ParkCities/Lovers Lane. (Prestonwood Town Center, BeltLine at Dallas Pkwy. 991-6161. Mon-Sat 10 am-9 pm.Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 5.0

Raphael’s. (Mexican) See McKinney/Oak Lawn. (TheQuorum, 4900 Belt Line. 991-3610. Mon-Thur 11:30am-3 pm & 5:30-10 pm, Fri 11 am-3 pm & 5:30pm-10:30 pm, Sat noon-11 pm. Sun 11.30 am-9 pm.Closed Sun. Reservations Mon-Thur only. MC, V, AE,CB. $$) 5.5

Rheun Thai. (Thai) Strong in the running for the title ofDallas’ best hole-in-the-wall ethnic restaurant, this friendly spot offers excellent Siamese cooking. Much of it ishighly spicy, such as the cold meat salads liberallysprinkled with fresh hot peppers and mint or choppedginger root. But a number of dishes hold no terrors forthe most dyspeptic: There are delicate creations (whichresemble Chinese food but have subtly different tastesand textures) such as chicken with peppers, onions andfresh mushrooms. And the waitresses will be glad tosuggest leaving out the peppers on certain dishes if youdon’t want too much fire. (Keystone Park, 13929 N Central Expwy, Suite 400, Richardson. 437-2484. Mon-Thur 10-10, Fri & Sat 10 am-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. Allcredit cards. $$) 6.5

Ristorante Lombardi. (Northern Italian) The tile floorsand Italian-accented (and occasionally condescending)waiters lend this place a certain cachet. The food ismostly the real thing, too, although it’s executed withvarying levels of perfection. At our last meal, the mostsuccessful items were the tortellini with a rich chickenfilling and the desserts (a Grand Marnier souffle and anut-filled rum cake). The least successful was a gummy,odd-tasting veal in a sauce flavored with orange. Atthese prices, we would expect a meal to consistentlydeliver at the higher end of the quality scale. (AdelsteinPlaza, 15501 Dallas Pkwy at Arapaho. 458-8822.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 5:30-11.Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

Sergio & Luciano. (Italian/Continental) Our last several visits have shown Sergio & Luciano to be at top form – and that is formidable. The pastas, in particular, have been expertly prepared. Our favorites among the regular menu offerings are the tortellini stuffed with chicken and the Panieri dello Chef (a pastry shell with seafood in a cream sauce served on a leaf of radicchio). Among the specials, the linguini jardiniere – with broccoli, carrots and mushrooms in olive oil – is a marvelous way toenjoy some pasta and eat your vegetables at the sametime. Among the other dishes, the shrimp in champagne sauce is a standout. (The Quorum, 4900 BeltLine, Suite2S0. 387-4441. Lunch: Mon-Thur 11-2:30;dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11, Sun 6-10. Allcredit cards. $$$) 6.5

Shangri-La. (Chinese) Despite the name, this is no newly discovered hidden paradise, but a very pleasant (if unremarkable) new Chinese restaurant in tar Far North Dallas that extends the possibility of good Oriental food farther north of town than ever before. The San Shien soup was a satisfying beginning, with tender shrimp and meat (strips of beef substituted for the usual ham) as well as crisp vegetables. The fried dumplings were excellent; the egg rolls, crisply fried but filled too heavily with cabbage instead of more expensive things. All the main dishes were tasty, too. The spicy Szechuan ones (including pork in garlic sauce and hot and spicy shrimp) had interesting sour rather than sweet overtones. (17194 Preston at Campbell, Suite 115. 380-1988. Daily 11 am-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Stetson’s. (Steaks & Seafood) This is a surprisinglygood spot for the new generation of board-room Texans(rather than the barroom variety). Stetson’s is a steakplace-there’s no doubt about that- but the furnishingsare different from what we’ve seen in most places thatserve 2-inch-thick steaks with all the trimmings: The dining room looks downright nice. That scared us at first,but the service was friendly, and the beef was cookedto perfection. The only concession to North Dallas chicwas the baked potatoes served in printed, resin-coatedpaper jackets. Stetson’s serves great hot rolls and theOrtega salad, a tough-guy appetizer with the biggestbeefsteak tomatoes we’ve seen in years, served withpeppers and slabs of sweet red onion and marinatedin vinaigrette dressing. (The Registry Hotel, 15201Dallas Pkwy. 386-6000. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30 am-3pm; dinner: Mon-Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. All creditcards. Reservations recommended. $$$) 7.0

