EATING AROUND LIFE IN THE EXPRESSO LANE AT LOMBARDI’S

Also: Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf, Magnolia Cafe, Pontchartrain, Henry Chen’s, Mr. Sushi & Hibachi

Lombardi Expresso



★★★★ The latest outpost in Alberto Lombardi’s local Italian-food empire is an establishment designed to make life easier, at least if you live or shop anywhere near Preston Center, 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 very 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.

Lombardi Expresso wins the ultimate restaurant-reviewer’s compliment; it’s a place I’ve returned to on my own time and money. 6135 Luther Lane. 361-6984, Mon-Sat 8 am-9 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf Magnolia Cafe Pontchartrain



★★ Cajun just keeps on raging in the Dallas area. In one week. I checked out three new Cajun restaurants, with eerily similar results. These restaurants were all more than decent, but none of them is competition at this point for Cafe Margaux, the local Cajun pacesetter. How to tell Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf, Magnolia Cafe, and Pontchartrain apart: Pontchartrain is the biggest and has the most unseasoned service, Magnolia Cafe is the spiffiest looking, and Pat’s has great. straight-from-Met-airie waitresses. Perhaps as time goes by, they will distinguish themselves from one another gastronomically. Pat’s Fisherman’s Wharf: 9100 N Central Expwy, Suite 181; 891-0963; Mon-Fri 11-11, Sat 2 pm-11 pm, Sun 2 pm-9 pm; MC, V, AE; moderate. Magnolia Cafe: 4620 McKinney; 522-2932; Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. Sun 11 am-9 pm; MC, V, AE; moderate. Pontchar-train: 13444 Preston; 385-1522; daily 11-11; 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. Service, however, has been noticeably un-together on two visits. 5701 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 180. 956-9560. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



Mr. Sushi & Hibachi

★★★★ Mr. Sushi’s original location is one of the favorite stops of local seekers of raw fish. This new establishment also in-cludes 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 unin-spired. However, the table-side chef was mercifully subdued, so the experience was relatively painless. My sushi scouts report that the sushi here is as terrific as at the original, plain old Mr. Sushi. 9220 Skillman, Suite 227. 349-6338. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-1], Sun 5:30-10. Alt credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



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. That just leaves one question: what is it about Southwestern cuisine that requires every dish to be hyphenated? 2708 Routh. 871-2345. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6-11; late-night menu Thur-Sat 11 pm-1 am; brunch Sat & Sun 11:30-3. All credit cants. 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-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 McKinney. 871-3240, Breakfast daily 7-10:30; lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6:30 pm-11:30 pm; Sun brunch 11-2:15. All credit cards. Expensive.



Blom’s ★★★★★ In most cities, hotel restaurants are bad news. In Dallas, hotel restaurants offer some of the best food in town. Blom’s definitely falls in this praiseworthy category. The menu keeps changing-recently to include such standouts as breast of duckling with sweet cherry pecan sauce- but the quality is constant. Westin Hotel, Galleria, 13340 Dallas Pkwy. 851-2882. Mon-Thur 6:30-10:30pm, Fri & Sat 6:30-11. Closed Sun- Alt credit cards. Expensive.

Bronx ★★★ Top-notch burgers, omelettes, and daily specials are the attraction at this long-lime Cedar Springs hangout. Happy news: Frank Woods, who was chef during [he Bronx’s glory days of the early Eighties, has returned. 3835 Cedar Springs. 521-5821. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-3; dinner Mon-Sat 5-11:30: Sun brunch 11-3. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive.



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 créme 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. Closed Sun- MC. V, AE Moderate.



Dakota” ★★★ Dakota’s is as visually appealing-and as auditorily overwhelming-as ever. On my most recent visit, however, the food wasn’t quite up to par. Two daily specials-a mixed grill of halibut and Black Angus beef, and cilantro fettuccine with veal. beef, and mustard sauce-were disappointing. The mixed grill was only mildly disappointing, because of lack of gastronomic excitement. The pasta, however, just flat didn’t work; it lasted like what one might turn out at home with leftovers and hopeful intentions. 600 N Akard. 740-4001 Lunch Mon-Fri 11-3; dinner Sun-Thur 5-11. Fri & Sat 5-11:30; Sun brunch 11-2:30. All credit cands. Lunch me/derate, dinner expensive.



Deep Ellum Cafe ★ ★ ★ This charming, unassuming little restaurant is the best thing to happen to Deep Ellum in some time. The scallop pie isn’t a pie by any definition I know of-it’s a group of scallops served in a shell with garlic, cream, and a bread crumb topping. The pasta options-including an appetizer of ricotta- and spinach-filled ravioli with walnut sauce-are good, if not quite good enough. The smarter money is on the chicken with dill dumplings and the sandwiches-including a most appealing seafood club sandwich with crab and shrimp salad on grilled sourdough. 2704 Elm. 741-9012. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm; dinner Tue-Thur 6pm-midnight, Fri & Sat 6 pm-I am. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive to 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-3 pm. Thur-Sat 6 pm-10 pm. Sat & Sun 8 am-3 pm, No credit cards. Inexpensive.



Gershwin’s ★★ Gershwin’s now offers “small plates,” which are like appetizers, except the idea is you order several instead of, rather than before, a main course. Black bean cakes with sour cream, baked goat cheese with almonds, and barbecued shrimp are some of the small-plate highlights. The rest of the menu continues to be surprisingly well prepared in light of its extensiveness (usually a wanting sign for savvy restaurant-goers). 8442 Walnus Hill. 373-7171. Mon-Thur II:30 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11:30 am I am.Sun 10:30 am-3 pm & 5 pm-11 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate..



Good Eats ★★ This spiffy diner is a prime source of nutrition for many Oak Lawn residents, who rely on the basic breakfast fare, burgers, barbecue, and grilled fish that make up the menu, Nothing at Good Eats is ever truly great, but nothing is ever truly terrible, either. In any case, the juke box and sassy service seem to make everything taste better. 3531 Oak Lawn. 521-1398. Sun-Thur 7 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 7 am-ll:30 pm. MC. V. AE- Inexpensive



Laureis ★ ★ ★ ★ Two things that usually bode ill for one’s prospects of eating well in a restaurant are height and association with a hotel. Laurels, located on the twentieth floor of the Sheraton Park Central, is an exception to both caveats. The menu dégustation, with a fixed price of $38.50. changes daily and is a good bet. A la carte choices are expensive, but choices like Maine lobster, wild mushrooms, and basil with fettuccine and roasted pheasant with green apple pasta and blue cheese sauce are well worth the tariff. Desserts are killers here, especially the souffle of the day (apricot with raspberry sauce on my visit). Sheraton Park Central. 12720 Merit Dr. 851-2021. Mon-Sat 6:30 pm-10:30 pm. All credit cards. 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 belter to accommodate changing offerings BAKERIES



La Madeleine ★★★ These are trying times, and every so often one needs a judicious combination of caffeine and carbohydrates to make it through the afternoon. La Madeleine’s strong coffee and raspberry beignets (or. alternatively, almond croissants) do the job for me. There are also more wholesome alternatives along the lines of soups, salads, and sandwiches-as well as the top-quality breads that are the true raison d’etre of the place. The rustic setting at both locations is pleasant. 3072 Mockingbird. 696-6960; 3906 Lem-mon, 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-style 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-Thur 9 am-I0 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 butler beans and baked potatoes arc a credit to their genre. 5410 Harry Mines Blvd. 630-0735. Mon-Fri 11 am-7:45 pm, Sat 11 am-3 pm. Closed Sun, No credit curds; personal checks accepted. 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 bo-hum beans. However, that sandwich alone is sufficient to earn Sonny’s its stars. 2202 Inwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 10 am-5 prn. Sat 10 am-3 pm. Sun 11 om-2 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.



