EATING AROUND CELEBRITY CAJUN COMES TO TOWN

Also: Theresas Semiramis Bar & Grill, Bodine’s

Patout’s



★★★ Alex Patout is one of the two big-name celebrity chefs to have come out of the Cajun renaissance in Louisiana. Unlike his peer Paul Prudhomme- who invented his own personal urban Cajun cuisine headlined by the original blackened red-fish-Patout keeps his roots in real Southern Louisiana country cooking. He has been profiled in Esquire as one of the leading Americans under forty, and he has opened restaurants bearing his name in his native New Iberia, New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Los Angeles-and now Dallas.

In its unpretentious digs in a former Oyster’s location, the Dallas Patout’s serves some remarkable cooking. . .alongside some pretty ordinary stuff. The spicy, earthy chicken and sausage gumbo is a marvel, and the Cajun smothered duck with oyster dressing is glazed to a crisp and succulent perfection. There are admirable versions of standard Louisiana dishes like shrimp rémoulade and boudin (a livery-tasting rice sausage). At its best, this sophisticated country fere is unbeatable, even down to the homey vegetables like creamed fresh corn and candied mashed sweet potatoes.

But in its early weeks, at least, Patout’s kitchen turned out its share of disappointments, too. The cochon de lait-roast young pig-was stringy, the fried shrimp (one of the few non-spicy dishes we could find here) came in a tasteless batter, the Cajun eggplant dressing, served in a boat made from a fried eggplant skin, was unbalanced and harsh in flavor. Several dishes came out underseasoned and lukewarm. If some of these problems resolve themselves over time, Patout’s could become one of Dallas’s most exciting restaurants. On the other hand. Pa-tout’s could lose some of the spark it already has once its celebrity owner turns his attention to projects elsewhere. We’ll keep our eyes peeled to see how this place develops. 5600 W. Lovers Lane. 956-9077. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner Mon-Fri 4-10; open Sat 11 am-11 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate to expensive.

-Lawson Taitte

Theresa’s Semiramis Bar I Grill

★★ Handsomely decked out in an Egyptian motif at the southwest corner of the West End Historical District, Theresa’s Semiramis Grill is the first American venue to offer what is now a hot item in Europe, food cooked on top of a “Semiramis stone.” The stone is a thick piece of very fine granite about ten inches square, and it is delivered to the table very hot indeed-hot enough to cook the various combinations of meats and vegetables that are offered with it. No fats are used, and the beef, chicken, fish, or shrimp cooked on the stone will surely stick to it if you don’t liberally salt the stone first. The vegetables-including eggplant and snowpeas and peppers-are offered in variety and abundance.

The big question is to whom this new enterprise by Theresa Alexander (who tried to hook Dallas on tasty fast food at her Rich Chicks, but failed) will appeal. Food cooked without a lot of fat is good for you, especially when it includes all those vegetables, but it doesn’t taste particularly exciting (an added problem: our salmon and tuna were no longer at the peak of freshness). The shrimp we sampled, however, were yummy in their accompanying tarragon butter, though hard ly any longer fat-free. It all reminded us too much of Benihana without the floor show of the chefs who wield big knives with which they pop shrimp onto your plates. The ap petizers are mostly vegetarian, too-more grilled vegetables on the Antipasta “Fan tasia,” plus a tasty red bell pepper mousse. There are pastas of the day that can also be ordered as appetizers-we liked the shell pasta with sausage, though it probably didn’t warrant the $6.75 charge. And there are tempting desserts like Godiva Chooolate pie and Kahlua Mocha cake-but once again, if you venture into these, the low-cal attraction of this place quickly vanishes. 601 Pacific at Record, West End. 741-7778. Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight, Fri II am-2 am, Sat 4 pm-2 am, Sun 11 am-4 pm. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive. -L. T.



Iodine’s



★★★ Talk about moving in with little fanfare. Weeks before Bodine’s grand opening, we wandered into what had long been Andrews, hungry for the famous artichoke nibbles. Only when we were seated and given menus did we realize we had come to a new Cajun restaurant. At this point, welcoming a new Louisiana-inspired eatery to Dallas is like squeezing another runner into the New York marathon, but subsequent visits to Bodine’s have convinced us that a worthy competitor has joined the field.

On one visit, our appetizers were definitely a mixed bag. Oysters Brochette arrived as a perfect marriage of shellfish and bacon, quite nicely fried. But red fish beignets were insignificant little striplets, almost tasteless, and the shrimp and oyster fondue, which came without a burner to keep it warm, suffered a predictable fate: it grew cold and stringy before its time.

We followed up with a nice chicken and noodle soup-not very Cajunish, but replete with thick chunks of fowl-and an adequate green salad with a feta and oil topping. Then came the entrées, which made up for previous sins. Redfish Bodine turned out to be a hefty slab of blackened fish, juicy and redolent with Arcadian seasonings and partnered with mounds of fluffy, flavorful rice, The zucchini was slightly bland, but that was a welcome counterpoint to the often fiery seasonings on the fish. Shrimp etoufée drew a more mixed response at our table: one diner thought the sauce was disappointingly like gravy, while two others vowed to return on the first freezing day for more of this warming, satisfying fare. On a later visit, we were even more delighted by red-fish Pontchartrain, which comes loaded down with shrimp and crab in a nice Madeira sauce.

In the realm of smaller matters, the decor at Bodine’s is fine if you liked Andrew’s very distinctive brick-and-beam look. The new owners have added a few tacky touches (playing cards and other gaming paraphernalia) to the walls in an effort to smuggle in some of that raunchy New Orleans ambience, but that’s about it. On both visits, we found ourselves concerned with a more basic human need: water, the wet stuff you need lots of when you tackle this restaurant’s spicy specialties. To the staff: remember, we’re the ones with the steam rising from our ears. 7557 Greenville Ave. 373-3305. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-3 pm; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

RESTAURANTS



AMERICAN



Baby Routh ★★★★★ I hear a lot of criticism of Baby Routh, but my last meal at Routh Street Cafe’s infant sibling was innovative, satisfying, and beyond reproach: oysters on the half shell with Southwestern mignonette: Caesar salad with cumin and cayenne-garlic croutons; quail with chipotles, wild rice-pecan salad, and mango-serrano dressing; and the hall-of-fame banana split with fresh berries and macadamia nuts. Thal Just leaves one question: what is it about Southwestern cuisine that requires every dish to be hyphenated? 2708 Routh. 871-2345. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6-11; late-night menu Thur-Sat 11 pm-1 am; brunch Sun 11:30-3. Al! credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Beau Nash ★★★★★ A. the months have gone by. Beau Nash has come into its own identity, and its virtues seem more and more apparent. For one thing, it keeps late hours-at least by Dallas standards-and does so every night. For another, it’s a lively, entertaining hangout. And last but not least, the menu has been astutely adjusted, although not completely overhauled. Happily, the smoked salmon pizza-the perfect partner to champagne-survived. Hotel Crescent Court, 400 Crescent Court, Maple at McKinnev. 871-3240. Breakfast Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30, Sat A Sun 7-10:30; lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6:30 pm-ll:30 pm; Sun brunch 11-2:15. All credit cards. Expensive.

City Cafe ★★★★★ City Cafe’s innovative yet reassuringly homey menu (which changes every Wednesday) continues to be one of the best in town in terms of quality-to-price ratio. A recent dinner was nearly flawless: the mixed garden salad; jambalaya with ham, oysters, shrimp, and andouille sausage; chocolate quiche with shortbread crust; and crème br?lée with a coconut cookie crust were all they should have been. 5757 W Lovers Lane (just west of Dallas N Tollway). 351-2233. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun- MC, V, AE Moderate.



D REVISITS



Crockett’s ★★★★ Small plate devotees have discovered a creative way to sample a variety of dishes. We tried a curry-chicken ravioli thai was excellent, a ginger-cumin-duck pasta plate that missed, and fabulous crab cakes. The wine list recognizes the taste of their customers, though it is too expensive by the glass. Crockett’s is the most uoderrated hotel restaurant in Dallas. 5410 LBJ Freeway. Lincoln Hotel. 934-8400. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2:30 pm;dinnerMon-Thur 6-10 pm. Fri & Sat 6-11 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

The Mansion on Turtle Creek ★★★★★ What never seems to change at the Mansion is its historic beauty and top-of-the-line service. What does change is the menu. Now it’s printed daily, the better to accommodate changing offerings according to season-and the creative inspiration of Dean Fearing. Regulars tend to opt for whatever appears on any given day; diners for whom the Mansion is a relatively rare experience may prefer to sample such classics as the peerless tortilla soup; Louisiana crab cakes with a sauce of smoked chilies, lobster, and blood orange; and crème br?lée with raspberry sauce for dessert. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Main dining room-jackets and ties required. 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-midnight. Fri & Sat 11 pm-mtdnight. Promenade Room-breakfast daily 7 am-11 am: tea Mon-Fri 2-5 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

McKinney & Knox ★★★ This geographically named restaurant has improved since its opening. Though the menu still attempts too many things to do them all well, portions are huge, prices are reasonable, and there are plenty of good choices here: the house salad (with jicama. mushrooms, red pepper slices, and grated cheese), onion rings, and FOB (fall off the bone) pork ribs. Outside, an old mesquite tree presides over the forty-five a! fresco seats. 4544 McKinney. 522-4340. Sun-Thur 11-11. Fri A Sat 11 am-midnight. MC, V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



D REVISITS



Pyramid Room ★★★★ With the rapid growth of fine American restaurants in Dallas, this old standby ceased to be top-of-mind. But don’t forget the Pyramid Room. Under new chef Avner Samuel, the place is no longer erratic, and some of the best dishes are the plainest ones. Salads are excellent , the pasta fresh and homemade (served with elephant garlic, which was quite interesting and milder than the name suggests), the chicken items (one served with angel-hair pasta and a hot chicken salad) imaginative and ample, and the service gracious and efficient. 1717 N Akard. Fairmont Hotel, 720-5249. Lunch Mon-Fri I!:30-2; dinner Sat &. Sun 6-11. AU credit cards. Expensive.