Taiwan. (Chinese) See Upper Greenville/North Central. (4980 Belt Line, Addison. 387-2333. Lunch: Sun-Thur 11:30-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 5-10:30; Fri & Sat11:30-11:30. Reservations recommended. MC, V,AE. $$) 7.0

Tanjore. (Indian) Indian food is still an adventure for most Dallas folks, and a meal here is a delight. Settle into the calming apricot-colored environs, accustom your ears to the Hindi music and begin by sampling the Tanjore Tray, a selection of lightly fried meats and vegetables. Beef magulai, murg mussalam and shrimp masala are three entrees that show off the breadth of the unfamiliar and the variety of combinations of curry, coriander and other Eastern spices that our culture neglects. Enjoy the different meat, chicken and lamb dishes with saffron rice, and close the meal with mango lassi (a kind of Indian ice cream) or a Tanjorita, a smooth yogurt drink. (Prestonwood Creek Shopping Center, 5409 Belt Line 960-0070. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: daily 6-10; brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30-3. Bar membership available. All credit cards. $$)5.5



D REVISITS



Tong’s House. (Chinese) We went months ago to this small, out-of-the-way restaurant, but our first visit didn’t impress us. But continued raves from acquaintances drew us back, and this time we found all the praise justified. On weekends especially, there are marvelous seafood specials. Although the kitchen ran out of the beautiful-looking cracked crab before we could get any, the scallops with hot peppers and the shrimp with snow peas were both excellent. Most of the specialties at Tong’s House are spicy, such as the outstanding eggplant with garlic sauce and the beef with orange peel, but there are other fine dishes (such as the Szechuan soup with bacon and the thinly sliced white radish soup) that are easy on the tongue. (1910 Promenade Center, Richardson. 231-8858. Tue-Sun 11 am-9:30 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

D Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan. (Chinese) As Dallas’best Chinese restaurant matures, the staffseems to be getting more hospitable-andthe food, as always, is stellar. The spicy Hunan dishescan be complemented with such offerings as beef withsnow peas or chicken with walnuts, not fiery with peppers but still robust. The menu has lots of byways toexplore-frog legs, rabbit and dishes cooked in theHunan steamer pot. (The Galleria, Suite 3370, 13350Dallas Pkwy. 934-9998. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri &Sat 11 am-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. Jackets required fordinner. All credit cards. $$$) 8.5



PLANO



Bob Willy’s. (Barbecue) Get on out here while it’s stillmore or less country -there’s an ominous-lookingcrane looming across the way. You’ll want to go to BobWilly’s because it’s the nicest place you’ll ever eatbarbecue. Attached to a homey antique store, thisrestaurant is the picture of a country dining room, andit overlooks a grove of willow trees and open fields. Thebarbecue is good, if not outstanding -everythingcomes doused in a sweetish, slightly spicy sauce. Thepecan and buttermilk chess pies will reinforce your conviction that your grandmother- or somebocy’s grandmother-must be hovering about the place somewhere. (1933 Preston, Piano. 985-0624. Breakfast: daily 6-11: lunch: daily 11-2:30: dinner: Thur-Sun 5:30-9.No credit cards. $$) 5.5

Fishmonger’s Market Seafood Café. (Seafood) At this tiny Piano fishmarket, which does double duty as a restaurant and takeout shop, both fried and broiled seafood come off admirably. The broiled scrod we sampled was impeccably fresh and delicate in texture, and the fried catfish and oysters were both crunchy, needing just a bit more salt to be truly delectable. All the seafood dishes are accompanied by a not-too-sweet slaw and a choice of freshly cut french fries or a serving of red beans and rice. (1915 N Central Expwy, Suite600, Piano. 423-3699. Mon-Thur 11 am-9 pm, Fri 11am-10 pm, Sat noon-10 pm, Sun noon-9 pm. All creditcards. $$) 4.5

D REVISITS



Jimanny’s. (Steak & Seafood) The best thingabout Jimanny’s is that it isn’t an outpost of somechain. There is a bar, and the lighting is dim, but itfeels more like an unpretentious small-town restaurant than one of those slick places from the television ads that keep assuring you what a good timeyou’re going to have. The beef is served in largeportions (especially the Jimanny’s cut of prime rib),but it can have something of an off taste, as if it weretreated with seasoned salt before getting to thetable. The serving staff is very youthful and not always professional. (2901 W Parker, Piano. 985-1339. Mon-Fri 11.30 am-midnight, Sat 5 pm-1 am.Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 4.0



