Wednesday, July 6, 2022 Jul 6, 2022
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EATING AROUND CAJUN RAGES ON AT ATCHAFALAYA RIVER CAFE

By Liz Logan |

Atchafalaya Diver 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. New Orleans-based Copeland’s established an Addi-son outpost, home-grown Cafe Margaux recently moved to bigger quarters. Oyster’s has turned into the Louisiana Purchase, and now Houston’s Atchafalaya River Cafe has taken over what used to be Joe T. Garcia’s space on Belt Line.

Atchafalaya has made a plausible enough transition from Mexican to Cajun in terms of decor. With its wooden tables and neon signage. the restaurant feels warmer and more pleasant than an establishment its size has any right to. It also is raucously noisy, which either attracts or repels you, depending on what sort of human you are.

There are evidently plenty of humans who love the effect, because on my visits, I waited from half an hour to an hour for a table. Once a table was secured, the following things were worth putting on it: an exceptional version of shrimp rémoulade, with fresh-tasting shrimp and a fine, sassy remoulade sauce; and a dessert duo of beignets (little pillow-like doughnuts adrift in powdered sugar) and cafe an lait (strong coffee and hot milk-not up to the standards of New Or-leans’s Cafe du Monde, but I had no problem polishing it off).

The rest ranged from passable to dispiriting: a goopy crab meat enchilada, leaden fried oysters Atchafalaya, dull-tasting pee-wee softshell crabs, duller-tasting fried shrimp, over-the-hill broiled trout stuffed with crab meat and crawfish, needlessly scorched-tasting blackened lamb chops (good meat, though), and a sugary sweet potato-pecan pie.

This place is a Cajun version of On the Border: a massive restaurant with a personable, young staff, where fun, not food, is the point. 4440 Bell Line at Midway. 960-6878. Daily 11-11. MC, V. AE. Moderate.



The Atrium



★★ The gimmick here is brochettes, known more informally as kebabs. That surprised me, because whatever Dallas may be crying out for in the way of restaurants, I believe that a post-modern brochetterie isn’t high on the list.

Here’s the deal: at dinnertime, each table is accessorized with an appliance that looks like something IIsa, She-Wolf of the SS, could have devised interesting uses for, but turns out to be merely a brochette holder. For the price of your brochettes. you also getacarafe of wine, soup or salad, an appetizer, and dessert.

Soup (a blah onion) and salad (limp green) were equally forgettable on my visits. The appetizers that I tried-ceviche and a seafood dumpling-were in the poor-to-rniddling range. For the main course, there are fourteen brochette choices and fourteen sauce choices, as well as eleven non-brochette options. The lamb and beef brochettes that I tried were on the chewy side-edible enough, but not enough to make up for the rest of the meal. Dessert wasn’t a saving grace, either: the uninspired choices included sautéed pears and ice cream, chocolate mousse, and crème caramel. 3101 N Fitzhugh at McKinney. 521-0080. Breakfast Mon-Sat 7-10; Lunch Mon-Sat 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-midnight. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



Ask Liz



Q: I’m going to New York for the weekend and want to have one meal for the record book. Where should I eat?



A: Le Bernadin is where you want to go. In the year or so since Le Bernadin opened, it has earned justifiably ecstatic reviews from just about everyone but Mimi Sheraton, who is the Mikey of (he restaurant-review ing world (she hates if not everything, then everything most other critics love).

The food on my visit was fit for the gods, including, most notably, a supernal version of salmon with sorrel sauce and a quartet of caramel desserts that left me speechless. Happily, service inclined toward warmth instead of the traditional coolness displayed to non-regulars in New York French restaurants. As if all this weren’t enough, Le Bernadin is that rare beasl: a big-deal eating establishment that is open for lunch on Saturday, when it is actually possible to get a reservation on very little or no notice. Go, eat, and remember. Whatever it costs will be worth it. 155 W 51st, between 6th and 7th avenues. (212) 489-1515.

Questions about dining out should be sent to Ask Liz, 3988 N Central Expwy #1200 Dallas, Texas 75204.



RESTAURANTS



AMERICAN



BABY ROUTH ★★★★ This infant son of Routh Street Cafe is a casual, relatively inexpensive alternative to the pricey, reservation-required pleasures of Routh Street Cafe Stephan Pyles and chet Amy Ferguson (who first made a name for herself in Houston) have come up with an earthy menu that is a pleasing balance of the new and the familiar Don’t miss the smoked corn chowder with collard greens cream, the spicy honey-fried chicken, the grilled prawn and apple-smoked bacon club sandwich on toasted brioche, and the chocolate-ancho pot de crème. 2708 Routh. 871-2345. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6-10:30; late-night menu Mon-Sat 11 pm-12:45 am; brunch Sat & Sun 11:30-3. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



BEAU NASH ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ As 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-al 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 McKinney. 871-3240. Breakfast daily 6:30-10:30; Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6 pm-11:15 pm; Sun brunch 11-2:15. All credit cards. Expensive



ClTY 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 brulée 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. ClosedSun. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



DREAM CAFE ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The bliss that is breakfast at the Dream Cafe is one of the worst-kept secrets in the Highland Park/Oak Lawn area On weekends, the place is full of sleepy yuppies, hippies, and preppies in quest of fresh-squeezed orange juice, blueberry pancakes, and migas What still isn’t widely known is the appeal of the Dream Cafe’s changing lunch and dinner choices, which are simultaneously healthy, satisfying, and sophisticated And what hardly anyone at all knows is that although the place has no liquor license, you can bring your own wine or beer 3312 Knox. 522-1478. Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Thur-Sat 6pm-10pm, Sat & Sun 8 am-3 pm. MC, V; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive



THE MANSION ON TURTLE CREEK ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ what never seems to change at the Mansion is its historic beauty and top-of-the-lme service. What does change is the menu. Now its 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 brulée 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-midntght, Fri & Sat 11 pm-midmght. Promenade Room-breakfast Mon-Fri 7-11:30, Sat & Sun 7 am-1 pm; tea Mon-Fri 2-5 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.