Solly’s ★★ There are those who believe that good barbecue can’t be found in the squeaky-clean reaches of Ad-dison. They haven’t eaten at Solly’s, where the “casual cuisine” promised by the logo features barbecue as flavorful as that in any other part of town-and French fries that were recently derived from a potato, which is a sadly rare state of affairs. 4801 Bell Line. 387-2900 Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm. MC, V; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.



BREAKFAST



Cindy’s ★ With its utilitarian decor, everyone-you’ve-ever-known crowd, and everything-but -the- kitchen-sink array of breakfast fare, Cindy’s is a local institution. Eat in, or drop by the deli side and take your plunder home. 4015 Lemmon. 522-5275; 385 Dal Rich Shopping Center. Coit & Belt Line. Richardson. 231-3660 N. 11111 N Central Expwy, 739-0182. Sun-Thur 6 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 6 am-3 am at Lemmon location; Sun-Thur 6 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 6 am-midnight at Richardson location; daily 6 am-10 pm at Central Expwy location. MC, V. Inexpensive.



La Peep ★ There’s a reason he Peep tends to be mobbed on weekends: well-prepared egg dishes (every kind you ever imagined, and a few you likely never dreamed of) at a reasonable price. Two bonuses: portions are huge, and the OJ is fresh. Bachman Creek Village, 3701 Northwest Hwy. 352-3911; Casa Linda Plaza. Buckner Blxd and Garland Rd, 321-2535; 3300 Oak Lawn, 526-8812; 11717 N Central Expwy 361-9912; 9220 Skillman. 341-2272, Mon-Fri 6:30 am-2:30 pm. Sat & Sun 7 am-2:30 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



BURGERS



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 11 am-2 am. Sun 11:30 am-2 am. Ail credit cards, 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 ex-ecuted. From a perky green salad to perfect fried oysters to New Orleans-quality dirty rice, the food is first-rate. 2114 Greenville Ave. 821-1300 Daily 5 pm-2 am. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.



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 tail for dessert are worth a visit. 4440 Belt Line at Midway. 960-6878 Sun-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight. MC, V. AE. Moderate.



Cafe Margaux ★★★★ Maybe it’s taking Cafe Margaux a while to settle into its new, larger location, but my last couple of meals here, though still well worth eating, weren’t as scintillating as meals past at the Lovers Lane location (which is now occupied by the altogether wonderful Margaux Natural). In any case, this is still the best place in town to chow down on Cajun classics such as crawfish etoufée, as well as hybrid creations such as crawfish and shrimp enchiladas con queso. 3710 Rawlins. 520-1985. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat 5:30-mid-night. All credit cards. Moderate.



Copeland’s ★★★ This enormous outpost of a New Orleans-based restaurant empire serves remarkably good food, most notably an appetizer of oysters en brochette and a dessert of chocolate cookie ice cream. Service is excellent, but do expect a wait for a table and don’t expect much in the way of decor and architecture. 5353 Belt Line. 661-1883. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat 11 am-midnight, Sun 10:30am-11 pm. MC. V AE. 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 that are the Oriental version of 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 refined 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.



Boat 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 tends to be tuned 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 & The-Thur 4 pm-3 am, Fri & Sal 4 pm-4 am. Closed Man. No credit cards. Inexpensive.



Cathy’s Wok ★★ While what emerges from Cathy’s Wok won’t knock your socks off and is not worth the haul to the North land if you live in Dallas, it is a worthwhile alternative if you are a resident of Piano. From the informative menu (dishes are described in detail, complete with calorie count), I tried decent wonton soup, an egg roll that was heavy on thecabbage, peppery chicken (with plenty of green pepper ina savory brown sauce), and shredded pork with garlic sauce(with lots of julienned carrots in a sweet sauce). Even whenthe food here isn’t perfect, the ingredients are fresh and mercifully MSG-free, and the prices are right (S3.95 for lunch,S4.95 for dinner). 4010 W 15th, Piano. 964-0406. Mon-Sat 11 am-9:30 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards; personalchecks accepted. Inexpensive.



Chin Big Wong ★ ★ ★ Dim sum seekers flock here during peak lunch hours on weekends, so expect a wait, and expect it to be worth it. Carts of goodies roll by: steamed dumplings, sate beef sticks, shrimp toast, spring rolls, baked barbecue pork buns. Most plates are $1.50, and will provide tastes for three people. 9243 Skillman. 343-0545 Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30pm, Fri 11-11. Sat 10am-11 pm. Sun 10 am-10.30 pm. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.



Crystal Pagoda ★★★★ One of the oddest facts 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 especially good choices here. The service and setting are both extremely pleasant. 4516 McKinney. 526-3355 Mon-Thur 11:30 am-I0:30 pm, Fri 11:30 am-11 pm. Sal 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, if 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.



Forbidden City ★ ★ Late Saturday night in Addison, and after two false starts-one restaurant with an hour-long wait for a table at 10 p.m. and another with a wedding in progress-my unwilling companion {who is skeptical of any venture north of Mockingbird anyway) and I were in the zone of dangerous hunger and getting testier by the moment. It was, therefore, with a sense of relief and thankfulness that we found Forbidden City open (until 3 a.m. on weekends) and uncrowded, Egg rolls were nothing special, and an order of orange beef was unacceptably tough, but the uninforma-lively named chef’s chicken was remarkably good: innocent-looking shredded chicken stir-fried in an incendiary sesame sauce and served on a bed of bean sprouts. 5290 Bell Line. 960-2999. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-3 am, Sun noon-10:30 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



Han-Chu ★ ★ ★ Han-Chu is a great restaurant for an illicit affair: the place is dark as a cave even at high noon. By Chinese-restaurant standards, it’s even sophisticated-looking: the color scheme is eggplant and burgundy, the waiters are in black tie. and there are roses on the tables. On my most recent visit, I found the shredded pork with ginger sauce to be memorable, thanks to a zippy flavor and an appealing texture imparted by the presence of black mushrooms and bamboo shoots. The princess chicken, on the other hand, was an altogether forgettable aggregation of cubed chicken, celery, and water chestnuts. Caruth Plaza, 9100 N Central Expwy at Park Lane, Suite 191. 691-0900. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11:30 pm. 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 res-taurant is the answer to the prayers of exiled New Yorkers who search the Metroplex for me 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. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



Jade Garden ★★ Jade Garden looks exceptionally unpromising and serves food that turns out to be exceptionally good. From the standard-moo goo gai pan-to the unusual-curry pan-fried rice noodles-the food belies the setting. 4800 Bryan. 821-0675. Sun-Tue & Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. Closed Wed. MC, V. Inexpensive.