Roscoe’s Easy Way ★ When the Easy Way moved from Lovers Lane to Lemmon Avenue, the faithful were worried. There was no need for consternation. Though the setting is now sticker, the rule of ordering still applies: stick to the barbecue and you’ll be happy. 5420 Lemmon. 528-8459. Open 24 hours daily. AU credit cards. Inexpensive.

Routh Street Cate ★★★★★ Routh Street Cafe’s formula for national gastronomic fame: Stephan Pyles’s New Southwestern Cuisine; a sleek, Tonny Foy-designed setting; and snappy, congenial service. The five-course, fixed-price menu ($42, with surcharges for certain items) is printed daily, but certain items-such as commeal catfish with smoked peppermint marigold sauce, lobster enchilada with red pepper crème fra?che, lamb with pecan and garlic sauce, berry buckle with cinnamon ice cream, and apple-walnut spice cake-have become near-fixtures. 3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Tue-Sat 6-10:30pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. Expensive.

San Simson ★★★★★ Richard Chamberlain’s food matches the splendor of San Simeon’s service and its subtly, weirdly wonderful, post-modern Egyptian interior. (Keep your eye on the lighting ; it changes over the course of a meal.) Pick hits include a chowder of corn, wild rice, and duck sausage; chilled bow-tie pasta and prosciutto with sage walnut pesto; and Romano-crusted veal with angel-hair pasta and tomato sauce. 2515 McKinney at Fairmount in Chateau Plaza. 871-7373. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 6-10:30. Fri & Sat 6-11; Sun brunch 11-2:30. All credit cards. Expensive.



BAKERIES



La Madeleine ★★★★ The best croissants in town are a draw for breakfast all year round, but as the weather gets cooler, lunch and dinner at La Madeleine look more and more appealing. That’s because of the soul-warming vegetable soups that only the French can produce. Follow your potage with a sandwich, and chances are that you won’t be able to do justice to dessert, so perhaps a soup-accompanying salad is a better idea. 3072 Mockingbird, 696-6960; 3906Lemmon, 521-0182. Daily 7am-9 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

Massimo Da Milano ★★★★ If there’s a bad item available at this attractive Italian bakery/cafe”, I’ve yet to discover it despite exhaustive research. Although the changing pizza, pasta, and salad offerings are always alluring, more often than not I find myself opting for the focaccia sandwich, round flat bread filled with ham, cheese, leaf lettuce, and tomato slices. For dessert, there are any number of pastries to choose from, but nothing suits a cup of espresso better than the little amaretti cookies. These days. service for the cafeteria-sty le service line ranges from disorganized to efficient, which is an improvement over days past, when disjointed to chaotic were the applicable adjectives. 5519 W Lovers Lane. 351-1426 Mon-Thur9am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 9 am-11 pm, Sun 9-9. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.



BARBECUE



Anderson’s ★★ Decorated in the finest Western /schlock tradition. Anderson’s is what food in Texas used to be all about: plenty of choices of smoked meat, with a few token vegetables provided to ward off scurvy. The ’cue-especially the ribs-is as it should be, and the butter beans and baked potatoes are a credit to their genre. 5410 Harry Hines Blvd. 630-0735. Mon-Fri 11 am-7:45 pm, Sat 11 am-2:45 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

Ribby’s ★ This new, neon, drive-through barbecue shack has two, count ’em, two tables on the premises. First-timers will want the rib sampler, with small portions of three kinds; marinated, beef, and original. The cole slaw is exceptional, the beans and bread are not. 6515 Northwest Hwy 361-5555. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Sonny Bryan’s ★★★★ Accompanied by the last two Sonny Bryan ’s virgins in town, I headed for Sonny’s on a cool day-pointing out that the wood smoke and patrons eating from the hoods of their vehicles are essential elements of the experience. Reviewing ethics compelled us to order different things, but the wisdom of sticking to the awe-inspiring sliced beef sandwich was reconfirmed by the scorched ribs, rubbery sliced ham. and no-hum beans. However, that sandwich alone is sufficient to earn Sonny’s its stars. 2202 Inwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 10 am-5 pm, Sat 10 am-3 pm, Sun II am-2 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.



BURGERS



Deno’s Deluxe Diner ★ There’s nothing particularly diner-like about Deno’s, but the hefty burger is worthwhile anyway. Ditto for the chicken sandwich and fries. 2831 Greenville. 828-4688. Sun, Mon II am-10 pm; Tue-Thur -11; Fri & Sal II am-midnight. MC. V Inexpensive.

Snuffer’s ★★★ Some days nothing but a burger and fries will do, and on those days, very often nothing but Snuffer’s will do. The burgers are fat but not absurdly so, cooked perfectly to order, and the fries are crusty wonders (one order provides enough for three or four people). The only problem with this program is this: Snuffer’s is so darned popular that waiting for a table and/or your order to arrive can be frustrating. 3526 Greenville. 826-6850. Mon-Sat II am-2 am, Sun 11:30 am-2 am. AU credit cards. Inexpensive.



CAJUN



Atchafalaya River Cafe ★★Although the rest of the country has by and large lost interest in Cajun food, the craze just keeps picking up steam in Dallas. The most recent evidence: Houston’s Atchafalaya River Cafe has taken over what used to be Joe T. Garcia’s space on Belt Line. The food is uneven here, but shrimp rémoulade for an appetizer and beignets and cafe au lait for dessert are worth a visit, 4440 Belt Une at Midway. 960-6878. Sun-Thur 11-11 Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. MC, V. AE. Moderate.



D REVISITS



Pontchartrain ★★★ You own a bunch of acclaimed restaurants in Houston, but the economy goes sour; then your partner says he wants to do Cajun; then your wire says the humidity is driving her crazy, and if you don’t move her to Dallas she’ll volunteer you to write speeches for Joe Biden. This is the foundation of Pontchartrain, the new North Dallas Cajun restaurant. Everything is fresh and homemade. There are two kinds of gumbo, and we liked the delicate flavor of the fillet gumbo better than the traditional heavier stock. The broiled stuffed snapper, halibut, and shrimp are specialties, though the fried entries were just as good. We’re getting tired of blackened -everything Cajun. but the subtle and tasty preparations here, though heavy, were refreshing. The targe dining area is noisy; the crowd casual and as enthusiastic as the service. 13444 N Preston Rood. 385-1522. Sun-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri&Sai 11-11. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



CHINESE



D REVISITS



August Moon ★★★★ Despite the tact that Dallas is overrun with Chinese restaurants, few manage to pull off the triple whammy : elegant and restful surroundings, first-rate food, and thoughtful extras like a “’Bao Bao Menu” for the under-ten set complete with an entertaining maze to “Help Wang find his way around the Great Wall.” Our most recent foray was to August Moon’s Piano location, where we began with a flawless pupu tray offering greaseless fried shrimp and wonton, and an excellent beef sate, among other things. Spicy dishes like shredded beef Szechwan are a better bet than their blander brethren (lemon chicken being an exception) if you can take the heat, but rarely does a dish disappoint. 15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. N 2300 N Central Expwy. 881-0071. N Sun-Thur II am-10:30pm. Fri & Sat ]II-Il at Preston location. Sun-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sal 11-11 at Central location- MC. V, AE. Moderate.

Dynasty ★★★★ This relatively formal Chinese restaurant, despite its unlikely location adjacent to a motel, is among the best in the area-admittedly, a backhanded compliment given Dallas’s dearth of truly great Chinese food. On a recent visit, decent shrimp rolls and spring rolls were followed by indecently good rainbow chicken (julienned chicken, snow peas, red pepper, and Mung bean sprouts) and the equally praiseworthy, if oddly named, silver gourd savoury (shrimp, green peppers, straw mushrooms, and water chestnuts). Orange beef was too tatty, as it tends to be in Chinese restaurants all over town, Garden Inn, 4101 Bell Une, Addison. 385-7888 Sun-Thur ll:30am-10:30pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11:30 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Henry Chen’s ★★★★ This new Chinese restaurant is one of the best-looking Chinese restaurants Dallas has seen. Of course, pretty is as pretty does, and Henry Chen’s acquits itself honorably on that front: the food, to judge from orange beef and chicken with snow peas, is significantly above average, if not quite as noteworthy as the decor. 3701 W North-west Hwy, Suite 180. 956-9560. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. Moderate.

Hong Kong Royale ★★★ Being the only non-Orientals in the room makes Chinese food fans of Western descent very happy. This was the case when I forced a friend to accompany me to the wilds of Richardson in search of great Chinese. The dim sum that we had heard enthusiastic reports on wasn’t available, so the jury’s still out on whether this restaurant is the answer to the prayers of exiled New Yorkers who search the Metroplex for the Chinese food they remember. However, a standard lunch of chicken with almonds and shredded pork with garlic sauce was very satisfying. What’s more, the pastel-hued decor at Hong Kong Royale is unusually pretty. Plainly, this place warrants further exploration. 221 W Post. Richardson. 238-8888. Mon-Fri 11-11, Sat & Sun 10 am-11 pm. A11 credit cards. Inexpensive.

May Dragon ★★★★ The food and service are as distinctive-and as commendable-as the post-modern decor at this Addison entry in the local Chinese restaurant sweepstakes. I’ve tried a raft of food at May Dragon-from steamed dumplings to the whimsically named Penguin’s Double Happiness, which involves shrimp and chicken, not penguin-and never walked away less than happy. 4848 Belt Une at Inwood. 392-9998 Mon-Thur 11-10:30, Fri 11-11, Sat 11:30-11. Sun 11:30-10:30. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Plum Blossom ★★★★ The elegant Plum Blossom has a new chef, and Steve Chiang’s work was wry impressive on a recent visit. From appetizers of crispy five-spice quail and paper shrimp to main courses of knockout Peking duck, subtly gratifying bird’s nest chicken with pine nuts, and crispy whole cattish (looks frightening, tastes great), dinner was phenomenally good. And dessert-jasmine sorbet and rice ice cream with candied apple and kiwi sauce-was the best I’ve ever had in a Chinese restaurant. Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Slemmons Fwy. 748-1200- Mon-Sat 6 pm-10:30 pm. Jackets required. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Szechwan Pavilion ★★★ With its sophisticated peach and gray color scheme, Szechwan Pavilion is an aesthetic knockout. At its best, the food very nearly lives up to the setting. The spring rolls-crisp wonton wrappers punctuated by shrimp, sprouts, and carrot shreds-are musts to order. After that, kung pao shrimp with red pepper and peanuts might be in order. Two dishes to avoid: dry, nearly tasteless hot spicy lobster sautéed with ginger in chili sauce, and chicken chow mein with canned, as opposed to fresh, mushrooms. Prices are a bit higher here than at most local Chinese restaurants, but one can see, in such touches as the exotic lilies on the tables, where the surcharge is going. 8411 Preston, Suite 132 at Northwest Highway. 368-4303. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11 pm, Sun noon-10i30 pm. MC, V. AE. Moderate to expensive.