ROUTH StREET CAFE ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Houth Street Cafes formula for national gastronomic fame Stephan Pyles’s New Southwestern Cuisine, a sleek, Tonny Foy-designed setting; and snappy, congenial service The five-cours, fixed-price menu ($42, with surcharges for certain items) is printed daily, but certain items-such as cornmeal catfish with smoked pepper/mint mangold sauce, lobster enchilada with red pepper crème fraiche, lamb with pecan and garlic sauce, berry

buckle with cinnamon ice cream, and apple-walnut spice cake-have become near-fixtures When food obsessed travelers come to town, this is the reservation they want. This means prime-time reservations should be made well in advance. 3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161, Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. Expensive



SAN SIMEON ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Richard Chamberlain’s food matches the splendor of San Simeon’s service and its subtly, weirdly wonderful, post-modern Egyptian inferior, (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 prosciutlo 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 10 30; Sun brunch 11-2 Allcredit cards Expensive.



BURGERS



SNUFFER’S ★ ★ ★ Snuffer’s is nearly always packed wilh patrons who either go to SMU or took as if they ought to, but this should not be held against it. The menu is small and well-prepared, with emphasis on salads, nachos. burgers, and the like The immense basket of fries is a trademark I wouldn’t have believed it was possible to finish an order of the plain fries, much less those with cheese, but I have witnessed the feat. 3526 Greenville. 826-6850. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun 11.30 am-2am. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.



CAJUN



ARCADIA BAR ★ ★ ★ ★ First things first: the Arcadia Bar has nothing to do with the Arcadia Theater, which is across the street. The Arcadia Bar is a no-frills hangout. (The music is mostly recorded, though there is sometimes a pianist.) The menu is small, mostly Cajun, and all deftly executed From a perky green salad to perfect fried oysters to New Orleans-quality duly rice, the food is first-rate. 2114 Greenville Ave. 821-1300. Daily 5 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE Inexpensive.



CAFE MARGAUX ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ The blackened-everythmg brigade-those trend-surfing restauraieurs who don’t know their elbows from their étouffées-have made many local diners deeply suspicious of all Cajun food served outside a fifty-mile radius of New Orleans Happily. Cafe Margaux is another matter altogether. The food here measures up to Louisiana’s finest: house-made rolls, green salad, crawfish étouffée, oysters Bienville, trout with crab-meal stuffing, and bread pudding were all flawless. 3710 Rawlins. 520-1985. Lunch Mon-Fri. 11 30-2’30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:3011, Fri & Sat 5:30-midmght; Sun brunch 10.30-3 All credit cards. Moderate.



CHINESE



AUGUST MOON ★ ★ ★ ★ On a recent visit to the original Addison August Moon (there are now clones in Piano and Arlington, too), the food shone much more brightly than on previous visits Whatever the reason, the results were impressive enough to make me look forward to a return trip. Steamed pot stickers, pork dumplings thai are the Oriental version af ravioli, were simultaneously light and satisfying – and much more interesting than the standard-issue egg rolls. Lamb and prawns Hunan-style was a blast of heated flavor, which was a nice contrast to the relined tang of lemon chicken. 15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227 Sun-Thur 11 am-10.30pm, Fri&Sat 11-11. All credit cards. Moderate.



BEST A ROUND ★ ★ ★ Here at D. our fun-loving staff members frequently find themselves hard at work-and hungry -at odd hours. Lately we’ve taken to ordering in from Best A Round which has the virtues of low prices, quick delivery, and food that may be short on finesse but is reliably tasty. Best A Round has a couple of counters – and a television that lends to be luned to MTV – for customers who want to eat in, but most either pick up or have their fodder delivered. 3607-A Greenville. 827-3631. Sun-Thur 3-3, Frt & Sat 3 pm-4 am. No credit cards. Inexpensive



CHINA PALACE ★★★ Here is a restaurant to remember the next time they’re turning on the house lights at Starck Club and it dawns upon members of your party that you haven t eaten in days Do not. under any circumstances, miss the fried dumplmgs, which are as good as tried dumplings get on this or any other continent. After the dumplings, however, things get a little dicier on my last visit, the shredded pork with bean curd was worthwhile, the Hunan prawns were rendered unappealing by a sweet, characterless sauce, and the spring rolls were merely edible The setting is pleasingly odd (the red and green color scheme lends a year-round Christmas atmosphere), and service is accommodating. 400 N Greenville, Richardson. 669-1636. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat 10:30 am-11 pm. MC, V, DC. Moderate.



CAYSTAL PAGODA★ ★ ★ ★ One of the oddest tacts of dining in Dallas is that although there are more Chinese , restaurants around than any other kind, we don’t have a single one that approaches the greatness of, say, New York’s Siu Lam Kung Crystal Pagoda doesn’t match that standard, but it’s as good as Chinese food gets in Dallas- which is quite good The shredded beef Szechwan-style and the moo shu pork are two es- pecially good choices here. The service and setting are both extremely pleasant. 4516 McKinney. 526-3355, Mon-Thur 11 30 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11.30am-11 pm. Sat noon-11 pm, Sun noon-10:30 pm. 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, it oddly named, silver gourd savoury (shrimp, green peppers, straw mushrooms, and water chestnuts). Orange beef was too fatty as it tends to be in Chinese restaurants all over town. Garden Inn, 4101 Belt Line, Addison. 385-7888. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11:30 pm. All credit cards Moderate.



JASMINE ★ ★ ★ ★ Jasmine’s setting sets it apart from standard issue Chinese restaurants It’s plush to the point of featuring a white baby grand piano For reasons unknown the menu featured some fractured French, but its offerings don’t suffer as a result Shrimp rolls arrived encased in black seaweed wrappers- not bad. mind you. but still, the stuff did take some getting used to. Happily, however, there were no untoward surprises involved in the top-notch treatments of moo shu pork and beef Mimosa (sautéed in an orange-flavored red pepper sauce). 4002 Belt Line 991 -6867. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11 am-11:30 pm, Sat 11.30-11:30. All credit cards. Moderate.