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 Beit Line. 991-6867. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri 11 am-11:30 pm, Sat 11:30-11:30, Sun 11:30 am-10 pm, All credit cants. 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. All 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 main courses of knockout Peking duck, subtly gratifying bird’s nest chicken with pine nuts, and crispy whole catfish (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. Loew’s Anatole Hotel. 2201 Stemmons Fwy. 748-1200 Mon-Sat 6 pm-10:30 pm. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



Szechwan Paviiion ★ ★ ★ 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-I0:30 pm,Fri 11-11, Sal noon-11 pm, Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC. V, AE. 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 (own, 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 Szechwan-style was too chewy for comfort. Alt the same, there was a half-hour wait for a table Still, Tong’s is worth a trip for true Chinese food fans, if only for the opportunity to order such frighteningly authentic dishes as pig’s stomach with bean soup, cold cattle stomach, and beef tendons in hot sauce. 1910 Promenade Center. Richardson. 231S8S8 Mon-Thur 11 am-9:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11 am-10:3O pm. Sun II am-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate,



Topaz House ★★★ Topaz House has an exceptionally depressing-looking interior that is heavy on the harvest gold vinyl. Strike one. Then there was the disgracefully mushy appetizer of sesame noodles. Strike two. Happily, and surprisingly after that appetizer, two entrees were home-run hits: shredded pork with garlic sauce and jade shrimp, a.k.a. shrimp with broccoli. That must be why the place was doing good business in the middle of a Saturday afternoon. 110 Greenville. Richardson. 234-3887. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-I0:30 pm. MC, V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



Uncle Tai’s 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 Pkwy. Suite 3370 934-9998. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat II am-10:30 pm. Suit noon-10 pm. Jackets required for dinner. All credit cards. Expensive.



DELI



Bagelstein’s ★★ Although Bagelstein’s has a lengthy menu of break fast and deli options, the chewy, fresh bagels are the point 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 Hills Shopping Center, 8104 Spring Valley. 234-3787. Mon 6am-3pm. Tue-Sun 6 am-9 pm. 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, I 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-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE, Inexpensive to moderate.



ETHIOPIAN

Queen of Shaba ★ ★ Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” would he, 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 11-11. All credit cards, inexpensive.



FRENCH/CONTINENTAL



Actuelle ★ ★ ★ ★ If I had a chapeau to hand. 1 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 meals at Actuelle. 1 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. Luuch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11. All credit cards. Expensive.



Café Royal ★ ★ ★ ★ Romance may be invaluable, but a romantic dinner shouldn’t cost more than a used car. Café” Royal’s S34.50 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 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.



Chez 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 Gerard (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 me less reverent refer to as the Gallic version of beans and weenies), and créme caramel were less distinguished, but still well within Chez Gérard’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 French Room ★★★★ With its cherubs, vaulted ceiling, and trompe l’oeil garden, the rosy-hued French Room is tar 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 crouionsj 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 Conunerce. 742-8200. Mon-Sat 6-10:30. 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 for 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 pàté 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 selling 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 souffle! 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.



D REVISITS



L’Ancestral ★★ At L’Ancestral, you forget the rules and you take your chances. The rules are: stick to the steak au poivre or the lamb chops with herb butter and peerless pommes frites- Follow the rules and you’ll be happy. Order the dull redfish or the fatty duck, as my friend and I did recently, and you’ll be sorry. Alas, the previously pleasing clafouti (a baked custard with cherries) disappointed on this go-round. 4514 Travis. 528-1081. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-3; dinner Mon-Thur 5 pm-I0 pm, Fri A Sat 5-11. Sun 6-10. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



Laft Bank ★ ★ ★ ★ The left bank in question is that of the Trinity River, and the restaurant in question is the besl 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 6-10. No credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



L’Entrecote ★★★★ After 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 exceptionally 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 fens. Finally, dessert-banana beignets with coconut mousse-was a killer. Loews Anaiole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Wed-Mon 6-10:30 pm. Closed Tue. All credit cards. Expensive to very expensive.



Mr. Peppe ★ ★ ★ Mr. Peppe is. not so much a restaurant as it is a mindset. There exists a subset of monied, established Dallasites for whom fine dining begins and ends with Mr. Peppe. While the rest of us frantically trendy parvenus chase around from new hot spot to newer hot spot, the Mr. Peppe-ites are content to eat things like pepper steak and veal with lemon butter week in and week out. 5677 W Lovers Lane. 352-5976, Mon-Sat 6-10. All credit cards. Moderate.



D REVISITS



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-pére-of big-deal dining in Dallas was as romantic as ever. “Why do I feel like 1 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 point was crépes Suzette (an unjustly out-of-fashion dessert). 2610 Maple. 528-0032. Mon-Thur 6 pm-10 pm Fri A Sat 6 pm-10:30 pm. Closed Sun, All credit cards. Very expensive.



The Riviera ★★★★★ 1 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 lasted. And duck breast with intensely flavored lavender and honey sauce was worthwhile, too. For dessert the creditable, very buttery-tasting Grand Marnier créme 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.



St. Martin’s ★★ This is a great place to bring your squeeze or your squeeze-to-be, as long as neither of you demands consistently first-rate food. With its pretty blue walls and flickering candlelight, St. Martin’s is a pleasant place to drink wine and think romantic thoughts. The food was a mixed bag on my last visit: flabby bread, salads that resembled taco filling, passable roast duck with peach sauce, praiseworthy swordfish with capers and mushrooms, sensually dense chocolate satin pie, and unpleasantly eggy crime caramel. 3020 Greenville. 826-0940. Lunch Man-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5-11. Fri & Sat 5 pm-1 am. Sun brunch II-3. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



Watel’s ★★ This charming/funky little establishment near downtown is so appealing as a potential hangout chat it bears watching for signs of improvement. On my visits, food has been inconsistent, but the setting and service are both casual and pleasant. 1923 McKinney. 720-0323. Tue-Sun 11:30 am-2:30 pm & 6 pm-11 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



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 dump tings-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 5:30-10:30 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Moderate.



Café Kachtan ★ ★ ★ A recent dinner visit here was relatively disappointing, but (hat was mostly because my party was collectively starving and service was excruciating-ly 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 roll, the chicken Kiev, the veal Soblianka with muskroom sauce, and the almond cake with raspberry sauce were ap-peasingly excellent. 5365 Spring valley Rd at Montfort. 991-9550. Lunch Moti-Sat 10-2:30; dinner Mon-Sat 5-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



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



GREEK



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-4 pm: Creek menu Mon-Thur 6 pm-10 pm. Fri & Sat 6 pm-11 pm; Sun brunch 9 am-l:45 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.



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 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 stuffed with herbed potatoes and peas; and malax kofia. curry, cheese, and vegetable dumplings in a cream and almond sauce. 2115 Promenade Center at Coif & Belt Line mads. 235-0260. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2pm, dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. Sat & Sun brunch 11:30-2:30. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.



D REVISITS



Anarkali Cafe ★★★ One strategy that the indecisive diner mighi keep in mind is the old surprise-me routine. On ’ a recent visit to Anarkali Cafe, my two work-numbed com- panions and I were unable to come up with a coherent plan of attack for Anarkali’s modemtely extensive menu. So we turned our gastronomic fate over to the waiter, and asked him to tell the chef to give us whatever he thought best. The result j

was something of a lamb Test, but every dish was well pre pared. 200 W Polk. 680-1016. Lunch Tue-Sun 11:30-2:30, dinner Wed-Sat 5:30-10, Closed Mon. All credil cards Moderate.



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 aried dinnertime menu. Chicken korma is especially noteworthy here. Pres tonwood Creek Shopping Center, 5409 Beit Line. 960-0070. Lunch daily 11-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30.’ MC, V, AH. Inexpensive to moderate.



Bombay Curry House ★ ★ ★ This latest entrant in the local Indian-food derby is small, charming, and well wonh seeking out. The $3.95 weekday- lunch buffet was well prepared, if shorter on selection than some Indian buffet around. At dinner, an appetizer of lamb samosus (turnover 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 lamb sagwala that came in between. 11613 N Central at Forest 373-9700 Lunch daily 11-2:30: dinner Sun-Thur5-I0, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate



Kalachandji’s ★★ Kalachandji’s is a vegetarian Indian restaurant run by local Hare Krishnas, Not to worry, [hough re is no proselytizing, just an invitation to check out the gift shop and temple. The $9.50 dinner changes every night but is always worth taking a chance on if you’re a gastronaut 5430 Gurley. 821-1048 Lunch Tue-Sat 11-2: dinner Tue-Sat 5:30-9, Sun 5:30-8 All credit cards. Inexpensive.



