DINING NEW ARRIVALS

The hottest new restaurants in the Metroplex

St. Emilion. This unassuming-looking new Fort Worth restaurant has a distinguished pedigree: The building is owned by Jean-Claude Prevot, and the restaurant’s proprietor worked for years at Calluaud in Dallas. The inconspicuous A-frame building (you have to search to find it, since it’s set back from the street) is decorated on the inside with European touches-fringes on the miniature lamp shades, little pictures framed in blue. It achieves the feel of a country inn in France better than any other place in the Metroplex.

If the food gets any better than it was the first few weeks after it opened, St. Emilion will be the best restaurant in Fort Worth. With a $20 prix fixe for four courses, it’s already the best bargain. The blackboard menu (eventually there will be a written one) offers about a half dozen choices of both appetizers and entrées. Among the appetizers we tasted, the seafood salad-marinated shrimp and salmon seasoned to a turn-was a knockout. So was the shrimp provencale, in fish broth with tomato. The fresh country duck paté was especially light, and the mussel appetizer was very unusual: The tender creatures had been removed from their shells and were served in an herbed cream sauce. The appetizers were followed by a delicious salad of curly endive with bacon and walnuts.

Perhaps the most striking entrée at St. Emilion is the roast duck, which you can see turning on a spit in the rotisserie imported from France as you enter the restaurant. It is simple and very crisp, garnished with slices of orange and julienne orange peel atop a bed of fresh spinach. There’s no sauce, but you feel no need for one. The skin is the equivalent of the best Peking duck. The grilled veal in a light sauce with fresh ginger, the cassoulet of sole and lobster, and the bro-chette of lamb are all fine choices. These can be accompanied by a reasonably priced bottle of wine-the list has an unusually large selection of wines under $20.

The best dessert is the crème caramel (we can’t remember another so light). The warm apple tart is good, too, but we thought that the raspberry mousse cake and the babas au rhum were disappointing and failed to match the other food here. But that was a small letdown in view of the quality of most of the cuisine, the friendly service and the charm of St. Emilion. It’s a restaurant much needed in Fort Worth, and it’s likely to be crowded by the time you read this. (3617 W. Seventh, Fort Worth. (817) 737-2781. Mon-Fri 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m. & 6-10:30 p.m., Sat 6-11 p. m. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. $$$) 7.0

La Poele d’Or. This Fort Worth restaurant at least has a new name, although it seems to have some relationship with The Courtyard, which occupied the space before. It is rather an odd establishment, but if the place doesn’t put you off, you can find some very good food here. In the first place, the storefront location is very small, and the tables are crowded (you’re likely to hear every word of every conversation going on at the other tables). And there doesn’t seem to be anyone waiting on tables except one Englishwoman, whom we take to be one of the proprietors (they also run a catering service). She is pleasant and efficient, but it does seem a false economy not to have even a busboy. The decor, by the way, might charitably be described as eclectic, and the background music is provided by a radio station-which is fine if you like ads with your escargots.

But the food at La Poele d’Or is still worthy of consideration. The appetizers-thereare only three of them-are unexciting butcreditable: very garlicky snails, Frenchonion soup and smoked salmon. The saladsare very simple-just a few leaves of Bostonlettuce and perhaps some slices of red bellpepper. But the entrées are occasionallysomething special. We tried sautéed filets oforange roughy, the fish from New Zealand,and found them delicate. The specialty of thehouse (called Shrimp Vance) is divine: lightly battered and crunchy crustaceans in a buttery sauce. The veal Normande was heavybut tasty, and the chicken aux champignonswas satisfying, too. These dishes prettymuch demonstrate the range of the menu-there isn’t a whole lot of choice-but it maybe wise for a small restaurant to focus on justa few dishes. Among the desserts, we sampled the homemade chocolate nut puddingand ice cream made with Sabra liqueur, anIsraeli liqueur that’s made from cactus.(5718 Locke, Fort Worth. (817) 738-6670.Mon-Thur 6:30-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. All creditcards. $$$) 6.0

Flying Lobster. The word has been slow to leak out about the Flying Lobster in Grapevine, but with summer approaching and the masses soon to descend on the popular nearby lake, this seafood restaurant should find it easy to stay afloat.

The restaurant brings the atmosphere of a New Orleans seafood market to a rural community that for years offered only hamburger chains, quaint cafes and diners. Grapevine is undergoing a major facelift these days, and the Flying Lobster, with its fresh entrées and dockside decor, is among the community’s newest and best offerings. The Flying Lobster doubles as a seafood market and wholesale distributor for area restaurants. The menu is on a blackboard, and wine, the only liquor served, is complimentary.

Grapevine might be catfish territory to some, but there’s nary a fried fish sizzling on the stove. The lobster is flown in daily from Maine; the crab comes from the Gulf. Before ordering, guests get a full view of the iced-down seafood in the market area, which stretches the length of the restaurant. We couldn’t resist watching as the cook poked around a pile of shrimp until he selected the plumpest of the lot for our appetizer.

The entrées lack imagination, but freshness makes up for creativity. The cook has taken the chore out of eating lobster by removing all but the most tender chunks of meat. With no claws or tails to wrestle with, we found each bite a pleasure. The creamy sauce that covered the meat added just enough flavor to enhance an already delightful meal. We had to work a bit harder to get through the seafood platter, which featured everything from frog’s legs to swordfish. The sampling of steamed clams, shrimp and lobster made for an interesting mix, but after the first few bites, everything tasted the same.

As with the entrées, the dessert menu alsochanges daily and follows the same dedication to freshness. We tried strawberries andcream, always an unbeatable combination.If there’s anything small-town about the Flying Lobster, it’s the warm and friendly service. Our waiter was a bit slow, but he compensated by frequently filling our wineglasses and bread basket. (1321 W. NorthwestHwy., Grapevine. (817) 481-4135. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5-9, Fri &Sat 5-10. MC, V, AE; personal checks accepted. $$) 6.0

A.J. Gonzalez. The West End finally has a Mexican restaurant now that A.J. Gonzalez has moved into one of the renovated warehouse buildings there. The decor is simple but attractive, and the same may be said of the food. Standards such as nachos are dished up bounteously, and an appetizer portion of quesadillas offers lots of folded tortillas stuffed with meat or cheese and accompanied by a dish of guacamole mellowed with sour cream. Actually, if you have a craving for old-fashioned Tex-Mex, you could do a lot worse than to make the trek here. The enchiladas are gooey and tasty, the tamales have more flavor than at most other places and the puffed tacos have an unusual filling of picadillo (a chopped meat filling that includes a bit of potato). Even the tortillas are homemade and very satisfying.

The classier specialties that most Mexicanrestaurants are trying to make their reputations on these days are done in fairly distinctive versions here, but not always with greatsuccess. We believe that the chicken a laparilla came from a grill only because themenu assured us that it did-there was nosmoky flavor. The fajitas were chewy andtasted strongly of soy sauce. The shrimp almolé de ajo (in garlic sauce) were probablythe best of the specialties-tender, swimming in margarine and strongly spiked withgarlic. The only dessert we tried, praline pie,was indistinguishable from mud pie but stilltasty. (1701 Market. 651-9507. Mon-Thur 11a.m.-3p.m. & 5:30-10 p.m., Fri 11 a.m.-3p.m. & 5:30-11 p.m. $-$$) 5.5

Best Pacific. This new restaurant wouldn’t attract much notice if it were on McKinney Avenue, but in northwest Garland, it is enough of a sensation that it has a lot of business on weekends. The proprietor, branching out from a small Chinese takeout place in Piano, has created an unassuming neighborhood eatery devoted mostly to seafood. Although the recipes aren’t Oriental, there are some benefits from the Asian heritage, such as the freshness of most of the foodstuffs (including some barely cooked green beans accompanying our entrées). When we visited, the new serving staff was anything but polished, but each waiter worked very hard to see that we were happy.

Among the appetizers we tried, the gumbo was the most impressive. Although it didn’t look like anything a Louisianan would put in his mouth-it was kind of gray and neutral in color-the taste was rich, clear and spicy. We wish somebody would teach the cook how to make a roux to give the gumbo a proper foundation, but we’d eat this version anytime, even if we have to put on a blindfold. The boiled shrimp were bland but acceptable, and the serving of small crab claws in garlic butter was big enough to be satisfying.

The two standouts among the entrees wesampled were the sautéed scallops-brownand slightly crunchy on top but tender andjuicy within-and the crisp, cornmeal-coated filets of catfish, which only needed a dashof salt to be excellent. Although the mixedseafood basket came with homemade thick-cut fried potatoes, and the trout amandinewas particularly fresh-tasting, both wererather bland and dull. Prices are very reasonable, and families are welcome. (4750 N.Jupiter at Arapaho, Garland. 530-1574.Mon-Fri 11 a.m.-2:30p.m. & 5-10p.m., Sat5-10p.m., Sun noon-9p.m. All credit cards;personal checks accepted. $$) 5.5

No. 1 Chinese Seafood. This addition to the Richardson environs-Dallas’ unlikely high-tech Chinatown-seemed unimpressive when it first opened. Our first visit showed little of the fresh seafood we were expecting from the place’s name. We went back a couple of months later and found the situation much improved. There was a multitude of live lobsters in a tank (we know of only one other Chinese place around that has them), and a number of other fresh seafood dishes were available. We tried a lobster cooked in a chili sauce. The dish showed that the kitchen cannot boast notable refinement, but the barely cooked crustacean was delectable anyway. We also ordered a whole steamed red snapper, and it came beautifully topped with shreds of ginger and black mushroom. The snapper proved to be tender and succulent. The Neptune’s Delight contained a lot of juicy shrimp and fat scallops along with beautifully colored vegetables, but it was rather an oily dish. The menu here goes in for exotically named combos ofstandard dishes, but our experience is thatthe seafood, mostly very reasonable in price,remains your best bet. (333 W. Spring valley,Richardson. 669-3166. Daily 11:30 a.m.-2a.m. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0



RECOMMENDED RESTAURANTS



D’s 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.

AMERICAN NOUVELLE



Bobbi. Bobbi. the newest enterprise of the Vaccaro group of restaurants, is as much a bar as a place to eat. The menu is as trendy as the clientele-one might be tempted to call it short-order nouvelle. There are separate sections for pizza, pasta and sandwiches even on the short dinner menu, and New Wave touches are found throughout. Among the starters, the sashimi, the salad with duck and oranges, the gazpacho and the marinated octopus are all satisfying. The grilled tuna is accompanied by an interesting onion marmalade, and the Texas omelette (scrambled eggs wrapped in a flour tortilla) is seriously spicy. (NorthPark East, 8854 N Central Expwy. 691-5833. Mon-Fri 11:30am-midnight, Sal 6 pm-midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

D BIom’s. Dallas is blessed with hotel restaurantsthat transcend the category, and Blom’s is oneof the finest. The chef is magnificently inventive,offering a dozen new dishes nightly and a whole newmenu every season. On our last visit, we were impressed by the luxurious taste of smoked shrimp in asalad with watercress, another salad of lightly sautéedvegetables, tender slices of beef in a sauce made frompickled walnuts and a dessert crepe filled with hazelnuts Less exciting but still very good were a West Texasgame pie, pan-fried monkfish with tomato coulis and achocolate Charlotte. On this visit, the service was themost polished and professional we have encounteredhere. (Westin Hotel, Galleria, 13340 Dallas Pkwy. 934-9494. Dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30; Sun brunch: 10:30-2:30. Reservations recommended. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.5

D D. Michael. This temple of the New Southwestern Cuisine is settling into some fine cooking.The best dishes have become magnificent: patties of lamb sausage served over fettuccine in three colors and a walnut-and-apple cake surrounded by twosauces. We also liked the autumn salad and the venisonin Cabernet sauce. Some dishes we tried still don’twork-the okra served with the red snapper and shrimpdidn’t jibe with the achiote sauce, and both fish andshellfish were burnt. But chef David Pisegna is weedingout most of the losers, and the slow service that onceprevailed has been replaced by a reserved efficiency.(2917 Fairmount. 871-0123. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2;dinner Tue-Sat 6:30-10:30. Closed Sun & Mon. MC. V.AE $$$) 7.5

D Dakota’s. You enter Dakota’s from a kiosk in the middle of an intersection ad|acent to the new Lincoln Plaza building. From the jewel-box elevator, you view a waterfall cascading onto a triangular patio. Once you take your eyes off the dazzling surroundings, you’ll find that Dakota’s specializes in mesquite-grilled things-from artichokes and other vegetables to every conceivable meat. Those we tried, including steak and pheasant, were exemplary. The menu also provides some good choices for those who aren’t in the mood for mesquite. Among the appetizers, the barbecued shrimp were as good as any we have had outside New Orleans. The lobster bisque also went to the top of its class, and the fresh lobster was cooked to perfection: tender, rich and meaty. (600 N Akard. 740-4001. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3, Sun 11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 5-10:30, Fri & Sat 5-11:30: Sun brunch: 11-2:30. MC. V, AE, DC. Lunch $$, dinner $$$) 8.0

Gershwin’s Bar & Grill. You’ve never seen so much trendiness packed under one roof as you will see here. Every fad of the last two or three years may be found on the menu: pizzas with odd ingredients, homemade pastas, intricate salads, blackened redfish, charcoal-grilled everything, tots of fresh herbs and even kiwi fruit. A large number of wines are available by the glasseverything from the humblest American blend to Chateau Lafite Rothschild. The decor, of course, featureslots of marble and polished wood. The goal proclaimedby the owners of Gershwin’s-to fill the niche betweenthe TGI Fridays and Houlihans of this world and the bestand most expensive places in town – is a laudable one.especially since the plan includes relatively moderateprices. It’s perhaps surprising that so much at Gershwin’s works so well, since any menu that attempts somuch is bound to have some less successful dishes.(8442 Walnut Hill at Greenville. 373-7171. Mon-Thur11:30 am-midnght. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-1 am. Sun 11:30am-midnight. All credit cards. $$-$$$) 6.0

Laurel’s. The dishes here look as if they had been liftedoff the pages of “Bon Appetit”: too pretty to eat andalmost too pretty to be appetizing. Petals of cold roastlamb and rectangles of goat cheese, for instance, faceeach other on a plate and are surrounded by a pinkishsauce and garnished with a tomato rose. Everythinghere, such as the beef and the salmon we tried last time,is cooked competently, but the sauces lack depth andflair. Desserts can seem tasteless, but the view highabove the lights of the city is one of the loveliest in town.(Sheraton Park Central Hotel. 12720 Merit. 385-3000.Mon-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards.$$$$) 6.0

Mason’s. Mason’s isn’t the exciting purveyor of American nouvelle dishes that it seems when you read themenu: The cooking doesn’t have much flair or authority. The fixed-price table d’hote dinner, however, is abargain at $18.50. If you choose wisely, you may bepleased with the bay scallops in vermouth sauce, thethick cut of roast beef or the veal medallions (served withtwo shrimp stuffed with a salmon-colored mousse). Butthe a la carte menu is wildly overpriced. (SheratonDallas Hotel & Towers. Southland Center. 400 N Olive.922-8000. Mon-Sat 6-11 pm. Closed Sun. All creditcards. $$$) 4.5

D The Mansion on Turtle Creek. When you arrive, you feel as if you ought to roll up in a Rolls- or at least a Jag (this is still the toniest placein Dallas). The food can be extraordinary: Our venisonwith black-bean polenta and our filets of salmon and halibut in a mild mustard sauce scaled the heights, and thegrilled shrimp on a bed of pasta with horseradish saucewas superb. The filet of sole in a sauce of yellow peppers was an appealing combination. But our desserts-chocolate-chip ricotta cake and chocolate moussecake-lacked the ultimate refinement that one expectsin a restaurant of this caliber. (2821 Turtle Creek Blvd.526-2121. Main dining room (jackets and ties required,except at brunch)-lunch: Mon-Fri noon-2:30; brunch:Sat noon-2:30. Sun 11 -2:30; dinner: Sun- Thur 6-10:30.Fri& Sat 6-11, supper: Mon- Thur 10:30 pm-midnght, Fri& Sat 11 pm-midnight. Promenade Room-breakfast:daily 7-10:30: lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; tea: Mon-Fri3-5:30. Reservations. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.5

Nana Bar & Grill. The most beautiful view of the citymay be the one from this spacious restaurant atopthe new addition of the Loews Anatole Hotel. The foodis ’New Southwestern Cuisine” – which in this casemeans that all meats and fish are grilled over mesquiteand are accompanied by sauces that include a lot ofcilantro, peppers and spices. The grilling is expert, leaving the basic foodstuffs juicy and tender. The sidedishes range from the interesting to the just plain odd,and the desserts seem to have improved enormouslysince the place opened. (Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30;dinner: daily 6-10:30. Reservations recommended fordinner. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Parigi. Marilyn Romweber, whose previous ventures include The Little Mushroom and Pacific Express, has teamed up with daughter Andree Falls and Californian Jennifer Burns to open this smallish place in one of those slick new buildings contributing to the “gentrifica-tion” of Oak Lawn. Someone has said that the place looks like a big closet, but it’s a very chic closet, full of the nicest clothes (albeit informal ones) on the nicest people. The food at Parigi is very chic, too, althoughmercifully most things are not cooked over mesquite. Inthe evening, there is a selection of a half dozen appetizers (including several recherche salads and onesoup), three or so pastas of some ingenuity and threeor so entrees, plus a short list of desserts and a wide-ranging wine list -all on a handwritten menu thatchanges every couple of days. (3311 Oak Lawn, Suite102.521-0295. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner: Tue-Thur 6:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 6:30-11. Closed Sun &Mon.MC, V. AE. $$-$$$) 6.5