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 here-from steamed dumplings to the whimsically named Penguin’s Double Happiness, which involves shrimp and chicken, not penguin-and never been less than happy. 4848 Belt Line at Inwood. 392-9998. Mon-Thur 11-10:30, Fri 11-11, Sat 11.30-11, Sun 11.30-10:30. Alt credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



PLUM BLOSSOM ★ ★ ★ ★ The elegant Plum Blossom has a new chef, and Steve Chiang’s work was very impressive on a recent visit From appetizers of crispy five-spice quail and paper shrimp to mam courses of knockout Peking duck, subtly gratifying bird’s nest chicken with pine nuts, and crispy whole catfish (looks fightening, tastes great), dinner was phenomenally good. And dessert – |asmine 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 Stemmons Fwy. 748-1200 Mon-Sat 6 pm-10.30 pm. All credit cards Moderate to expensive.

TONG’S HOUSE ★ ★ Although the dan-dan noodles with sesame-peanut sauce are still some of the best (and some of the only) to be found in town, the rest of a recent dinner at Tong’s was a bummer Wonton soup was inedibly soggy, moo goo gai pan included canned mushrooms, and orange beef Szech wan-style was too chewy for comfort All the same, there wasa half-hour I wait for a table Still, Tong’s is worth a Inp for true Chinese food tans, if only for the opportunity to order such frightenmgly aulhentic dishes as pig’s stomach with bean soup, cold cattle stomach, and beef tendons i in hot sauce 1910 Promenade Center, Richardson. 231-8858. Mon-Thur 11 am-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10:30 pm, Sun 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



FRENCH/CONTINENTAL



ACTUELLE ★ ★ ★ ★ If I had a chapeau to hand, I would eat it As it is, III have to settle for ingesting my words. When I first reviewed Actuelle, I found it off-putting and said so. However, as the months passed, and reliable sources continued to file reports of formidable meals at Actuelle, I revisited tor 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 torlilla 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 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11. All credit cards. Expensive.



CAFE ROYAL ★ ★ ★ ★ Romance may be invaluable, but a romantic dinner shouldn’t cost more than a used car Cafe 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 rundown on one nights uniformly well-prepared options an appetizer of a salad with quail breast or an artichoke bottom with lobster ragout and caviar butter sauce; a green salad or red-wine sorbet; an entree of sliced loin of lamb 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.



THE FRENCH ROOM ★ ★ ★ ★ with its cherubs, vaulted ceiling. and Irompe I’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 entrees (salmon and rack of lamb) to dessert (apple tart), the food was all that one could ask for What’s more. the sommeher is both congenial and well-informed; he ’s 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. Jackets and ties required. All 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 tor Lower Greenville’s resident Bohemian yuppies. The Grape paraphernalia displayed near the door – including T-shirts 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 m 1972. pasta and fish specials are the ticket these days 2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 823-0133. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Sun-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat 6 pm-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.



L’ANCESTRAL. ★ ★ ★ L’Ancestral has moved from its funky lormer Lower Greenville location to the considerably slicker Travis Walk, but the food and the leeling are essentially unchanged, and the Vuilleret family is still very much in evidence Now as before, fish is not the wisest choice here, much better to go with the steak au poivre or the lamb chops with herb butter and peerless pommes frites L’Ancestral’s trademark clafouti dessert-a dense, lender cuslard with black cher-ries-is as good as ever. 4514 Travis 528-1081. Lunch: Mon-Sat 11:30-3; dinner: Mon-Thur 5 pm-10 pm, Fri & Sal 5-11, Sun 6:30-10. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



LA CAVE ★ ★ ★ What with all the recent hoopla about the West End Marketplace and the weekend crowds resulting therefrom, hungry West End troopers would do well to remember quieter, less heralded establishments like La Cave Although, as the name suggests. La Cave focuses on wine, with its cellar full of the stuff, the food is reasonably priced and reliably good. The standard pates and cheeses are as good here as anywhere else in town, but it’s the well-prepared daily specials that earn La Cave its stars. 2019 N Lamar at McKmney. 871-2072. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11:30 am-midmght, Sat noon-midnight. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate



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. Sat noon-3; dinner Tue-Sat 6-10. No credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



L’ENTRECOTE ★ ★ ★ ★ Afler a long sliding spell L’Entre-cote has, as the French say, pulled up its socks. Thanks to the efforts of chef Michel Platz, the Loews Anatole’s French restaurant is once again one of the best in the city Watercress and endive salad with pink grapefruit was an exceplionally refreshing appetizer Gratin of crawfish tails with ginger was light and satisfying, and loin of lamb with rosemary and shallot coulis was a must for lamb fans. Finally, dessert- banana beignets with coconut mousse-was a killer. Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Wed-Mon 6-10:30pm. Closed Tue. All credit cards. Expensive to very expensive.



THE RlVIERA ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ I have attended Grateful Dead concerts that were quieter than the Riviera on a Satur-day 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 oft by sherry vinaigrette, and came with a delectable goat cheese crouton Sun-dried tomato and smoked bell pepper soup was satisfying, it 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 lasted And duck breast with intensely flavored lavender and honey sauce was worthwhile, too. For dessert the creditable, very buttery-tasting Grand Marnier crème brulée was outshone by the ethereally light apple tart with almond cream and caramel sauce. 7709 Inwood. 351-0094. Sun-Thur 6:30 pm-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 6:30 pm-11 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. 826-6209. Sun & Tue-Thur 5:30-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Moderate.



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



GREEK



TAVERNA CHRISTINA ★ ★ ★ This large, loud, and attractive restaurant serves extremely good if overpriced Greek food Among the best choices dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), hummus (a purèe of garbanzo beans, sesame paste, olive oil, and lemon juice), keftethes (little meat-balls with lemon-egg sauce). moussaka (zucchini and potatoes in a tomalo-based meal sauce, topped with bechamel sauce), and pastitsio (macaroni and meat sauce with bechamel and cheese sauce) 3300 Oak Lawn 520-2020. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V, AE. Moderate to expensive.



INDIAN



AKBAR ★ ★ ★ ★ Old India hands will want to thoroughly explore the byways of this restaurant’s menus That’s plural – there are two of them. the regular menu and the snack bar menu Although the regular menu is praiseworthy, it is Akbars snack bar that conclusively sets it apart from its peers Snack-bar highlights include aloo tikki, grilled potato cutlels with curried chickpeas: samosa. tender turnovers stufted with herbed potatoes and peas, and malai kofta curry, cheese, and vegetable dumplings in a cream and almond sauce 2115 Promenade Center at Coit & 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 & 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 note-worthy 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.