Kebab’N’ Kurry ★★★ A visil to the Walnut Hill K ’n’ K to check out the $7.95 weekend branch was rewarding. Although a few items (mushy strawberry and banana fruit salad, fishy fish curry) didn’t send me, plenty of choices did. including succulent tandoori chicken; fragrant kashmiri pillau (rice with peas, currants, almonds, and cashews); savory palak panir (spinach cooked with homemade cheese); flavorful lamb kofta (meatballs in a mild curry sauce); and tender naan (flat bread). Dessert was a \es in the outer limits of sweetness-if there is anything on the planet sweeter than gulab jamun (paslry balls in cardamom-flavored syrup). I hope never to taste it. 2620 Walnut Hill Ln. 350-6466. Lunch Mon-Fri U-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30; brunch Sal & Sun 11:30-2:30 MC, V, AE. Inexpensive In moderate.



Kebab ’N’ Kurry ★★★ 1 suspect that part of Kebab “n” Kurry’s secret lies in the comparatively limited menu. There are really only a few delights of North Indian cuisine offered, but they are done extremely well, from the thicken korma (rich, creamy, and mild) to the shrimp in a tomatoey curry sauce. Paradoxically, you can find the rarest treasures here at the weekend lunch buffets. They offer such unusual delicacies as curried fresh black-eyed peas for the ridiculously low price of $6.95 for all you can eat, including a dessert like the lovely, barely sweet rice pudding. 401 N Central Expwy, Suite 300, Richardson. 231-5556. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sal 5:30-10:30: brunch Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



Taj Mahal ★★★ Add one more to the list of good local Indian restaurants. Lamb vindaloo and chicken shahi korma are especially good here, though it’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu. Caruth Plaza, Central Expwy & Park Ln. 692-0535. Lunch daily 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive so moderate.



ITALIAN



Adriano’s ★ ★ Adriano’s recently received a facelift along with the rest of the Quadrangle. It is now located on the north end of the building and has art airy, contemporary look, not to mention a booming lunchtime trade. The trademark pizzas have maintained their appeal-particularly the pancet-ta version with fresh tomatoes and mushrooms. Pasta is available, too, and it’s not bad, but you can do better elsewhere. The recent sprucing up of the Quadrangle makes Adriano’s a pleasant stop for lunch. The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh, Suite 170. 871-2262. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5;30-midnight. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



Alesslo’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 provencal, with mushrooms and tomatoes, was quite good, if not as seductive. The subtly dressed romaine leituce 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 Lomo Alto. 521-3585. Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm, Sun & Mon 6-10 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate to expensive.



Clao ★ ★ ★ New Wave pizza may be the featured attraction at Ciao. and they are well and good, but the smart money is on the calzone. a sort of pizza turnover filled with fresh ric-cotta, Italian sausage, and herbs. One of these and a perfectly, simple green salad, and you won’t be in the market for dessert. 3921-B Cedar Springs. 521-0110. Mon-Sat 11:30 am, midnight. Sun 3 pm-midnighs. MC, V.AE: personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.



La Cuelna ★★ It’s hard to get too worked up about La Cucina, which is an enjoyable, if unexceptional, Italian restaurant, but this is not to discount its virtues. Chief among them is a reasonable price structure. Skip the veal, which has been weirdly mealy-tasting on my visits, and go for the pasta: fettuccine alla San Remo (inky pasta with scallops, roasted peppers, and tomato sauce) and alla vodka (sauced with vodka, hot pepper, cream, and tomato) are especially worthwhile. Whatever you order, sitting outside and over-kxiking the fountain in the center of the Crescent’s courtyard is a pleasure. The Crescent. Suite 260. 2200 Cedar Springs. 871-5155. Mon-Sat 11-11. Closed Sun, All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



Lombardl’s ★★★★★ This newest Lombardi establishment replaces the ill-fated 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 Lom-bardi’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 hap-piness: Caesar salad, veal-filled tortelloni gilded with a butter sauce, and superb cappuccino. 4514 Travis. 521-1480. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-midnight, Sun 5:30-10. All credit cards. Moderate.



D REVISITS



Momo’s ★★★★ This formerly tiny, disorganized restaurant was larger and better organised on a recent visit. This meant that getting a table wasn’t a problem, and, for the first time in memory, everything we wanted to order was actually available. That consisted of a mushroom, artichoke heart, and heart of palm salad: trenette with pesto: and fettuccine with vegetables. The first two were lovely; the third bore an odd resemblance to pasta with a sauce of Campbell’s vegetarian vegetable soup. 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.



Ristorante 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 vitello tonnato, that refreshing combination of veal and tuna sauce. 2929 N Henderson. 826-7804. Sun-Thur 6 pm-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-11 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



Ruggeri’s ★★★ Ruggeri’s 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 short-coming. 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-lhur 6-11:30 pm, Fri & Sat 6 pm~midnigkt. 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. Plaza on Bachman Creek, 3802 W Northwest Hwy. 351-4378. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri 11 am-midnight. Sat 5 pm-midnight. All credit cards. Inexpensive to 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 ver-sions in the city. Obviously, this is a menu that requires care in ordering: the same lunch mat featured the aforementioned stellar tortellini 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 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11 am-12:30 am, Sat 5 pm~12:30 am, Sun 5 pm-12:30 am. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



311 Lombardl’s ★ ★ ★ ★ What is the Italian translation of “good karma”? 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 tender, thin veal cutlet topped with arugula and diced tomatoes was simply immense. 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 11 am-1 am, Sal 5 pm-1 am. Sun 5-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



Trattoria Lombardl ★ ★ ★ 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. 2916 N Hall. 528-7506 Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. 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 us 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 sautéed soft-shell crab and perfect shrimp tempura. 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 look me aback was the uniden-Jtifkd soup. For all 1 know, it was superb by the standards of 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 11:30-1:45; dinner Mon-Wlhur 6-10:30, Fri-Sun 5:30-11 All credit cards. Moderate.



Sushi On McKinney ★ ★ ★ As a rule, the sushi is a bet-ter bet than the cooked things at this self-styled “friendly post-modern sushi bar.” The atmosphere is lively to the point of freneticism, which is either a refreshing or a disturbing 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’ ★★★ 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. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2pm; dinner Mon-Thur 4:30 pm-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



Blue Goose ★ ★ When Big Hungry Boys want to eat Tex-Mcx, the Blue Goose is where they head. The sheer quantity of food that appears at the table is enough to make those of normal appetite gasp with disbelief. Quantity, however, is not the end of the story here. The quality is surprisingly high, in light of the low prices. The chicken fajitas are the best in town, and the beef fojitas are more than respectable. The flour tortillas that accompany both are admirably thin and fresh. The standard Tex-Mex is standard, with the exception of great rice and poor guacamole. 2905 Greenville. 823-8339. Lunch: Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner: Mon-Thur 5:30-11. Fri 5:30-midnight. Sat 11 am-midnight. Sun 11-11. All credit cards, inexpensive.