Oysters. (Seafood) See Addison/Richardson/FarNorth Dallas. (2901 N Central Expwy at Parker.422-2469. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat11:30-11, Sun 5-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Sarducci’s. (Northern Italian) The menu at this Pianorestaurant is Northern Italian-fairly adventuresome forDallas and very adventuresome for Piano. Most Northern Italian restaurants have their biggest successes incooking pasta and veal, but so far, these aren’t Sarducci’s strong points. Instead, the vitello tonnato appetizerwas far and away the best version around, with paper-thin slices of veal roll floating on a lemony tuna sauce.The best entrees were the river trout (crusty and servedwith a green sauce on the side) and the soothinglycreamy chicken Delfino. (Harvey House Hotel, 1600 NCentral Expwy at 16th, Piano. 578-8555. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: daily 5-11; Sun brunch: 10:30-2. Allcredit cards. Lunch $$, dinner $$$) 5.5

GARLAND/MESQUITE



Café Maria. (Mexican) This Mexican restaurant inSoutheast Garland is a puzzler. It looks like a barbecuejoint, and the personnel seems anything but ethnicallyauthentic, yet someone is obviously trying hard to turnout unusual and authentic Mexican specialties. Butmaybe they’re trying too hard. The menu is so long thatnot everything could be cooked well, let alone authentically. The ordinary Tex-Mex isn’t bad here, but it’s hardto adjust one’s expectations, aroused by the appealing-sounding dishes on the menu, to the prosaic realities onthe table. (6541 Duck Creek, Garland 271-8456. Mon-Thur 11 am-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10 pm. ClosedSun. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Chugga. (Burgers) The motto of this unique Garlandsandwich shop is “Love at first bite,” and truer wordswere never advertised. The hot dogs-Vienna (a brandname) 100-percent kosher beef-are great, althoughthe chili served on the chili dog is impossibly sweet andcontains (horrors!) beans. The sautéburger we tried,with “shrooms” (sautéed mushrooms), peppers, tomatoes and real Cheddar, was unequaled by any hamburger in our previous experience. The Reuben wasalso a definitive sandwich. There’s no need to trumpetthe praises of the desserts at Chuggs; members of thefamily that owns the place are ready at all times torecommend their favorites. (730 W Centerville, Garland. 686-1500. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-mid-night, Sun 1-10 pm. No credit cards; personal checksaccepted. $) 6.5



LAS COLINAS/MI0-CITE8

The Brussels. (Belgian) We don’t know of a less pretentious place in the Metroplex offering authentically European food than this Arlington restaurant-and as far as we know, it’s the only one that claims to offer Belgian cuisine. Certainly we don’t know of any place where you can get a meat course and three vegetables for as little as $4.25 – that’s all the broiled chicken will set you back. The beef and fish entrees are higher but are still a good bargain. Since even kids are made to feel welcome (there are child’s plates and American dishes), the Brussels is a useful new place in the environs of Ar-lington Stadium and Six Flags. (1300 Copeland nearthe l-30/Hwy 157 interchange, Arlington. Mon-Fri 11:30am-11 pm, Sat & Sun 5-11 pm. (817) 861-4488. Allcredit cards. $$) 5.0

Café Cancun. (Mexican) See Park Cities/Lovers Lane.(Lincoln Square Shopping Center, Arlington. 792-3388. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V,AE. $$) 6.0

The China Rose. (Chinese) This Arlington restaurant,which serves Hong Kong-style Chinese food, has hadits ups and downs. This time, we’re happy to report thatboth food and service are on the upswing. We faredbest with the chicken and pork dishes; the seafood, incomparison, was bland. The decor and ambiance (including minor “street” parades, with authentically cladwaiters pulling dragon kites and floats) were as lavishand loud as we remembered. (1401 N Collins, Arlington. (817) 277-5888. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri &Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 4.0