Uncle Tars Hunan Yuan ★★★★ Uncle Tai’s is the highest of high-end Chinese options in town. For prices consistently higher than any other Chinese restaurant in town, the customer gets such off-the-beaten-path dishes as sautéed sliced pheasant, frog’s legs with gingko nuts, and sliced duck with young ginger roots. The quality of ingredients is very high, although the level of saltiness continues to be prob-lematic. Galleria, 13350 Dallas Pkw\, Suite 3370 934-9998. Mon-Thur II am-10 pm. Fri & Sat II am-10:30 pm, Sun noon-10 pm. Jackets required for dinner. All credit cards. Expensive.

DELL



Bagelsteln’s ★★ Although Bagelstein’s has a lengthy menu of breakfast and deli options, the chewy, fresh bagels are the peint of the place, and they are as good as you can get west of Chicago. The only decision, therefore, is what kind of bagel-plain, egg, pumpernickel, garlic, onion, salt, raisin, poppy seed, or sesame seed-and which variety of cream cheese-plain, vegetable, strawberry, chive, herb and Spice, lox, or cinnamon raisin. Northwood Hilts Shopping Center. 8104 Spring Milley. 234-3787. Mon6am-3pm, Tue-Sun 6am-9pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Kuby’s ★★ After recovering from the shock of seeing the elegant spareness of Ceret (the restaurant that previously occupied the space) turned into a Bavarian bad dream. 1 rallied to enjoy Wiener schnitzel and potato salad at Kuby’s new location downtown in the Brewery. There are innumerable sandwich and sausage options, but whatever else you order, potato pancakes and apple strudel are in order as accompaniments. To judge from the lunchtime crowds, the new Kuby’s promises to join the old one (which has been around since 1961) as a local institution. 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0004. Mon 11 am-3 pm, Tue-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri II am-midnight. Sat 5 pm-midnight. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



ETHIOPIAN



Queen Of Sheba ★★ Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” would be the proper musical aperitif for a meal at Queen of Sheba. The food is heavily stew-oriented and, for the most part, incendiary. 3527 McKinney. 521-0491. Daily 1I-II. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



FRENCH/CONTINENTAL



Actualle ★★★★ If I had a chapeau to hand. I would eat it. As it is, I’ll have to settle for ingesting my words. When I first reviewed Actuelle, 1 found it off-putting and said so. However, as the months passed, and reliable sources continued to file reports of formidable meats at Actuelle, I revisited for lunch and dinner and found my sources to be correct. Although breast of Long Island duck with angel-hair pasta was on the fatty side, everything else, including tortilla soup with smoked chicken and Serrano chilies and a dessert of apple-almond custard torte with caramel sauce, ranged from remarkably good to perfect. Service is excellent, and the setting is austerely attractive. The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh. 855-0440 Lunch Mon-Fri U:30-2; dinner Mon-Tkur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11. All credit cards. Expensive.

Caté Royal ★★★★ Romance may be invaluable, but a romantic dinner shouldn’t cost more than a used car. Café Royal’s $34.50 fixed-price dinner, which changes daily, is reasonably priced and, thanks to the lovely setting and skillful service, unreasonably romantic. The run-down on one night’s uniformly well-prepared options: an appetizer of a salad with quail breast or an artichoke bottom with lobster rago?t and caviar butter sauce: a green salad or red-wine sorbet; an entrée of sliced loin of Iamb with wild mushrooms and a shallot and sage sauce or fillet of John Dory with angel-hair pasta and lemon thyme sauce; and a choice of dessert. Plaza of the Americas, 650 N Pearl. 979-9000. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 6:30-11. Closed Sun- Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. Expensive.

Chu Gérard ★★★ Now that Calluaud has laid down its life to become a parking lot for the Hard Rock Cafe, it’s a safe bet that former Calluaud regulars will be joining the already healthy crowds at Chez Gérard (which is also a Guy and Martine Calluaud operation). The highlights of my most recent dinner checkup visit were topflight treatments of sautéed lamb chop with parsley and garlic and floating island (poached meringue floating atop vanilla custard). Shrimp rémoulade, cassoulet (a stew of white beans and sausage that Francophiles adore and the less reverent refer to as the Gallic version of beans and weenies), and crème caramel were less distinguished, but still well within Chez Gerard’s range of dependable quality. 4444 McKinney. 522-6865. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

The Franch Room ★★★★ With its cherubs, vaulted ceiling, and trompe l’oeil garden, the rosy-hued French Room is far and away the most baroque-looking restaurant in Dallas. In the five years since its opening, it has had its culinary ups and downs; happily, however, a recent visit suggested that it is in an up cycle. From salads (green bean and green salad with goat cheese croutons) to entrées (salmon and rack of lamb) to dessert (apple tart), the food was all that one could ask for. What’s more, the sommelier is both congenial and well informed; he is as happy to advise customers on a single glass of wine as a rare bottle. Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce. 742-8200. Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Jackels and lies required. Alt credit cards. Expensive.

The Grape ★★★★ The Grape’s setting-dark as a candle-lit dungeon, with red-checked tablecloths and touches of vinous kitsch-makes it an ideal hangout for Lower Greenville’s resident Bohemian yuppies. The Grape paraphernalia displayed near the door-including T-shins and a cookbook-suggests that what we have here is not so much a restaurant as a way of life. Although The Grape still serves the cheese and paté offerings that were its specialty when it opened in 1972. pasta and fish specials are the ticket these days. 2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 828-1981. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner Sun-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.

L’ Ambiance ★★★ Although the renovated gas station setting is unimpressive, the food was fine on a recent dinner visit. A suave potato-leek soup and watercress salad with bacon, mushrooms, and goat cheese made for excellent appetizers. Fish has never been a good main-course bet here, so we opted for lamb chops and duck with the fruit sauce of the day. Both were memorably well prepared. For dessert, floating island with pecan praline and chocolate soufflé cake enlivened by coconut and macadamia nuts served with vanilla sauce were both enchanting variations on what can be boring themes. 2408 Cedar Springs. 748-1291. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Jackets required for dinner. All credit cards. Expensive.

Left Bank ★★★★ The left bank in question is that of the Trinity River, and the restaurant in question is the best thing to hit Oak Cliff since the viaduct from downtown. The food is simple, French-influenced, and changes every day. On the weekend, all of Oak Cliff wants to be here, so reservations are essential. 408 N Bishop. Suite 104. 948-1630. Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Tue-Sat 5-10. No credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Old Warsaw ★★★ Apparently, Old Warsaw isn’t moving to LTV Center after all, so I decided a visit to the current location was in order. The granddaddy–make that grand-père-of big-deal dining in Dallas was as romantic as ever. “Why do I feel like I should propose or something?” was the question of my escort. It could have been the low lights, the banquette seating, the violin and piano duo playing requests. It probably wasn’t the food, which, on average, was nothing special. The low point was an appetizer special of overly oniony crawfish in puff pastry; the high peint was crepes Suzette (an unjustly out-of-fashion dessert). 2610 Maple. 528-0032. Sun-Thur 6 pm-10 pm Fri & Sat 6 pm-10:30 pm. All credit cards. Wry expensive.

The Riviera ★★★★★ I have attended Grateful Dead concerts that were quieter than the Riviera on a Saturday night, but minor hearing loss is a small price to pay for first-rate food in a charming setting. A green salad was nicely set off by sherry vinaigrette, and came with a delectable goat cheese crouton. Sun-dried tomato and smoked bell pepper soup was satisfying, if heavy on the bacon. Norwegian salmon and sea scallops steamed with white wine and served with a light rosemary sauce was one of the best treatments of salmon I’ve ever tasted. And duck breast with intensely flavored lavender and honey sauce was worthwhile, too. For dessert the creditable, very buttery-tasting Grand Marnier crème br?lée was outshone by the ethereally light apple tart with almond cream and caramel sauce. 7799 Inwood. 351-0094. Sun-Thur 6:30pm-10;30pm, Fri & Sat 6:30pm-ll pm. All credit cards. Expensive to very expensive.

GERMAN/EASTERN EUROPE



Bohemia ★★★★ Have you heard the one about Czech food? A week later and you’re hungry again. At Bohemia, the attraction is sturdy Eastern European food-like Wiener schnitzel, pork roast, and bread dumplings-served in delicately charming surroundings (lace curtains, tulip lamps, Viennese waltzes). Two bonuses: the by-the-glass wines are well chosen, and service is efficient and unobtrusive. With one notable exception (being under a quilt with your sweetie), there is no better place than Bohemia to be on a nippy day. 2810 N Henderson. 8266209. Sun & Tue-Thur 5:30-9 pm. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Moderate.