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 the kitchen is well worth a trip to Garland even if you don’t live nearby One more incentive prices are 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 North west Crossing Shopping Center, 1250 Northwest Highway. 681-0087. Tue-Thur 11 am-9 pm. Fri 11 am-10 pm. Sat noon-10 pm. Sun noon-9 pm. Closed Mon. No credit cards. Inexpensive.



INDIA PALACE ★ ★ ★ I’ve given up on keeping track of the shifting, intricate lineage of who owns which local Indian restaurants, but it doesn’t matter, because they’re all quite good at the moment India Palace is no exception to this general rule of excellence Whether you order a la carte or opt lor the weekend buffet brunch, you’ll be happy with the food here. India Palace’s exceptionally thoughtful service is a bonus 13360 Preston 392-0190. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2, Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5 pm-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-10:30pm. All credit cards Moderate.



ITALIAN



La TOSCA ★ ★ ★ 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 tortel-Iini and veal scallopine. 7713 Inwood. 352-8373. Sun & Tue-Thur 6 pm-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 6 pm-11 pm, Sun noon-9 pm. All credit cards Expensive.

MOMO’S ★ ★ ★ Momos is small plain, and disorganized – none of which matters to devotees of its pastas and pizzas. At lunch. mostly pizzas – including a wonderfully forceful-tasting one of tomato. mozzarella. and gorgonzola – are available. At dinner the menu is more extensive. (Pasta. such as tortelli dispinaci. is a much better idea than veal which can be dauntingly chewy ) You can have any wine you want at Momo’s as long as you bring it yourself. 9191 Forest Lane. 234-6800. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-1:30 pm. dinner Mon-Thur 6-9:30 pm. Fri 6-11 pm, Sat 5:30-11. Sun 5:30-9 pm. 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 wails on weekends? suspect it’s that of debbil ambience Nero’s is made to order for dales or get-reacquainted-with your-spouse sessions, at least if your date or spouse is a stylish ironic character (Diana Vreeland ana 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 stall well-informed – and the pizza, which comes in both traditional and New Wave varieties 2104 Greenville. 826-6376 Mon-Thur 6-11 pm. Fri & Sat 6 pm-midnight Closed Sun MC, V. AE. Moderate.



RlSTORANTE SAVINO ★ ★ ★ Savino does well on both the congeniality and the food front A recent visit was notable for warm service and commendable versions of spaghetti carbonara, fettuccine with gorgonzola and walnuts, and vtello tonnato. that refreshing combination of veal and tuna sauce 2929 N Henderson 826-7804. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 2; dinner Sun-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. Moderate



SFIZI ★ ★ Sfizi is an odd. rewarding little West End eating establishment Odd because this presumably Italian restaurant includes nachos among its appetizers; rewarding because its tortellini in cream sauce is one of the best versions in the city Obviously, this is a menu that requires care in ordering the same lunch that featured the aforemenlioned stellar todellini also included dull salads and ravioli In any case, prices are low. and the informal setting is airy and pleasant. 1718 Market. 698-9390, Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11 am-1 am, Sat noon-1 am, Sun noon-11 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive



311 LOMBARDI’S ★ ★ ★ ★ What is the Italian translation of “good karma7 Our waiter didn’t know, but 311 Lombar-di’s has achieved it Here, surrounded by the glow created by creamy apricot walls, happy hordes of downtown workers get what may well be the best Italian food in town at reasonable prices. No pasta was visible in the pasta and bean soup, but it was a hearty, herb-enlivened delight anyway. A pizza with leeks, pancetta. goat cheese, and mushrooms could have held its own against New York’s best The next stop on the menu was good enough to be required eating for potato-philes: potato gnocchi with two sauces (tomato and irresistible gorgonzola). A lender, thin veal cutlet topped with arugula and diced tomatoes was simplyimmense Dessert of raspberry ice cream and respectable espresso rounded off a repast that was pure pleasure from start to finish 311 Market. 747-0322 Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 5 pm-10 pm, Sat 5 pm-1 am, Sun 5-10 pm. All 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, smell egg, salmon egg, cooked egg. and tuna roll – and I was appeased by the sautéed soft-shell crab and perfect shrimp tempura The Quorum, 4860 Belt Line, 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, All credit cards. Moderate.



SHOGUN ★ ★ ★ Shogun serves commendable versions of the standards of Japanese cuisine – lightly battered tempura. juicy teriyaki chicken, and fresh-tasting sushi (commonly referred to as “bait” by non-aficionados)- in a pleasingly serene atmosphere The only element of the plentiful, reasonably priced lunch that took me aback was the unidentified soup. For all I know, it was superb by the standards ot the East, but it resembled primordial ooze from my Occidental viewpoint. This small restaurant is exceptionally pleasant, thanks to the quietly efficient service 5738 Cedar Springs. 351-2281 Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri-Sun 5:30-11 All credit cards. Moderate.



SUSHI ON McKINNEY ★ ★ ★ As a rule, the sushi is a better bet than the cooked things at this sell-styled ’friendly postmodern sushi bar.” The atmosphere is lively to the point of freneticism. which is either a refreshing or a dislurbing change from the traditionally quiet, subdued atmosphere of local Japanese restaurants. 4500 McKinney 521-0969. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5.30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. Moderate.



MEXICAN



ANTONIO’S ★ ★ ★ Although one has to order with care to assure hilling the highlights. Antonio’s is worth a trip for anyone serious about Mexican food. Recommended: nachos, which are made with firsl-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 Belt Line), Addison, 490-9557. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm; dinner Mon-Thur 4 pm-10 pm. Fri & Sat 5-11:30 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



CANTINA LAREDO ★ ★ ★ ★ A belief shared by many Mexican food enthusiasts hereabouts is that great Mex can only be found in grungy. lime-worn establishments located in the vicinity of Maple Avenue. However, holding to this belief would mean missing out on Can-tina 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 com-ida casera – home-style food-is where the smart money is Standouts include the tacos al pastor filled with marinated pork, 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 tattered 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 quesadillas-is good enough to please even nalive Dallasites, who are accustomed to the Tex-Mex way of life. 444 7 Maple, 522-9166, 3747 Walnut Hill, 351-9554. Mon-Thur 9 am-9 pm. Fri & Sat 9 am-4 am Closed Sun. at Maple location; Daily 9 am-9:30 pm at Walnut Hill location. MC, V. Inexpensive.