China Terrace. (Chinese) This new restaurant in the northwestern reaches of Las Colinas is among the more ambitious Chinese establishments in the Metroplex. The hors d’oeuvres include delicate spring rolls and an assorted cold plate featuring excellent cold chicken with sesame sauce. In the China Terrace prawns, you will find nearly three dozen toasted hot peppers among the well-cooked shrimp and peanuts. The fresh spinach with garlic and sesame seeds is a delightful way to eat your green vegetables. If you’re feeling extravagant, the most delightful dessert here is the Empress Fruit Sculpture: gothic spires made of apples surrounding carved oranges, honeydew and chunks of banana. (5435 N MacArthur, Irving. 258-1113. Mon-Fri 11 am-10 pm, Sat5-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.5

Empress of China. (Chinese) The garish red-and-yellow sign that announces “Empress of China” to theworld might make you think that decor isn’t one of therestaurant’s finer points. Think again. Inside, the Empress is almost regal: spare, white and subtly elegant.The food is mostly middle-of-the-road Chinese-betterthan adequate but less than outstanding. One dish totry: the Shrimp (or Seafood) Wor Bar. (2648 N Belt Line,Irving. 252-7677. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat11-11, Sun noon- 10 pm. Reservations. MC, V, AE, DC.$$) 4.0

D Enjolie. ( Nouvelle) If you want to be pamperedwith some of the best cuisine in town in a relaxed but elegant environment, try Enjolie. Thepheasant mousse, surrounded by a not-too-sweet blueberry sauce, is an ethereal beginning to a meal. Themain course of three different kinds of fish, each in itsown sauce, is subtle rather than showy. And all thedesserts are spectacular-if you can find room between the French cheeses and the petits fours servedafter dinner. (Mandalay Four Seasons Hotel, 221 S LasColinas Blvd. Irving. 556-0800. ext. 3155. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Reservations.All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0

II Nonno’s. (Northern Italian) As a rule, restaurants located near airports are unspectacular, drawing customers who happened to be there rather than thosewho really wanted to be there. II Nonno’s, in the AmfacEast Tower at D/FW airport, is the exception. The food,service and decor all make it well worth your while.Among the appetizers, our favorite was the carbonara:pasta in a rich cream sauce with bits of bacon andherbs. The entrees we sampled, veal parmigiana andeggplant Parmesan, were memorable, too. The serviceshould also be singled out: The waiters and waitressessing and serve with equal enthusiasm. And we were impressed by II Nonno’s willingness to go the extra mile:After we ordered cappuccino and were told there wasnone left, we received other drinks free of charge. (EastTower, Amfac Hotel, D/FW airport. 453-8400. Daily 6-11 pm. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

Mercado Juarez. (Mexican) See Stemmons/BachmanLake. (2220 Miller Rd, Arlington. (817) 649-3324. Sun-Thur 11 arn-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V.AE.$$) 5.0

On the Border. (Mexican) See Knox/Henderson. (2011Copeland, Arlington. (817)460-8000. Sun-Thur 11-11,Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Oysters. (Seafood) See Addison/Richardson/FarNorth Dallas. (8206 Bedford-Euless Rd, N RichlandHills. Metro 498-5511. Daily 11:30 am-midnight. MC, V,AE. $$) 5.0



FORT WORTH



Aventino’s. (Northern Italian) A pleasant surpriseawaited us at this intimate Italian strip-shopping-centerrestaurant. Although the restaurant is barely more thana hole in the wall, patrons are treated to a showroomproduction of Paraguayan harp and classical guitarmusic every Friday night. Our meal was on an even parwith the entertainment. An appetizer of soft meltedcheese (served with fresh bread for dunking) was a delicious starter. Among the entrees, veal (lightly breaded with fresh lemon) and spinach fettuccine wererecommended, and they proved to be wise choices:They were satisfying, yet light enough to leave room forcheesecake and espresso. (3206 Winthrop Ave. (817)731-0711. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-10.Fri & Sat 5-11, Sun 5-9. MC, V, AE. $) 5.0

The Balcony. (Continental) Overlooking the lights of busy Camp Bowie Boulevard from our table inside The Balcony, we began our meal with escargots drenched in butter. Broiled lamb chops and fresh lobster followed. We were surprised at the size and freshness of the crustacean: It was expertly prepared, with the sweet flavor of the meat enhanced by the drawn butter. The unhurried pace of the service, the flickering candlelight and the distant tinkling of a piano lent a romantic air toour evening. But this isn’t just a place for lovers: We alsospied a family celebrating a birthday, three women co-workers enjoying dinner and several tables of business-suited men discussing the latest stock market flurry. Thediversity, however, only adds to the restaurant’s charm.(6100 Camp Bowie. (817) 731-3719. Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-10:30. Allcredit cards. $$$) 5.5