Café Kashtan ★★★ A recent dinner visit here was relatively disappointing, but that was mostly because my party was collectively starving and service was excruciatingly slow. However, it also didn’t help that kulebiaka, that utterly satisfying mélange of chicken, rice, and mushrooms baked in a pastry shell-wasn’t on the dinner menu. Still, the salanka, an intensely flavored broth with bits of beef, sausage, and vegetables accompanied by pirozki, a meat-Filled mil. the chicken Kiev, the veal Soblianka with mush-room sauce, and the almond cake with raspberry sauce were appeasingly excellent. 5365 Spring Willey Rd ai Montfort. 991-9550. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30 pm; dinner Mon-Sat 5-10. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Hof starter’s ★★★★ Tucked away in the Plaza at Bachman Creek, Hofstetter’s is a Viennese jewel. Here, in a setting that leads one to expect nothing more than sandwich-shop fere, some of the best Germanic cuisine in the area is served. Sandwiches, coffees, and desserts are listed on the menu, but the real action is on (he blackboard, which lists the daily specials. Plaza at Bachman Creek, 3830 W Northwest Hwy. 358-7660 Mon 11 am-2:30 pm. Tue & Thur 11 am-9:30 pm; Wed, Fri, & Sat 11 am-10 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



GREEK



Greek Express ★ Greek Express is cheap, cheerful, andenough of a challenge to find that you feel you’ve made a significant discovery (it’s tucked behind a clothing store on Oak Lawn). The burgers and fries are satisfyingly greasy, but it’s the Greek specialties that are standouts. 3301-A Oak Lawn. 528-1308. Mon Fri 10-10. Sal 11-10. Closed Sun. AE. Inexpensive.

Little Gus’ ★★★ Little Gus’ is the Clark Kent of Dallas restaurants. During the day, it’s a mild-mannered greasy spoon serving breakfast and burgers. At night it steps into a phone booth and turns into… super Greek restaurant. The moussaka and spanakopita are especially commendable. 1916 Greenville. 826-4910. American menu Mon-Sat 7:30 am-4pm: Greek menu Mon-Thur 6 pm-10 pm; Fri & Sat 6 pm-11 pm; Sun brunch 9 am-l:45 pm. Na credit cards. Inexpensive.



INDIAN



Akbar ★★★★ Old India hands will want to thoroughly explore (he byways of this restaurant’s menus. That’s plural-there are two of them, the regular menu and the snackbar menu. Although the regular menu is praiseworthy, it is Akbar’s snack bar that conclusively sets it apart from its peers. Snack-bar highlights include aloo tikki, grilled potato cutlets with curried chickpeas; samosa. tender turnovers sniffed with herbed potatoes and peas: and malai kofta, curry, cheese, and vegetable dumplings in a cream and almond sauce. 2115 Promenade Center a! Coil & Belt Line roads. 235-0260. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2 pm, dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. Sat A Sun brunch 11:30-2:30. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.

Ashoka ★★★★ Times may be hard, but this town has no shortage of wonderful Indian restaurants. Ashoka joins the list, with its bargain lunch specials and varied dinnertime menu. Chicken korma is especially noteworthy here. Prestonwood Creek Shopping Center, 5409 Belt Line. 960-0070. Lunch daily 11-2: dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Bombay Curry House ★★★ This latest entrant in the local Indian-food derby is small, charming, and well worth seeking out. The $3.95 weekday lunch buffet was well prepared, if shorter on selection than some Indian buffets around. M dinner, an appetizer of lamb;vamosas (turnovers filled with spiced ground lamb and peas) and a dessert of rasmalai (fresh homemade cottage cheese patties) were standouts. However, this is not to discount the virtues of the Tandoori mixed grill, Bombay shrimp curry, and Iamb sagwala that came in between. 11613 N Central at Forest. 373-9700. Lunch daily 11-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sal 5:30-10:30. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Curry In, Curry Out ★★★★ Love the name. Also love the food and the prices. This charming little family-run establishment may be somewhat spartan in appearance, but it is immaculate, and the food that emerges from (he kitchen is well worth a trip to Garland, even if you don’t live nearby. One more incentive: prices ore shockingly low. If you’re serious about Indian food, Curry In, Curry Out is required eating. As the name suggests, meals may be eaten in or carried out. Northwest Crossing Shopping Center, 1250-C Northwest Highway. 681-0087. Tue-Fri lunch U:30am-2:30 pm: dinner 5 pm-9:30 pm; Sat & Sun 11:30 am-9:30 pm. Closed Mon. MC, V Inexpensive.



ITALIAN



Alessio’s ★★★ If you’re not happy with your meal at Alessio’s, it will only be because you have failed to apprise the ever-watchful Alessio Franceschetti of any problems. Happily, on a recent visit, there were no problems to report. Crab cannelloni, an appetizer of the day. was estimable enough to warrant on-the-menu status. Shrimp proven?al, with mushrooms and tomatoes, was quite good, if not as seductive. The subtly dressed romaine lettuce salad that accompanied entrees was simple perfection. Linguine with shrimp and scallops in a delicately spicy tomato sauce was agreeable, though not as meritorious as the perfectly breaded veal parmigiana accompanied by buttered, parslied mostaccioli. 4117 Loma Alto. 521-3585. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm, Sun & Mon 6-10 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate to expensive.

Café Italia ★★ Cafe Italia is informal, and prices are low, which makes one inclined to overlook such minor glitches as flabby garlic bread and flat San Pellegrino water. I tried entrées of an on-the-money combination of cannelloni and manicotti and a very meaty yet unheavy lasagna. Barely sweet flan with a drift of lightly whipped cream and killer-strength espresso made for a nice finish. 5000 Maple. 521-0700. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

La To sea ★★★ This chic, minimalist restaurant was designed by the late Perry Bentley, and it Still looks as fresh in 1987 as it did when it opened in 1981. The food has also worn well, especially the state-of-the-art tortellini and veal scallopine with lemon sauce. 7713 Inwood. 352-8373. Sun &Tue-Thur6 pm-10:30 pm,Fri & Sat 6 pm-ll pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

Lombardi’s ★★★★★ This newest Lombardi establishment replaces the ill-rated Pucci in Travis Walk. The menu is identical to and the decor similar to 311 Lombardi’s: the difference is in execution. Possibly because the new Lombardi’s hasn’t been swamped-yet-by seekers of Italian-style good vibrations, it’s as close to perfect an Italian restaurant as Dallas has seen. One route to gustatory happiness: Caesar salad, veal-filled tortellini gilded with a butter sauce, and superb cappuccino. Travis Halk, 4514 Travis. 521-1480. Unch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-mldnighi, Sun 5:30-10. All credit cards. Moderate.

Lombardi’s Expresso ★★★★This takeout/eat-in bakery/cafe, like Massimo da Milano before it, allows the consumer to eat when and how he or she chooses. There are cold and hot pastas, design-your-own pizzas (artichoke hearts, prosciutto, and goat cheese make a nice trio), sandwiches made with rosemary-topped foccacia bread, and more desserts than you can shake a stick at. The menu changes from day to day (always a good sign), and the numerous things I tasted were consistently quite good. 6135 Luther Lane. 361-6984. Mon-Sat 8 am-9pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Momo’s ★★★ Momo’s has expanded, and if bigger in this case doesn’t mean better, it also doesn’t mean worse. Which is to say that the food is the same as ever: quite good, if not quite as earthshaking as members of Momo’s fanatical following believe. The pizzas and pastas are especially noteworthy. 9191 Forest Lane. 234-6800. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-I:30 pm; dinner Mon-Thur 5:45-9:30 pm, Fri 5:30-11 pm, Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5:15-9pm. Reservations recommended. MC, V. Moderate.

Nero’s Italian ★★★ The food is good enough here, but it isn’t great, and it certainly doesn’t come cheap. What, then, accounts for the two-hour waits on weekends? I suspect it’s that ol’ debbil ambience. Nero’s is made to order for dates or get-reacquainted-with-your-spouse sessions, at least if your date or spouse is a stylish, ironic character. (Diana Vreeland and Catholic-school veterans should feel particularly at home here because of the red walls and the Michael the Archangel lamps. | There is an extensive menu of pasta, veal, and seafood, but the two things to concentrate on are the Italian wine-the selection is great, and the staff well informed-and the pizza, which comes in both traditional and New Wave varieties. Nero’s desserts are noteworthy, too-especially the lucious white chocolate ice cream. 2104Greenville. 826-6376 Mon-Thur 6-11 pm. Fri & Sat 6pm-midnight. Sun 6-11. MC, V. AE. Moderate.

Pizzeria Uno ★★★ When the place is packed-which is any time near lunch or dinner-Job-1 ike patience is required of customers. However, to judge from the mobs willing to traverse the tar end of Belt Line and suffer the service, serious pizza-seekers care about what’s on the plate, not how long it takes to get there. They may have a point: these are terrific buttery-crusted Chicago-style pan pizzas. The menu warns: “Be careful when you order. Each Uno pizza has about twice the food content as the pizzas you are probably accustomed to.” The menu is right, and the reason is the vertical quantity of ingredients, not the diameter. A regular pizza, which the menu recommends for two. looks smallish when it arrives, but only two would-be wart hogs could finish it in one sitting. 4002 Belt Une, Addison. 991-8181. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30pm, Fri 11 am-midnight, Sat noon-midnight, Sun noon-10. MC, V. AE. Moderate.

Ruggerl’a ★★★ Ruggerio belongs in the upper tier of Italian restaurants in Dallas. The lunch menu is too limited for my taste, but dinner more than makes up for that shortcoming. Although I have yet to order anything at Ruggeri s that blew me away, neither have I ended up with anything- pasta or veal-that was less than acceptable. 2911 Routh. 871-7377. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 6-11:30 pm, Fri 6 Sat 6 pm-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.

Sardo’s ★★★★ If you’re feeling low, a visit to Sardo’s is in order. Pasta is wonderful here, and the breaded veal cutlet with wilted greens is a close competitor. Pima on Bachman Creek, 3802 W Northwest Hwy. 351-437& Mon-Fri 11 am-11 pm, Sat 5 pm-midnight. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Trattoria Lombardi ★★★ This is now the oldest extant Lombardi’s location, and even if it’s not quite as pretty as its successors in the West End and Travis Walk, it’s still a swell source for a good Italian meal. A recent lunch of green salad, tortellini, cannelloni, and manicotti was pleasing, if not earth-shattering. The house red wine could use some work, though. 29l6NHaIi. 528-7506. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner Mon-Thur 5-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. AU credit cards. Moderate.