Cadillac Bar ★★ As its name suggests, the focus of the Cadillac Bar isn’t food- Which is just as well, considering what 1 tasted there. The best bets are the nachos. particularly the signature Cadillac nachos (served in a portion large enough to serve as a meal for two moderately hungry people) and the cheesecake. Tequila shots are served by young women equipped with shotglass-filled bandoliers. Part of the serving procedure includes banging on the table and ululating in a fashion one rarely hears outside private homes and motel rooms. Forewarned is forearmed. 5919 Maple Ave. 350-3777. Mon-Thur 11 am-I0:30 pm, Fri II am-2 am,Sat noon-midnight. Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



Cafe Cancún ★★★ Cafe Cancún 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 Lomo Alto, 559-4011. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun noon-10 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, 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 casern-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. Ail 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.



Jimi’s Baja Boat Club ★ ★ Dallas isn’t exactly lacking for Mexican restaurants with food in the decent-to-noteworthy range and a cheerful, airy setting. So, while Jimi’s so-called Sonoran cuisine, which tastes a lot like regular Tex-Mex to me, is nothing revolutionary, it is cause for good cheer among Bryan Place’s urban pioneers. Bran-non Building, Bryan & Peak. 826-0541. Sun-Thur II am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.



Chito’s ★ ★ ★ A New Yorker 1 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 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-Tkur 9 am-9 pm, Fri & Sat 9 am-3 am. Sun 9-9. MC, V. Inexpensive.



Garcia’s Caribbean Grill ★ ★ What is this world com-ing to? We’ve had Tex-Mex, Mex-Mex. tropical-Mex, and now, from Garcia’s, fish-Mex-their term. 1 swear it. Your reviewer, for one. has not been waiting breathlessly for cat-Fish 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-midnight, Fri & 11 am-1 am. Sat 11:30 am-I am. Sun 11-11. MC V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



D REVISITS

Garmo’s ★ ★ ★ Garrno’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 11 am-10:30 pm. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.



Genaro’s ★ ★ ★ With its tropical art-deco look, Geruro’s is the prettiest place in town for margarita consumption. Happily, for the most part, the food matches the margaritas, Enchiladas Genaro, filled with snapper and crab meat, were extremely gratifying. And even if chicken with jalapeno and tomatillo cream sauce topped with pumpkin seeds arrived sans pumpkin seeds, the accompanying black beam 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 & Sat 11 am-11:30 pm. Sun 11 am-11, All credit cards. Moderate.



Gonzaies ★ ★ Here, for very little money, one can have a beer and hunker down in the dark wood-grain booths and achieve low-budget Tex-Mex-style satori. This is not to say that there aren’t good things to eat available at Gonzales. There definitely are, but one Deeds to know the topography of the menu to find them. They are most notably the numerous varieties of burritos made with fat, lender flour tortillas: the bean and cheese and the potato and egg arc two good choices for (hose in search of hangover cures that do not require as much machismo to ingest as menudo does. The drive-through window provides a good, fast option for on-the-run diners. 4333 Maple, 528-2960. Daily 7 am-9 pm. All credit cards, inexpensive.



J.Pepe’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 seating (the local appetite for margaritas consumed en plein air is apparently boundless), go far to explain the madding crowds found here on weekend nights. 2800 Routh. 871- 0366. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Fri 5,:30-11, Sat 11-midnight. Sun 11-11. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



Mario & Alberto ★ ★ ★ The standards of Mario Leal’ssecond restaurant don’t seem to have suffered with the opening of a third one-this popular North Dallas spot seemedas fine (and as busy) as ever. Among the main courses, thefilete de la casa (tenderloin strongly flavored with garlic accompanied by lightly fried potato slices) remains a favorite.Those who crave fajitas will find a relatively restrained version here-a manageably modest serving, and no sizzlingfireworks. The Tex-Mex plates continue to run way behindthe specialties in excellence. Coconut or cinnamon icecream makes a refreshing dessert. Preston Valley ShoppingCenter, LBJ Frwy at Preston, Suite 425. 980-7296 Mon-Thur11:30 am-10:30 pm. Fri A Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun.Drinks with $5.50 membership charge. All credit cards.Moderate.



D REVISITS



Mario’s Chiqulta ★★★ This longtime institution opened a new location in Travis Walk with good 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 tampiquen-as, pork prepared came asada style 4514 Travis. 521-0721. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30-11:30. AH credit cards. Moderate.



Martinez Cafe ★★★ Tex-Mex abounds in Dallas; top-notch Tex-Mex, however, is relatively rare. That’s where Martinez Cafe conies in. It’s been a long time since standard-issue Tex-Mex made me sit up and take notice us 1 did here. There’s nothing outre 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 margaritas to be had, though beer and wine arc available. 3011 Routh. 855-0240. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10. Fri 5:30-11, Sat 11-11. MC, V. AE. Inexpensive.



Mia’s ★★★ For to these many years. I have been bearing about the chile rellenos at Mia’s. And for lo these many years, 1 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 kindhearted waitress who let me have her pre-reserved relleno, ) 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 service-that make the place worthy of cult status. 4322 Lemmon. 526-1020. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10, Fri 5-10:30, Sat 11 am-10:30pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

Raphael’s ★★ Of the three Raphael’s locations, I like the looks at Belt Line and the food at Greenville best. Whichever branch you choose, the vegetarian burritos, an assorted trio. are good enough to earn respect from the most hidebound carnivore. 3701 McKinney, 521-9640: 6782 Greenville, 692-8431; 4900 Belt Line, 991-3610. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-3; dinner 5-10:30, Sal 11:30 arn-11 pm at McKinney location. Mon-Fri 11:30-3 & 5:30-10. Sat noon-10:30, closed Sun at Greenville location. Mon-Thur ll:30 am-3 p. & 5 pm-10 pm, Fri 11: 30 am-11 pm. Sat noon-11 pm, closed Sun at Bell Line location N. MC, V, AE Moderate,



Ricardo’s ★ ★ ★ This latest in the area’s supply of “Miami Vice”-style Mexican restaurants (offering pretty paste) settings and tropically influenced food) proves that there is gastronomic civilization even as one travels so far north as 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.



Uncle Juiio’s ★ ★ The decor is heavy on pink and purple, and the food is notable more for its quantity-portions range from generous to immense-than for its quality. One notable exception: the tamales, which are available with pork and with chicken, are excellent. Beware, however, of the mesquite-grilled specialties, which are overwhelmingly woody tasting. 4125 Lemmon Ave 520-6620 Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30pm, Fri 11 am-11:30 pm, Sat 11:30-11:30, Sun 11:30 am-10:30 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



NATURAL



Bluebonnat Cafe ★★★ If you are a yuppie of a certain age, here is where, to the tune of James Taylor, you’re like-run into friends, acquaintances, or the ex-spouses of same. Bluebonnet Cafe is pan of Whole Foods Market, and . 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. 11 am -9 pm. Sat 9-9, Sun 9 am-3 pm, MC, V. Inexpensive.



SEAFOOD



Acker’s ★★ Acker’s has opened up in Turtle Cove’s former abode. The food is fine, if relatively unexciting, from grilled swordfish and mesquite-grilled salmon with creditable pasta and baked potato on the side to ovcrsweet blackberry cobbler for dessert. 2731 W Northwest Hwy 352-2615. Mon-Fri 11 am-10 pm, Sat 5 pm-I0 pm, Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



Bay Street ★★★ Bay Street has made some efforts toward climbing aboard the Cajun bandwagon with such dishes as Cajun popcorn (fried crawfish tails), gumbo, and crawfish étouffée. Still, these Cajun upstarts, while respectably prepared, are outshone by the non-Cajun seafood choices like a simple charbroiled swordfish. which was impeccably fresh and juicy on a recent visit. (And if you are optimistic enough to order swordfish on a regular basis, you know how rare it is when the meaty fish does not emerge with the texture of fish jerky.) Bay Street does well with bread and dessert, and has half a dozen white wines by the glass. Bay Street’s service is young and tries hard, and the setting is a handsome, hangar-like space. 5348 Belt Line, Addison. 934-8502. Sun-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. Moderate.