D REVISITS

Bella Italia. (Italian) Every neighborhood shouldboast such a place-one where you can relax witha glass of Chianti after a hectic day or where youcan bring your new in-laws. Bella Italia’s well-wornatmosphere makes you feel at home, even if it’syour first visit. The food is a mite lackluster, and thestrolling accordion and guitar players play with a bittoo much enthusiasm and volume, but it’s been along time since we’ve seen such unpretentiousservice in comfortable surroundings with modestprices. The menu is wisely limited (why propose todo more than a small kitchen can adequately do?),with a select few pasta, veal, chicken and beef entrees. The baked artichoke appetizer with shrimp,scallops and cheese was a good start. From themenu, we were impressed with the veal scalop-pine, which was tender and mercifully not coatedin a thick breading. Of the pastas, the one with artichoke hearts, eggs, bacon and cream was themost creative. (2913 Walton. (817)294-7979. Tue-Thur 6-10 pm, Fri & Sat 6-11 pm. Closed Sun &Mon. All credit cards. $$) 5.0



Benlto’s. (Tex-Mex) Our all-time favorite waiter, Tino, is still in fine form at this haven of traditional Mexican cuisine on the South Side. “I’ve got some nice fajitas for you, madame; for you, sir, I’ve got some, really nice chile rellenos.” We must admit that the gregarious service is one of our attractions to Benito’s, but the main stars of the show are the delicious and authentic dishes that are a standout in the Metroplex. (Owner Maria Umland says that some of her most popular dishes are made withbeef tongue and cabrito). For weekend brunches orlate-night snacks, migas (scrambled eggs with tortillasand a fiery sauce) are always in demand. When themenu says “sizzling fajitas,” that’s what you get; wealmost wish they’d pass out welder’s masks with eachorder. And the fine tortilla soup comes with just abouteverything. Simply put, the food is some of the bestMexican cuisine anywhere. (1450 W Magnolia. (817)332-8633. Sun-Thur 10-10, Fri & Sat 10 am-3 am. Nocredit cards. $) 6.0

Calamity’s. (Eclectic) Calamity’s is a novelty restaurant/bar named after the infamous Calamity Jane. Theinterior is upgraded mine-shaft, and the food is averageat best, but there are some clever touches: At Sundaybrunch, the champagne flows freely, and a cappuccinomachine and real whipped cream await you at the endof the buffet. The salad bar is well-stocked, and the viewof the downtown skyline of Fort Worth is impressive.Still, these attributes don’t make up for inadequate service and so-so food. (1900 Ben St. (817) 534-4908. Mon-Thur 5-11 pm, Fri & Sat 5 pm-midnight. Sun 5-10 pm;Sun brunch: 10:30-3. Reservations recommended. Allcredit cards. $$$) 4.0

Edelweiss. (German) The crowds at this cavernousGerman-style restaurant attest to its continuing popularity. On weekends, the wait can exceed an hour for atable-and longer for food. But the dirndl-clad frauleinsare friendly and try to make the best of a slow kitchen.And owner/entertainer/band leader Berndt Schnerz-inger does his part to keep your mind off the wait: Hesings requests and old standbys such as My Way(with – you guessed it- a German accent). The food isgenerally of high quality: The heaping sauerbratenplates continue to please, and we found the ribs (bothpork and beef) delectable. (3801-A Southwest Blvd.(817) 738-5934. Mon-Thur 5-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11pm. All credit cards. $$) 4.0

D Hedary’s. (Lebanese) The word must be out.For the first time, we encountered a line atHedary’s, the fine West Side Lebanese restaurant. But we endured the wait because we knew thatthe meal would indeed satisfy our cravings for lambshish kebab and various spicy sausage and beefdishes, all served in a piping-hot fold of Lebanesebread. The family-run restaurant manages to keepprices low and servings generous. Come hungry, sincethe best way to start your dinner is with the seven-sampling salad course that can be a meal in itself. (3308Fairfield at Camp Bowie. (817)731-6961. Tue-Thur 5-10pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. Sun 5-10 pm. Closed Mon. Noreservations. All credit cards. $$) 7.5