JAPANESE/KOREAN



Mr. Sushi ★★★★ It’s all raw fish to me, but a number of my friends are dedicated seekers of sushi, and the most serious of them swears by Mr. Sushi. My friend was moved by the “sushi B” dinner-tuna, white meat fish, yellowtail, jumbo clam, shrimp, salmon, smelt egg, salmon egg, cooked egg, and tuna roll-and I was appeased by the sauteed soft-shell crab and perfect shrimp tempura. 4860 Belt Une, Addison. 385-0168. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5:30-10 Ali credit cards. Moderate.



Mr. Sushi & Hlbachl ★★★★ Mr. Sushi’s original location is one of the favorite stops of local seekers of raw fish.

This new establishment also includes a hibachi room for those in quest of Benihana-type slice-and-dice grilled thrills. On my visit I unintentionally ended up on the hibachi side, where the food was uninspired. However, my sushi scouts report that the sushi here is as terrific as at the original Mr. Sushi. 9220Skillman, Saile227 349-6338 Lunch Mon-Fri 12:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri &. Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5:30-10 All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



LUNCH



City Market ★★★★ City Market has acquired a loyal following of downtown habitués hungry for fresh, imaginative soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts. However, in the past the pleasures of this light, airy, upscale cafeteria were unpredictable. If, for instance, you loved the marigold mint chicken salad, it might be weeks before you and it were on the premises on the same day. Now, with the advent of menus printed every week, City Market regulars can predict with assurance when it will be possible to eat pasta salad with Indonesian peanut sauce or marinated beef salad with multi-colored bell peppers. Whatever else you get, the light, soufflé-like apricot-raisin bread pudding should not be missed. 200 LTV Center, 2001 Ross at Harwood. 979-2690 Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm. MC, V Inexpensive.

Pacific Express ★★★★ Pacific Express, a chic eighty-eight-seat cafeteria, makes the hasty downtown lunch into an an form. I happen to be obsessed with the tuna salad with toasted almonds, grapes, and blue cheese in tarragon mayonnaise, but the smoked chicken salad with toasted walnuts and shallot vermouth mayonnaise has its devotees, too. Other choices include pasta salad, wild rice salad, and several sandwiches. Pacific Place Bldg, 1910 Elm, Suite 103. 969-7447. Mon-Fri 8am-10am &U am-2 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted, inexpensive.



MEXICAN



Antonio’s ★★★ Although one has to order with care to assure hitting the highlights, Antonio’s is worth a trip for anyone serious about Mexican food. Recommended: nachos, which are made with first-class ingredients (black beans, white cheese, fresh-tasting guacamole, jalapenos, and real, runny sour cream), rich-tasting black bean soup, shrimp with a subtly nutty pumpkin-seed sauce, coconut flan, and merengue (whipped cream or chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two layers of egg-white pastry). 14849 Inwood (south of Bell Line). Addison. 490-9557. Dinner Mon-Thur 5 pm-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. Alt credit cards. Moderate.

Cate Cancǜn ★★★ Cafe Cancun was a Mexican food trailblazer in Dallas, one of the first to offer black beans and white cheese as an alternative to pintos and day-glow Cheddar. In recent years, however, quality control was a problem, and many Cafe Cancun fans lost faith. Brethren, it is time to rejoin the fold: on a recent visit, everything-from the warm, fresh tostadas to the enchiladas verdes with chicken to the luscious coconut ice cream-was very good. 4131 Loma Alio, 559-40U. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

Cantina Laredo ★★★★ A belief shared by many Mexican food enthusiasts hereabouts is that great Mex can only be found in grungy, time-worn establishments located in the vicinity of Maple Avenue. However, holding to this belief would mean missing out on Cantina Laredo, which is situated in a clean, new building in-yes-Addison. Standard Tex-Mex combinations are available here, and they’re quite good, but the comida casera-home-style food-is where the smart money is. Standouts include the tacos a! pastor filled with marinated perk, cabrito (baby goat to you, gringo), mesquite-grilled shrimp with garlic butter, and red snapper with lime butter. 4546 Belt Line, Addison 458-0962. Sun-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.

Casa Rosa ★★★ This has long been a preppy hangout supreme, and in this instance those well-scrubbed WASPs in Ralph Lauren attire are on to something. From chili con queso to botanas especiales (bean, chicken, and beef nachos; marinated beef strips; and flautitas with sour cream and guacamole) to the Puerto Vallarta combination (beef taco, enchilada with chili con came, chicken enchilada with sour cream sauce, and Spanish rice) to praline cheesecake for dessert, everything (except for the underdone, too-tomatoey Spanish rice) was well prepared, if not in the forefront of culinary innovation. Inwood Village, Inwood at Lovers Lane, Suite 165. 350-5227. Mon-Thur 11 am-3 pm & 5-10 pm, Fri 11 am-3 pm & 5-11 pm, Sat 11 am-11 pm, Sun 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Chito’s ★★★ A New Yorker I know loves Mexican food more than life itself. Chito’s on Maple is where I took her on her last stop in Dallas, and she found its funky setting (featuring Uttered orange booths, window-unit air conditioning, and lime green and acid yellow walls) and low prices (guacamole has reached $7 in one Manhattan Mexican restaurant) inordinately satisfying. The food at Chito’s-especially the bean, cheese, and guacamole quesa-dillas-is good enough to please even native Dallasites, who are accustomed to the Tex-Mex way of life. 4447 Maple, 522-9166, Mon-Thur 9 am-9 pm, Fri & Sat 9 am-4 am. Sun 9-9. MC, V. Inexpensive.

Garcias Caribbean Grill ★★ What is this world coming to? We’ve had Tex-Mex, Mex-Mex, tropical-Mex, and now, from Garcia’s, fish-Mex-their term, I swear it. Your reviewer, for one, has not been waiting breathlessly for catfish enchiladas, but Garcia’s peerless chili con queso- composed of white cheese and spinach, unlikely as it may seem–is alone worth a visit. Plaza at Bachman Creek, 3830 W Northwest Hwy. 358-2664 Mon-Thur 11-10, Fri & Sat 11:30-11, Sun 11-9:30. MC, V. AE. Inexpensive so moderate.

Garmo’s ★★★ Garmo’s does a better job with standard Tex-Mex than most of its local peers. Its rice-a weak point at all but the most painstaking of establishments-is especially nice, Beware the spinach enchiladas, however; on two recent visits they have been dauntingly stringy to the point of requiring one more margarita to erase their memory. 2847 N Henderson. 828-9423 Daily II am-10:30 pm. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.

J. Pape’s ★★★ J. Pepe’s Mexican food is a cut above most local Tex-Mexeries, and its setting is exceptionally pleasant. These two facts, plus the availability of outdoor sealing (the local appetite for margaritas consumed en plein air is apparently boundless), go fer to explain the madding crowds found here on weekend nights. 2800Rouih. 871-0366. lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-11. Fri S:30-midnight, Sat 11 midnight, Sun I1-1L MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

La Botica ★★ The mishmash of Dallasites who have found La Bolieu (it’s nearly hidden on Haskell Avenue about a mils east of Central) must like it for the same reasons I do: it’s casual, fairly quiet, and steeped in family-run friendliness. The food-Mexican staples with a hefty addition of beef dishes-is fine but rarely exciting. Particularly good: the tangy enchiladas verdes, the simple tacos, and the chicken soup. My otherwise happy visits met with two disappointments: the ho-hum and smallish came asada and La Botica’s tendency to be out of things i want to order. 1900 N Haskell: 824-2005. Lunch Tue-Fri 11-2; dinner Tue-Thur 5-10, Fri A Sat 5-11. Closed Sun and Mon. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Moderate.

Marioni Chiquita ★★★ This longtime institution has opened a new location in Travis Walk with good results. Though throngs assemble at the latest Chiquita for Tex-Mex standards and Mex-Mex specialties, the roomier premises now make the. noise level subdued, if not hushed. The food is the same as ever, which is to say average for the most part, with exceptional specialties such as the carnitas tampi-quenas, pork prepared came asada style. 4514 Travis. 521-0721. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30-II. Alt credit cards. Moderate.



NATURAL



Bluebonnet Cafe ★★★ If you are a yuppie of a certain age. here is where, to the tune of James Taylor, you’re likely to run into friends, acquaintances, or the ex-spouses of same Bluebonnet Cafe is part of Whole Foods Market, and as the name of the establishment indicates, the food tends toward the healthful Happily, however, Bluebonnet doesn’t take a doctrinaire stand. Burgers, wine, and coffee-three controlled substances at hard-line health establishments-are allowed here Check out the Strawberry-banana -papaya smoothie and the black bean nachos with white cheese and guacamole. 2218 Greenville. 828-0052. Mon-Fri II am-9 pm, Sat 9-9, Sun 9 am-3 pm. MC, V Inexpensive.



SEAFOOD



Atlantic Café ★★★★ After several disappointing meals at Atlantic Cafe in the last year. I had given up on the place. However, after hearing of recent changes, I relumed and found the food to be back on track The new menu includes such winners as shrimp and crab ravioli and nicely sautéed soft shell crab. 4546 McKinney at Knox. 559-4441. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Sun-Thur 610, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30: Sun brunch 11-2. AU credit cards. Expensive.

Aw Shucks ★★ Although the “fried tbangs’^-oysters andshrimp-thai are the featured attraction at this relaxed restaurant are splendid, one does lend to feel in need of a shower after eating at Aw Shucks. But if you can handle the inherent grease Ector involved in dining at an establishment fitted out with a battery of deep-fat fryers, Aw Shucks is a worthwhile destination. One exception to the rule of quality here is the fat French fries, which have hardly any flavor. 3601 Greenville. 821-9449: 4535 Maple, 522-4498; Village at Backman Lake, 3701 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 310, 350-9777. Mon-Thur 11-11 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11:45 pm, Sun 11:30am-10 pm at Greenville location; Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm.Fri&Satll am-11 :45 pm, Sun 11:30 am-10 pm at Maple location; Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat ll am-ll:45 pm, Sun noon-10 pm at Northwest Hwy location. MC, V Inexpensive.