Café Pacific ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ There are a lot of first-rate waiters working in Dallas, but Don at Cafe 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 lever 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 Man-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 restaurant with a misleading name-oysters aren’t the only focus 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 better) 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 & 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 entree, because dessert is nothing special. Berkshire Court, Preston Center, Preston at Northwest Hwy 739-3474 Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. Sun 11 am-9 pm. 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 for serious seafood-Atlantic Cafe and Cufé Pacific-Newport’s can’t rely on a gorgeous selling (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.



Rusty Pelican ★★★ You can’t judge a restaurant by its decor-or its nomenclature, either, at least not in the case of the Rusty Pelican. Given the corny name and time-warped (from somewhere in the mid-Seventies) heavy-on-the-wood-and-earth-tones look of the place, my expectations of the Rusty Pelican were somewhere between zip and zero. To my happy surprise, two of four things ordered-shrimp cocktail and trout amandine-were excellent, and the other two-shelled Dungeness crab and mahi-mahi breaded with hazel-nuts-were more than edible, if less than electrifying. 14655 Dallas Pkwy. Addison. 980-8950. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Mon-Thur 5-10 pm. Fri 5-11. Sal 4:30-11 pm. Sun 4:30-10 pm. All credit cards. 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 stage 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 all-you-can-eat quantities-packs them in every night of the week. The delectable, if over-sweetened, little biscuits and muffins and the immense wooden bowl filled with green salad would be enough for those of normal appetite. Still, most patrons press on to such entrees as pot roast (Mom never did better) or chicken-fried steak (Mom did much better) 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-U. 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: com 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 Cajun music, sit in the kitchen at dinner. 3010 N Henderson. 823-1400. Ike-Sat 4 pm-2 am; San 4 pm-midnighi. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



Crescent City ★★ Crescent City serves the best muf-faletta sandwich in the area. It may well be the only muffalet-ta sandwich in the area, but this is not to detract from the accomplishment. Crescent City’s version consists of a round loaf of chewy, sesame seed-topped bread filled with ham, salami, three kinds of cheeses, and a mixture of marinated, chopped olives and vegetables. There arc other things on the menu-including laudable oyster and shrimp poor boy sandwiches and eminently skippable French bread pizzas-but the muffaletta is the reason to make the trek. The beignets and cafe au lait. while reasonably good, are no rivals to Café du Monde’s. Service is in the quick and “bon’-style tradition. 10819 Garland Rd. 321-1613. Mon-Sal 6:30 am-10 pm. Sun 7:30 am-I0 pm. MC, V Inexpensive.



The Mecca ★★ Inside the Mecca, it’s always 1957 This is one old favorite that repays revisiting, whether for breakfast, which features immense omelettes, real-thing hash browns, and swell biscuits, or for lunch, when chickenfried steak is in order. 10422 Harry Hines. 352-0051. Mon-Fri 5:30 am-3 pm, Sat 5:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. 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 Ian 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. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



SPANISH



Manual ★★★★ 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 at 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. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



STEAKS



Dal 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. 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-9 pm. Alt credit cards. Expensive.



Hoffbrau ★ ★ It used to be that if you played word association, the name “Hoffbrau” would invariably be paired with the word “steak.” Of late, a number of non-beefy items such as chicken and shrimp have been allowed on the Hoffbrau menu. However, after sampling slightly greasy, over-breaded fried shrimp, I intend to stick to the steaks in the future. Although you don’t get meat of the caliber found at the Palm at Hoffbrau, you don’t get a tab of that caliber, either. 3205 Knox. 559-2680. Mon-Fri 11-11 Sat 11:30 am-11 pm, Sun Il:30am-10pm. All credit cards. Moderate.



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 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 there are also chicken, fish, and salad options, but prime rib is the point here. Ac 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.



Morton’s ★★★★ “Big hunks o’meat in the dark” is how a friend describes the premise of steak restaurants. Morion’s, which is to Chicago as the Palm is to New York, is a classic of the genre. Servings-and many of the patrons-are out-sized, and prices are set accordingly. The quality of the beef, lamb, fish, chicken, and lobster is unimpeachable, and the results are Fine, if not particularly exciting to those of us who aren’t major carnivores. 501 Elm. 741-2277 Lunch 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 seriouslooking. Instead, of course, the decor, such as it is, consists of the wont 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 bet-ler. to judge from the celestial roast pork I tried this time around. 701 Ross. 698-0470. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11:30 am-11 pm, Sat 5-11 pm, Sun 5-9 pm. All credit cards. Very expensive.



TAKEOUT



Everyday Gourmet ★★★★★ This is the takeout establishment that I’ve been wailing 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-Fri 8:30 am-7:30 pm. Sat 8 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 I0 am-6:30 pm. Closed Sun. All 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, the 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 a breast 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 what’ soever. Chateau Plaza, 2515 McKinney. 871-2253. Mon-Fri 7 am-6 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



Polio Bueno ★★★ This may well 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 combread, and pretty odd beans. You can eat inside the clean, spiffy-looking premises or take your treasure home. 3438 Samuell Blvd. 828-0645. Daily 10:30 am-11 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.



VIETNAMESE



Ba-Le ★★ This is perhaps the tiniest of Dallas’s Vietnamese restaurants, As always at Vietnamese restaurants, real lemonade and killer iced coffee are the beverages of choice. Two entrees of choice are tenderloin of beef with vermicelli and the Vietnamese crepe, which is more of a frit-taia, really. 4812 Bryan, Suite 110. 821-1880. Daily 7:30am-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 restaurant-hounds ] respect, I had never had a meal that was better than average here until 1 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. Closed Sun. MC. V, DC. Inexpensive 10 moderate.



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-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 11 am-10:30 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 & Mon 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 [ 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 re-quesl 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-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11 MC, V, AE. Moderate.



Tandoor ★★ Intrigued by the idea of jeera pani. a harmless-sounding aperitif of cumin, mint, and lemon water on Tandoor’s menu, we practically had to arm-wrestle our waitress to obtain a glass. Three gastronomic tough guys tasted humiliation as we choked down a sulfurous concoction that could have passed for Trinity River water. Our waitress whisked away the evidence of our defeat, and we moved on to a superior assortment of appetizers: minced lamb parties, vegetables fried in chickpea batter, potato/chili patties, turnovers with potatoes and peas, and cheese fritters stuffed with mint chutney. A tomato and coconut milk soup provided a pleasurable interlude before our main dishes, which were a relative let-down: tough curried lamb, slightly overcooked tandoori chicken, and dull cheese and vegetable dumplings. Tandoor’s setting, with dim lighting and blue walls, is plain but pleasant. 532 Fielder North Plaza, south of 1-30, Arlington. 261-6604. Lunch daily 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sal 5:30-10:30. MC, V, AE. Moderate.



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 crépes 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 Line at Northgate. Irving. 255-0064. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-4:30. Sat 11-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11; Sun brunch 10-2. All credit cards. Moderate.



FORT WORTH



Angelo’s ★ How much of Angela’s reputation is warranted and how much mere mystique? I found the sliced barbecue and the chopped beef sandwich both lacking in smoky flavor (though tender and lean enough) the last time around. The extras here have never been worth hooting about, so that didn’t leave much besides the cold beer to make the visit memorable. 2533 White Settlement Rd. (817) 332-0357. Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. Inexpensive.