D Routh Street Cafe. Try not to schedule ahard-to-get reservation here right after therestaurant has been closed for a vacation; ittakes a while for chef Stephan Pyles to get back up tofull speed. When he regains his form, he turns out whatis probably the best food in town. Everything we had onour last visit was marvelous: sweetbreads and shrimpwith chervil and saffron sauces, grilled sea scallops withsun-dried tomatoes and pecans, veal scallops withpomegranate and leek sauces, roast squab with anchochiles and shitake mushrooms. In between, we wereserved matchless ices and salads, and spectacularpumpkin-pecan and chocolate brownie pies ended themeal. (3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Tue-Sat6-10:30 pm. Lounge: Tue-Sat 6 pm-1:30 am. ClosedSun & Mon. Reservations recommended. MC. V, AE,DC. $$$$) 9.0

Sam’s Bar and Grill. Here’s an ambitious new placethat courts the after-hours trade with a vengeance: It’sopen 24 hours a day, and its hefty dinner menu isserved until 2 a.m. (after that, sandwiches, omelettesand desserts are available). It’s a pleasure to have Sam’sto go to after a play or concert, but it does feel odd dining in full view of the street in what one might perceiveto be a slightly rough part of town in the wee hours of themorning. All the food at Sam’s is very good, but it canbe quite expensive. The best bets are the mesquite-grilled items, such as the Black Angus steaks and theswordfish. (Bradford Plaza Hotel, 302 S Houston.761-9090. Open 24 hours daily. All credit cards. Breakfast & lunch $$, dinner $$$) 6.0

D The Verandah Club. Dean Fearing, formerlyat Agnew’s, may be the most talented chef intown, so it was good news to hear that he hadbecome the chef at The Verandah Club, a sports-and-spa establishment on the grounds of the Loews AnatoleHotel. Here. Fearing produces some of the New Southwestern Cuisine dishes that made Agnew’s so distinguished, plus some more innovations in the style. Although The Verandah Club is private, it accepts non-member diners who want to give it a try. There are a fewdisappointments among the mostly fabulous openingsalads and elegantly sauced entrees, but you couldn’thave a better dish than the grilled salmon in a jewel-likegolden sauce that we recently tried. (Loews AnatoleHotel, 2201 Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Daily6-9pm.MC, V, AE, DC. $$$$) 8.5



BARBECUE/TEXANA



Chickeria. We can imagine a lovers’ quarrel gettingstarted by a meal here. He has the lamb ribs, the barbecued sausage, the not-too-gooey potato salad andthe pecan pie and claims that Chickeria is one of thefinest inexpensive restaurants in Dallas. She has thedried-out beef brisket and ribs, the oddly sweet turnipgreens and the off-tasting mashed new potatoes andmaintains that it has to be one of the worst. They’re bothright, but who’s going to butt in and adjudicate? (601 NHaskell. 821-9072. Mon-Thur 11 am-9pm. Fri&Sat 11am-10 pm. Closed Sun. DC, AE. $) 5.5

Good Eats Cafe. It seems odd when an interloper from Austin sporting Texas funk moves into the space formerly occupied by one of Dallas’ great bad restaurants (Phil’s Delicatessen), but it has happened, and we guess we should make the best of it. Still, it’s hard to figure out Good Eats- maybe the Austin milieu just doesn’t translate very well, although there is an ample mix of types ranging from urban cowboys to Highland Park slum-mers. Almost everything the place serves is grilled over mesquite. The barbecue is at least interesting: Thesausage is our favorite, with a coarse texture and ahomemade flavor, but the paprika-red chicken is tasty,too. The specials at Good Eats are the various kinds ofmesquite-grilled fish, but when we visited, all they hadwas cod. and it was nothing to write home to Austinabout. (3531 Oak Lawn. 521-1398. Sun-Thur 7 am-11pm, Fri& Sat 7am-midnight. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Ples’ Barbecue. If you like your barbecue on the sweetside, pay a visit to Mr. Ples in his converted Oak CliffDairy Queen, Not only do the ribs, beef and sausagehave a decidedly sweet flavor, but so do the pinto beansand turnip greens. The peach cobbler is fresh, but it suffers from too much nutmeg. If you’re an impatient type,you may find the cafeteria-style service oppressivelyslow. (1212WKiest. 371-5533. Mon-Thur 11arn-8pm,Fri & Sat 11 am-9 pm. No credit cards. $) 5.0

The Ribshack. This admirable establishment offers aninteresting range of indigenous Texas foods. Those whocome expecting traditional Texas barbecue, however,will be disappointed. The sugar-cured, smoke-cookedribs (beef or pork) are drier and less crusty than regulation barbecue, and the smoked beef is like very leanroast beef. We prefer the juicier smoked chicken andthe three kinds of chili, not to mention the delicious sidedishes. (4615 WLoversLane. 351-3400;2221 Abrams,821-8100. Daily 11 am-10 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $$) 6.0

Tolbert’s Texaa Chill Parlor. The late, great FrankTolbert’s big, open restaurant is an easy place to relaxover a beer or get rowdy while watching games on thetube. But it’s an even better place to chow down onsome of the area’s best Texas cooking: burgers, na-chos, chicken-fried anything and, of course, Tolbert’sfamous bowl of red. The generous portion of chickennachos (fried flour tortillas topped with big chunks ofspiced chicken, lots of melted cheese and jalapenos)was a meal in itself, and the “Wild Bill Hickory” burger,with hickory sauce, pickles, cheese and onions, was aperfectly cooked, satisfying sandwich. The huge tacosalad was rather ordinary-a bit heavy on the lettuceand light on the cheese sauce. But the golden onionrings and the delicious “Chicken Fred” sandwich (moistgrilled chicken on a wheat bun with crisp bacon andCheddar) were fine. We appreciated the efficient, friendly service at lunchtime. (4544 McKinney. 522-4340.Mon- Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. Sun noon-11pm. MC. V, AE. $) 5.0



CHINESE



August Moon. Shine on, shine on. August Moon! Wedon’t know how you manage to keep the quality so highwith your awesomely complete menu, the huge volumeof your customers and the very moderate prices youcharge. But we have never had a better crispy fishHunan-style than the red snapper you served us on ourlast visit. Everything we tried was outstanding, from theunusual jalapeno pork to the oldest dish in the book,moo goo gai pan, which was distinguished by evenlycut and perfectly tender chicken, the freshest of vegetables (including mushrooms, so often canned even atexpensive Chinese places), and a gravy of just-rightconsistency made with rich broth. We would havebounced you up into the starry heavens of our “D” ratingif your service hadn’t been a bit off- due, no doubt, tothe gala wedding party that filled up half the diningrooms. (15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. Sun-Thur11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. Reservations lor louror more or lor special banquets. Bar by membership. Allcredit cards. $$) 7.0

Chu’s. From the robust pupu 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. (15080 Beltway. Addison. 387-1776. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 4:30-10, Fri & Sat 4:30-10:30. ClosedSun. All credit cards. $$) 5.5



D REVISITS



China Inn. Pardon the pun. but this is one place where you’ll welcome fowl play. The almond chicken pales only beside the king bo gai ding-tender chicken strips stir-fried with Chinese greens and topped with roasted peanuts in a fragrant hot pepper sauce. The China Inn has added a luncheon buffet with simple but filling Cantonese fare. (6521 E Northwest Hwy. 369-7733. Sun-Thur 11 am-1 am, Fri & Sat 11 am-3 am. All credit cards. $) 5.5



Dynasty. So many people told us we were wrongabout Dynasty that we went back sooner than usual.Sure enough, the food was much better than during thefirst weeks the restaurant was open. It ranged from excellent (the crispy oysters appetizer) to very good (thesharks’ fin soup and the minced pork in lettuce leaves).Unfortunately, we still found the prices high. No doubtall the luxurious trappings (the silver-and-gilt souptureens, the rosewood furniture) cost plenty. And to besure, the portions are quite large, as with the Dragonand the Phoenix, which contained enough shrimp tosatisfy the most avid seafood lover. But we wonderwhether these factors justify a check that can easily total$35 a person. (Garden Inn. 4101 Belt Line, Addison.385-7888. Mon-Thur& Sun 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri &Sat11 am-11:30 pm. Jackets required. All credit cards.$$$) 6.5

1st Wok. New Chinese places come along with suchfrequency that it’s hard for one to get much attention, but1st Wok serves food good enough to attract notice. Wetried the noodles in sesame sauce and the scallion pancakes (also called Chinese pizza) and found both delightful. The Orange Flavor Beef and the 1 st Wok Double Flavor Feast (shrimp in hot chili sauce and pork inblack bean sauce) are top-notch. One sure test of a Chinese kitchen is how well it cooks a simple dish like chicken with snow peas. 1st Wok passed with flying colors:The chicken was particularly tender and juicy. (7001Fair Oaks. 369-2737. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri& Sat 11:30 am-2 am, Sun noon-11 pm. MC, V, AE.$$) 6.0

Forbidden City. Our last meal here was our best todate. The beef with scallops was succulent, with lots ofcrisp vegetables, and the shrimp with hot garlic sauce,though hardly incendiary, was assertive enough. Thechicken with cashew nuts rounded out the meal perfectly. Our waitress took rather a long time to take our order,but once the meal began, it proceeded at a good pace.(5290 Belt Line, Suite 144. 960-2999. Mon-Thur 11am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-3 am, Sun noon-10:30pm. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Fortune Garden. Amazingly enough, Richardson isreported to have the highest percentage of Chineseresidents of any city in Texas, and it contains the beginnings of a new, middle-class Chinatown. Among thefanciest and best of the new places is Fortune Garden.The hot and sour soup is unequivocally the best in theMetroplex, with good flavor and no extraneous ingredients. The Steak with Orange Flavor is an unusuallyfine version, with large, pillowy pieces of meat that aren’tdrowned in a gooey sauce. The Pan Fried Shrimp (Chinese-style) are delicious but hard for a Westerner to eat- you have to peel the crustaceans at the table and stillfind a way to get the flavor of all the garlic and gingerthey’ve been cooked in. (Keystone Park Shopping Center, 13929 N Central Expwy, Richardson. 235-3032.Daily 11 am-10pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Han-Chu. The most sophisticated-looking Chinese restaurant in town, with black-mirror tiles and hand-painted murals, also offers some of the best food. Dishes that are ordinary elsewhere, such as spring rolls and hot-and-sour soup, take on real elegance here. The menu has lots of innovative dishes, but not all are cooked with the finesse one might expect. The beef with asparagus, for instance, can be marred by raggedly cut and overcooked meat. The Wu Shi spareribs, though, are tantalizing in their camphor-flavored sauce. (CaruthPlaza, 9100 N Central Expwy at Park Lane, Suite 191.6910900. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat11 30-11:30, Sun 5-10:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 7.0

Hong Kong. On countless treks up and down GarlandRoad, we noticed the crowded lot in front of this storefront Chinese restaurant. Once inside and well into aheaping plate of moo goo gai pan, we found that thefood well deserves praise. Every bite of stir-fried vegetables was fresh and crisp. Each mushroom and snowpea held its flavor, apart from the mounds of tendermeat and fluffy rice. (9055 Garland Rd. 328-2320. Mon11:30am-6pm, Tue-Fri 11:30 am-2:30 pm & 5-10 pm,Sat & Sun 11:30 am-9 pm. All credit cards. $) 5.5

Hunan Dynasty. We were most pleasantly impressedby the look of this second-story restaurant (overlookingonly Highway 183, sadly): tasteful colors and appointments, unusual wooden furniture. There is some talentin the kitchen, too. The shrimp toast we sampled had atingly flavor of fresh ginger, and the fried dumplings(with a tasty filling and slightly crunchy skin) came witha garlicky sauce for dipping. The main courses demonstrated that Hunan Dynasty can execute the new standard Chinese menu with flair. The ’gourmet specialties”are really just wholesale mixtures of ingredients or platters presenting several different dishes from the regularmenu, but it was fun to try the “Jewels of Hunan.” whichgave us a chance to sample Kun Pao chicken, Hunanbeef and the braised shrimp in Hunan sauce. (1111 WAirport Frwy at MacArthur. Suite 201. Irving. 2520126.Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11 pm, Sun11.30 am- 10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Joy Inn. It’s too bad..but this middle-aged Chineserestaurant seems to be in decline, like much of the restof the Bachman Lake area. “Okay” sums up the food: Adinky appetizer plate featured okay ribs (make that “rib.”singular), a smidgen of foil-wrapped chicken and somegood beef strips. Our Madras Curry was the best thingon the table-just hot enough (the Bombay is fiery) andgenerously laden with shrimp, beef and chicken. Theshrimp in the Snow Pea Shrimp were plump and large,but the snow peas lacked that crisp snap. The servicewas not okay at all: We were largely forgotten after themeal, had to ask twice for much-needed water refillsand waited 10 minutes for the waitress to pick up ourmoney. With the room half full, this is inexcusable (9404 Ovella at Northwest Hwy. 352-1088. Sun-Thur 11:30am-I0pm, Fri & Sat 11:30am-11 pm. All credit cards.$$) 4.0

New Big Wong. When you want to eat as the Chinesedo, go to the New Big Wong. Start with the Winter Melonsoup, which also contains shrimp, chicken and otherdelicacies. Move on to a live lobster (from the tank nearthe door) cooked in ginger sauce. (The carp, eels andother sea creatures seem to have gone the way of allflesh.) Add a dish of beef with Chinese broccoli (withlooser flowers and a stronger taste than the Europeanvariety) or one of shrimp with garlic sauce, and you havean instant trip across the Pacific. (2121 S Greenville.821-4199. Daily 11 am-4 am. MC. V. AE. $$) 5.5

Peking Szechuan. In its location next to a motel andamid the snarled traffic patterns at the west end of theBachman Lake area, Peking Szechuan doesn’t seemvery prepossessing. But it serves some of the bestChinese food in Dallas. Among the chef’s suggestions,the shredded duck is most unusual-stir-fried in a spicysauce and rolled in delicate Chinese pancakes. TheOrange Flavor Steak packs plenty of punch, and theshrimp with black beans is exemplary. (2560 W North-west Hwy 353-0129. Mon-Fri 11-11, Sat & Sun noon-11pm. All credit cards $$) 6.0

Plum Blossom. The fate of some restaurants parallels the fate of certain rock stars and TV miniseries: Their delivery can’t match their hype. Or did we catch the chef on an off night? It was his Great Dynasty Banquet, after all, that began the evening with crispy shrimp and soft noodles that were both far too salty, his Mongolian fire pot was a forgettable blend of beef, pork, chicken and green noodles salvaged only by some tender scallops. The bad dream was momentarily dispelled by the arrival of the main course: duck, lobster and sea trout, the latter in a fine kumquat sauce. But these top-flight disheswere followed by a disappointing afterthought of dessert, a yawn-inducing mix of pineapple and other fruit.If our banquet was indicative of the other multicoursemeals here, we’d suggest ordering a la carte from theregional dishes of China, which include a lovely chickenand eggplant in garlic sauce. (Loews Anatole Hotel.2201 Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Mon-Sat 6-10:30 pm.Closed Sun. Reservations required. Jackets required.All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Royal China. There was a time when this was one ofthe fanciest restaurants in Dallas. Now it has settleddown into comfortable middle age, with warm serviceand a relaxed yet enthusiastic clientele. The food has.if anything, gotten better with the years. Two appetizerplatters are offered, and the one with shrimp toast, beefstrips and egg rolls may be the best in town: Everythingis light and fresh-tasting. Several of the best-knowndishes here are variations on old favorites. The GoldenCrown Pork, for instance, is moo shi pork with the eggresting on top as a lovely thin omelette (we suggest asking the waiter not to dress the Chinese pancakes onwhich it’s served with bean sauce). The Royal Prawnsare 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 All creditcards. $$) 5.5

Szechuan. Starting with one of the most generouspupu platters we’ve seen, our meal here was well worththe wait -and there wasn’t much of a wait. The spare-ribs were unusually thick and juicy, and the entreeswere a delight, whether simple (sweet-and-sourchicken) or complex (moo shi pork and Lake Tung TingShrimp). The weekday lunch specials, by the way, arealso available on the weekends. (4117 Lemmon.521-6981. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat11:30-11:30. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Taiwan. One of the city’s nicest Chinese restaurants inthe evening, Taiwan also offers less formal dim summeals by day. Traveling carts bring around all sorts ofunusual delicacies. We haven’t worked up the courageto try the duck’s feet or the sticky rice topped withChinese sausage yet. But the various styles of dumplings (stuffed with beef, pork, shrimp or vegetables) arealways a hit. One of the best things about the dim summeals are their price: $1.75 a plate. (6111 Greenville,369-8902; 4980 Belt Line. Addison, 387-2333. Mon-Fri11 am-3 am. Sat 10 am-3 am. Sun 10 am-10:30 pm atGreenville location; Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Fri &Sat 11:30-11:30 at Addison location. Reservationsrecommended. All credit cards. $$) 7.0

Tea Pot Inn. We still find this place one of the mosthandsome mid-priced Chinese restaurants in town. It’sbasically European, but with enough Oriental detailsthat we don’t think we’re eating Italian food. The cooking is slightly better than average, with special successes among the spicy dishes. The shrimp with beancurd, with lots of garlic and ginger, is one of our favoriteChinese offerings in Dallas. (11343 N Central Expwy.369-6268. Sun-Wed 11 am-10:30pm. Thur & Fri 11 am-midnight. Sat 11 am-1 am. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Tong’s House. We heard months ago about the fabledfood at this small, out-of-the-way Chinese restaurant inRichardson, but our first visit didn’t impress us. Continued raves from acquaintances drew us back, however, and this time we found the praise justified. Onweekends especially, there are marvelous seafoodspecials. Although the kitchen ran out of the beautifulcracked crab before we could get any, the scallops withhot peppers and the shrimp with snow peas were bothexcellent. Most of the specialties are spicy, such as theoutstanding eggplant with garlic sauce and the beefwith orange peel, but there are other fine dishes (theSzechuan soup with bacon and the white radish soup)that are easy on the tongue. (1910 Promenade Center,Richardson. 231-8858. Tue-Sun 11 30 am-9:30 pm.Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