Café Pacific ★★★★★ There are a lot of first-rate waiters working in Dallas, but Don at Café Pacific has to be in the very top rank. Even if the food hadn’t been as close to perfection as mere mortals can approach, his courtly but never pretentious manner and ability to be there exactly when you need him would still have made a recent lunch at Cafe Pacific a pleasure. All the same, Chinese chicken salad and a daily special of red snapper with a julienne of snow peas were all that they could and should have been. Highland Park Village, Preston at Mockingbird, Suite 24. 526-1170. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30, Sun 10:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. Expensive.

Hampton’s ★★★ Required eating fur the cheapskate gourmet: Hampton’s perfect one-pound lobster, at $11. This family-oriented establishment offers a wide variety of some of the freshest seafood in town. Go ahead and do maximum damage to your appetizer and entrée, because dessert is nothing special. Berkshire Court, Preston Center, Preston at Northwest Hwy 739-3474. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:3011. Sun 11:30 am-9 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



D REVISITS



Seaport Oyster Bar ★★★ This restaurant in an antiseptic strip shopping center won’t make anyone think of their old Kentucky home, but its version of downhome Southern cooking is more than satisfactory. W; kicked off the meal with a dozen fairly fat raw oysters, briny enough, for those who like the sea. to call to mind ils coppery sheen ablaze in sunset glow. Fried catfish followed, crisp enough yet not overfried-no confusing this with just fried anythings. The fried crab, however, had lingered too long in its bed of grease and emerged with crust that would not yield easily to a probing fork. Gumbo was acceptably murky and full of savory detail. You wondered about the name? No seaport near here, but on the walls, note the pretty pictures, scenes from most of America’s fatuous seaports. A $2 membership buys beer, etc. I2101 Greenville Ave. 669-3877. Mon-Sat II am-midnight. AE, CB. Inexpensive.



SOUTHERN



Highland Park Cafeteria ★★★★ Standing in line at HPC and moving past the portraits of the presidents is a ritual of unmatched resonance in Dallas dining. HPC is a treasured local institution, from the Southern classics on the menu to the line staff, some of whom have been on the job for decades. Perhaps as a result, many regulars believe that heaven itself will resemble HPC. with hairnetted attendants querying, “Serve you?” and booths always available. The menu on cloud nine: ham or chicken-fried steak, green beans, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, a jalapeno corn muffin, and cherry cobbler. The Addison and downtown branches have their virtues, but they don’t reproduce the allure of the original Knox Street location. 46JJ Cole. 526-3801; Village on the Parkway 5100 Belt Une at Dallas Pkwy, Suite 600. 934-8800 H; downtown, 500 Akard at Sari Jacinto. Suite 220. 740-2400. Mon-Sat II am-8pm at Cole location; Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm, Sun 10:45 am-3 pm at Village on the Parkway location; Mon-Fri 6:30 am-2 pm at downtown location. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.

Marna Taught Ma How ★★★★ Here is a down-homedream come true: lovingly prepared versions of the greatest hits of Dixified cuisine. That name, incidentally, is no trumped-up product of marketing strategy. Marna is Doris Alexander, her daughters are Judy Sharp and Vickie Piland, and together they run the place with a combination of charm and warmth that is as specific to the South as are grits. Standouts include the red beans and rice, chicken-fried steak (both available every day), chicken and dumplings, and coconut cream pie (which are available only on some days). 14902 Preston Rd. #512 (SE comer of Preston & Belt line) in Pepper Square. 490-6301. Mon-Fri 7am-2:30pm, Thur5-8pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive,

Tolbert’s ★★Tolbert’s lives again, though in a different location in a slick downtown office tower. Still, the place is sufficiently rusticated in appearance to make it a good place to bring out-of-towners disappointed in Dallas’s lack of way-out-West charm. It may be blasphemy to say, but I’ve never been a fan of Tolbert’s chili. The burgers, however, are fine, and the donkey tails-flour tortilla-wrapped, deep-fried, cheese-stuffed hot dogs-are junk food nonpareil. Skip dessert, especially the farkleberry sundae, which is vanilla icecream sullied with blueberry glop. 350 N St Paul, Suite 160 953-1353. Mon-Thur 13 am-8pm, Fri & Sat II am-10 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



SPANISH



Manuel ★★★★ Tapas-Spanish appetizers-are the ticket in this Goya-esque, heavy-on-the-red restaurant. Standouts include the tortilla espanola, a heavy-duty assemblage of potato, egg, and onion, and gambas al ajillo, shrimp in garlic- and pepper-enlivened olive oil. For dessert, the orange-sauced bunuelo makes for a satisfying close to a thoroughly pleasing meal. 8220 Westchester, Preston Center. 373-4663. Mon-Sat 5 pm-12:30 am; happy hour 5-7. Closed Sun. Alt credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



STEAKS



Del Frisco’s ★★★★★ In this age of Perrier, fish, and steamed vegetables, every so often it is important to balance the system with red wine, beef, and baked potatoes. Del Frisco’s, a straight-ahead steak house with premium fare and prices to match, is made for just such occasions. An appetizer of shrimp rémoulade was as good a version as you’ll find this side of New Orleans (which happens to be where owner Del Frisco hails from). I was quite happy with my softball-sized eight-ounce filet until I tasted the twelve-ounce rib-eye that my partner in cholesterol had ordered. This was a steak to remember-a supremely flavorful piece of meat. Some things to bear in mind: your steak will arrive in a pool of melted butter unless you nix this idea. Bread pudding fans are advised to plan their meal to allow for Del Frisco’s version with raisins, coconut, and Jack Daniel’s sauce, 4300 Lemmon. 526-2101. Mon-Thur 5 pm-10pm, FU & Sat 5-11, Sun 5 pm-9 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib ★★★★ Finding myself once again on the verge of the big NB (nervous breakdown). I decided on dinner at Lawry’s The Prime Rib. The only choices are prime rib, prime rib, and prime rib -in three cuts-so the stress of ordering is minimal. And the fare is hard-core comfort food that takes the overwrought diner back a couple of decades to the Sunday-dinner fare of a simpler time. The beef was tender and flavorful; and the accompaniments- including a salad of Romaine, iceberg, and watercress; mashed potatoes; and creamed spinach-were admirable. At lunch [here are also chicken, fish, and salad options, but prime rib is (he point here. At lunch or dinner, the look of Lawry’s is surreally baronial, with tapestry and massive furniture abounding. 3008 Maple. 521-7777. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30. Fri 6-11:30, Sat 5:30-11:30. Sun 5-10; Sun brunch 11:30-2. All credit cards. Expensive.

D REVISITS

Morton’s ★★★★ This Chicago steakhouse has wonderfully marbled and perfectly cooked porterhouse steaks. There are other options, including such non-beef choices as veal chops, butterflied whole chickens, and fresh fish specialties, but Morton’s does steaks best. A soufflé dessert was chalky and disappointing. 501 Elm. 741-2277. Umeh Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Mon-Sat 5:30-11. All credit Cards. Expensive.



Palm ★★★★ The Palm is a weird experience for first-timers, to judge from the comments of the friend who accompanied me on my last checkup lunch. She knew it was famous for huge, expensive lobsters and steaks, and, logically enough, expected the place to be plush and serious-looking. Instead, of course, the decor, such as it is, consists of the worst caricatures ever committed to paper of the locally famous and semi-famous. Lunch at the Palm, it turns out, is a really good idea. The lunch specials are not only less pricey than the choices at dinner, but they’re frequently better, to judge from the celestial roast pork I tried this time around. 701 Ross. 698-0470. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Sat 5-11 pm, Sun 5-9:30 pm. All credit cards. Very expensive.



TAKEOUT



Crescent Gourmet ★★★ The Crescent Gourmet offers some of the best baked goods in town for breakfast. The croissants, Danishes, and muffins are done right-and on the premises. Any of the aforementioned, along with fresh-squeezed juke, would start any day right. At lunch, there are plenty of reasonably priced sandwiches and salads to choose from, including the knockout pizzas served next door at Beau Nash. 400 Crescent Court. Suite 150, Maple at Mc Kinney. 871-3223. Mon-Sat 10 am-3 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.

Everyday Gourmet ★★★★ This is the takeout establishment that I’ve been waiting for-or it would be. if only it kept later hours. The food is homey in the best sense, but never tastes amateurish. The fare changes, but peerless meat loaf and chicken salad are two standards, and the prices for this simple perfection are reasonable. 4446 Lovers Lane. 373-0325. Mon-Fri8:30am-7:30pm, Sat 8:30 am-5:30 pm. MC, V. Inexpensive to moderate.

Marty’s ★★★★ Dallas’s longest established gourmet yuppeteria continues to offer the rarest of commodities: thoughtful advice. Therefore, when dinner and accompanying wine must be acquired speedily. I tend to turn to Marty’s. The last such last-minute foray resulted in vegetables vinaigrette, moussaka, German potato salad, apple-walnut cobbler, and a bottle of Sausal Zinfandel. All the elements of this meal were individually pleasing and collectively wonderful. 3316 Oak Lawn. 526-4070. Mon-Sat 10 am-6:30 pm. Closed Sun. Alt credit cards, Marty’s charge. Expensive.

Petaluma ★★★★ San Simeon’s takeout branch is very nearly as delightful as its parent restaurant. For breakfast, the alternatives include fresh-squeezed juices, croissants, Danishes, and blueberry muffins nonpareil. At lunch, die soup of the day is whatever it is at San Simeon and always a good bet. The cooling salad and sandwich options include chilled shrimp and bow-tie pasta with tomato, lemon, and dill and abreast of turkey sandwich with guacamole and jack cheese. Just beware of the lemonade, which is far from traditional; it’s made with club soda, and no sweetening whatsoever. Chateau Plaza. 2515 McKinney. 871-2253. Mon-Fri 7 am-6 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



THAI



Slam ★★★★ Gone from the scene for more than two years, Siam has returned in a new location. The signature dishes that made the original Siam’s reputation are as good as ever: the pork satay comes with peerless curried peanut sauce, the spring rolls arc commendable, (he beef salad is rolling in leaves of fresh mint, and pud Thai, a dish of rice noodles with shrimp, ground peanuts, and scrambled egg, tastes better here than anywhere. Now more than ever, Siam is one of Dallas’s all-time great Asian restaurants. Northwest Comers Shopping Center, 2415 W Northwest Highway #108 (accessible from Harry Hines). 358-3122. Lunch Mon-Fri U:30am-2:3Qpm. dinner Mon-Thur5.30-10, Fri 5:30-11, Sat 11 am-ll pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.