GARCIA’S 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 Northwest Hwy. 358-2664. Mon-Thur 11-midnight, Fri 11 am-1 am. Sat 11:30 am-1 am, Sun 11:30 am-10 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate



GENARO’S ★ ★ ★ With its tropical art-deco look, Genaro’s is the prettiest place in town for margarita consumption. l Happily, for the most part, the food matches the margaritas. Enchiladas Genaro, filled with snapper and crab meat were extremely gratifying And even it chicken with jalapeno and tomatillo cream sauce lopped with pumpkin seeds arrived sans pumpkin seeds, the accompanying black beans and pea-studded rice were pleasing, anyway. And the coconut ice cream was lushly satisfying, as always. 5815 Live Oak at Skillman. 827-9590. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri-Sun 11 am-midmght. All credit cards Moderate.



MARTINEZ CAFE ★ ★ ★ Tex-Mex abounds in Dallas; top-notch Tex-Mex, however, is relatively rare That’s where Martinez Cafe comes in. It’s been a long time since standard-issue Tex-Mex made me sit up and take notice as I did here. There’s nothing outré on the menu, just the standards, prepared as they should be Here you will find snappy salsa, notable nachos. tasty tacos, and enticing enchiladas. Just one caveat if Mexican food and margaritas are synonymous in your book, don’t come to Martinez Cafe There aren’t any marga-ntas to be had, though beer and wine are available. 3011 Routh. 855-0240. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30, Sat 11-3; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. No credit cards. Inexpensive.



MIA’S ★ ★ ★ For lo these many years. I have been hearing about the chile rellenos at Mia’s. And for lo these many years, I have been missing out on the chile rellenos at Mia’s. I would remember that they were available only on Tuesday, but forget they were available only at dinner on Tuesday. I would remember that they were available only at dinner on Tuesday but they would be sold out Recently, thanks to a kind-hearted waitress who let me have her pre-reserved relleno. I finally tasted the elusive entree, stuffed with ground beef, potato and raisins, and can report that the result was worth the wait. The rest of Mia’s menu is above-average, but it’s the relleno-and the warm vice-that make the place worthy of cult status 4418 Lemmon. 526-1020. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Fri 5-10, Sat 11 am-10:30 pm No credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



RlCARDO’S ★ ★ ★ This latest in the area’s supply of “Miami Vice”-style Mexican restaurants offering (pretty pastel settings and tropically influenced food) proves that there is gastronomic civilization even as one travels so far north as to sight the Oklahoma border. 17610 Midway at Trinity Mills 931-5073 Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. Sun 11 am-9 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



VILLA MARGARITA ★ ★ ★ If you were just tooling around inthe Coil-Belt Line area, chances are that you’d miss Villa Margarita unless you knew it was there This is a shame, because VM is one of the best Mexican restaurants north of LBJ Here, in pretly pastel surroundings, you can have some of the best nachos (with black beans, white cheese, and sour cream) to be had in these parts After the nachos, the standard Tex-Mex is fine, but I prefer the tender, flavorful carne asada. 362 Promenade Center, Coit & Belt Line, Richardson 235-5447. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri 11-11. Sat 11 am-7 am, Sun 11 am-9 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



SEAFOOD



AW SHUCKS ★ ★ Although the “fried thangs”-oysters and shrimp-that are the featured attraction at this relaxed restaurant are splendid, one does tend to feel in need of a shower after eating at Aw Shucks But it you can handle the inherent grease factor 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 Bachman Lake, 3701 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 310, 350-9777. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11, Sun noon-9 pm at Northwest Hwy location; Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10 pm. Sun 11 30 am-9 pm at Maple and Greenville locations. MC, V. Inexpensive



CAFE PACIFIC ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ There are a lot of first-rate waiters irking in Dallas but Don at Cafe Pacific has to be in the very top rank. Even if the food hadn’t been as dose 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.



GULF COAST OYSTER COMPANY ★ ★ ★ This casual little restau-rant with a misleading name-oysters aren’t the only locus of attention, and the place has a Greek, not a Gulf Coast, accent-takes its seafood seriously. A meal here starts with pita bread and Greek dips and segues to such main courses as broiled trout (which could hardly be simpler-or belter) or broiled shrimp with rice. Corner Shopping Center, 8041 Walnut Hill Lane. 361-1922, Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10. Fri 5-11, Sat 5-11. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



HAMPTON’S ★ ★ ★ Required eating for 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. Lunch daily 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri-Sat 5:30-11. Sun 5:30-9. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



NEWPORT’S ★ ★ ★ ★ When Newport’s hits, as it did on an order of trout amandine on my last visit, it’s as good as any seafood restaurant in town Unfortunately, on this same visit, swordfish kebabs were below par However, such instances are anomalies in my experience Which is a good thing, because unlike its competitors lor serious seafood – Atlantic Cafe ana Cafe Pacific- Newport’s car’t rely on a gorgeous setting (the vast, woody setting is merely inoffensive) or polished service (the waiter was bungling) 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2.30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. MC, V, AE. Expensive.