D UncIe Tal’s. This is a great restaurant if you know your way around the menu, but there are some ordinary things here, too. Among the best appetizers are the Two Delicious Platter (shrimp withpeppercorns and Hacked Chicken) and the ChickenPackets. The spicy dishes on the list of specialtiesgenerally stand out. In addition to the fabled Uncle Tai’sBeef, we are partial to the boneless frog’s legs with eggplant. Standard things such as chicken with walnuts andcrispy duck are good, but they’re no better than whatyou’d find at a number of less expensive Chinese restaurants. (Galleria, 13350 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 3370.934-9998. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10:30pm. Closed Sun. Jackets required lor dinner. Allcredit cards. $$$) 8.5



DELI/LUNCH



Albert’s Delicatessen & Catering. Part of the attraction of this old-fashioned-looking place in downtownPiano is its owner. There are also some excellent sandwiches, including juicy hamburgers. The most unusualsandwich is made of basturma (an aged, dried beef witha spicy flavor of the Middle East). And we’re growing tolove the cinnamon-flavored cheesecake. (1416 AvenueJ. Piano. 424-4534. Mon-Fri 7am-8pm. Sat 7am-2pm.Closed Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 4.0



D REVISITS

Bagelstein’s. This used to be a somewhat surlybagel factory with a few tables; now it’s a spacious,inviting deli-restaurant with a long, long menu.Maybe the menu is too long-the shrimp quiche wesampled was strong-tasting. But lots of the delistandbys are respectable: borscht, pastrami sandwiches, blintzes (a bit sweet for our taste, but stillperhaps the best version in town) and cheesecake.And you can pick up an assortment of bagels totake home as you pay your bill. (8104 Spring Valley,Richardson. 234-3787. Tue-Sun 6 am-9 pm, Mon6am-3 pm. MC, V, AE. $) 5.5



French Bakery/Cafe de France. This delightful Pianobakery has tables inside and out and serves omelettesfor breakfast and sandwiches (on split croissants) forlunch. The croissants aren’t the flakiest we’ve ever had,but the cheese danishes are the best around. Of themany eye-catching desserts, our favorites are the tartswith tiny fresh raspberries. (2969 W 15th, Piano. 985-0003. Mon-Thur 7am-8pm, Fri& Sat 7 am-9 pm. Sun7 am-6 pm. All credit cards. $) 4.5



D REVISITS



Richard’s Cafe Americain. How delightful to venture to the top of Dallas’ only downtown apartmentbuilding (the Manor House) and find a bright andlively luncheon respite. The delicate sea green-and-ivory decor, drenched (weather willing) in sunlightand spotted with various and changing works of art,may outshine the food, but there are some successes on a menu that includes salads, sandwiches, soup and quiche du jour. We sampled achicken sandwich on rye that was just right and acold spinach fettuccine that wasn’t -too vinegary.The vegetable quiche was flavorful and chock-fullof vegetables. Our favorites were the miniature muffins served with fruit-flavored butter that changeseach day with the whim of the chef (we had scrumptious strawberry). (Manor House, 1222 Commerce,25th floor. 761-0143. Tue-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 4-7pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0



Frenchy Café. The neighborhood deli is alive and well in Preston Royal: Step into Frenchy’s, and you step into a world that’s immediately intimate and familiar. Friendly and gracious service is provided by Josey, Yvon and Chris Bouguyon, and the dishes they serve generally match the ambiance they’ve created. We enjoyed a hot croissant drizzled with baby Swiss cheese and a good truffle pate before biting into our lunch entrees. Although the Frenchy crepe (with turkey, spinach andbleu cheese sauce) and the lasagna weren’t quite astasty as they appeared, the ham, spinach and pep-peroni quiche (as well as the cappuccino pie we hadafterward) proved outstanding. (5940 Royal Lane.369-1235. Mon 11 am-3pm. Tue-Fri 11 am-7pm,Sat 11am-5 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V; personal checks accepted. $$) 5.5

Kuby’s.A visit to this German delicatessen/restaurantis truly a European experience. The store is crammedwith German foodstuffs, meat, pastries and otherdelicacies. The lunch menu in the restaurant includes avariety of sandwiches, both German and Americanized,as well as soups (a different one each day of the week)and plates of Polish sausage, knackwurst or bratwurst.We opted for a sandwich of peppered beef rolled in aslice of cheese and served on a delicious light rye. Thetartar sandwich of raw lean beef seasoned with onionsand spices and the jagdwurst sandwich of sausage andpistachio were very good, too. We also enjoyed thehearty, tangy German potato salad (served warm), thecheesecake and the German chocolate cake. (6601Snider Plaza. 363-2231. Store hours: Mon-Sat 8 am-6pm; restaurant hours: Mon-Fri 8 am-5:30 pm, Sat 8am-5 pm. Closed Sun MC, V; no credit cards for purchases under $15: personal checks accepted. $) 5.5



FRENCH/CONTINENTAL



Abio. This deluxe new downtown restaurant has sandwiches, omelettes and daily specials for lunch, and thechicken-fried steak has good gravy and mashed potatoes. In the evening, there’s a larger selection. The onionsoup is excellent, and the crab-meat meuniere (hunksof crab sautéed in brown butter) is simple but delicious.Steaks are the big specialty: The T-bone is impressively hefty, and the peppered steak (a treatment availablewith sirloin, filet or rib-eye) has a fine sauce. (One DallasCentre. Bryan at St. Paul. 922-9070. Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2:30: dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10. Closed Sun. All creditcards. Lunch $$, dinner $$$) 6.0

Agnew’s at the Promenade. Tom Agnew’s new restaurant, tucked away in a hard-to-find cranny of thePromenade shopping center, looks nice with its burgundy and brown appointments. But the food is not asmemorable as it was at his previous place. A few dishes,such as the blackened fish, stand out. Others, such asthe salmon in red pepper sauce and the duck Chinesestyle, |ust seem ordinary. Service is willing but not highlypolished. (2500 Promenade Center, Coit Road betweenBelt Line and Arapaho 437-0133. Lunch: Tue-Fri11:30-2:30; dinner: Tue-Sun 6-10:30. Closed Mon. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Arthur’s. Once considered one of the premier placesin Dallas and still a favorite of the business crowd, Arthur’s (judging from our most recent visit) needs to expend more care in the kitchen if its reputation is to bemaintained. There can be no excuse for food of lessthan top quality at these elevated prices, yet in one mealwe encountered shrimp with an iodine aftertaste, excessively bitter Belgian endive and even a “prime” steakaged past prime condition In the other dishes, the levelof the cooking was not such as to make us forget theproblems; the scallops in a cream sauce, for instance,were oddly flavored with orange slices. And it’s a shamethat a restaurant with such a striking all-American winelist doesn’t offer better-quality wine by the glass. (Campbell Centre, 8350 N Central Expwy. 361-8833. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Sun-Fri 6-11, Sat 6 pm-midnight. All credit cards. $$$) 5.0

D Au Bon Gout. This place otters extraordinary lunches and takeout specials by day and serves dinner on Friday and Saturday nights by reservation only. We were surprised to find so few tables occupied on our last evening visit, since the food is usually perfect. After a tiny hors d’oeuvre of puff pastry, the waiter brought us a cream of wild mushroom soup, a sorbet and a salad. We had a choice of entrees and took venison and salmon-both superb. The dessert was a rich, rich, rich terrine of chocolate. Maybe the unprepossessing environment and the influx of lavish restaurants in the neighborhood makes people unwilling toshell out the stiff price for a dinner here, but we thinkthey are missing an opportunity. (4424 E Lovers Lane.369-3526. Restaurant hours: Mon-Thur 11:30 am-9pm;Fri& Sat6-10:30pm. Takeout hours: Mon-Sat 10am-9pm. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards; personal checks accepted. Lunch $$, dinner $$$$) 8.5

Bay Tree. After our previous visit to this elegant Wynd-ham restaurant, we complained of the elbow-to-elbowcrowding in the dining room. This time, we had theplace almost completely to ourselves, but we couldn’tavoid hearing every word of a couple’s argument threetables away. Our roasted duck was marvelously pink-centered and juicy, a beautiful sight in its nest ofsculpted nouvelle veggies. The souffles are an etherealchoice for dessert, but skip the specialty torte. (TheWyndham Hotel, 2222 Stemmons Frwy. 631-2222, ext4141. Daily 6-10:30 pm. Reservations recommended.All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Cafe Capri. It’s obvious from the cars out front, even atlunch, that the Far North Dallas moneyed set has takenCafe Capri to heart. (We are accustomed to seeingassorted Mercedes-Benzes and BMWs, but the block-long Rolls-Royce limo really impressed us.) The decoris posh without breaking any new ground, and theservice is surprisingly warm. The food isn’t revolutionary, either, but the standard dishes, from pate andshrimp cocktail to créme caramel and chocolatemousse, are executed reliably. One rather originaltouch is the lavish use of garlic in the veal piccata (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. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended.All credit cards. $$) 5.5

D Café Royal. Trying to reclaim its place at thetop of the heap, Cafe Royal has lowered prices(to $31.50 prix fixe) and has become moreclassical and less nouvelle in its cooking style. The foodcan be marvelous, as with the terrine of fresh Americanfoie gras or the mullet with a watercress sauce that wesampled. Or it can be ordinary, as with the beef Wellington that the captain recommended. Besides thelapses in the food, what keeps Cafe Royal from thehighest rank in Dallas restaurants is the service, whichwe found courteous but woefully inefficient on our lastvisit. (Plaza of the Americas, 650 N Pearl. 747-7222.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6:30-10:30.Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. Jackets andties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0

D Calluaud. Our latest visit produced the richest, most masterly meal we have ever hadhere, with the most courteous and cordial service. We began with a terrine of fresh American foie gras,satiny and lush beyond all expectation. For entrees, wehad a filet of salmon (which tasted a tad strongly ofsmoke and was accompanied by a Madeira sauce thatseemed a bit too much), but the venison was succulentand satisfying. The lemon souffle at the end was as lightas gossamer. (2619 McKinney. 823-5380. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur6-10, Fri & Sat seatingsat 7& 9:30. Closed Sun. Reservations. Jackets and tiesrequired. All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0



D REVISITS

Chez Gerard. In the few short months that thisbistro (owned by the Calluauds) has been open, ithas grown more competent and confident. Themenu changes monthly, so you never know whatwill turn up on your plate. We tried the earthycassoulet (a garlicky bean stew with pork and twokinds of sausage) and the tonier sweetbreads andchicken with mushrooms in a pastry shell. Bothwere superb. So were the mussels marinieres- thetenderest we’ve ever had in Dallas. The desserts included such delicacies as a cake au trois moussesand a homemade chocolate-walnut ice cream.(4444 McKinney. 522 6865. Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. MC,V, AE. Lunch $$, dinner $$$) 7.0

D REVISITS



D Chez Philippe. The food here may not always be perfect (we were served tough, overdone scallops and a heavy, cakey chocolate souffle on our last visit). But most of it is so audacious in conception and expert in execution that we still think Chez Philippe is among a handful of the most memorable restaurants in Dallas. The menu changes frequently, but among the standouts are quail stuffed with paté, a whole lobster in a vanilla-bean and ginger sauce, and medallions of veal with plums. Sauces tend to be very bold, heightened with pepper and just the right touch of spices and vinegar. Even apparently simple things, such as a green salad or a cranberry souffle, can be revelatory. (5027 W Lovers Lane. 353-9444. Tue-Thur 6-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat seatings at 6 & 9 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0

Enclave Spectrum. After an initial display of independence, this new restaurant in the building at thehub of all the development in the Addison area nowshows an increasing resemblance to its namesake onWalnut Hill. Enclave Spectrum no longer has the prixfixe dinner that made it such a bargain. Some of themore adventuresome dishes are still around, but otherthings on the a la carte menu are in the more old-fashioned continental style of the original Enclave. (5080Spectrum Or, Suite 115E 661-3390. Lunch: Mon-Fri11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 6-11. Fri & Sat 6-11:30.Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

D The French Room. Like something out of a Fragonard painting with its Corinthian columns and swags of drapery, the French Room offers the most lavish table in town. It can be difficult to get a reservation (we called a week ahead and had to settlefor a 10 o’clock seating), but the food was worth it, fromthe opening pithiviers of snails to the concludingpastries. The lamb cooked in a brioche-dough crust andthe assertively garlicky loup (a European sea bass)topped with an eggplant puree were both mightily impressive. The service, although still quite polished, didn’tseem quite as stately as before. (Adolphus Hotel. 1321Commerce. 742-8200. Daily 6:30-10:30 pm. Reservations required. Jackets and ties required All creditcards. $$$$) 9.0

The Grape. This bistro and wine bar has been around for so long that it’s easy to forget how good it is. We en-joyed the light, fresh mushroom soup and the hearty paté with our selections of wine by the glass. For something heavier, try the veal selections (the menu changes frequently). And for dessert, there’s pecan pie with lots of bourbon in the recipe. (2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 823-0133. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 6-11,Fri & Sat 6 pm-midnight. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

D Jean-Claude. Unfortunately, the impressionwe had on our previous visit was confirmed byour most recent one: The glories of Jean-Claude are a sometime thing these days. There arealways some fine dishes in any meal here; for instance,the chocolate souffle with Grand Marnier always seemsto be perfect But on our last visit, three dishes were offthe mark. Both a shrimp appetizer and a venison entreetasted as if someone had gone berserk with a vinegarbottle. The lovely-looking individual lobster wasn’t hotwhen served, and its sauce was tasteless. Jean-Claudekeeps its “D” for now by virtue of successes like the frog’sleg mousse, but we hope that the downward trend canbe reversed. (2404 Cedar Springs. 748-6619. Tue-Satseatings at 6&9 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservationsrequired. MC. V. AE, DC. $$$$) 8.0

D Jennivine. Now that Jennivine has decided toplay in the big leagues by offering nouvellecooking, the dear old girl has to be judged bythe highest standards. And she holds up very well: Onour last visit, the shrimp and scallops in a honey vinaigrette were outstanding, and the duck in ginger saucewas crisp on the outside and pink and |uicy within. Thepates are still among the best in town (we love the platters with several patés, cheeses and fruits). The saladsand desserts aren’t quite up to the level of the rest of thefood, but the prices are moderate enough that there isplenty of value. (3605 McKinney. 528-6010. Lunch:Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur6-10. Fri & Sat6-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservations. All credit cards.$$$) 7.5

D L’Ambiance. The rather small menu heredoesn’t change much, and a frequent visitorcan soon find favorites such as the salad ofwatercress, bacon and goat cheese or the veal withmushrooms in a port sauce. But specials of the daykeep boredom from creeping in. We were enchantedwith the lobster and shrimp in a tingly ginger sauce andthe fresh asparagus salad. The desserts are magnifi-cent, but we can’t seem to stray very far from the extraordinary Floating Island or the Concord cake. The onedisappointment here is the appetizers; most of themdon’t come up to the quality of the rest of the offerings.(2408 Cedar Springs. 748 1291. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10. Closed Sun All credit cards.$$$) 8.0

La Cave. We’ve never taken very seriously the pretensions of the original La Cave on Henderson to being a restaurant rather than merely a pleasant wine bar. But the new branch, located in a rather deserted corner of the West End warehouse district (where Lamar runs into Woodall Rodgers Expressway), serves food that clearly should be reckoned with. In addition to the patés,cheeses and sandwiches that make up most of the fareat the original location, there are some more ambitiousdishes at the new La Cave We found the artequin of fish(sole wrapped around spinach served alongside perchin a coral-colored sauce) buttery and delicious. (2019 NLamar. 871-2072. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-4; dinner:Mon-Sat 6 pm-midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards.$$) 6.0



D REVISITS



D L’Ancestral. We were a mite disappointedby our last visit to this cozy purveyor of lacuisine bourgeoise. The lentil salad and thegreen salad were tasty, but both suffered from aheavy hand with the vinegar. First-rate french friesaccompanied a steak that was more rare than wehad ordered it, and the special of the day, a lambstew, was stringy and undistinguished. Thedesserts, pot de crème (a soft custard flavored withcaramel) and a chocolate cake dusted with cocoa,were some compensation, however, and theycame with decaffeinated espresso and cappuccino. (5631 Alta. 826-0006. Tue-Sun 6:30 pm-1 am.Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$$) 7.5



D La Champagne. Numerous staff changessince its 1983 opening have made this mostelegant of Far North Dallas restaurants a muchbetter bet for dinner, but the news doesn’t seem to beout yet. An intricately designed terrine of duck andlobster sausage and a flamboyant salade compos6e ofjulienne vegetables and a variety of lettuces all makegood openers. We admire the sea bass cooked with atouch of fennel and the veal topped with three kinds ofmushrooms, too. We like a lot of things about La Champagne these days, from the little tidbits served “on thehouse” (nicely sauced venison sausage, brandied cherries, a gateau of Roquefort) to the Mexican harpist. Butwe wish that business would pick up enough to permitthe rehinng of a sommelier to guide patrons through thewonderful wine list. (The Registry, 16250 Dallas Pkwy.386-6000. Mon-Sat 6 pm-midnght. Closed Sun. Allcredit cards. $$$$) 8.0