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 Tue-Thur & Sun 5-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. Closed Mon. No reservations. All credit -cards. Moderate.



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 that 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-2:30pm. MC, V; personal checks accepted. Moderate.



The Oriental ★★★ Come the weekend, and normal peo-ple grab a bite at (he nearest eatery that appeals. Restaurant critics and their long-suffering friends head out for North Richland Hills, where they have been told terrific 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 quesing to make this place look like an SMU dorm. Changes were made to accommodate the over twenty-one drinking crowd, and it’s working- 5114 Greenville. 692-5738. Daily 5 pm-2 am. 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 lime 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-mid-nighl. 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 seating, 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. Comer 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. 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 (hat have come and gone on Greenville Avenue, this place has staying power. 3606 Greenville. 827-5544. Tue-Thur 8 pm-2 am, Fri & Sat 8 pm-4 am. 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 bere. 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 Nightclub Art. Ultimately, of course, the Bourbon Street spirit depends on spirits, and Fat Tuesday delivers. More than a dozen high-octane mixtures chum perpetually in blenders; the aptly named Crawgator, a house specialty, mixes three kinds of rum, brandy, and juices. The Cajun buffet-all the jambalaya and chicken wings you want for $2-is satisfactory. 6778 Greenville. 373-7377. Daily 11 am-2 am. MC. V. AE.



Froggy Bottoms. Ever wondered what a basement bar during 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 times 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. Part of Dallas Alley in the West End Marketplace. 603 Murtger. 988-0581. Daily 4 pm-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 the ten clubs around the country. Tuesday nights you can catch the local improv group, “4 out of 5 doctors.” LBJ Freeway and Greenville Avenue in the High Point Village Shopping Cemer, 437-2000. Shows: Wed, Thur, Sun 8:30; Fri 8:30 & 10:45: Sat 8.10. & midnight; Tue 9pm. MC. AE.



Greenville Avenue Country Club. Does anyone really swim in the pool here? Well, not while we were there, but we are fold it does still happen occasionally, and yes, our waitress said they check the chlorine content from time to time. If you’re looking for a predictable bar, GACC is it- predictably musty, predictably dark, with a predictably low-key crowd early in the evening that, predictably, grows deafening before midnight, singing along to the predictably extensive selection on the jukebox. The food is good, greasy bar fere with a healthy sampling of salad selections. 3619 Greenville. 826-5650. Daily 11 am-2 am, MC V. AE. Greenville Bar & Grill. If Dallas had a Watering Hole of Fame, this 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. AE. Humperdink’s. It’s easy to figure out why this place has survived the bad times. It’s cozy for couples (huge, elegantly upholstered booths perfect for the two of you), bawdy and boistrous for those looking to 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 11 am-2 am. All credit cards.

tion was fed in spite of the hour. And the food was worth any amount of driving, especially the pork saté 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 A Sal 4:30 pm-10:30 pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Inexpensive



Satnt-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 snail-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 créme 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.



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 its 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 the “soap box.” Along with the original artwork hanging on the walls, plans are in the works to pro-vide 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. What a find! This place is comfortable, easy-going in the 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 that decorate Fat Tuesday’s. The menu is surprisingly extensive. We had tasty Cajun popcorn (striplets of crawfish in a tangy house sauce), followed by a creditable Fishing Camp Scampi-juicy shrimp, perfecto pasta, thick cheese bread, and carrots. The musical fere can be uneven, but there’s no cover charge, so who’s complaining? 1915 Greenville. 826-2623. Mon-Sat 5 pm-2 am. Closed Sun, MC, V.



Belle Starr. With wave after New Wave of music rolling in yearly, the old country/western culture might be fading. Are you kidding? Belle Starr, packed with a middle-aged boot-kicking crowd, continues to be a huge moneymaker There are bands every night, urban cowboys everywhere, and women in those tight-fitting jeans that would make any good old boy swoon. There’s also free beer Tuesday through Thursday, which means you’ll have trouble squeezing into the place. 7724 N Central at Southwestern. 750-4787. Tue-Sat 7 pm-2 am. Sun 4 pm-2 am. Closed Mon. All credit cards.



Cheers. Looking for a good dive bar to watch a basketball game? Or how about a small, casual place for a hamburger or sandwich? Well, they’re both here. The crowd was startKnox Street Pub. Here, across the street from such yup- pie 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 terri-ble 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-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun 5 pm-1 am. MC. V.



The Library. An elegant spot in the renovated Melrose Hotel, this bar has done some sprucing up of its own. It i opened the windows and doors and put in a soothing, quiet piano-jazz act. Perfect for a comfortable after-work drink. Melrose Hotel. Oak Lawn at Cedar Springs. 521-5151 Mon-Sai II 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 the 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-Thur5 pm-1 am. Fri & Sat 5 pm-1 am. AE, DC. CR



Mariano’s. Mariano’s claim to have invented the 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 beauties and a plate of the Mexi-canapés (with flautas, a feisty stuffed jalapeno, etc.) and you’ll gladly overlook the cheesy pastel portraits of local sports, entertain-ment, and media celebs that ring the cantina. Old Town, 5500 Greenville. 691-3888. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. MC, V, AE.



Milo Butterftnger’s. This is one of the few remaining “bar” bare on the Upper Greenville strip. Milo’s has outlived | the disco and the fern-even the upscale meat market. It’s i a comfortable joint where you can wear your jeans (even if they’re faded) and play a game of pool, foosball, or shuf- . fleboard with a buddy while sipping a longneck. A few years ago, owner Ned Smith moved Milo’s off of Greenville to a spacious, but modest, location around the comer. But judg-ing by the fresh-faced college clientele, you’d swear he’d moved into the basement of the SMU student center. 5645 Me. 368-9212. Mon-Sat 11:30am-2am, Sun 2 pm-2 am. MC. V, AE.



Mimi’s. This is the perfect spot tor European beer lovers. Also Asian beer lovers, Caribbean beer lovers, and, if you | must be boring, American beer lovers. At this 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. Mimi’s also has fine sandwiches and snacks. Bartender plays albums (not singles) and is open to any request. 5111 Greenville. 368-1994. Mon-Sainoon-2 am,Sun6pm-2am. MC,V, AE.DC.



Mr. C’s Oyster Ban It may look like a bar in the American ;Airlines terminal (soundless TVs, lots of tile, and uncomfortable chairs), but it is a welcome refuge, far from the mad- ding crowds of the rest of the West End. For 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 5 pm-11 pm. All credit cards.



Nana. It’s hard to imagine a hotel bar that’s romantic, but | elevator up to the twenty-seventh floor of the Anatole. In one of his racier moves, Trammell Crow had a huge painting of a nude woman named Nana put behind the green marble- ! topped bar You’d probably stare at the painting, but the view of Dallas through the huge windows is better. Fine jazz trio plays Thursday through Sunday. Loews Anatole Hotel. 2201 Stemmons Fwy. 748-1200. Daily IS am-2 pm & 6 pm-10:30 pm. All credit cards.



Pinot’s Wine 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 twenry-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. 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 N Henderson. 826-1949. Tue-Sun 4 pm-midnight. MC. V. AE.