SOUTHERN



BUBBA’S ★ ★ Forget the catfish, forget the chicken-fried steak, forget the vegetables (especially the amazingly tasteless mashed potatoes) All of these things are beside the point. At Bubba’s you will be wanting the fried chicken a high-rise yeast roll or two. and the fruit cobbler Order this sacred trinity of Southern food, and you will be rewarded with a matchless high-cholesterol, high-carbohydrate repast You could drive through at Bubba’s and take your order home, but that would deprive you of hanging out in the lipstick-red booths that punctuate the black-and-white deco decor 6617 Hillcrest. 373-6527. Daily 6:30 am-10:pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted Inexpensive



CELEBRATION ★ ★ ★ My friend suggested that we should have an argument at dinner to make Celebration authentically family-style. Even if you can’t manage to slage a family feud. Celebration is likely to live up to its billing. The simple concept-Southern fare with salad. rolls, muffins vegetables and most entrees in ail-you-can-eat Quantities- packs them in every nignt of ths week The delectable, ilove’s-Aeeieneo litte biscuits ana muffins and the immense wooden bowl filled with green salad would be enough for those of normal ap-pelite. Still. most patrons press on to such entrees as pot roast (Mom never did better] or chicken-fried steak (Mom did much belief) and vegetables (broccoli, squash, and mashed potatoes on our visit) For dessert, peach cobbler was pleasingly doughy and cinnamon-scented. Celebration’s rustic. woody setting is comfortable, and service is pleasant and efficient 4503 W Lovers Lane. 351-5681 Lunch daily 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5-11. Sun 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards Moderate.



CHAISE LOUNGE ★ ★ ★ ★ “This Is The Place Your Mother Warned You About.” says the sign outside The food served inside this dark roadhouse is swell corn and conch chowder, pan-fried trout, and rice and raisin pudding with heavy cream are transcendently noteworthy If you don’t like to rock out to Ca|un music, sit in the kitchen at dinner. 3010 N Henderson 823-1400. Mon-Sat 4 pm-2am. Sun 11 am-7 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate



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 4611 Cole. 526-3801: Village on the Parkway. 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. Suite 600. 934-8800 N; downtown. 500 Akard at San Jacmto, Suite 220. 740-2400. Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm 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 No credit cards MC V. AE for takeout and buffet orders of more than $10 Inexpensive



MAMA TAUGHT ME HOW ★ ★ ★ ★ Here is a down-homedream come true: lovingly prepared versions of the greatest hits of Dixified cuisine That name, incidentally. is no irumped-up product of marketing strategy Mama 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. Slandouts nclude the red beans and rice. chicken-fried sleak (both available every day). chicken and dumplings, and coconut cream pie (which are available only on some days) 14902 Preston Rd #512 (SE corner of Preston & Belt Line) in Pepper Square 490-6301 Mon-Fri 7 am-2:30 pm. Thur 5-8 pm. No cedit cards: personal checks accepted Inexpensive.



ROSEMARlE’S ★ ★ ★ ★ In the days when I toiled at The Dallas Morning News. one of my prescriptions for a bad morning was a quick trip across the bridge to Oak Cliff for lunch at Rosemaries. These days I don’t make it to Rosemaries quite so often. but vhen I do. it’s like old-home week Rosemarie Hudson never forgets a customer, and her warmth accounts in part for the fanatical loyalty this little cafeteria-slyle operation inspires. the terrific chicken-fried steak. mashed potaloes. yeast rolls and peanul butter pie also might have something to do with it. 1411 N Zang 946-4142. Mon-Fri 11-2. No credit cards 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-lowners 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 ice cream sullied with blueberry glop. 350 N St Paul, Suite 160. 953-1353. Mon-Thur 11 am-8 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. Ail 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 gambasal 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. Lunch Mon-Fri. 11:30 am-3 pm; dinner Mon-Fri 6-11, Sat 6-midnight; happy hour 5:30-7, Closed Sun. All 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 appeltzer 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 choleslerol had ordered This was a sleak 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. Side dishes are ordered a la carte, and in portions immense enough for four And 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- 10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11, Sun 5 pm-10 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.



LAWRY’S THE PRIME RiB ★ ★ ★ ★ Finding myself once again on the verge of the big NB (nervous breakdown), decided on dinner at Lawry’s. 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 hardcore 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 there are also chicken, fish, and salad options, but prime rib is the 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.



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, Fri 11:30 am-11 pm, Sat 5-10:30 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 juice, would start any day right. A1 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 McKinney. 871-3233. Mon-Fri 7 am-5:30 pm, Sat 10:30 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 ate reasonable. 4446 Lovers Lane. 373-0325. Mon-Fri 7:30 am-7 pm, Sat 8 am-5:30 pm. MC, V. Inexpensive to moderate.



POLLO BUENO ★ ★ ★ This may welt be the fast food of the gods PB’s hickory-roasted chicken is remarkably succulent. With it you can get very good cole slaw and rice, pretty good cornbread, and pretty odd beans. You can eat inside the clean, spiffy-looking premises or take your treasure home 3438 Samuell Blvd. 828-0645. Daily 11-11. MC, V. AE. Inexpensive.



VIETNAMESE



LA PAGODE ★ ★ 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 restaurant-hounds 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 past visits. 4302 Bryan at Peak 821-4542. Mon-Thur 11-10, Fri &Sat 11-11, Sun 5 pm-10 pm. MC, V. inexpensive.



MAI’S ★ ★ Lunch specials at Mai’s are a great, inexpensive way to be introduced to Vietnamese food, if you haven’t discovered it The garlic shrimp or the subtly fiery lemongrass chicken makes for a great lunch, especially if you follow it with Vietnamese-style iced coffee with condensed milk. (Finish this stuff off, and the paperwork will be flying from your desk for hours afterward.) You don’t come here for the atmosphere. Mai’s decor is distinctly utilitarian. 4812 Bryan, Suite 100 (at Fitzhugh). 826-9887. Wed & Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 11 am-10 pm. Closed Mon & Tue. MC. V. Inexpensive.