D REVISITS



La Madeleine. This slowly growing group of bakeries boasts Dallas’ finest croissants and other wonderful goodies (an almond tart we tried recently washeavenly). The old-country ambiance of the originalMockingbird location may tempt you to sit downand rest a spell, and you can order quiches andother meals to eat on site. The roast beef sandwichwe sampled was creditable, and the vegetables inthe ratatouille kept their individual textures andflavors, although they were coated with too muchgloppy tomato sauce. (3072 Mockingbird, 696-6960; 3906 Lemmon, 5210182. Daily 7am-9pmat Mockingbird location; Tue-Sun 7:30 am-9:30 pmat Lemmon location. No credit cards; personalchecks accepted. $) 6.5



D La Vieille Varaovie (The Old Warsaw). If softlights, lavish trappings and a violin-and-pianoduo can entrance you, this is your spot. Thefood can be very good, as with the tournedos Rossiniand the sea bass garnished with lobster and crab thatwe sampled on our last visit. It can also be dull, as thesalmon feuillete and oysters arlequin proved. On thewhole, this doyenne of Dallas restaurants has slipped abit from the heights it had attained a year or so ago.(2610Maple. 528-0032. Sun-Thur 6-10:30 pm, Fri &Sat6-11:30 pm. Reservations. Jackets required. All creditcards. $$$$) 7.5

Le Boul’ Mich. This cozy gray house across from the Quadrangle has been the favorite “little French restaurant” of many Dallasites for many years. But lately we’ve noticed a little graying around the temples, a fading from glory, a surrender to Old Man Time. The food is basically sound: A seafood omelette and a lunchtime quiche we had recently were definitively French andfirst-rate. The veal Francais was tender and tasty,although underwhelmingly sauced in a simple lemonbutter. But the accompanying string beans and carrotsarrived shriveled, presumably from overcooking, andthe overall presentation just wasn’t impressive. What’smissing here is the aura of festivity so prevalent at Dallas’more popular French restaurants; Le Boul’ Mich offersthe laid-back comfort of home. (2704 Worthington. 826-0660. Mon-Thur11 am-10:30pm.Fri&Sat 11am-11:30pm. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE. $$$) 5.5

La Louvre. The fine food and attentive service that thiselegant restaurant is known for in the evening has beensuccessfully carried over into its new lunchtime effort.From the reasonably priced menu, we chose creamy,delicately flavored spinach soup and lobster bisque.Red snapper sautéed in a tarragon sauce was tasty, butit’s only for tarragon fanatics. The veal piccata was verygood, though not especially tart and lemony, and thecaramel custard dessert was adequate. (The ornerShopping Center. 9840 N Central Expwy. 691-1177.Mon-Sat 6 pm-midnight. Closed Sun. Reservationsrecommended. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Manhattan. If you cant fly to Manhattan for a meal,don’t think that the Manhattan restaurant in the PrestonForest Shopping Center is even a remote substitute.The place was virtually deserted at lunch, and with goodreason. It’s too expensive for the quality and amount offood that is offered, and the service is slightly patronizing. A shrimp salad featured a mound of iceberg lettuce, one tomato, one carrot curl and four shrimp. Thechicken Kiev entree was served with the waiter’s offer todo a “C-section” on it. The meat was tough, and thepreparation was uninspired. The “shrimp du chef”($7.95) featured three small marinated shrimp with aside dish of spinach. We must admit that the Frenchonion soup was as tasty as any we’ve had, but not goodenough to salvage this meal. (1482 Preston ForestSquare. 385-8221. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-3; dinner: daily5:30 pm-midnight. All credit cards. $$$) 4.0

Mr. Peppe. This little restaurant has kept its charm andits personal touch through the many years it has beenin business. The food is obviously cooked with love andis most reasonably priced, but we fear it is beginning toseem a trifle too old-fashioned. Of course, beef Wellington probably hasn’t been fashionable since the time ofthe Iron Duke himself, and it’s a particularly hard dish tobring off successfully. But it really shouldn’t suffer bothfrom tasteless meat and soggy pastry. The soup of theday (lightly touched with curry), the bland appetizersand salads, the unremarkable desserts and the lackluster main dishes could use a boost. (5617 W LoversLane. 352-5976. Mon-Sat 6-10pm. Closed Sun MC. V.AE. DC. $$$) 5.5



D Pyramid Room. After some years of wandering about, this great Dallas institution seems to be back on track. We had a wonderful meal here at the peak of luxury. The splendor of the room is restored, so we felt we had to live up to it with splendiferous dishes: blinis with caviar, lobster salad, pheasant sauced with foie gras and rack of lamb. Aside from the canned asparagus in the lobster salad, everything satisfied our expectations. And the Linzertorte for dessert (a tart made with raspberry jam) even exceeded them. (Fairmont Hotel. Ross at Akard. 720-2020. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: daily 6-10. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0

D Restaurant Silvano. Noise and an overly relaxed serving pace continue to plague this toniest of West End eateries. The look of the single dining room with its arched alcoves never fails to impress, but smaller spaces would offer more peace and quiet. Similarly, host Silvano Zanetti goes out of his way to exude warmth and friendliness, but we would be happier if we could get the menu or the check when we wanted them. Although the food this time around wasn’t quite as good as it was on our previous visit, we still think the chefs talent with seafood is extraordinary. Our shrimp and scallop appetizers were perfectly cooked and beautifully sauced. But the main courses (steak in a wine and mushroom sauce and stuffed quail) were less distinguished. Happily, the desserts, including a spectacular Floating Island, restored our faith in Sil-vano’.s (311 Market. 7470322. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2;dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. All creditcards. $$$$) 8.0

D The Riviera. An evening at The Riviera is always a treat (and now it’s open for lunch, too). Host Franco Bertolasi remembers your face after the first visit and gives you a warm welcome. The bright blond interior of the place is cheery, and the food seldom disappoints. The specialty is the cooking of the south of France, reproduced lovingly if not exactly. The chefs (a married couple) have a special way with seafood, and among the best dishes here are the warm scallop salad (lightly touched with orange), the lobster stew and the mixed seafood grill of scallops, shrimp andsalmon. Desserts range from light sherbets to richcrème brulée and mocha cake. (7709 Inwood.351-0094. Mon-Thur 6:30-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 6:30-11pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$$) 8.0

St. Martin’s. Sometimes a wine bistro isn’t just a wine bistro. Granted, this is an ideal nightspot for a romantic interlude-the tables are candle-lit and covered with crisp white tablecloths and freshly cut red carnations -and its claim to fame seems to have been built on its wine and cheese-and-fruit or pate board offerings. But St. Martin’s also has a small yet varied menu ranging from roast beef and veal to pasta and swordfish. Although we are usually wary of varied menus, we were pleasantly surprised with the swordfish and vealmedallions we were served. The service is tops. (3020Greenville. 826-0940. Mon-Thur 11 am-3 pm& 5-11 pm,Fri & Sat 11 am-3 pm & 5 pm-1 am, Sun5-11 pm; Sunbrunch: 11-3 All credit cards. $$) 6.0

Three Vikings. You probably won’t come here for thedecor (which is basically dark mishmash), but the Scandinavian fare is good, if not memorable, and the family-style service is warm and charming. Particularly gooddishes include the marinated cucumber salad, the roastduck with almond sauce and the very tender lambchops 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 & Sat6-11 pm. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. Allcredit cards $$) 6.0



GERMAN/EASTERN EUROPEAN



Belvedere. Most everything the chef of this Swiss-Austrian restaurant attempts he accomplishes well,whether it’s perfectly preparing meaty, tender scallops,grilling a T-bone of veal or assembling a rich and colorful veal Oscar. Some pre-meal choices may be betterthan others, however: The plates of smoked salmon andveal we ordered were tasty but too overwhelming to beserved as appetizers A homemade soup or a housesalad dressed with generous amounts of bleu cheeseis a better bet. The look of Belvedere has improved substantially since our last visit. (Crestpark Hotel. 4242Lomo Alto. 528-6510. Lunch: Tue-Sat 11:30-2; dinner:Tue-Sat 6-10:30, Sun 6-9; Sun brunch: 11-2:30. ClosedMon. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

Bohemia. This tiny, romantic jewel never fails to leaveus happily replete after a sturdy. country-Czech mealserved in a room dancing with Viennese waltzes andflickering candlelight on lace tablecloths. Our favorite issauerbraten served with cranberries, soup or salad,several choices of vegetables and boiled potatoes orthick, pasty dumplings. The sauce is dark and viscousin appearance, but one bite proves it light and delightfully spiced, a waltz in itself. Pfefferhasen (roasted rabbit) is a real native treat. And. as always, we didn’t passup the homemade apple strudel. Bohemia offers perhaps the most filling and romantic under $40 meal fortwo-including two glasses of Czech wine anddessert-in the city. (2810 N Henderson. 826-6209.Sun& Tue-Thur5:30-9:30pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 – 10:30 pm.Closed Mon. Reservations recommended. All creditcards. $$$) 6.5



D REVISITS



D Rolfs. On our last visit, we had the most German-and probably the best -meal we’ve ever eaten at Rolf’s The appetizer of smoked eel. served with dark bread and thinly sliced onions, was much more delicate than it sounds and not at all oily. The sauerbraten was beautifully braised and sliced, and its sauce was not too emphatic. We were amused by the platter of smoked pork and sausages, which came with a puree of split peas and sauerkraut that were the Cinderellas of the table, promoted from downtrodden handmaidens to true royalty. Even the Black Forest cake transcended its middlebrow reputation and proved extraordinary. With Rolfs subdued, romantic atmosphere, the place is a treasure. (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. Reserva tions recommended. All credit cards. $$$) 8.0



Café Kashtan. We almost hesitate to recommend Cafe Kashtan. despite some unique and very appetizing food, because of the sometimes maddeningly slow service. But after all, just how many Ukrainian restaurants can Dallas boast? It’s the only place in town we know of where you can order chicken Kiev cooked by a native of Kiev. We love the soups and the Kashtan Sampler-mounds of cold salads made from beets, radishes and homemade sauerkraut. The chickenTabaka (flattened, flavored with garlic and grilled), themustardy beef stroganoff and the cabbage rolls are allworth exploring. The desserts change every night, butthe ones we’ve tried (almond cake with raspberry sauceand a raisin strudel) have been exceptional. (5365Spring Valley at Montfort. 991-9550. Lunch: Mon-Fri11-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 5-10. Closed Sun. MC, V. AE, DC.$$) 6.0



GOURMET CARRYOUT



Chow To Go. Caterer Mike Hearn has opened a takeout establishment with a few tables available for eating lunch on the premises. A blackboard beautifully decorated with colored-chalk drawings advertises the sandwich selections. 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. The sandwich of smoked turkey, cheese, guacamole and salsa is much more successful. Perhaps the best things at Chow to Go are the baked goods. Muffins are available in many flavors, as are the brownies and the extraordinary cookies. (2404 Cedar Springs at Maple. 871-7145. Mon-Fri 10am-7pm. Sat 10am-6pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards for purchases under $25: MC, V. $$) 5.5



D REVISITS



Marty’s. One of our writers has a fantasy of beingsequestered overnight in Marty’s-enslaved to anocturnal orgy of patés and pesto, chocolate truffles and marzipan cake, endive and escargots. Thechef’s paté de Champagne and a wonderfullycreamy French ulembert cheese were a robust beginning to a recent picnic we packed here. Theywere followed by smoked sabe (one taste sufficed),mussel salad with hearts of palm, a pasta concoction welded with goat cheese (pungent but tasty)and a loaf of French bread. A Greek spanokopita,thick with spinach and feta cheese, was a tad soggywhen reheated but was solid and satisfying despiteits heaviness. We finished with a chocolatey Texaspecan bar (a glorified brownie) and a lovely lemontart. Marty’s has, it’s safe to say, everything for theneed-it-now gourmet, including fresh herbs whenthey’re unavailable elsewhere, a salad assortmentthat is evergreen, a changing medley of freeze-and-reheat entrees and an enviable selection of accompanying wines. (3316 Oak Lawn. 526-4070. Mon-Sat 10 am-6:30 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, DC,Marty’s charge. $$) 6.5



GREEK



Crackers. We were once crackers about this restaurantin a refurbished old house on McKinney, but our lastvisit didn’t live up to our memories. We’re glad that themenu concentrates more heavily on the Greek specialties, but they could have been better. The spanokopita(spinach pie) was soggy, and the dolmas (stuffed grapeleaves) were undistinguished. The moussaka was better than the souvlaki (skewered lamb), which was toughand overdone. Maybe it was just as well that there wereno Greek desserts: The coconut chess pie and thewalnut cake were the best part of our meal. (2621McKinney. 827-1660. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri &Sat 11 am-11:30 pm.MC,V.AE.$$) 4.5

Kostas. This Greek restaurant has a lovely view of old live oak trees 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 problemswith service that we’d had in the past: Our waiter wasboth well-organized and very helpful. (2755 Bachman.351-4592. Mon-Sat 11 am-midnight. Closed Sun. Allcredit cards. $$) 5.5

Little Gus’. One disadvantage of living in a melting potis that over the years, all the food runs together and begins to taste the same. Thank goodness for Little Gus;he makes his Greek specialties live up to their heritage.The moussaka is at once sharp and sweet and creamy,with layers of beef and spicy eggplant. Gus offers someof the best hamburgers around at noon, but we preferhis restaurant after dark. The taste for the heavy Greekresin wine may be an acquired one, but the candlelightand food speak a universal language. (1916 Greenville.826-4910. Mon-Thur 7:30 am-4pm & 6-10 pm. Fri & Sat7:30 am-4 pm & 6 10 pm. Sun 9 am-1:45 pm. No creditcards: personal checks accepted. $$) .6.0



INDIAN/ETHIOPIAN



D REVISITS



D Kebab’n Kurry. “A Passage to India”9 It’sas simple as a trip up Central Expresswayor down Walnut Hill Lane to Dallas’ premierIndian restaurant. The decor may be unspectacular, but the food is sublime. On our last visit, weordered a mixed grill of the tandoori specialties, andthe barbecued meats were all delicious. The lambin a delicately spicy spinach sauce and the curry ofmushrooms and peas were both sublime. We loveto splurge on one of the Indian desserts-the cake-like cheese fritters called gulab jamun or the cheesepatties in cream called roshmalai (401 N CentralExpwy. Suite 300, Richardson, 231-5556: 2620Walnut Hill Lane, 350-6466 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2;dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30;brunch: Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30. Reservations. Allcredit cards. $) 7.5



Queen of Sheba. Ethiopian food is one of the most difficult of the foreign cuisines to become accustomed to.Maybe it’s because everything is served on a huge platter of in/era, the flat bread with a texture of sliced spongerubber that is plate, fork and staff of life to the Ethiopians.On it come spicy stews such as doro wott (chicken andeggs in a red sauce), accompanied by greens andyogurt. Queen of Sheba is a good place for the adventurous to try it all out, since the atmosphere is pleasantand the prices are very low. (For the less adventurous,Queen of Sheba also has a few Italian dishes.) (3527McKinney. 521 0491. Mon-Fri 11-11, Sat & Sun noon-midnight, Sun noon-11 pm. MC, V, AE, DC. $) 4.5

Tanjore. This Indian restaurant across from Preston-wood Town Center offers lots of pleasures. Most of thedishes, from the spicy fritters and other savory appetizers on the Tanjore Tray to the delicious Indianbreads, are cooked with authority. The chicken Tanjore(like chicken Tandoon. except that the restaurant lacksa tandoor oven) is moist and delicate, and the spicy curried eggplant and potato dish has plenty of zing. Somedishes, such as a lackluster lamb shahi korma and atough shrimp masala. aren’t quite so successful. Thestaff works hard to please, but the kitchen seemsdaunted by a complicated order-take the menu’swarning of long preparation time to heart if you ordermore than a couple of dishes. (Prestonwood CreekShopping Center, 5409 Belt Line. 9600070. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: daily 6-10; brunch: Sat &Sun 11:30-3. Bar membership available. All creditcards. $$) 5.5



ITALIAN



Alessio’s. The daily specials in this intimate (and often crowded) place are so appealing that you may never look at the menu. We tried the soup and pasta of the day as appetizers, and we found the soup (zucchini withfresh basil, sour cream and pine nuts) extraordinary; thepasta (angel-hair noodles with tiny shrimp and fresh tomato), underseasoned. The salad of fresh mozzarellaand tomato was worth the stiff price, and the entrees ofveal Toscana (with artichokes and mushrooms) andgrilled swordfish can’t be beat in Dallas. Save room forthe white chocolate ice cream or the lemon ice, bothtopped with lots of fresh raspberries. (4117 Lomo Alto.521-3585. Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Sun & Mon 6-10 pm.MC, V, AE. $$$) 7.0

Alfredo Trattoria. Almost everything we have tried atAlfredo Trattoria has been disappointing: commercialnoodles in a tasteless cream sauce masquerading asfettuccine della casa, undistinguished veal in a thin Marsala sauce and even overdressed salads consistingmostly of iceberg lettuce. A few successes kept AlfredoTrattoria from being a total write-off, however: Thegrilled baby salmon had a delicate taste, and the vealfiorentina had an attractive lemony sauce atop its meat,spinach and crab. Several of the desserts, such as thelemon tart and zuppa inglese, were fine, too. (5404Lemmon. 526-3331. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner:Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri& Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. Allcredit cards. $$) 4.5

Alfredo’s. This small pizza joint has attracted a lot ofnotice, and one of the biggest surprises is just how farnorth it turns out to be (there’s a lovely view of the Ad-dison airport, way to the south). The pies Alfredo’smakes have a wonderfully crisp crust, and they’re madeentirely to order. We do wish the pizzas had moretomato sauce to give them a bit more flavor, though.There are also some other standard Southern Italiandishes available; we liked the cannelloni and the eggplant parmigiana very much. (4043 Trinity Mills at Midway. 242-7135. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-mid-night, Sun noon-10 pm. No credit cards; personalchecks accepted. $) 5.0