Poor David’s Pub. Has anything changed at Poor David’s-ever? Hmm. That poster, upper right from the stage, may not have been there in 1984. Hard to say. Pitcher prices have nudged upwards a bit, but not much. Other than that, Poor David’s is happily frozen in time. Anson and the Rockets still provide straight-ahead blues several times a month; name acts like Loudon Wainright and Guy Clark still drop in. In the alcove near the restrooms, there is a new video game cleverly designed to resemble a pinball machine, if you can believe it. (Wait a minute-that is a pinball machine.) 1924 Greenville. 821-9891. Mon-Sat 7 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. Cover varies. No credit cards.



Popslcla Toes. After taking one look at the seamy exterior, people have been afraid of walking in here, which is a mistake. Featuring rhythm and blues and funk bands like Phyrework, Popsicle Toes brings together a lively group from every social strata. This is one of the best places to dance you’ll find. 5627 Dyer. 368-9706 Tue-Thur A Sat 8:30 pm-2 am. Fri 4 pm-2 am. Sun 7:30 pm-midnight. MC, V, AE.



Rick’s Casablanca. You would think such a tiny club couldn’t come up with such consistent and slick entertainment. But it’s true, and the word has spread-just try getting in here on a Monday night. The management has, thank heavens, taken down all the palms that were supposed to make you think about Casablanca. And they’ve spread out the stage so that, to go to the bathroom, you have to literally walk right between the people in the band: the best reason we’ve heard yet to powder our noses. 1919 Greenville, 824-6509. Daily 8 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.



San Francisco Rosa. This is a place that bills itself as a fern bar and grill, so don’t go expecting to find David Byrne and Stevie Ray Vaughan talking shop at the bar. On the other hand, the relaxed atmosphere makes it a pleasant place to start an evening or stop in for a nightcap. And in between? How does sedate grab you? The something-for-ev-erybody appeal includes a TV at the end of the bar, piped -in rock’n’roll, a limited menu, indoor and outdoor seating, even a couple of easy chairs and sofas. Color the Rose eclectic middle-of-the-road. 3024 Greenville. 826-2020. Mon-Fri II am-2 am, Sal & Sun 8 am-2 am. All credit cards.



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 parrying habits. Our Thursday visit found the place SRO indeed. A walk from our seat at the bar to check out the at 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 is cooling on a hot summer evening and the place still does a respectable club sandwich. 2900 McKinney. 748-5014. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE.



Stan’s Blue Note. The best beer-drinking joint on Lower Greenville, this place has been discovered mostly by the post-SMU crowd. But you’ll still find your quota of eccentrics and plain old barflies who love the shuffleboard and pool tables and the surprisingly lively atmosphere. 2908 Greenville. 824-9653. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun noon-2 am. No credit cards.



Starck Club. A lot of people have been wondering: will Starck survive “the bust”? Will it survive the opening of more and more West End bars? True, it may not be quite as crowded and it’s only open Thursday through Sunday now, but we’re happy to report that the bar that taught us how to go to the bathroom together is still going strong. Which only goes to prove, there is life without ecstasy. 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 720-0130. Thur A Sun 9 pm-2 am; Fri & Sat 9 pm-4 am. Closed Mon-Wed. Caver $5 Thur & Sun after 9 pm; $10 Fri & Sat after 9 pm. All credit cards.



State Bar. 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, State Bar is nearly as successful as-and tar 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 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 pictures. 3611 Parry 821-9246. Mon-Fri II am-2 am. Sat noon-2 am. Sun 6 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.



Stoneleigh P. Ask someone about the Stoneleigh P. and they’re likely to describe it as one of their favorite places for a casual lunch. Ask someone else, and they’ll tell you what a great bar it is for a late-night drink. Both are right. This would be a great neighborhood bar even if it weren’t in a great neighborhood. It’s a long-time favorite of the down-town set and advertising types. 2926 Maple. 871-2346 Mon-Thur 11 am~I am, Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun noon-midnight. AE.



Studebakers. I mean, this place is gettin’ old, Johnny! 1 mean, I’m in there the other night, and this woman asks for my podiatrist’s phone number! Old, 1 tell ya! Seriously, folks, while the median age here is on the darker side of forty, this nostalgia bar is still rockin’ with Chuck, Dion. Elv, Bobby, Frankie, more Bobbies, more Frankies, and of course those famous dancing waitresses. The sound track is inching into the Seventies now, having reached the Eagles but slopped, mercifully, short of the Bee Gees. The no-jeans dress code is gone, but the generous happy hour buffet remains, now underwritten by a cover charge on most nights. The bar continues to make a major production of that loathsome classic of cutesy rock, “Hand Jive.” Arghh. But take heart: at least nobody refers to “Heard it Through the Grapevine” as “the raisin song.” NorthPark East, 8788 N Central Expwy. 696-2475. Mon-Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 7 pm-2 am. Sun 7 pm-2 am. All credit cards.



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 Tonné. 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 run of you. 2815 Greenville. 827-3993. Man-Sat 11:30 am-2 am, Sun 11 am-2 am. MC, V, AE.



Video Bar. If you’ve watched MTV once during the last year, you owe it to yourself to go to the Video Bar. They have found music videos that you never see anywhere else-even some absolutely weird stuff that is fraught with significant meaning and whatnot. If you consider yourself part of the new scene-and if you promise not to wear anything resembling penny loafers-this is your Deep Ellum kind of place. All the funky regulars from the old “On the Air” bar have already found their spots, so be prepared to wait in line. 2812 Elm. 939-9113. Mon-Fri 5 pm-2 am. Sat & Sun 8 pm-2 am. MC. V. AE.



The Wine Press. This is the perfect place to go on a rainy night-or any time you’re looking for romance, intimacy, and spirits. The Wine Press is decorated with wine bottles from floor to ceiling on almost every wall. The atmosphere is low-key and elegantly casual; the service, friendly but not hovering; the wine selection, extensive-to say the least. 4217 Oak Lawn. 522-8720. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun 11 am-midnight, MC, V, AE



Zanzibar. Zanzibar offers drinks and good deli food in a colorful cafe setting. The decor-neon, glass bricks, and pink-and-green walls-is odd enough to work. And even though Zanzibar looks cosmopolitan, it has a neighborhood bar feel to it that leads to discussions among perfect strangers from table to table. 2912 Greenville. 828-2250. Tue & Wed 11:30 am-midnight, Thur 11:30 am-1 am. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-2 am. Sun 10:30 am-3 pm & 4 pm-midnight. MC, V, AE.



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



FORT WORTH NIGHTLIFE



Billy Bob’s Texas. This huge country/western club in the Fort Worth Stockyards has a lot going for it: two restaurants, forty-two bar stations, a real bull-riding arena, and several shops. It’s bigger than Gilley’s, more citified than the Longhom Ballroom ever was, and a “must-see” if you’re in Fort 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 a cactus garden (and a bar) on the roof. 312 Houston. (817) 877-3000. Wed-Sun 7 pm-2 am. Sal 7 pm-2 am. Sun 6 pm-midnight. All credit cards.



The Hop. In three words, The Hop is warm, woody, and wonderful. It has the air of a typical college hangout (it’s just one block from TCU). but lacks the cutesy crowd or trendy atmosphere. A stage tucked in the comer features national and local bands, with music ranging from folk to reggae, rock to country. 2905 W Berry (817) 923-7281. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am, Sun 4 pm-2 am. MC. V. AE.



The White Elephant Saloon. In 1887, Luke Short, then the owner of the White Elephant, shot it out with a former U.S. marshal. Today, the Elephant has country/western music six nights a week and lots of tourists trying desperately to learn the two-step. 106 E Exchange. (817) 624-8273. Sun-Thur noon-midnight. Fri & Sat noon-2 am. MC. V, AE.

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