SAIGON ★ ★ ★ ★ 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, but the intriguing-sounding shrimp wrapped around sugar cane was particularly laudable. As usual at Vietnamese restaurants, the beverages of choice are fresh lemonade and/or iced coffee. 1731 Greenville 828-9795. Tue-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 5-10. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



LAS COLINAS/MID CITIES



CHINA TERRACE ★ ★ ★ I like to think that I will forgive almost anything for good food. However, if that were the case, the well-prepared steamed dumplings, Szechwan beef, and shrimp with snow peas that I tried on my last visit to China Terrace would have left me happy Instead, the harshly lit setting and the tough-luck attitude of the service (a request for a beer at 9:55 was refused because the bar was closed) put a significant dent in my sense of well being. 5435 N MacArthur, Irving. 550-1113. Sun-Tnur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

La Deli ★ ★ You can begin and end your meal with the Generous Tray alone: eighteen (count em) dishes of assorted Lebanese salads and appetizers, from rolled and stuffed grape leaves to fresh yogurt. This is a very enticing – and filling – beginning But if you have room for an entree, the combination dinner is a good choice because you can sample gome of Lebanon’s best dishes: kibbi, falafel, and shish kebab. 5433 N MacAr-thur, Irving. 580-1163. Mon-Thur 11 am-8 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun All credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

VIA REAL★ ★ ★ Dramatic abstract pictures dominate the walls, and even the menus are original handcrafted works by the same artists. The contents of the 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 crepa de salmone (thin slices of smoked salmon enfolded in crepes and served dry except for a garnish of pico de gallo) and rellenos de peacado {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 Line at Northgate, Irving. 255-0064. Lunch Mon-Sat US; dinner Sun-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11; Sun brunch 10-2. All credit cards. Moderate.



FORT WORTH



Le Chardonnay ★ ★ ★ ★ Former Ceret chef Philip Lecoq is a co-owner of this new bistro, and its combination of serious food and an informal atmosphere is reminiscent of 1hat late, lamented establishment The lamb chops topped with goat cheese, served with a rosemary sauce and accompanied by herbed French fries, are a standout. 2443 Forest Park Blvd, Fort Worth. (817) 926-5622 Mon-Thur 11:30 am-9 pm, Fri 11:30 am-10 pm, Sat 6 pm-10 pm. Sun 11 am-2:30 pm MC. V. Moderate.

THE ORIENTAL ★ ★ ★ Come the weekend, and normal people grab a bite at the nearest eatery that appeals. Restaurant critics and their long-suffering friends head out for North Richland Hills, where they have been told terrrfic Thai food is to be found-and where they are misdirected by the local constabulary, and so arrive after closing time. To the credit of the kind-hearted staff of the Oriental, the group in question was fed in spite of the hour. And the food was worth any amount of driving, especially the pork sate with peanut sauce, the risibly named “Earth. Wind and Fire Part II” (which translates to breast of chicken with cashew nuts and vegetables), and Thai doughnuts, with an orange-peanut sauce for dipping. (And thanks to reader Lisa Bain Grossman for the recommendation.) 6455 Hilltop Dr, North Richland Hills. (817) 656-2144. Lunch Tue-Sun 11 am-3:30 pm; dinner Tue-Thur 4:30 pm-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat 4:30 pm-10:30 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



SAINT-EMILION ★ ★ ★ ★ Considering the four-course fixed price of $20 per person, it’s surprising that more Dallasites don’t make the trek to Saint-Emilion. The last time I did. the results were impressive. A thoughtfully put together salad (leaf lettuce, radicchio, watercress, walnuts, and bits of bacon dressed with walnut oil), textbook lobster bisque, rich spinach cannelloni, and creditable snails in garlic butter made for a great start. (Order the last with the boneless quail and you’ve got the snaii-and-quail special.) Juicy swordfish provencal and nicely roasted duck with cherry sauce were all one could ask for. (Actually, one could ask that the duck be boned.) For dessert, pass on the fluffy, lightweight chocolate mousse and opt for the extraordinary crème caramel. 3617 W Seventh. (817) 737-2781 Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm & 6-10 pm. Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



NIGHTLIFE



ADAIR’S. The great old beer joint of Dallas continues to pull in its rednecks, loud-mouthed attorneys, chic city women who act country, and all-around fun-loving people who like to drink beer and spill it on the pool tables Since Adair’s moved to its Deep Ellum location, cynics have been predicting its demise. But the half-pound hamburgers and whiny jukebox still draw a crowd. 2624 Commerce. 939-9900. Mon-Sat 9 am-2 am. Closed Sun. No credit cards.



BOILER ROOM. Walk inside and it’s easy to see how this bar got its name: it’s the actual boiler room of the old Sunshine Biscuit Company However, this has nothing to do with its popularity as a dance club and the best new 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. 603 Munger. 988-0581. Daily noon-2 am. MC, V, AE.



BRIO. Its amazing how the herd instinct works at these Upper Greenville dance clubs. Just when you think one of these places is going to become an institution, wham!, another one opens down the street and the fast-and-sexy singles crowd shifts allegiance. The latest one that is mounting incredible business- tines snake out the door almost every night – is Brio, where the hot-and-hungry do the predictable: sneak glances at one another, buy each other drinks, ask each other what they do, and then, after a dance or two, talk about what a wonderful thing it is to meet someone special at a place like this! Then they return the next night to do it all over again. 5500 Greenville. Suite 403. 361-9517. Mon-Thur 4 pm-2 am, Fri 4-3, Sat 7 pm-3 am, Sun 8 pm-2 am. M, V. AE.



THE DEN. This dark, warm, intimate bar is located inside the Stoneleigh Terrace Hotel. You never know who you’re going to see here, if anyone at all. It’s the perfect place to meet someone for a quiet conversation. And if they bore you, you can always spend your time trying to figure out whose picture is hanging next to Bob Hope’s. Stoneleigh Terrace Hotel, 2927 Maple Ave. 871-7111, Mon- Sat 11 am-midnight, Sun noon-10 pm. MC, V, AE, DC.



DICK’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 sealing, and decent food that 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 1 pm-midmght MC. V, AE.

EMRELD ClTY. We have no idea why one of the most popular dance bands in Dallas, Emerald City, decided that the name of its new nightclub would be spelled differently than the band’s own name. Nor did we understand when the club’s manager labeled the club’s hot pink-and-black interior as “erotic art deco.” And we know what a gamble it is for the same band to play one nightclub five nights a week, three weeks a month, and hope to keep drawing larger crowds. But Emerald City, which has been playing in Dallas for seven years, can put together a super-charged set – and it’s worth a trip. 4908 Greenville. 361 -2489. Sun-Thur 8 pm-2 am, Fri & Sat 7 pm-2 am. Closed Mon. MC, V, AE.