D REVISITS



Bugatti. This popular Italian restaurant has slipped a long way since the time a couple of years ago when it was (under different management) the best Italian spot in town. But even in decline, Bugatti can be worth a visit. The appetizers contained the best food. A salad of marinated octopus was tender and delicate; the tortellini were just chewy enough in their light cream sauce; and the special of mushrooms stuffed with crab meat were more interesting than the usual clichéd version. The various veal dishes we sampled were sauced nicely, but all of them suffered from a heavy coating of batter (why do so many Dallas Italian restaurants think they have to imitate egg foo yung when sautéeing veal?) (2574 Walnut Hill Lane. 350-2470. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

Camplsl’s. Is it still worth jockeying for a hard-to-findparking place and waiting in the inevitable long lines todine here? We think so. Although the dimly lit diningroom is cramped and noisy and the service can be haphazard, the heaping platter of crab claws drenched ingarlic butter is, at $9, a bargain; the Italian dishes (wetried veal parmigiana with mostaccioli) are satisfying;and the locally famous pizza (we went “all the way”) is stillthe tops in town. (5610 E Mockingbird. 827-0355,827-7711. Mon-Fri 11 am-midnight. Sat 11 am-1 am,Sun 11:30 am-midnight. Reservations for six or more.No credit cards. $$) 4.5

Caprlcclo. Of all the remodeled old houses that have served as restaurants in Dallas, this one may have kept its character the best and turned out to be the loveliest. Some care has also been given to the food, although it’s not as exciting as the look of Capriccio. The spaghetti topped with chicken livers is an interesting choice for those with a taste for giblets, and the angel-hair pasta in fresh tomato sauce has a lively taste of fresh basil. The entrees we’ve tried have been pleasant but unexceptional; the best is probably the tournedos in a light wine sauce. Desserts at Capriccio, though, are something special. Both the Concord cake (of chocolate and meringue) and the rum cake (something like a cheesecakein texture, with lots of raisins) are memorable. (2616 Maple. 871-2004. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner: Sun-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat 6 pm-midnight. All credit cards.Lunch $$, dinner $$$) 5.5

Da Piccolo. At this narrow, slightly unkempt Italianbistro, the fried calamari turned out to be underdoneand chewy. The tortellini, stuffed with a sage-flavored filling and served in a tomato sauce with flecks of basil,had been cooked too long and was slightly gummy.The lasagna tasted of fresh tomato (but little else), andthe veal Marsala suffered from a harsh and overly glutinous sauce. When we visited, Da Piccolo didn’t live upto its reputation as one of the better Italian places intown. (4537 Cole. 521-1191. Mon, Wed& Thur5:30-10pm, Fri & Sat 5:30-11 pm. Closed Tue. All credit cards.$$) 5.0

Dell Italia. This place serves both delicatessen itemsand Italian dishes. The deli items are the standard sandwiches; we enjoyed a tasty (if rather fatty) hot pastrami.The cheesecakes are tasty and creamy enough totempt even the most virtuous dieter. The Italian side ofthe menu is more substantial, and the Italian dishes areall the restaurant offers when it is open in the evening.The kitchen does a lot of things well, from unusual appetizers such as mozzarella in carrozza to desserts suchas ices and cannoli. There are disappointments amongthe main dishes, but some of the pasta and veal selections are exceptional. (2121 Main at Central Expwy.939-0666. Mon-Fri 11 am-3 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. Allcredit cards. $$) 5.5

DiPalma. This crowded deli/wine store/pastry shop/restaurant may be the most exciting and lively Italianrestaurant in Dallas, but it’s hardly the most consistent.Our most recent meal had everything from a wonderfulshellfish soup with succulent scallops and shrimp in agarlicky broth to inedibly underdone veal grilled on askewer with chicken and sausage. Pasta is usually impeccable here (although the pasta salads are sometimes overcooked and mushy). But the decorative desserts sometimes don’t taste as good as they look. (1520Greenville. 824-4500. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat11 am-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. $$) 6.0

Ferrari’s. The veal dishes are wonderful here, but on arecent visit, the service was uneven. The veal drenchedin lemon-wine sauce and the fettuccine were worthwaiting for. The tomato-based sauces are fresh, and thepastas include a rich cannelloni. When the dessert cartfinally arrived, we found the chocolate mousse cake tobe especially good. (1713 Market. 741-5538. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner. Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat5:30-11. MC, V, AE. $$$) 6.5

D REVISITS



II Sorrento. With an elegant, serene atmosphere,courtly yet friendly service and food that doesn’tdisappoint. II Sorrento satisfies. In this dimly lit dining room, decorated in an Italian piazza motif thatmight be a bit medieval for some tastes, we enjoyedappetizers of mushroom caps stuffed with crabmeat and baked eggplant adorned with shrimp andclams. The swordfish steak was truly exemplary,although the veal entree we tried was a trifle tough.But the hard rolls-served non-stop-were irresistible, and the side dishes of fresh asparagus andlightly fried zucchini were pleasant accompaniments. Our chocolate mousse desserts were sinfulbut delicious. (8616 Turtle Creek Blvd. 352-8759.Sun-Fri 5:30-11 pm.Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. All creditcards. $$$) 6.0



La Bella. This cozy neighborhood restaurant has a lot of potential. We say that because the entrees-except for veal dishes-are superb, but the soup (with canned veggies) and salad (of white iceberg lettuce) are dismal in comparison. We tried the linguini with white clam sauce, the fresh red snapper and a spicy sautéed chicken that was the special of the evening. Each was extremely fresh, and there was no skimping on the garlic and fresh spices. Our waiter was especially attentive, and he convinced us to try the cappuccino pie for dessert. Prices are reasonable, but your dinner could getexpensive if you succumb to the tempting list of wines.(6757 Arapaho, Suite 721. 991-2828. Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri 5:30-11, Sat6-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

La Trattoria Lombardl. From our appetizers of crabclaws sautéed with white wine sauce to the order ofcreamy fettuccine Alfredo, from our entrees of shrimp(sautéed in garlic butter) and veal (breaded and toppedwith cheese and tomato sauce) to the delicious dessertof homemade cappuccino pie, this pleasant restaurantexcels. The candle-lit green-and-white interior is charming, as is the attentive service. This is food -and am-biance-to savor. (2916NHall. 823-6040ǜ Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2;dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30.Fri & Sat5:30-11.Closed Sun.Allcreditcards.$$$)6.0

Mario’s. Red velvet walls, watercolors of game birdsand classical music give this Italian restaurant itslongstanding reputation for ritziness. Perfectly preparedbeef tournedos make this place more than just a finepurveyor of pasta and veal. The prices are high, butjustifiably so; the service is pleasant, though at timesa little forgetful. The management has done a good jobof not allowing this Dallas legend to decline. (135 Turtle Creek Village, Oak Lawn at Blackburn. 521-1135.Sun-Thur 6-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 6-11:30 pm. All creditcards. $$$) 6.5

Mlchellno’s. This neighborhood Italian joint is a happy,raucous find where pasta is served piping hot and peppery, garlic bread arrives in generous portions (on request), and waiters are friendly to a fault. Our entreeslooked alarmingly similar, and we’d swear that thecheesecake was mixed from Jello pudding, but ourmemories of Michelino’s are mostly fond. (6312 La Vista.826-2662. Tue-Sat 5-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. Closed Mon.MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0

Pizzeria Uno. This is the Dallas franchise of the originalChicago deep-dish pizza establishment. The pizzascome in three sizes (even the smallest is quite substantial), and they arrive at the table in heavy iron potsalmost like skillets. The crust is at once doughy andcrisp, and it contains inch-high mixtures of tomato,cheese and meats of various sorts. Among the otherdishes, we liked the marinated mushrooms, the vegetables for dipping and especially the pizza skins (whichare, in effect, slices of mashed-potato pizza). (4002 BeltLine. 991-8181. Daily 11 am-2 am. MC, V,AE.$$) 5.0

Prego Pasta House. Although Prego is a bit hard topeg-with a casual menu reminiscent of Campisi’sserved in a simple, elegant setting-that hasn’t affectedits popularity. And why should it? Here you can have thebest of both worlds: Whether you’re dressed in denimor Dior, you can dine on such delicacies as linguini withwhite clam sauce and chicken breast piccata or opt forthe inexpensive (and always enjoyable) pizza. Indulgein an amaretto freeze or a brandy Alexander for the ultimate culinary conclusion. (4930 Greenville. 363-9204.Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11 am-midnight, Sat 5 pm-mid-night, Sun noon-11 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Ristorante Lombardi. We returned to one of ourfavorite Italian restaurants anticipating the usual warmambiance, charming service and delectable food. Well,the ambiance hadn’t changed, and the service wasfriendly (if a bit distracted), but to our dismay, the foodwasn’t up to standard. Our tried-and-true favorite pasta,tortellini di parma, wasn’t as creamy as we remembered, though it was just as tasty. And the grilled shrimpin garlic butter was dry and flavorless; there was notrace of garlic, and the shrimp didn’t taste fresh. But thespecial, veal scaloppine Marsala, was tender and flavorful, and the accompanying souffle of spinach, carrotsand potatoes was deliriously light. The dessert souffles,especially the unusual raspberry, were still sinfully good.(Adelstein Plaza, 15501 Dallas Pkwy at Arapaho.458-8822. Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11.Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

D Ristorante Valentino. The menu at this excellent new Italian restaurant is small and imaginative, with notable successes at every stage. The lasagna with scallops-lots of rich cheese, whole leaves of basil and no tomato – is sublime, and the smallpasta shells with tomato and garlic and the angel-hairpasta with lobster, cognac and tomato are not far behind. The beef tenderloin in a cream sauce with greenpeppercorns has an assertive flavor, and the red snapper with tomato sauce couldn’t be fresher and lighter.(2929 N Henderson. 826-7804. Sun-Thur 6-10:30pm,Fri & Sat 5 30-11 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 7.5

Ristorante Vincenzo. This restaurant in the locationthat Sergio’s and Via Veneto used to occupy offers aninteresting assortment of dishes from all over the Italianpeninsula. The pasta selections are unusual, rangingfrom spaghetti with julienne eggplant to small pastashells in a sauce rich with ricotta. Main courses includea flavorful grilled swordfish steak with a sauce loadedwith olives and garlic, chicken topped with Swisscheese and mushrooms, and classics such as scampiand veal (with ham in a brown sauce flecked with sage).(The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh, Suite 165. 742-3872.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Mon-Fri 5:30-10. Sat5:30-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$$) 6.0

Sergio & Luciano. The pasta dishes and the veal arethe two main reasons to try this tasteful restaurant/baron Addison’s restaurant row. The linguini dishes comewith a bewildering array of sauces, and the veal sautéedwith brandy, cream sauce and truffles was superbly butdelicately seasoned. Try some of the off-menu specials,as well as the ingenious salads prepared with babyshrimp and other delectables. (The Quorum, 4900 BeltLine, Suite 250. 387-4441. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30: dinner: Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11. Sun 6-10. Allcredit cards. $$$$) 6.5

Sfizi. The burgeoning West End historical district now has three Italian restaurants within one block. The newest, Sfizi. is an unpretentious café with high-tech decorations and plain concrete floors. The food is listed on a short menu, with most of the more elaborate dishes written on a blackboard as specials of the day. One of the principal offerings is pizza-delicious with thick but very crisp crusts. Other dishes range from adequate fried calamari to a tasty baked ziti casserole. (1718 Market. 698-9390. Mon-Fri 11-11, Sat 11 am-2am, Sun 11 am-2 pm&6-11 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0



JAPANESE/KOREAN



D REVISITS



Kobawoo. This Korean restaurant reopened aftera fire last year. It’s bigger, if not fancier, than before,and the food seems better than ever. The menu listsChinese and Japanese dishes, too, although theytend to be filtered through a Korean sensibility. (Theshrimp fried with vegetables, for instance, has atleast a dozen ingredients, including broccoli, cauliflower, squash and two kinds of mushrooms.) TheKorean barbecued beef, bulgoki, is good here, asare the fiery-hot pickled vegetables such as kim-chee. Kobawoo also offers a number of more unusual dishes, such as the whole fried fish Korean-style, which we found delicious. (3109 Inwood atCedar Springs. 351-6922. Mon-Fri 11 am-10 pm,Sat noon-10 pm. Sun 1-10 pm. All credit cards.$$) 6.0



Kobe Steaks. One of the most popular places alongthe Addison strip, this restaurant combines food andshow in one event. Japanese cooks who look like samurai chop and flip pieces of beef, seafood and vegetables on a teppan yaki grill with martial abandon. It’s allvery entertaining, but the steak, shrimp, zucchini, beansprouts, etc., all wind up tasting pretty much the sameunder the avalanche of oil, salt, soy sauce and sesame.(The Quorum, 5000 Belt Line, Suite 600. 934-8150.Sun-Thur 5-11 pm. Fri & Sat 5 pm-midnight. All creditcards. $$) 5.5

Mr. Sushi. This cozy but stylish nook is far and away our favorite Japanese restaurant. The sushi bar boasts a vast variety of fish and shellfish, and everything we’ve tried has been impeccably fresh and flavorful. At thetables, the service is warm and efficient, and standardJapanese dishes such as tempura, chicken teriyaki andkara age (fried marinated chicken chunks) receivecareful treatment. A surprise is how good the dessertsare (Westernized, but all the better for that): homemaderum cake and pina colada or green tea ice creams. (The Quorum, 4860 Belt Line, Addison. 385-0168. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11:30-2, dinner: Mon- Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat5:30-11, Sun5:30-10. All credit cards. $$) 6.5

Royal Tokyo. Royal Tokyo has something for everybody: tatami rooms for those who want comparativeauthenticity, hibachi tables for those who want a show,a sushi bar for those who crave raw fish and even apiano bar for those who just want a drink. The sushi barturns out the best food: The selection of fish and seafoodis wide, and each item we tried was at the peak of freshness (the yellowtail and mackerel were especially fine).On the down side were the sukiyaki (carelessly boiledinstead of prepared ingredient by ingredient) and thetempura (with lots of heavy, underdone batter). (7525Greenville. 368-3304. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2, Sun11:30-2:30; dinner: Sun & Mon 5:30-10:30, Tue-Thur5:30-11, Fri & Sat 5:30-11:30. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Sakura. Sakura. the loveliest of Dallas’ Japaneserestaurants, offers a multilevel array of dining rooms:tatami mats where traditional meals can be eaten on lowtables, a sushi bar with Western-style tables surroundingit, teppan-yaki rooms where (on Friday and Saturdayevenings only) samurai chefs wield their knives aroundbig grills. The food can be excellent, as in the shabushabu, a gently simmered casserole of beef and vegetables in broth that’s prepared tableside, and the crisply broiled salmon teriyaki. Or it can be disappointing, asin the tonkatsu, the Japanese version of fried porkchops. The fish offered at the sushi bar is mostly freshenough to eat as the Japanese prefer (that is, raw), buton our last visit, one of those in the selection we triedtasted as though it had been soaked in lemon juice torefresh it. (7402 Greenville. 361-9282. Mon-Thur & Sun5:30-11 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. Reservationsrecommended on weekends. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Shogun of Japan. This tiny imitation of a Japanese inn,located a bit south of Love Field, even smells new withits freshly varnished wood. But its approach to Japanese dining in America is mostly as old-fashioned asthat of its sister restaurant, Royal Tokyo. The emphasisis on Americanized combination dinners-a bit of tempura, a bit of teriyaki and the like. The tastiest of thecooked dishes is probably the ginger beef, which wasslightly undercooked and heavy on the ginger. In addition to two rooms with tables and a small tatami room,there is a sushi bar with excellent sushi and sashimi.(5738 Cedar Springs near Inwood. 351-2281. Lunch:Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: Sun- Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat5:30-11. All credit cards. $$) 4.5



MEXICAN



Baja Louie’s Grill & Cantina. A better-than-averageunion of ferns and fiesta, this singles spot offers respectable chips and predictable but pleasant Tex-Mex combinations. Viva la Mexidisco! (The Corner ShoppingCenter, 8021 Walnut Hill at Central Expwy. 361-5192.Mon-Thur 11 am-11:30 pm, Fri 11 am-12:30 am, Sat11.30 am-12:30 am. Sun 11:30-11:30. All credit cards.$) 5.5

Café Cancun. This Mexico City-style restaurant, it’s fair to say, has become part of the Old Guard. Those of us who eat out fondly remember the black beans and the tangy molé. But as many favorite restaurants do, Cancun reached a degree of success that demanded a decision -expand or be content-so it expanded to a four-link chain. While the above-mentioned staples remain excellent, some of the polish and all-around quality has faded. We upset our waiter by ordering a non-lunch special for lunch and were disappointed by tough beef and a wickedly imbalanced margarita. (4131 Lomo Alto. 559-4011; Caruth Plaza, Park Lane at Central Expwy. 369-3712. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm. Fri 11-11. Sat 5-11 pm at Lomo Alto location; Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11 at Caruth Plaza location. MC, V, AE. $$)5.5



D REVISITS

Café Rincón. We wish the dinner menu here didn’t have such small type-with the dim lighting, it’s especially hard to read – but otherwise we love this fine little restaurant. The queso is not overwhelmingly cheesy; the jalapenos have a sweat factor of eight, and the cheese on the nachos has a stretch factor of seven, although the meat is slightly salty. The snapper Veracruz is the pescano de resistance: one of the juiciest, meatiest fish imaginable resplendent in a delicious herb and tomato sauce. That, plus a tasty flan for dessert, made up for the rather pedestrian chicken enchiladas. And the lighting, with the right company, gets better as the evening goes on. (2818 Harry Hines. 742-4906. Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight. Fri 5 pm-midnight, Sat noon-midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$)7.0