VIETNAMESE



Ba-Le ★★ This is perhaps the tiniest of Dallas’s Vietnamese restaurants. As always at Vietnamese restaurants, real lemonade and killer iced coffee arc the beverages of choice. Two entrées of choice are tenderloin of beef with vermicelli and the Vietnamese crepe, which is more of a frit-tata, really. 4812 Bryan, Suite 110. 821-1880. Daily 8 am-10 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

La Pagoda ★★In the past, I’ve experienced the

emperor’s new clothes syndrome in regard to La Pagode. Although I had heard numerous reports of excellence from restau rant-bounds I respect, I had never had a meal that was better than average here until I went to lunch with a regular, who simply asked the chef to show us his stuff. The results, most notably a shrimp and shredded cabbage salad with a peanut sauce, were dramatically more distinguished than on my post visits. 4302 Bryan at Peak. 821-4542. Mon-Thur 11-10, Fri & Sat Il-II. Closed Sun. MC, V, DC Inexpensive to moderate.

Saison ★★★★ Situated where Yolanda’’s used to be on Lowest Greenville, Saigon is definitely the best-looking Vietnamese restaurant in town. It also promises to be the best Vietnamese restaurant in town, period Everything I tried on three visits was impressive, bat the intriguing-sounding shrimp wrapped around sugar cane was particularly laudable. As usual at Vietnamese restaurants, the beverages of choice arc fresh lemonade and/or iced coffee. 1731 Greenville. 828-9795. Tue-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat II-11. Sun & Mon 5-10 All credit cards. Inexpensive.



LAS COLINAS/MID CITIES



Cacharel ★★★★ This pretty establishment with a glassed-in exhibition kitchen has a fixed price of $10 for lunch and $22 for dinner. The fere-including such Gallic classics as green salad with goat cheese, asparagus soup, scallops with an assertive tarragon sauce, and lamb with a natural-juice sauce-would be worth twice the tariff. Brookhollow Tow, 2221 E Lamar, Suite 910. Arlington. 640-9981. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.

Via Real ★★★ Dramatic abstract pictures dominate the walls, and even die menus are original handcrafted works by the same artists. The contents of me menu are as fresh as the look of the place-you might call the concept New Wave Mexican, with a hint of Continental Spanish influence. The appetizers include such novelties as crêpa de salmone (thin slices of smoked salmon enfolded in crepes and served dry except for a garnish of pico de gallo) and rellenos de pescado (cylinders of fish mousse studded with salmon and surrounded by a rich sauce). Main courses at Via Real also tilt toward the seafood end. Town North Centre. 3591 N Belt Une at Northgate, Irving- 255-0064. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-5. Sat 11-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5-10. Fri & Sat 5-U; Sun brunch 10-2. All credit cards. Moderate.



FORT WORTH

Hedary’s ★★ Some things at Hedary’s were better than ever on my last visit, including the service by the members of the Lebanese-American family that owns the place. The assortment of appetizers was nothing short of spectacular, with definitive eggplant and chickpea dips, falafel. vegetables, and salads. And the baklava and other desserts were delicate and delicious. However, skewered lamb was tough, frarej (chicken broiled in olive oil) didn’t, taste as boldly of garlic as we remembered. 3308 Fairfield at Camp Bowie. (817) 731-6961. Lunch Tue-Fri 11-2; dinner 7Ue-7hur & Sun 5-IOpm.FriA Sat 511 pm. Closed Mon. No reservations. All credit cards. Moderate.

Le Chardonnay ★★★★ Former Carel chef Philip Lecoq is a co-owner of this new bistro, and its combination of serious food and an informal atmosphere is reminiscent of that late, lamented establishment. The lamb chops lopped with goat cheese, served with a rosemary sauce and accompanied by herbed French fries, arc I standout. 2443 Forest Park Blvd. Fort Worth. (817) 926-5622. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-9:30 pm, Sun JI am-2 pm. MC. V; personal checks accepted. Moderate.



D REVISITS

Reflections ★★★★ Fort Worth’s most beautiful and roost serene dining room is the scene for some of its best food. The goat-cheese ravioli, served as an appetizer, sat in a creamy sauce and was dotted with caviar. Both the blackened redfish (accompanied by Maryland crab cakes) and (he juicy, pink rack of lamb were perfectly cooked. And the dessert cart offered a raspberry tart with a firm, crisp crust and a chocolate cake with rich buttercream frosting Our only reservations concerned some of the sauces-both the vinaigrette poured over the salads and the sauce accompanying the lamb bad touches of sweetness mat were not quite subtle enough. The Worthington Hotel, 200 Main. (817) 870-1000 Dinner Mon-Sat 6-10. All credit cards. Expensive.



NIGHTLIFE

Balboa Cafe. This place is like your favorite T-shirt; nothing fancy, well-worn, comfortable. Don’t come here if you’re starving and looking for good food. Ditto if you’re in the mood to rubberneck glamour guys and gals. You won’t find any of that at the Balboa Cafe. What you will find is a semi-dark spot to relax with friends over a few cocktails and a basket of onion rings, which are about the only thing on the menu worth ordering. The regular patrons and the employees are a laid-back sort-unless there’s any-kind-of-ball game playing on the TV behind the bar. Even if you don’t know who’s on first, you’ll find yourself drawn to the rowdy fans clustered around the thank-god-it’s-not-a-big-screen TV. 3604 Oak Lawn. 521-1068. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat & Sun 10 am-2 am. MC, V, AE.

Bar Of Soap. We’d like to see this place make it just because of ils name. A combination art pub and launderette, you can do your wash in the back room while sipping your favorite beer or wine. But you’ll want to make sure you stay there long enough to hear original music and poetry readings performed on top of “soap box.” Along with the original artwork hanging on the walls, plans are in the works to provide people a chance to show their own productions on the bar’s VCR. 3615 Parry Ave. 823-6617. Daily noon-2 am. No credit cards.

Barnacles.Whal a find! This place is comfortable, easygoing in toe Lower Greenville manner, bedecked with nets and other bits of nautical kitsch. On a balmy evening with the front doors thrown open, it has that “Nawlins” flavor. The huge mural of the Mississippi past and present wins immediate entry into the Dallas Museum of Great Bar Art, where it joins the massive Mardi Gras heads thai decorate Fat Tuesday’s. The menu is surprisingly extensive. We had tasty Cajun popcom (striplets of crawfish in a tangy house sauce), followed by a creditable Fishing Camp Scampi-juicy shrimp, perfècto pasta, thick cheese bread, and carrots. The musical fare can be uneven, but there’s no cover charge, so who’s complaining?’ 1915 Greenville. 826-2623. Mon-Sat 5pm-2 am, Sun 7pm-2 am. MC, V, DC, CB.

Bolter Room.It’s easy to sec how this bar got ils name: it’s the actual bailer room of the old Sunshine Biscuit Company. However, this has nothing to do with its popularity as a dance club and singles bar close to downtown. Some may feel inhibited dancing in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows next to the dance floor; others won’t want to leave. Part of the Dallas Alley in the West End Marketplace. 2019 N Lamar. 988-0581. Daily 4 pm-2 am. MC, V.AE

Dickr’s Last Resort. The customers of this restaurant bar spend most of their time saying, over and over, “Excuse me.” The place is usually standing room only, and with good reason. It’s a fun bar offering live. Dixieland music, bench seating, and decent food mat comes in a bucket. As the West End grows, so will the crowds. But not at Dick’s-they can’t get any bigger. Corner of Ross and Record. 747-0001. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-1 am, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-2 am, Sun noon-midnight. MC, V, AE.

Fast & Cool.The music here is predominantly Motown sound and authentic soul from artists like James Brown and Ike and Tina Turner. The dance floor is the center of this tiny universe, and it has a magnetic effect on anyone who walks in (he door. Unlike countless dance clubs that have come and gone on Greenville Avenue, this place has staying power. 3606 Greenville. 827-5544. Tue-Thur 8 pm-2 am, Fri A Sat 8 pm-4 am. Closed Mon. Cover $3 Thur; $4 Fri & Sat. MC, V, AE.

Fat Tuesday. You can laissez les bun temps router in tin’s spacious pleasure bam. (bough even a healthy crowd scans swallowed up here. The Mardi Gras mood is enhanced by the huge, festive masks that adorn the walls, especially the striking sun mask that smiles over the bar-our first nomination for the Dallas Museum of Great Bar Art. Ultimately, of course, the Bourbon Si reef snirit depends on spirits, and Fat Tuesday delivers. More than a dozen high-octane mixtures chum perpetually in blenders; the aptly named Crawgator, a house specially, mixes three kinds of mm, brandy, and juices. The Cajun buffet-all the jambalaya and chicken wings you wain for %2-is satisfactory. 6778 Greenville. 373-7377. Daily 3 pm-2 am. MC, V.AE.

Froggy Bottoms.Ever wondered what a basement barduring prohibition must have looked like? This is it. A wonderful rhythm and blues club offering good barbecue and cold beer, the atmosphere here was definitely designed for good tiroes in a very small setting The Tonny Foy decor can best be described as early flea market. The walls are decorated with graffiti and scrap metal. Pan of Dallas Alley in the Wist End Market Place, 2019 N Lamar 988-0581. Daily 4pm-2 am. Cover varies. MC, V, AE.

Funny Bone. The Funny Bone is to comedy what McDonald’s is to hamburgers It’s the largest chain of comedy clubs in the country. You may not recognize all the

names that appear here, but that doesn’t mean they’re not funny. Many of these comics are in the middle of long runs playing die ten clubs around the country. Tuesday nights you can catch the local improv group, “4 nut of 5 doctors LBJ Freeway and Greenville Avenue in the High Point Village Shopping Center. 437-2000. Shows: Tue, Wed, Thur, Sun 8:30; Fri 8:30 & 10:45; Sat 8,10, & midnight. MC. V.AE.