J.J.’s Oyster Bar. (Seafood) At J.J.’s, you can haveyour seafood any way you like it, as long as you like itfried. Cholesterol counts aside, you’ll love J.J.’s. It’s justwhat an oyster bar should be: a long bar with stools forperching, some “tall tops” (tall, round tables with matching stools) and waitresses in jeans who bring you plastic baskets bulging with deep-fried fish and shellfish.Purists can feast on orders of raw oysters. (929 University. (817) 335-2756. Mon-Sat 11-11. Sun 4-10 pm. Nocredit cards. $) 5.5

Kincaid’s. (Burgers) Next time you’re longing for thedays when life was easier and burgers were beefier,stroll on over to Kincaid’s. This old-time grocery storewith the grill in the back is a comforting slice of the olddays. And Kincaid’s famous burgers are the best part:They’re thick, flavorful and stuffed with such tried-and-true additions as lettuce, tomato, onions and mustard.You probably won’t even notice that you can’t sit down,so just stand at one of the shelf-top counters and munchcontentedly while you peruse one of the nearby magazines. Ahhh, the good old days. (4901 Camp Bowie.(817)732-2881. Mon-Sat 10am-6:15pm. Closed Sun.No credit cards. $) 6.5

Le Café Bowie. (Continental) This restaurant is one of the best in Fort Worth for dinner. Sadly, the nighttime sparkle of this unpretentious spot fades when the sun’s up. At a recent brunch, the Eggs Louis IX (described as being scrambled with shrimp) had the texture and taste of pureed eggs. The consistency was far too thin, and the occasional bite of shrimp didn’t redeem it. But heartier appetites may be satisfied: A few dinner-type selections are also offered for brunch. All in all, we still enjoythe homey atmosphere at Le Cafe Bowie, but in the future, we’ll stick to dinner dates. (4930 Camp Bowie.(817) 735-1521. Lunch: Wed-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11; Sun brunch: noon-2.MC. V; personal checks accepted. $$$) 6.5

Mercado Juarez. (Mexican) 1651 E Northside Dr.Sun-Thur 11 am-1 am, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. MC, V,AE. $$) 5.0

The Original Mexican Food Cafe. (Tex-Mex) The long lines at this popular Mexican food restaurant are due more to tradition than to outstanding food Oh, the combination plates are okay, and the service is quick and efficient, but overall, the food isn’t really exceptional. But that’s not the point, as throngs of Fort Worth natives will tell you. The margaritas are huge, and, moreover, the restaurant looks like the real thing: concrete walls, cracking linoleum floors and bustling waiters and waitresses. (47/3 Camp Bowie. (817) 738-6226. Sun, Mon, Wed & Thur 11 am-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Tue. All credit cards. $) 5.5

Reflections. (French/Continental) This restaurant’s subdued, peachy pastels work well with black trim, and the quality of the food is superb. Yet there is something mildly unsettling about this Americana Hotel dining room. Despite the opulent touches (floor-to-ceiling lamps and color-coordinated flowers on each table), we felt a bit exposed as we dined in the long, rectangular room. But don’t be put off by the too-bright indirect lighting or by the austere lines of the dining room. Go to Reflections for the food, because as far as hotel restaurants go, this place manages to break the stereotypes and deliver well-prepared and thoughtful dishes comparable to any of the best restaurants in Fort Worth. For starters, try the scallops wrapped in bacon or the pate plate with a sweet sauce. The New York sirloin with Bercy sauce is overpriced at $18.50, but thecut is as tender as butter; and the Ginger Duck is delightful, with a perfectly sweetened sauce that enhancesbut doesn’t overpower the fowl. (200 Main. (817) 870-9894. Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30 pm, Sat 6:30-11 pm. MC, V,AE. $$$) 6.5



D REVISITS

Ristorante Lombardi. (Northern Italian) The cobblestone, brick and wrought-iron entryway, subdued lighting, fragrant aromas and bustling waitersand busboys all combine to make this among themost romantic spots for dinner in Fort Worth. Andthe European- inspired dining room, decorated inmoderate tones of green, cream and dark wood,adds to the overall charm. One detraction, though,is that the tables are awfully close together. If wehad stretched out on our last visit, we could havesampled our neighbors’ dinner. The appetizer offried calamari, mozzarella and shrimp let us enjoyseveral of the appetizer offerings in moderation,which happily left us room to try the frequent special of steamed clams, which were plump and richwith herbs. Lombardi’s offers several seafood selections, and the seafood brochette (with shrimpand scallops) offered ample portions of two ofthem. The veal picatta, moderated in a light winesauce, didn’t overwhelm our senses with citrus.(300 Main in Sundance Square. (817) 877-1729.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur5:30-10:30, Fri & Sal 5:30-11. Reservations. Allcredit cards. $$$) 7.0