Cantina Laredo. This new place in Addison purportsto serve comida casera (real Mexican home cooking).Well, if most of what Cantina Laredo serves isn’t quitethat authentic, it certainly has things on its large menuthat few other upscale Metroplex Mexican restaurantsserve. Cabrito (baby goat), for instance, is unusualenough in these parts, but Cantina Laredo doesn’tdo any better job with it than the other North Texasplaces where we’ve tried the dish. But we had excellentquesadillas (tortillas stuffed with cheese and mushrooms), tacos al carbon and guacamole. The beef faji-tas had perhaps the richest, smokiest flavor of any wehave tried, and even the grilled red snapper (toppedwith tomato and peppers a la veracruzana) was fresh-tasting and tender. (4546 Belt Line, Addison. 458-0962 Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 -11. All creditcards. $$) 5.5

Cantu’s. This pleasant, sparkling-clean restaurantserves some of the mildest Mexican food we’ve evertasted. It’s |ust right for beginners, though not too exciting for a true lover of hot and spicy dishes. Everythingfrom the beef enchiladas to the chile relleno stuffed withcheese is mild, mild, mild. But our fajita expert says thatthe mesquite-grilled beef fajitas are better than those atnearby Raphael’s, although they’re a little heavy on themarinade. (5290 Belt Line. Suite 132, Addison. 991-9105 Tue-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun5-10pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. $$) 4.5

Chiquita. A visit to Chiquita, one of Dallas’ best Mexicanrestaurants for many years, is always a pleasure. Wefind it hard not to order one of the delicious beef dishes,and on our last visit the filete de casa. spiked with garlicand peppers and accompanied by a cheese taco anda boiled potato, was splendid. The shrimp in basilsauce, delicate and carefully seasoned, proved arewarding novelty. The best desserts here are the icecreams, which include piquant cinnamon and richcoconut. (3810 Congress. 5210721. Mon-Thur 11:30am-10:30 pm. Fri&Sat 11:30am-11 pm. Closed Sun.MC. V. AE. $$) 6.5

Eacondido. The name means “hidden away,” and thislittle Mexican place could easily be overlooked. it’srather bedraggled on the outside but nicer within.Whether it’s worth searching out if you’re not in theParkland Hospital neighborhood depends on howmuch you appreciate a good value-the Tex-Mex isdependable and offers a lot for the price. Don’t stray toofar from the standard dishes, though; we thoughtmushroom enchiladas sounded intriguing and orderedthem only to find that they were plain old cheese enchiladas served in what appeared to be canned mushroom soup. (2210 Butler. 631-9912. Lunch: daily 11 -2;dinner: daily 5-9. No credit cards. $) 4.0

Guadalajara. Some of the finest Mexican cooking in Dallas can still be found in this classic dive just east of downtown. On our last visit, we had an excellent mil-anesa (which is rather like a Mexican chicken-fried steak) and a tasty, if rather tough, steak cooked with garlic and chile pequin. The side dishes, such as guacamole. fried potatoes and refried beans, were exceptional. But if you venture to this place, be prepared forfunky surroundings and service that can border onabusive. (3308 Ross at Hall. 823-9340. Mon-Fri 11am-3:30 am. Sat & Sun 1030 am-3:30 am. All creditcards. $$) 6.0

Herrera Café. This dumpy little shack, with its crumbling facade, air conditioning unit jutting out in front andfading fresco proclaiming “Cafe Herrera!,” was recently described in National Geographic as a “nine-tableTex-Mex eatery.” Beneath the water-stained ceiling,hungry folks crowd in for the generic but well-preparedfare of tacos and tamales. enchiladas, rice and beans.Neither beer nor margaritas are served, so you’d betterbring your own beer or order a tall glass of iced teabefore trying the hot hot sauce (3902 Maple 526-9427.Mon, Wed & Thur 9 am-8 pm. Fri-Sun 9 am-10 pm.Closed Tue No credit cards $) 5.5

J. Pepe Gonzalez. A turquoise and pink decor definesthis Oak Lawn establishment as “nouveau-Mex,’ and theshrimp and spinach enchiladas confirmed our |udg-ment. This is a successful hybrid, with a plethora of excellent traditional Tex-Mex dishes sometimes temperedby annoyingiy mild sauces. Desserts like the praline pieand sopapillas with strawberries make it worthwhile tolinger over your meal. (The Quadrangle. 2800 Routh.871-0366. Mon-Thur 11 am-2:30 pm& 5:30-10pm. Fri11 am-2:30 pm & 5:30-11 pm. Sat noon-11 pm, Sunnoon-9 pm MC, V. AE. $$) 5.0

Javier’s. Don’t expect to find Tex-Mex here. The menuruns more to fantasies on Mexican themes- steak andseafood with rich sauces made from exotic ingredients-that can be excellent in their own right The steak can-tinflas. for example (named after the famous Mexicancomic), is split laterally, stuffed with cheese and toppedwith a sauce made of mild chiles anchos The red snapper with garlic sauce is less unusual but |ust as satisfying The soups are the best starters, and the dessertsare very sweet. (4912Cole. 521-4211 Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30pm, Fir & Sat 5:30-11:30 pm. Sun 5:30-10 pm.Reservations. All credit cards $$$) 6.5

La Botica. La Botica has a gaily painted minibus (theTijuana Limo”) that picks up a minimum of 10 customersand brings them to the restaurant for a fiesta – imbibingmargaritas as they travel. When the revelers arrive, theyfind a small restaurant that neatly balances a modern,neon-decorated look against antique wood-and-glasswall cabinets. The food is standard Tex-Mex that’scooked adequately, along with some more authenticand original dishes. We like both the pork cooked withchipotle chiles and the pork Yolanda, which has amilder red sauce The service can be frustratingly slowand unresponsive (19O0N Haskell. 824-2005 Lunch:Tue-Fri 10-2: dinner: Tue-Sat 5-10. Closed Sun & Mon.MC. V $$) 5.0

La Calls Doce. Sitting in the shadows of the Oak CliffBank, this bright, airy house-turned-restaurant is one ofthe few Tex-Mex spots in the southern part of the citythat offers more than the usual fare Among the moreauthentic specialties, all of the beef dishes are excellent(especially the chile rellenos). and the seafood items(described on the menu as “fresh from the Trinity”) arealso worthy of praise. The shrimp are meaty and cookedin garlic butter, and the snapper is covered with spicytomatoes and bell peppers The only disappointmentwas the rice, which was rather dry. (415 W 12th St. 941 -4304. Mon- Thur 11 am-9:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11 am-10:30pm. Sun 11 am-8:30 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Las Cazuelas. This interesting restaurant way down onGreenville has unusual Mexican specialties such asguisado de lengua (stewed beef tongue), which has asurprisingly tender, gelatinous texture For the fainter ofheart, there are grilled chicken and fa|itas. but we foundthese marred by an excessive charcoal flavor The delicate, feather-light flour tortillas and the guacamoleserved with a hellaciously hot pico de gallo were out-standing, however (2001 Greenville. 821-0924. Mon &Wed-Fri 5-10 pm. Sat & Sun 9 am-10 pm Closed TueNo credit cards. $$) 4.0

Mariano’s. This Old Town restaurant has undergone some changes during the past few years, including a recent remodeling that has made the place much moreairy and attractive. We chuckled at the notice on thedoor that pronounces the restaurant’s membershippolicy: “Members and non-members only.” Exclusivityaside, we still love Mariano’s famous frozen margaritas,tostadas and hot sauce, nachos and guacamole: All arecan’t-miss appetizers. But the Tex-Mex entrees wererather ordinary. (Old Town, 5500 Greenville at LoversLane. 691-3888. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri& Sat11:30 am-midnight. MC, V, AE. $$) 4.5



D REVISITS



Mario & Alberto. We were in the mood for a fiestawhen we last visited this uptown Mexican restaurant, and it did not disappoint. The nachos andshrimp flautas distracted us from the tostadas andcilantro-laden hot sauce until the main courses arrived. Then we delighted in beef dishes: alambres(Mexican shish kebab), puntas de filete (tiny sliversof beef sautéed with garlic) and filete de la casa (aslice of rare tenderloin topped with herbs andgarlic). On the way out, we couldn’t resist acinnamon-rich praline. (Preston Valley ShoppingCenter, LBJFrwy at Preston. Suite425. 980-7296.Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30am-11 pm. Closed Sun. Drinks with $5.50 membership charge. MC. V, AE. $$) 7.0



Ninfa’s. Houston’s most famous Mexican restaurant never fulfilled its plans of being a nationwide chain, but at the remaining local branch you can still sample the dishes that made Ninfa Laurenzo renowned (although you can’t be sure that you’ll have them at their best). The table salsas are always non-pareil, and we seem to have consistent luck with the grilled chicken breast and the agujas (a meaty, fatty cut of rib). On our most recent visit, the problems came with the dried-out pork carnitas and with the flour tortillas: Usually incomparably light and delicate, this time they were floury and disappointing. (1515 Inwood. 638-6865. Mon-Fri 11 am-10 pm, Sat & Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.0



D REVISITS

Moctezuma’s. It’s a jungle out there, but no matterhow many Mexican restaurants pop up aroundDallas, this one will remain a staple of fine Mexicancuisine, from the hot sauce and chips to the “espe-ciales” – specialty dishes that make this south-of-the-border menu distinctive. We were also favorably impressed with some of the more simple Mexicandishes: the enchilada de polio (sour cream chickenenchiladas) and the puffed taco dinner. The decoris nothing fancy, but this is nonetheless a pleasantplace to sip tasty margaritas (3202 McKmney.559-3010. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-12:30am. Sun 11 am-10:30 pm. Reservations for partiesof six or more. All credit cards. $$) 5.5



Pope’s Cafe. The gentrification of Oak Lawn has left atleast one sanctuary of ethnic unchic. The folks who eatat Pepe’s may be upscale, but the place is resolutelyunpretentious-this is a frame shotgun house amid allthe high-rises and tony nouvelle establishments. TheTex-Mex is much better than average (we cant remember the last time we enjoyed old-fashioned beef tacosas much), and the fancier dishes like fajitas and chilesrellenos are creditable. (3011 Routh. 871-9445. Mon-Fri11 am-2:30 pm & 5:30-10 pm, Sat 10:30 am-10 pm.Closed Sun. No credit cards. $) 5.5

Puerto Vallarta. So far, this small but ambitious Mexican restaurant doesn’t seem to have caught its stride. The tasty hot sauce has bits of cilantro, and the service is polite. Some of the food is fine. From the name, we expected to find some seafood dishes on the menu, but the only one-shrimp -was unavailable when we visited. We enjoyed some of the more unusual dishes, such as the vegetarian enchiladas and the chicken Mil-anesa (a breast beaten thin and sautéed with a bit of garlic). But the standard Tex-Mex items, such as beef enchiladas, tacos and guacamole, were dull, and the fajitas lacked taste. (2525 Wycliff. Suite 126. 522-9173.Mon-Thur 11 am-3 pm & 5:30-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11am-3 pm & 5:30 pm-4 am, Sun 6-10 pm. All creditcards. $$) 5.0



SEAFOOD



D Atlantic Café. Sleek and snazzy with its etchedglass, brass and marble, Atlantic Cafe offersfood as chic as its decor. No Mexican place intown can match the ceviche of scallops and shrimp,bright with the taste of cilantro, and no Italian place canmatch the mozzarella-and-tomato salad. This is one ofDallas’ premier seafood restaurants; the tender “buster”(baby soft-shell) crabs and the delicately sautéed Doversole prove that. But it also has some fine things for thosewho abhor fish: The pepper steak is exemplary. Desserts are remarkable, too; the crepe filled with freshstrawberries is tasty (though overpoweringly sweet),and the cream custard is rich and light beyond belief.(4546 McKinney at Knox. 559-4441. Lunch: Mon-Fri &Sun 11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat5:30-11. All credit cards. $$$) 8.0

Aw Shucks. Although we were slightly shell-shockedat the diminutive oysters (on the eighth-shell?) that wewere served at this small seafood establishment, ourfeathers were smoothed and our palates delighted bythe rich Louisiana gumbo, the crunchy fried scallopsand the cups of ice-cold beer. (3601 Greenville,821-9449:4535 Maple, 522-4498. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11:45 pm, Sun noon-9 pm atGreenville location; Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11am-11:45 pm, Sun noon-9 pm at Maple location. Nocredit cards. $) 6.0

Bachman Café. We can’t say enough nice things aboutthis comfortable little cafe (especially since it’s owned bya rather large fellow named Mean Joe Greene). Seriously, we enjoyed the live music and the simple but fillingfare. The menu has a slight hint of New Orleans; anything made with oysters is a winner. And don’t miss thecheesesteak sandwich with mushrooms and greenpeppers on French bread. Joe, one problem: Theservice was just a bit slow -not much, mind you. Justa little. (3049 W Northwest Hwy. 351-0959. Mon-Wed4:30 pm-1:30 am. Thur & Fri 4:30 pm-2 am. Sat 4:30pm-2 am. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. $) 5.0

Blue Point Seafood. If you stick to the basics- boiledshrimp and fried things- you will probably come awayhappy from this new place. The boiled shrimp are huge,and the fried oysters, fried shrimp and whole catfish cancompete with those almost anywhere. Order anythingfancier and you are likely to be disappointed. We foundthe “House Special,” a pasta and seafood salad, to beabsolutely tasteless, and the broiled trout had an offtaste and an oily texture that made us wish it were stillswimming in the Gulf. (2720 McKinney. 827-7720. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-9 pm. MC,V, AE. $$) 5.0

D REVISITS



D Café Pacific. Has this bastion of freshseafood cooked with a continental flairgone New Southwestern on us? The specials of the day we tried were fettuccine (cookedwith fresh mussels and julienne peppers) and blackened filets of salmon and halibut, sauced with anAnaheim pepper beurre blanc. The fish dish was anotable success. The pasta wasn’t, nor was theceviche of shrimp, lobster and scallops, in which theshellfish were overmarinated and chewy. We werepleased, though, with the rich, tender pepper steakand the desserts of silk pie and cheesecake withtwo sauces (strawberry and kiwi). No one could accuse the service here of being warm and overlyfamiliar, but it is efficient and professional. (HighlandPark Village, Preston at Mockingbird, Suite 24.526-1170. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun11-2:30; dinner: Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat5:30-11. MC, V, AE. $$$) 8.5

Bourbon Street Oyster Co. This place does remindyou of New Orleans in a couple of ways: The streetlamps that set off the levels of the restaurant are reminiscent of the French Quarter, and the relaxed atmosphere reflects the way New Orleans denizens like to eattheir seafood. But the dishes that try most to copy thefamous Crescent City specialties (such as oysters Rockefeller and gumbo) don’t taste much like the real thing.There is some good seafood here, however, such as thefried seafood platters and the daily broiled specials.(Caruth Plaza, 9100 N Central Expwy. 363-2333. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V, AE,DC. $$) 5.0

Catfish Charlie’s. We have learned our lesson. To wit:If a restaurant has the word “catfish” in its name, stick tocatfish. The fried catfish filets and the accompanyingfries and coleslaw are really quite good here. Thewaiters work hard, and there’s an aggressively cheerful (and loud) Dixieland band on Sunday evening.These things alone give Catfish Charlie’s plenty ofreason for being. But avoid the other items on the long-sh menu. (14865 Inwood, Addison. 392-9402. Mon-Fri11 am-10pm. Sat noon-10 pm, Sun 5:30-9pm. MC, V.AE. $$) 4.5

Charley’s Seafood Grill. Charley’s has been aroundlonger than most of the places that grill seafood overmesquite, and it doesn’t make such a big thing of it. Bothswordfish and a mixed brochette of shrimp and scallopstake well to the treatment. Or, if you like, you can getgood fried or sautéed fish instead. For starters, weprefer the boiled shrimp or the chowder to the gumbo.(5348 Belt Line, Addison. 934-8501. Sun-Thur 11 am-10pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. MC. V, AE. $$) 5.5

Duck Inn. We ducked in and had to waddle out of thisLake Dallas establishment, |ust like the sign by the cashregister said we would. For $7.95, we ate all the hush-puppies and fresh fried catfish we could hold. Thewhole (headless) catfish are tastier than the sliced catfish steaks, but the slices have fewer bones to messwith. We had heard that the homemade onion ringswere outstanding, but the cook ran out of batter beforewe could give them the taste test. The only thing thatsaved the skimpy salad bar was a chunky blue cheesedressing, and the french fries and cole slaw were lessthan noteworthy. Remember, it’s dry in this town, so”club memberships” cost $3 to $5. The Duck Inn doesn’toffer dessert, but the fish is so good it doesn’t matter.(503 Main, Lake Dallas. Take I-35E north to the LakeDallas exit. (817)497-2412. Tue-Sat 5-10 pm. Sun 11am-10 pm. Closed Mon. No credit cards; personalchecks accepted. $$) 5.0

Fishmonger’s Oyster Bar. This used to be mainly atakeout place with a few tables for dining in. Recently,it more than doubled its seating capacity, and whilethere is still fresh seafood on sale at the market and plenty of take-home business, Fishmonger’s now feels morelike the oyster bar in its name. The food is Louisiana-style, and it compares favorably with some of the middle-rank places in New Orleans. We’re crazy about thegrilled redfish special and the odd but satisfying solestuffed with whole shrimp, crab and cheese. The friedseafood is fine-although, like the gumbo and even thefries, it can be overly spicy-and the bread pudding iswonderful. On weeknights, there are all-you-can-eatspecials. (1915 N Central Expwy. Suite 600, Piano.423-3699. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11 pm. Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. $$) 5.5