FAST & COOL. Fast & Cool is undisputably the King of Lower Greenville. 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 the door. It’s hard to imagine even the most hard-core Baptist resisting this dance floor Unlike countless dance clubs that have come and gone on Greenville Avenue, this place has staying power. 3606 Greenville. 827-5544 Sun & Tue-Thur 8 pm-2 am, Fri & Sat 7-4. Closed Mon. Cover $3 Thur, $4 Fri & Sat MC. V. AE.

FAT TUESDAY. You can laissez les bon temps router in this spacious pleasure barn, though even a healthy crowd seems swallowed up here. The Mardi Gras mood is enhanced by fhe 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 Nightclub Art Ultimately, of course, the Bourbon Street spirit depends on spirits, and Fat Tuesday delivers More than a dozen high-octane mixtures churn perpetually in blenders; the aptly named Crawgator, a house specialty, mixes three kinds of rum, brandy, and juices. The Cajun buffet-all !he jambalaya and chicken wings you want For S2-is satisfactory. 6778 Greenville. 373-7377. Daily 11 am-2am. MC, V. AE.

IMPROV. Everybody loves a clown, and of late some of the funniest folks in the show-biz circus have been splitting sides at the Improv, Dallas’s newest comedy club. A cousin of the famed L.A. nightspot, the club takes its name from that gutsy, gonzo brand of comedy that reached its zenith with Robin Williams, wherein the comic plays without a net, relying as much on crowd response, retort, and insult as on any set repertoire. When it works, the payoff can be explosive, awe-inspinng. On our visit, funnyman Byron Allen (of TV’s “Real People”) provided the yuks, feeding off the audience (with mixed results) and mining a rather dated vein of he-she humor. The opening act, |uggler Daniel Rosen, broke every law of physics by juggling a “Swiss army cat” feslooned with razor-sharp blades. 9810 N Central Expwy (in the Corner Shopping Center). 750-5868 Showtimes Sun- Thur 8:30 pm, Fri & Sat 8:30 & 10:45. MC, V. AE.

Knox StREET 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’ rofi, English New Wave, country/western, and Sixties pop? How about terrible restrooms and old pool tables? The pub is a classic neighborhood bar, a vanishing species 3230 Knox. 526-9476. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun 5 pm-10 pm. No credit cards.

LEGENDS. The “legends” here are the least interesting thing about the club-names of Texas sports figures like Bob Lilly. A.J. Foyt. and Babe Didrikson circle the bar in a mock-up of Texas Stadium’s Ring of Honor. More interesting are the dance floors; one is a regulation boxing ring (which will also feature karate and boxing exhibitions). The other is a miniature baseball diamond, which will no doubt spawn endless jokes about scoring and striking out. But if this successor to the old Cafe Dallas proves to be more than a Greenville mayfly, credit will go to the banks or television screens that alternate rock videos with vintage sports footage and live sporting events. It’s quite a novelty to see Magic Johnson and David Lee Roth airborne at once, or to watch Sandy Koufax firing a hummer past the head of Cyndi Lauper. Brush her back. Sandman, brush her back. Old Town, 5500 Greenville. 987-0067. Mon-Fri 4 pm-2 am, Sat & Sun 11:30-2am. MC, V.AE.

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 the style here (unless you’re in the New Wave crowd and you come in so everyone can have a took at what they’ve been told is “gloriously outrageous” fashion). Then, you’d better see one of those foreign movies playing next door 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-Tnur 5 pm-1 am, Fri & Sat 5 pm-2 am. AE. DC, CB.

PlHOT’S WlNE BAR. You want wine by the glass, this is the place to get 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, not food, is the lure here Pmot’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 N Henderson. 826-1949 Daily 2 pm-midmght. MC, V. AE.

POOR DAVID’S PUB. In a city where live music clubs close quicker than real estate deals, Poor David’s has been hanging on for ten years. It’s still the leader in blues artists, progressive-country singers, and touring folk singers 1924 Greenville. 821-9891. Mon-Sat 7 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. Cover varies. No credit cards.

STATE BAR. One sign of a bars success is the sighting of T-shirts emblazoned with its logo on the persons of its patrons and would-be patrons. By thai standard, State Bar is nearly as successful as-and far more hip than – the Hard Rock Cafe. What has made Slate Bar’s martini-glass trademark omnipresent is simpie: 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 are rheostats at each booth-and moderate volume of the music make this possible. All in all. the effect is of a gallery opening without the pic-lures. 3611 Parry 821-9246 Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat noon-2 am. Sun 6 pm-2 am MC. V. AB.

STRICTLY TaBU. Tuesday through Sunday, this popular jazz club/restaurant answers the burning question: how many people can you put into a small, smoke-filled, rectangular room? If the jazz weren’t excellent here, they wouldn’t put the bands in the front window for all to see. Bring an appetite for Italian food if you’re going to arrive late. Chances are the reslaurant upstairs is the only place you’ll find to sit. Lomo Alto at Lemmon A venue. 528-5200. Tue-Thur 6 pm-1 am, Fri & Sat 6 pm-2 am, Sun 6 pm-midmgbt. Closed Mon. MC, V, AE.

TERILLI’S. Ah. yes. that great Lower Greenville tradition-sipping wine, eating Italian, and listening to that smooth, soft kind of jazz that makes you start snapping your fingers like Mel Torme. Wait a minute! This is on Lower Greenville? Goodness, class is popping up everywhere. With the kind of black-and-white art deco decor that looks super expensive, a cozy bar area where you can meet someone who is (incredibly) not in real estate, and live jazz groups every night except Monday, you can actually drink something other than beer and not worry if others are making fun of you. 2815 Greenville. 827-3993. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-2 am. Sun 11 am-2 am. MC, V, AE.

ZEBQ’s. This is a wide-open pop-music dance bar that’sunpretentious and has a low cover charge-an increasingly rare find Zebo’s real forte, however, is itsRockabilly Wednesday, which features live bands andpumped-in rock’n’roll 5915 E Northwest Hwy 361-4272. Wed-Fri 6 pm-2 am, Sat & Sun 7 pm-2 am.Closed Mon & Tue. No credit cards.