Sardine’s. (Italian) When the uncontrollable urge for steaming plates of pasta hits you, don’t waste a minute: Get over to Sardine’s, squeeze into one of the booths or the many tiny tables and feast on a delectable order of spaghetti carbonara -a pasta lover’s delight of whipped cream, hunks of bacon, mushrooms, onions and eggs. This dish outranks such standards as fettuc-cine Alfredo and traditional spaghetti. For something lighter and less sinfully carbohydrate, the daily chefs special, a Northern Italian bouillabaisse, is chock-full of shellfish served in a rich red sauce that’s just right for dunking garlic bread. Despite the slightly too-dim lighting, the too-loud jazz band and the always bustling atmosphere, you can bet we’ll be back for more. (3410 Camp Bowie. (817) 332-9937. Sun-Thur 5:30 pm-mid-night. Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-1 am. All credit cards. $$) 6.0



Stockyards Hotel Restaurant. (Steak) This stately three-story hotel dates back to 1907, when it was a lively center during the cowboy boomtown days. It has now been dusted off and reopened to attract the throngs of tourists that regularly invade the historical stockyards area. Once the obvious is accepted – namely, that this is a novelty hotel and restaurant-then it’s easy to like the haute cowboy decor of the hotel and the attempts at rustic ambiance in the saloon/restaurant. Although the kitchen can turn out a basic steak, our rib eye had a bit too much gristle, and the T-bone was overdone. The real treats were the delicious beans and the homemade cornbread and jalapeno bread. We have just one question: How do ladies sit sidesaddle at the bar? (109 E Exchange, Fort Worth. (817) 625-6427. Daily 6:30 am-1 am. MC, V. AE $$) 4.0



Texas Connection. (Continental) On a recent visit tothis restaurant, we waited more than an hour before anysign of food came our way. And once the food did arrive, it didn’t prove worth the wait. The artichoke appetizer was smothered with Parmesan cheese, and thechicken and veal dishes were just so-so. The only truestandout of our meal was the Italian Wedding soup.Light but filling, with lots of fresh pasta and herbs anda homemade taste, it could have made a meal in itself.The place has unmistakable charm; it just needs tochannel it in the needed areas: food and service. (1408Morrison, Fort Worth. (817) 496-3666. Sun 5-10 pm.Tue-Thur 5-11 pm, Fri & Sat 5 pm-midnight: Sunbrunch: 11-2:30. All credit cards. $$$) 4.5

D Tours. (Continental) We continue to be impressed with the formidable presence Tourshas established on the Fort Worth diningscene. The small strip-shopping-center location andthe tiny, boxlike room at first appeared to be detrimental factors to this restaurant’s growth. But the ownershave remained undaunted and continue to present anoriginal and evolving menu. The serene pastels and unobtrusive yet pleasant service soothe work-weanednerves, and the unflagging fare with nouvelie touchessatisfies our gastronomic cravings. We were captivatedfrom the beginning with the novel appetizers, which included a delicate but substantial egg roll and an upscale version of a traditional quesadilla. Among theentrees, we found the veal medallions with shallotsto be so tender we could use a fork, and the steamedsalmon with a slightly tangy spinach sauce was thefreshest we’ve tasted since we last visited the Northwest. (3429B W Seventh St. (817) 870-1672 Lunch:Tue-Sat 11:30-2; dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun& Mon. Reservations recommended on weekends.MC, V, AE. $$$) 7.5

The Wine Seller. (Continental) Dinner by candlelightis made even more romantic if you can have a chilledbottle of your favorite champagne and a wine, cheeseand paté board, too. Such is the premise of the WineSeller, and it excels in both the romance and epicuredepartments. Although the cozy bistro has a daily menuof well-prepared continental fare (chicken, beef andpasta dishes), we find the appetizers perfect for a lightdinner, especially the pepper and truffle patés andsmoked Gouda and Boursin cheeses. Accompaniedby fresh fruit and scrumptious French bread, the”boards” are the perfect complement to any bottle ofwine, which can be selected from the restaurant’s ample wine vaults. (6120 Camp Bowie. (817) 737-2323.Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-midnight. Closed Sun. MC, V. $$) 6.5