Hampton’s Seafood Market. For a Hampton’s sampler, start with a bowl of the unusually thick, murky gumbo, redolent of bay leaves, sage and the mysterious jene sais quoi that belongs to this dish. After a crab oroyster cocktail, try the salad platter, which featuresmounds of tuna, halibut and crab with a heap of savorycoleslaw. On the way out, browse through the market,which offers fresh, flown-in herring, sea bass, Louisianaextra-select oysters and other treasures from the deep.(801 S Pearl. 742-4668; Preston Royal ShoppingCenter. Preston at Royal. Suite 113. 696-5400. Tue-Sat8 am-6:30 pm. Sun 8 am-5 pm at Pearl location; Mon-Sat 8 am-6:30 pm at Preston Royal location. No creditcards; personal checks accepted. $$) 6.5

D REVISITS



D Newport’s. This stylish, handsome WestEnd purveyor of seafood isn’t always perfect, but you can usually count on at leastone major success per meal. We were impressedwith the crab cocktail – long strips of meat from theleg served with a sweetish sauce for dipping – andthe grilled Gulf snapper. More ordinary were theceviche (slightly overmarinated so that the shrimpand scallops were tough) and the trout amandine (itturned out to be freshwater trout rather than seatrout and was too oily for our taste). We were appeased, though, by the excellent salads, the nonpareil french fries and the silk pie of dark, darkchocolate. (703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220 Lunch:Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30;dinner:MonThur5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. MC. V.AE. DC. $$$) 7.5



Pop Bailey’s. When we first entered this NorthwestHighway “catfish restaurant and oyster bar,” we weren’tquite sure what to think. Pop’s art consisted of enlargedantique photographs and brightly colored Chinesekites, and the dining room wasn’t exactly crowded. Butby the time we’d finished our enjoyable appetizer ofpeel-and-eat shrimp (served with gratis fried biscuitsand honey butler), Pop’s was completely full. We knewwhy after savoring our entrees: The fish is fantastic! Boththe char-broiled red snapper and cornmeal-wrappedfried catfish filets were plump, juicy and flavorful Sidedishes and the one dessert offered, oreo cappuccinoice cream pie. are good but not great; when you popover to Pop’s, invest your calories in the catfish instead.(3750 W Northwest Hwy. 350-9748. Mon-Thur 11am-10pm. Fri 11-11. Sat 4:30-11 pm. Sun 4:30-9:30 pm..All credit cards $$) 5.0

Ratcliffe’s. On our latest visit to one of Dallas’ favoriteseafood restaurants, we were daunted by the appe-tizers-a bland assortment of crab, shrimp and oystersand a strange fish mousse covered with a filet ofsmoked salmon and served cold – but the rest of themeal was heavenly. The grilled swordfish couldn’t havebeen sweeter or juicier, and an extravagant dish of filetsof three different kinds of fish sautéed and served overvegetables with a light sauce was succulent. Did we say’heavenly”? Maybe we should have said “astronomical”- prices here rival all but the most expensive Frenchrestaurants. (1901 McKinney. 748-7480 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:dinner:Sun-Thur 5-10. Fri & Sat 5-11. Res-ervations. All credit cards. $$$) 6.5

Rocco Oyster Bar. The white-tiled walls and stark surroundings are a bit too high-tech to remind one of NewOrleans, but the food here is much more characteristicof the Crescent City To start our meal, we indulged insome fresh oysters on the half shell and a cup of hearty,spicy gumbo that ranked with the best we’ve evertasted. Our friendly, efficient waitress suggested thehouse specials (displayed on a blackboard above theserving bar), so we tried that trendy favorite, blackenedredfish. and a steamed Maine lobster. The lobster wasrather tough, but the redfish was a sensation, with aspicy, char-broiled flavor and an incredibly lender texture. From a list of side dishes, we ordered fat homemade fries, chunky coleslaw and fried okra. (2520Cedar Springs. 747-6226. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-10 pm.Sun noon-11 pm. MC. V. AE. $$) 5.5

Rusty Pelican. If Fantasy Island has a seafood

restaurant, it’s probably an outpost of this California-based chain. 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 franchise, as you can tell by the display of iced-down fish that greets you when you enter, but it shouldn’t be confused with other seafood chains that bear similar names This one has an impressive vane. ty of unusual selections In general, the quality is good, but on return visits we have had some disappointments. (14655 Dallas Pkwy. Addison, 980-8950. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner. Mon-Thur 5-11. Fri 5 pm-midnight, Sat 4:30 pm-midnight, Sun 4:30-11 pm. MC,V, AE, DC. $$) 6.0

S&D Oyster Co. This often-crowded haven for landlocked lovers of the bounty of the sea never fails tosatisfy its large and loyal clientele. Everything isprepared perfectly here, from the seafood gumbo(chock-full of oysters) to the broiled redfish and hushpuppies that aren’t too greasy. The beaded board wallsand ceiling and the pictures of 19th-century sailingvessels give the place a wharfside appeal, and the mintleaves in the iced tea are a nice touch. (2701 McKinney.823-6350. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11.Closed Sun. No reservations. MC, V. $$) 5.5



D REVISITS



Seascape Inn. This place has the look and feel ofan upscale restaurant, with valet parking, romanticsurroundings and pricey entrees. It’s too bad thefood doesn’t carry the image through. Our meal,from start to finish, was just a notch short of outstanding-which would be forgivable if the priceshadn’t been so high. One baked oyster we wereserved as an appetizer lacked the oyster and wasmore aptly titled “minced onions on the half shell.”And the scallops provencale were overcooked. Thewhite chocolate cheesecake was the richest, mostmemorable part of the meal. (6306 Greenville. 692-6920. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner: daily 5:30-10. All credit cards. $$$) 5.0



SOUTHEAST ASIAN



Sawatdee. To a newcomer, most of Sawatdee’s disheshave unpronounceable names and unlikely-soundingdescriptions. But a little sampling will usually allay anymisgivings. Thai cuisine has influences from all over andoffers something to please everyone. Appetizers include delicious grilled skewered pork with a spicy peanut sauce and whole shrimp wrapped up in thin noodledough and deep-fried. It’s sometimes hard to tell fromthe menu descriptions just how peppery a dish is goingto be, so consult the waiter. Our shrimp in pepper pastewas quite innocuous-and delicious-but some Thaidishes leave you spouting fire like a real live dragon.(4503 Greenville at Yale. 373-6138. Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2:30; dinner: daily 5-10:30. All credit cards.$$) 6.0



D REVISITS



Thai Lanna. This unassuming place has beentouted as the best Thai restaurant in Dallas. We enjoyed the hospitable welcome and admired the veryextensive menu, but we didn’t think the cooking wasall that good. It might be a question of the quality ofingredients-the various meat dishes we tried hadstrong smells, as though the meat was old. And thespicy beef salad was stringy and overcooked – notat all like the delicately charcoaled version we havehad elsewhere. The delightful idea of eggplantcurry, heavy on the mint leaves, was also compromised by the taste of the pork. (4315 Bryan.827-6478.. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm & 5-10 pm, Sat& Sun 11 am-10 pm. MC, V. $$) 4.0



SOUTHERN



Bubba’s. We continue to come here for the crisp, juicy fried chicken and the sweetish, yeasty rolls (dripping with honey, if you like). But the rest of Bubba’s food is problematical. The selection of vegetables is commendable, but the greens, green beans and pinto beans are all cooked (authentically) with salt pork, and all come out saltier than any sailor’s language. And the mashed potatoes taste like cardboard. Neither the catfish nor the chicken-fried steak can be recommended, either. Still. Bubba’s is prettier than Church’s and offers unbeatable pie. (308 N Bishop. 946-1752. Mon-Fri 11 am-2pm. Nocredit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 6.0



D REVISITS



Dovie’s. With so much that’s new in Addison, it’s areal treat to spend an evening dining in the old andelegant ranch house of soldier/actor Audie Murphy.But frankly, we think Dovie’s charges too much forthe ambiance. The specials of the day. at $15 each,included a tasty tenderloin and a huge slice of char-broiled swordfish. Side orders of sautéed veggieswere fresh but a little bland. In spite of the fact thatfive out of 12 entrées were not available, the servicewas excellent. We still think the onion soup is one ofthe best we’ve had. but the desserts could standmajor improvement. (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. All credit cards $$) 5.5



Highland Park Cafeteria. A trip to the Prestonwood-area location of this old Dallas institution can be a bitdisappointing. Some of the most famous dishes, suchas the unique chopped spinach salad with horseradish,are usually not available, and the fried chicken often failsto come up to the standard of the original Knox-Colelocation. There are still many pleasures, though, suchas the stuffed peppers and the incredible desserts. (Wealways seem to go for the coconut pie or the Germanchocolate cake.) (4611 Cole, 526-3801; Sakowitz Village.. 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. Suite 600, 934-8800. Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm at Cole location; Mon-Sat 11am-8 pm, Sun 10:45 am-3 pm at Sakowitz Village location. No credit cards at Cole; MC, V. AE for takeoutorders only at Sakowitz Village. $) 6.0

The Mecca. Outside, it’s a two-story house with carscrammed into the parking lot. set in the busiest commercial tract of Harry Hines. Inside, it’s a diner of the oldschool, swamped by folks of every sort – from politicosto truckers. Best noted for its whopping breakfasts, theMecca also puts a hearty lunch on the table. Chicken-fried steak is a standby, of course, but there are otherdown-home things such as ham and cabbage. Bravethe crowds and get there early if you want your choiceof vegetables-the greens, carrots and macaroni andcheese go fast. (10422 Harry Hines 352-0051 Mon-Fn5:30 am-3 pm. Sat 5:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun. All creditcards. $) 4.5

The String Bean. Suburban families flock to eat thehome cooking at the String Bean – there’s even a kiddieplayroom so the youngsters wont feel they’ve missedsomething by not going to McDonald’s. The meats include tender barbecued chicken and crisp chickenfingers along with rather stringy pot roast and a goodversion of the ubiquitous chicken-fried steak It may behard to entice kids to eat the accompanying vegetables,since the string beans are highly seasoned with pepper.We can’t recommend the blueberry cobbler we tried,but the chocolate brownie with ice cream was worthfighting over (8846 Spring Valley. Richardson. 783-9947. Mon-Sat 10:30 am-I0pm. Sun 11:30am-3 pm.All credit cards. $) 4.5



STEAKS, BURGERS, ETC.



Boulevard Café. This pioneer in the Jefferson Boulevard renaissance only dimly resembles any place onLower Greenville: There are plants around, but theplace isn’t really trying to be chic. This is urban populismat its most appealing, with diners of every descriptionThey come for the sandwiches (good burgers andgrilled chicken) and thin, honest steaks at reasonableprices The homemade chili (filled with big, raggedchunks of meat, just enough grease and lots of flavor -the real Texas thing) is the best item on the menu Wehope that the service we experienced here was atypical- it was inattentive and extremely spacey. (367 W Jet-lerson. 941-2812. Mon-Thur 11 am- 10 pm. Fri & Sat 11am-midnght. Closed Sun MC. V, DC $) 4.5

pie. (308 N Bishop. 946-1752. Mon-Fri 11 am-2pm. Nocredit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 6.0



D REVISITS



Dovie’s. With so much that’s new in Addison, it’s areal treat to spend an evening dining in the old andelegant ranch house of soldier/actor Audie Murphy.But frankly, we think Dovie’s charges too much forthe ambiance. The specials of the day. at $15 each,included a tasty tenderloin and a huge slice of char-broiled swordfish. Side orders of sautéed veggieswere fresh but a little bland. In spite of the fact thatfive out of 12 entrées were not available, the servicewas excellent. We still think the onion soup is one ofthe best we’ve had. but the desserts could standmajor improvement. (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. All credit cards $$) 5.5



Highland Park Cafeteria. A trip to the Prestonwood-area location of this old Dallas institution can be a bitdisappointing. Some of the most famous dishes, suchas the unique chopped spinach salad with horseradish,are usually not available, and the fried chicken often failsto come up to the standard of the original Knox-Colelocation. There are still many pleasures, though, suchas the stuffed peppers and the incredible desserts. (Wealways seem to go for the coconut pie or the Germanchocolate cake.) (4611 Cole, 526-3801; Sakowitz Village.. 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. Suite 600, 934-8800. Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm at Cole location; Mon-Sat 11am-8 pm, Sun 10:45 am-3 pm at Sakowitz Village location. No credit cards at Cole; MC, V. AE for takeoutorders only at Sakowitz Village. $) 6.0

The Mecca. Outside, it’s a two-story house with carscrammed into the parking lot. set in the busiest commercial tract of Harry Hines. Inside, it’s a diner of the oldschool, swamped by folks of every sort – from politicosto truckers. Best noted for its whopping breakfasts, theMecca also puts a hearty lunch on the table. Chicken-fried steak is a standby, of course, but there are otherdown-home things such as ham and cabbage. Bravethe crowds and get there early if you want your choiceof vegetables-the greens, carrots and macaroni andcheese go fast. (10422 Harry Hines 352-0051 Mon-Fn5:30 am-3 pm. Sat 5:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun. All creditcards. $) 4.5

The String Bean. Suburban families flock to eat thehome cooking at the String Bean – there’s even a kiddieplayroom so the youngsters wont feel they’ve missedsomething by not going to McDonald’s. The meats include tender barbecued chicken and crisp chickenfingers along with rather stringy pot roast and a goodversion of the ubiquitous chicken-fried steak It may behard to entice kids to eat the accompanying vegetables,since the string beans are highly seasoned with pepper.We can’t recommend the blueberry cobbler we tried,but the chocolate brownie with ice cream was worthfighting over (8846 Spring Valley. Richardson. 783-9947. Mon-Sat 10:30 am-I0pm. Sun 11:30am-3 pm.All credit cards. $) 4.5



STEAKS, BURGERS, ETC.



Boulevard Café. This pioneer in the Jefferson Boulevard renaissance only dimly resembles any place onLower Greenville: There are plants around, but theplace isn’t really trying to be chic. This is urban populismat its most appealing, with diners of every descriptionThey come for the sandwiches (good burgers andgrilled chicken) and thin, honest steaks at reasonableprices The homemade chili (filled with big, raggedchunks of meat, just enough grease and lots of flavor -the real Texas thing) is the best item on the menu Wehope that the service we experienced here was atypical- it was inattentive and extremely spacey. (367 W Jet-lerson. 941-2812. Mon-Thur 11 am- 10 pm. Fri & Sat 11am-midnght. Closed Sun MC. V, DC $) 4.5

pie. (308 N Bishop. 946-1752. Mon-Fri 11 am-2pm. Nocredit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 6.0



D REVISITS



Dovie’s. With so much that’s new in Addison, it’s areal treat to spend an evening dining in the old andelegant ranch house of soldier/actor Audie Murphy.But frankly, we think Dovie’s charges too much forthe ambiance. The specials of the day. at $15 each,included a tasty tenderloin and a huge slice of char-broiled swordfish. Side orders of sautéed veggieswere fresh but a little bland. In spite of the fact thatfive out of 12 entrées were not available, the servicewas excellent. We still think the onion soup is one ofthe best we’ve had. but the desserts could standmajor improvement. (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. All credit cards $$) 5.5



Highland Park Cafeteria. A trip to the Prestonwood-area location of this old Dallas institution can be a bitdisappointing. Some of the most famous dishes, suchas the unique chopped spinach salad with horseradish,are usually not available, and the fried chicken often failsto come up to the standard of the original Knox-Colelocation. There are still many pleasures, though, suchas the stuffed peppers and the incredible desserts. (Wealways seem to go for the coconut pie or the Germanchocolate cake.) (4611 Cole, 526-3801; Sakowitz Village.. 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. Suite 600, 934-8800. Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm at Cole location; Mon-Sat 11am-8 pm, Sun 10:45 am-3 pm at Sakowitz Village location. No credit cards at Cole; MC, V. AE for takeoutorders only at Sakowitz Village. $) 6.0

The Mecca. Outside, it’s a two-story house with carscrammed into the parking lot. set in the busiest commercial tract of Harry Hines. Inside, it’s a diner of the oldschool, swamped by folks of every sort – from politicosto truckers. Best noted for its whopping breakfasts, theMecca also puts a hearty lunch on the table. Chicken-fried steak is a standby, of course, but there are otherdown-home things such as ham and cabbage. Bravethe crowds and get there early if you want your choiceof vegetables-the greens, carrots and macaroni andcheese go fast. (10422 Harry Hines 352-0051 Mon-Fn5:30 am-3 pm. Sat 5:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun. All creditcards. $) 4.5

The String Bean. Suburban families flock to eat thehome cooking at the String Bean – there’s even a kiddieplayroom so the youngsters wont feel they’ve missedsomething by not going to McDonald’s. The meats include tender barbecued chicken and crisp chickenfingers along with rather stringy pot roast and a goodversion of the ubiquitous chicken-fried steak It may behard to entice kids to eat the accompanying vegetables,since the string beans are highly seasoned with pepper.We can’t recommend the blueberry cobbler we tried,but the chocolate brownie with ice cream was worthfighting over (8846 Spring Valley. Richardson. 783-9947. Mon-Sat 10:30 am-I0pm. Sun 11:30am-3 pm.All credit cards. $) 4.5



STEAKS, BURGERS, ETC.