Greenville Bar & Grill. If Dallas had a Watering Hole of Fame, d?s bar would certainly be in it. The kingpin of the Lower Greenville circuit won’t disappoint if you’re looking for a good burger, a longneck beer, and a band that won’t let you hear yourself think. 2821 Greenville. 823-6691. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-2 am. Sun noon-2 am. MC V, M.

Humperdink’s. It’s easy to figure out why this place has survived the bad times. It’s cozy for couples, (huge, elegantly upholstered booth s perfect lor the two of you), bawdy and boisterous for those looking lu shoot some pool {the game-room is hidden in the back so that you can be as loud as the evening demands), and blaring with television sets strategically positioned to ensure that everyone gets a good seat. As we reported a year ago, the beers are still ice cold wonders and if you’re hungry, don’t miss the fried zucchini. 6050 Greenville. 368-6597. Daily II am-2 am. All credit cards.

Knox Streat Pub. Here, across the street from such yuppie delights as On the Border and Hoffbrau, is a bar still fighting to be laid back. And what is laid back these days? How about a varied jukebox with rock ’n’ roll, English New Wave, country/western, and Sixties pop? How about terrible restrooms and old pool tables? How about a motley clientele? The pub is a classic neighborhood bar. a vanishing species. 3230 Knox. 526-9476 Mon Sal U am-2 am, Sun 5 ptn-2 am. MC, V.

The Library. An elegant spot in the renovated Melrose Hotel, this bar has done some sprucing up of its own. It opened the windows and doors and put in a soothing, quiet piano-jazz act. Perteet for a comfortable after-work drink. Melrose Hotel, Oak Lawn at Cedar Springs. 521-5151. MonSat 11 am-2 am, Sun 11 am-midnight. All credit cards.

The Lounge. Want to throw down a beer with young intelligentsia? Here’s what you do: first, dress chic, but don’t let it look elegantly chic. Casual chic is tire style here (unless you’re in the New Wave crowd and you come, in so everyone can have a look at what they’ve been told is “gloriously outrageous” fashion). Then, you’d better see one of those foreign movies playing next door at the Inwood Theatre so you’ll have something to talk about at the bar. And you’d better show a little poise. This is as close as Dallas gets to one of those sophisticated, high-tech upper West Side bars in New York where you wish you could eavesdrop on the conversation at every table. 5460 W Lovers Lane. 350-7834. Sun 5 pm-1 am, Mon-Sat 5 pm-2 am. AE. DC, CB.

Mariano’s. Mariano’s claim to have invented the frozen margarita, like so much else in this world, must be taken on faith. But if they didn’t create the drink here, you couldn’t tell it from sampling the Mercedes or Papa Mariano’s Recipe, a delightful marriage of Cuervo and Cointreau. A few of these Idealities and a pluie of the Mexi-canape”s (wild flautas, a feisty stuffed jalapeno, etc.) and you’ll gladly overlook the cheesy pastel portraits of local sports, entertainment, and media celebs that ring the cantina. Old Town. 5500Greenville, Suite 1000. 69J-388& Sun Thur U:30am-10 pm, Fri A Sat 11;30 am-11 pm. MC, V, AE.

Memphis, Don’t lei the tiny dance floor (literally about the size of a two-door foreign car) and the dark hue of the bar disturb you. People dance in the aisles, on the chairs, by the bar-mainly because this is the best live jazz-dance bar in North Dallas. Great local groups arc regulars-like Emerald City and Schwantz Lefantz. Quorum Flam, 5000Heil tine, Suite 500. 386-9517. Mon~Fri4pm-2am, Sal & Sun 7 pm-2 am. Cover $4-$5. All credit cards.

Mimi’s. This is the perfect spot for European beer lovers. Also Asian beer lovers. Caribbean beer lovers, and, if you must be boring, American beer lovers. At ill is quiet spot, in the heart of the noise-blasting Greenville clubs, you can play a game called “Around the World,” where you drink beer from dozens of countries-more than 130 brands Mimis also has fine sandwiches and snacks. Bartender plays albums (not singles) and is open to any request. 5111 Greenville. 368-1994. Mon-Fri noon-2 am, Sat 3 pm-2 am, Sun 6 pm-2 am. MC, V. AE. DC

Mr. C’s Oyster Bar. It ma> Uk* like a bar in the American Airlines terminal (soundless TVs, lots of tile, and uncomfortable chairs), but it is a welcome refuge, far from (he madding crowds of the rest of the West End. If you want hot R&B and even hotter homemade Cajun food, this is your place. Be sure to sample the “Hot Pups” (jalapenos stuffed with cream cheese). 601 Pacific. 698-9364. Mon-Thur II am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards.

No Whar But Taxas. This place may be the most casual of die big country/western bars. No one seems to care if you can’t dance or drawl. And you’ll still find great North Dallas cowboys and cowgirls on anil around the huge dance floor. The Corner Shopping center, 9840 N Central Expwy, Suite 340. 369-3866 Sun-Fri 6 pm-2 am. Sat 7 pm-2 am, Sun 6 pm-2 am. Cover varies. All credit cards.

The Palm Bar. If you’re downtown, few places are as niceas this fora drink aller work. If you’re not downtown, it’s worth the trip. The decor is elegant but not pompous, the drinks are excellent and reasonably priced, and the service is flawless. If you work late, beware-this place closes at 8 p.m. Adolphus Hotel. 1321 Commerce. 742-8200. Mon-Fri II am-8 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. All credit cards.

Pinot’s Wine Bar. You want wine by the glass, mis is the place to gel it-twenty-one varieties, ranging in price from $2.50 to $21 a glass. (If you’re trying to check out all twenty-one in one night, the half-glass option might be advisable. ) There is a menu, and it’s more than passable, if less than awe-inspiring, but wine, mil food, is the lure here. Pinot’s setting is closer to plain than plush, which doesn’t seem to bother in the least the wine and restaurant business crowd that gravitates here. 2926 V Henderson. 826-1949 Tue-Sun 4 pm-midnight. MC, V, AE.

Plaza Bar.Ii\jiisi like the name implies, a plaza thai opens to the alley of Dallas Alley, offering indoor and outdoor sealing, with food service from two different restaurants. This is a great place to have a casual conversation and drink, or to meet friends before tackling the West End for the night. Part of the Dallas Alley in the West End Marke/Pince. 2019 N Lamar. 988-0581. Daily 6 pm-2 am. MC, V. AE.

The Prophet Bar. Haunted by the threat of nuclear war? The lines of Dylan Thomas? The lines at the Starck Club? If you’re tired of that scene, then retire to the peaceful artistic confines of the Prophet, when- people gather coffeehouse-style to discuss, oh, what they did last night al the Starck Club. This is a fine Deep E Hum-watching place, which means you try to guess who over at table three is the real artist and who is the downtown office worker who just likes to play dress up, But by II, you don’t have to worry about “cool” talk. The live music will- -thank God-drown you out. 2713 Commerce. 742-2615. Daily 9 pm-2 am. AE.

SRO. This place was made for the younger real estate brokerage crowd that loves to party on Thursday night, and don’t assume the downturn in the real estate market has changed those partying habits. Our Thursday visit found the place SRO indeed A walk from our scat at the bar to check out the al fresco seating created enough friction to light up a three-way bulb (all those natural fibers rubbing up against one another). SRO’s sleek black interior and low-voltage lighting are cooling, and Ilic place Mill dues a respectable club sandwich, 2900McKmney 748 5014. Man-Sat 4 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE.

Stat? Ban One sign of a bar’s success is the sighting of T-shirts emblazoned with its logo on the persons of its patrons and would-be patrons. By that standard, Stale Bar is nearly as successful as-and far more hip than-the Hard Rock Cafe. What has made State Bar’s martini-glass trademark omnipresent is simple: this is a bar for low-key Bohemians who want to have civilized conversation while gazing out picture windows facing the fairgrounds across the street. The subdued lighting-there arc rheostats at each booth-and moderate volume of the musk make this possible. All in all. the effect is of a gallery opening without the pictures. 3611 Parry. 821-9246, Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 am, Sat & Sun 5:30 pm-2 am. MC. V, AE.

Venetian Room. The old king of the Dallas showroom supper clubs still consistently brings in the most recognizable names in pop-jazz-comedy acts. The posh, elegant place, with its frescoes on the walls and tuxedoed waiters, might he intimidating to some, but the dress code has been loosened (you can get by without tie or fancy dress), the cover charge ranges from twelve to twenty dollars, and you don’t have to buy the full-course dinner (which starts at twenty dollars) to come to the show. Aas scheduled this month include The Platters and the Four Freshmen, Fair-mont Hotel, Rew and Akard. 720-2020. Tue-Sun, two shows nigluly at 9 pm and 11 pm. All credit cards.

Wall Streets. Junk bonds. . absorption rate. . .tax base.. . Oh, sorry, we’ve been hanging out at Will Streets, enjoying hard drinks arid bedrock American business talk. There isn’t much fooling around here. This is the business lunch, business drink, business conversation crowd-anil they love it. 725 N Ollie in the Bryan Tower forking Garage. 754-0199. Mon-Fri II am-8 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. All credit cards.



FORT WORTH NIGHTLIFE



Billy Bob’s Taxas. This huge country/western club in the Fon Worth Sux;kyanls has a lot going for it two restaurants, forty-two bar stations, a real bull-ruling arena, and several shops. It’s bigger than Gilley’s. more citified than the Longhorn Ballroom ever was. and a “must-see” if you’re in Fon Worth. 2520 Rodeo Plaza in the Stockyards. Metro 429-5979. Daily 10 am-2 am. MC. V, AE.

Caravan of Dreams. Caravan of Dreams, which covers three floors of a chic Sundance Square building, has excellent live jazz/blues (and a bar) on the first floor, a theater with movies and live drama (and a bar) on the second floor, and an outdoor patio with 1 cactus garden (nod a bar) on the roof. 3/2 Houston. (817)8773000. Wed-Sun 7 pm-2 am, Sat 7pm-2 am, Sun 6p?i-midnii-lu. Closed Mun & Tue. Caver for shows only. MC. V. AE. DC.

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