Boulevard Café. This pioneer in the Jefferson Boulevard renaissance only dimly resembles any place onLower Greenville: There are plants around, but theplace isn’t really trying to be chic. This is urban populismat its most appealing, with diners of every descriptionThey come for the sandwiches (good burgers andgrilled chicken) and thin, honest steaks at reasonableprices The homemade chili (filled with big, raggedchunks of meat, just enough grease and lots of flavor -the real Texas thing) is the best item on the menu Wehope that the service we experienced here was atypical- it was inattentive and extremely spacey. (367 W Jet-lerson. 941-2812. Mon-Thur 11 am- 10 pm. Fri & Sat 11am-midnght. Closed Sun MC. V, DC $) 4.5

Chuggs. Chuggs has opened a back room and put upa mural, but it’s still the same lovable place we discovered last year. The Chicago-style sandwiches aresomething special: Vienna hot dogs, huge hamburgers,definitive Reubens. There are even gyro sandwiches forthose who are in the mood for something a bit more exotic. The revolving glass case full of homemade desserts holds some real treasures. (730 W Centerville, Garland. 686-1500. Mon-Thur 11am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11-11,Sun 11 am-5 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. $) 6.5

Kirby’s. It’s not exactly the Ritz, but Dallas’ oldeststeakhouse is comfortable and has a homey charm.Your steak won’t be the best you’ve ever tasted, but itmay be the best cheap steak you’ve ever had. The dinner salads are large and tasty, and the baked potatoesare better than average. We also like the service: Thewaitress may remind you of your mother, and she’sliable to call you “honey.” Don’t take a magazine to readwith dinner, though – the lighting is extremely low-level.(3715 Greenville. 823-7296. Sun & Tue-Thur 5:30-10pm, Fri & Sat 5:30-11 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards.$$) 5.0

Lawry’s. There’s something reassuring about Lawry’sunabashed adulation of thick, juicy red meat. Here’s anestablishment that has refused to succumb to thenouvelle bent, and the result is solid, satisfying fare: topcuts of prime rib cooked the way you like them, a choiceof potatoes (we liked the oven-roasted version best),thick slices of hot sourdough bread and a wine list that’sappropriately strong on full-bodied reds. We like the OldWorld look of the neoclassical facade and the clubbyfeeling of the bar and dining rooms. It seems 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. All credit cards. $$$) 5.5

The Palm. Our first visit to the Palm was a bit disappointing, in view of the expectations raised by a $72 lobster-or, for that matter, a $20 steak. Now we knowwhat to order (filet mignon) and how much (one steakfor two people). As a friend observed about the Palm’spolicy on splitting orders, “Sometimes you have to staredown the waiter, but they’ll do it.” We also sampled thepork chops, which were flavorful and moist. Side dishesare superb: light, crisp onion rings, bountiful salads andreal New York cheesecake. And the rowdy ebullienceon a Friday night is a true tonic at the week’s end. (701Ross. 698-0470. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri11.30am-11 pm, Sat5-11 pm, Sun 5-9:30 pm.AII creditcards. $$$$) 6.0

Purdy’s. The format is familiar: big burgers, hot dogsand steak sandwiches ordered at a window, thendressed by the diner at a great big “fixin’s” bar. Thesandwiches are of high quality (although the meat in thesteak sandwiches could be more tender), and thehomemade buns are grilled. The bakery has othergoodies, too-we were impressed by the brownies andchocolate chip cookies. (The Quorum, 4812 Belt Line.960-2494. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sunnoon-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $) 4.5

D REVISITS



D Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. Reward foodwith a vengeance is what you get here: thebiggest, tastiest steaks imaginable. We leantoward the rib-eye, which is anything but lean. It isrich, marbled and sinful, and we never even takehome a doggie bag. The sirloin is also of superbUSDA Prime quality, perfectly cooked in its butterand parsley sauce. If you don’t want to break thebank, forego appetizers and desserts-your bill willbe big enough just paying for the beef. (6940Greenville. 691-6940. Mon-Fri 11:30-11:30, Sat &Sun 5-11:30 pm. All credit cards. $$$) 7.5

Snuffer’s. This small, casual restaurant next to the Granada Theater is one of those rare places where you feel at home immediately. Snuffer’s has a limited but somewhat varied menu (burgers, chip-and-dip combinations, salads-even peel-and-eat shrimp). Everything we tried was wonderful. We started with fresh, hot tostadas and perfectly flavored guacamole. Then we tried the justifiably famous burger-medium-rare beef on a bun with all the best trimmings-and a tasty chicken sandwich. The accompanying fries, served in a big basket with a generous shake of seasoned salt, were crunchy and hot. (3526 Greenville. 826-6850. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun noon-2 am. All credit cards. $) 5.5



LAS COLINAS/MID CITIES



The Café. The Cafe may be the Metroplex’s great American restaurant – if the term “American” means the food that people around here have eaten for ages. The large dining area is lined with charcoal-gray booths and lit by pink neon, memorabilia such as old-fashioned Coca-Cola ice chests are scattered around, and the food consists of old-fashioned favorites that are often given a modern twist. Nobody fries foods any better than the Cafe does. There are appetizers of fried mushrooms, zucchini and dill pickle slices, a heavenly chicken-fried rib-eye and even fried strawberries for dessert. For other appetites, there is an excellent vegetable soup, as well as shish kebab and brownies. Beer drinkers can choose from more than 80 brands of brew. (715A Ryan Plaza Dr, Arlington. Metro 261-1000. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-midmght. Sun11-11. MC.V.AE.$$) 6.5

Café Cipriani. Café Cipriani, across the street from theMandalay Four Seasons Hotel in Las Colinas, is thesleekest of the Lombardi restaurants to date and offersthe most interesting menu. The food is an intriguing mixture of cucina nuova (the Italian answer to nouvellecuisine) and a more internationalized. Italian/ continentalstyle. The artichoke appetizer offers beautifully cookedand trimmed fresh artichokes, and the duck salad hasmeaty slices of duck over lettuce. Pasta offerings aremore traditional; we’re crazy about the very delicateImguini carbonara and the standard Lombardi specialtyof crab cannelloni. The main courses at Cafe Ciprianitend to be heavily sauced and lush. (220 E Las ColinasBlvd. Irving. 869-0713. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner:Mon-Thur 5:30-1030, Fri & Sal 5:30-11. Closed Sun Allcredit cards. $$$) 7.0

China Terrace. With its rosewood antiques and assortment of fine Oriental ornaments, China Terrace creates the perfect atmosphere to enjoy fine Chinese dining. And from the egg rolls to the fortune cookies, that’s exactly what we did. The foil-wrapped barbecue ribs found on the hot hors d’oeuvres platter only whetted our appetites for what was to follow. We savored the beef with broccoli and indulged in prawns so artfully arranged on our plates that it seemed a shame to devour everything so quickly. Our waiter never let our teacups run dry or our supply of rice dwindle. (5435 N MacAr-thur, Irving. 258-1113. Mon- Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11. Sat5-11 pm, Sun 5-10pm, MC. V, AE. $$) 6.0

D EnJolle. The new chef has instituted an alternative menu that’s low in calories but still delicious. We tried the Bourbon Shrimp, the tomato and mushroom salad and the Dover sole (rolled up into pinwheels with salmon mousse and spinach) and found it hard to believe that a meal so deliciouscould be good for us. The richer dishes were fine, too:lobster cooked with cabbage, rabbit in two mustardsauces and desserts like the Praline Parfait and the LeSucces (a meringue and butter cream cake). (MandalayFour Seasons Hotel, 221 S Las Colinas Blvd. Irving.556-0800, ext. 3155. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Reservations recommended. All credit cards. $$$$) 9.0

La Dell. The bountiful assortment of appetizers at thisLebanese restaurant includes some old favorites suchas humus tahini (a dip made from chickpeas) and babaganout(a dip made from eggplant), but they don’t havethe piquant flavor we recall from the owner’s previousplace, Khalil’s Beirut. The broiled shrimp taste mostly ofpepper, the lamb shish kebabs are undistinguished,and the sampler platter contains run-of-the-mill stuffedcabbage and grape leaves and overcooked falafel(chickpea patties). The most successful entree isperhaps the kibbie nayeh-tartar– raw beef and bulgurwheat ground together and served cold. Service can bedisorganized. (5433 N MacArthur. Las Colinas. 258-1163. Mon 11 am-6pm, Tue-Thur 11 am-10pm. Fri&Sat 11-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. $$) 5.0

Los Canarios. Friday and Saturday nights are special nights here, since that’s when the house offers its seafood specialties: shrimp enchiladas, crab-meat flautas and chimichangas. At first, we suspected the regular menu of being typically Tex-Mex. But soon we saw that the usual chili and melted-cheese toppings were absent; instead, the kitchen prefers a green mole sauce (a delicate sauce of green tomatoes). Another diversion is the ceviche that’s available Thursday through Saturday nights. The strip-shopping-center locale of this restaurant makes it a hard place to find, but scores of Mid-Cities dwellers make it a regular weekly stop. (Hwy 10 at Raider Dr. Euless. (817) 283-4691.Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner: Mon-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat5-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards $$) 4.5

Milano’s. Judging from the wooden exterior and blueawnings of this Collins Boulevard stop, we didn’t expectto find such a lavish dining room and menu. The dimlylit. paneled dining room, with its intimate booths anddeep cushions, spells romance. This Italian restaurantis a place for lovers – if they have hearty appetites. Theexpansive menu offers several attractive selections inthe veal, seafood, beef, chicken and pasta categories.We heartily recommend the veal scampi, a dish thatweds huge Gulf shrimp with delicate medallions of vealMarsala. The fettuccine was better than any we’vetasted in a long time, and the appetizer of crab claws indrawn butter was scrumptious. (815 N Collins. Arlington. (817)261-2216 Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2. dinner:Sun-Fri 5:30-10:30. Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. Reservationsrecommended All credit cards. $$$) 6.0



FORT WORTH



Angelo’s. Is Fort Worth’s most famous barbecue jointslipping, or did we just have some bad luck on our lastvisit? The huge portion of ribs was as satisfying as ever,and the side dishes, such as potato salad and slaw,were far above average But the thickly sliced brisketwas so dried-out that the tangy sauce could hardlyredeem it. Angelo’s mystique can’t survive many disappointments in the quality of the beef. (2533 White Set-tlement Rd. (817) 332-0357. Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm.Closed Sun. No credit cards $) 6.0

Benrto’s. This funky place on the near South Side offers real Mexican dishes rather than Tex-Mex. A wait of only a few minutes will produce an appetizer of sopes. a cousin of the chalupa with a thicker base of cornmealdough. Fajitas come with grilled scallions in true Mexican fashion, but they can be a bit tough. Part of the funhere is the homey atmosphere and the courtly service.(1450 W Magnolia. (817)332-8633. Sun-Thur 10-10, Fri& Sat 10 am-3 am. No credit cards. $) 6.0



D REVISITS



Calhoun Street Oyster Co. The decor and themenu at this place are borrowed from New Orleans,but the service we encountered during a recent visithad an inviting Texas flair. The veggies with dip keptus busy until the main course-lobster tails-arrived. The oysters were so good you could easilymake a full meal out of them, and the waiter whocustomizes the sauce at your table knows how toplease customer’s palates. The night we visited, theamaretto cheesecake was made more tasty by theaddition of chocolate swirls. If you’re not set on oysters – the house specialty – choose from the selections on the blackboard, where fresh seafood itemsvary daily. (210 E Eighth at Calhoun. (817) 332-5932. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11 -11, Sun5-9:30 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 5.0



Cattlemen’s Steak House. The only frills you’ll find atCattlemen’s are on the waitresses’ imitation chiffonaprons. Extras like bacon, cheese and lemons costmore. Our salad was strictly a plain iceberg-lettuce version, and the brown bread was stale. But customersdon’t come to this historic restaurant for the frills. Theycome for the steak, which compensates for any flawsleading up to the main course. The filet mignon wascooked as ordered and was tender and juicy; the ribs,accented with a spicy barbecue sauce, were equallygood. Cattlemen’s is the only place we know where thewaitress fluffs your baked potato and fusses over customers with motherly sincerity. Even the cheesecake,which seems totally out of place in this rustic setting, wassmooth and creamy. (2458 N Main. (817) 624-3945.Mon-Fri 11 am-10:30pm, Sat4:30-10:30pm, Sun4-10pm. MC, V. AE. DC. $$) 6.0

Crystal Cactus. From salad to dessert, the food waseven better this time around than on our last visit. Theappetizer of salmon wrapped around ratatouille sparkled, and so did our veal Diane, with a sauce that wasboth piquant and delicate. The atmosphere, which isthe epitome of highbrow Texas chic, is relaxed – maybetoo relaxed, given the extreme levels of noise that tablesclose to the bar area have to suffer. The service wasn’tquite as elaborate as we remembered it, but we werestill amused by the after-dinner bonbons that arrived ona tray over a container of smoking dry ice. (Hyatt Regency Hotel. 815 Main. (817) 870-1234. Lunch: Mon-Fri11-2; dinner: Mon-Sat 6-11, Sun brunch: 10:30-2. Allcredit cards. $$$) 7.0

D Hedary’s. Some things at Hedary’s were betterthan ever on our last visit, including the serviceby the members of the Lebanese-Americanfamily that owns the place. The assortment of appetizerswas nothing short of spectacular, with definitive eggplant and chickpea dips, falafel, vegetables and salads.And the baklava and other desserts were light, delicateand delicious. We confess to some disappointment withour main dishes, though. Our skewered lamb wastough, and our frarej (chicken broiled in olive oil) didn’ttaste as boldly of garlic as we remembered. (3308 Fair-field at Camp Bowie. (817)731 -6961. Tue- Thur & Sun5-10 pm. Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. Closed Mon. No reservations. All credit cards. $$) 7.5

Le Cafe Bowie. This Fort Worth favorite, which is nowbeginning to show its age a bit, maintains a high quality in the evenings by keeping things simple. Everyonegets soup and salad as starters, and the entrees aremostly variations on beef tenderloin and veal scallops.Sauces lean toward rich hollandaise and béarnaisesauces. If Le Cafe Bowie is seldom exciting, it is mostlydependable. (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; personalchecks accepted. $$$) 6.0

D Michel. In a stately old house that’s been nicely redecorated, the owner/chef offers a fixed-price dinner with five courses and exudes his own personal charm (he makes it a point to visit each table during the evening). It takes a photographic memory to recall all the dishes the waiter describes. We settled on sweetbreads and red snapper, and both were done to a turn. The sorbet of raspberries and the very French salad were executed with panache, but we were surprised that the highly touted chocolate-Grand Marnier dessert was flavorless. (3851 Camp Bowie. (817) 732-1231. Tue-Thur 6-10pm, Fri & Sat seatings at 6&9 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations required. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. $$$$) 7.5

Reflections. Tall columns shaped like lotuses grow out of the tiny reflecting pool that flows through the center of this sophisticated hotel restaurant. The food invites meditation, too: We found the lobster bisque and the lamb served with lamb sausage especially worthy. But the shrimp grilled on a skewer was too sweet for our taste, and the Black Forest cake lacked distinction. (200 Main. (817) 870-9894. Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30 pm, Sat 6:30-11 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. DC. $$$) 7.0

Ristorante Lombard!. The cobblestone, brick andwrought-iron entryway, subdued lighting, fragrantaromas and bustling waiters and busboys all combineto make this among the most romantic spots for dinnerin Fort Worth. One detraction, though, is that the tablesare very close together. The appetizer of fried calamari,mozzarella and shrimp let us enjoy several of the appetizer offerings in moderation, which happily left usroom to try the frequent special of steamed clams,plump and rich with herbs. Lombardi’s offers severalseafood selections, and the seafood brochette (withshrimp and scallops) included ample portions of two ofthem. The veal piccata. served in a light wine sauce,didn’t overwhelm our senses with citrus. (SundanceSquare, 300 Main. (817) 877-1729. Lunch: Mon-Fri11:30-2: dinner: Mon-Sat 5:30-10:30. Closed Sun.Reservations. All credit cards. $$$) 7.0

Szechuan. We wish we could find another Chineserestaurant in the Fort Worth area that can match thisplace. What Szechuan lacks in atmosphere, it morethan makes up for in heaping portions and helpful,good-natured service. On every visit, our waiter hasspent time with us, going over the menu’s best selections and steering us clear of those that may be too hotand spicy for timid palates. Our recommendations arethe house specialties. The house beef arrives garnishedwith fresh, crisp broccoli and Chinese mushrooms, andthe house pork is a consistent winner, with a mild garlicsauce complementing the shredded meat. Pass on theexotic drinks, but try the deep-fried green beans in thepupu tray. (5712 Locke off Camp Bowie. (817)738-7300. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30am-11 pm, Sun 5-10 pm. MC, V, AE. $$) 6.0

Tours. Inside, this doesn’t look like the storefrontrestaurant it is: Tours is small, but it’s very sophisticated-looking. The menu is sophisticated, too, but on our mostrecent visit, the food didn’t quite come up to the level wehad experienced previously. The seafood gumbo wasreally not a soup-the shellfish were sauced with a bitof okra and a lot of spicy tomato. The chicken with winevinegar and garlic proved to be an interesting versionof a nouvelle classic. The desserts-boule de neige andlime mousse- were interesting but unexciting. (3429B W Seventh St. (817)870-1672. Lunch: Tue-Fri 11:30-2,dinner: Tue-Sat 6-10. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations recommended. MC, V, AE. $$$) 6.5

Tuscany. The exterior of Tuscany is not very inviting,but what the restaurant lacks in atmosphere it makes upfor in food and service. The fish soup was served in acrock brimming with scallops, shrimp and pasta. Lessadventuresome types can’t miss with the classic vealparmigiana, served with a side dish of pasta; the vealwas tender and smothered in sauce and mozzarella.For dessert, we love the Italian pastries; they’re so sweetand rich, they’re worth skipping a week’s worth of mealsfor. (4255 Camp Bowie. (817) 737-2971. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri &Sat5:30-11. Sun5-10. All credit cards. $$) 6.0

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