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EATING AROUND IN SEARCH OF WELL-BEING AT SARDO’S

Also: Taj Mahal, Acker’s, Watel’s, Joe Ku’s, Sofia
By Liz Logan |

Sardo’s

★★★★ One of the prime functions of a restaurant is to make us feel better. Great food helps in this cause, but setting and service also must be on target if a lunch or dinner is to lift a diner out of the doldrums.

Sardo’s is one of the better weapons I’ve found in this ongoing battle for well-being. This casual new Italian restaurant is not a Lombardi enterprise, but owner Andrea Mucciga is a Lombardi’s alumnus, and the feeling of warmth is familiar to Lombardi’s patrons.

The food is also laid out along the lines of Lombardi’s classics, though the menu is not a carbon copy of you-know-who’s. Pasta is Just wonderful here, to judge from a simple fettuccine with tomato and basil sauce and a version of tortelloni with wild mushrooms, parmesan, cream, and sun-dried tomatoes. A breaded veal cutlet with wilted, greens was also sufficiently swell to put a spring in the previously dejected restaurant-goer’s step. Plaza on Bachman Creek, 3802 W Northwest Hwy. 351-4378. Mon-Thur 11-1], Fri II am-midnight, Sat 5 pm-mid-night. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



Taj Mahal



★★★ These are happy times for local fans of Indian food. Lately, it seems that almost quicker than you can say “vin-daloo,” another Indian restaurant opens up. This latest entry is prettier than most, though still casual. The color scheme is standard Eighties neutral: beige, pink, and plum. As for service, it’s warm, concerned, and quite effective. The waiters want to be sure you have a good meal, even if they have to strong-arm you into ordering what’s best according to them.

Assorted hors d’oeuvres- yogurt-marinated fried chicken chunks; a tasty, if unidentifiable vegetable fritter (possibly cauliflower); fried fish; lamb sausages; one fried samosa filled with a pea-and-potato mixture, and another filled with ground lamb-made for a pleasing, if rather heavy, start. Fiery lamb vindaloo was wonderful, as long as you understand the concept of the pleasure/pain threshold. Chicken shahi korma, which is a gentle, creamy dish, was a good counterpoint. For dessert, I like the rasmalai, patties of fresh cottage cheese in a sweet cream sauce. 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. Inexpensive to moderate.



Acker’s



★★ Students of Dallas restaurant history will remember that Turtle Cove was a key restaurant in the development of this town as a plausible place to eat seafood. Once upon a time, Turtle Cove served truly fresh fish, mesquite-grilled before anyone else knew from mesquite.

Now Acker’s, a new seafood restaurant, has opened up in Turtle Cove’s former abode. If memory serves, the new owners have changed little to nothing about the look of the place. The food is fine, if relatively unexciting, from grilled swordfish and mesquite-grilled salmon with creditable pasta and baked potato on the side to over-sweet blackberry cobbler for dessert. No complaints, but no thrills and chills, either. 2731 W Northwest Hwy. 352-2615. Mon-Fri 11 am-10pm, Sat 5 pm-lOpm, Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



Watel’s



★★ This charming/funky little establishment near downtown is so appealing as a potential hangout that it bears watching for signs of improvement. After a very nice dinnertime lamb chop here, I was quite disappointed with a lackluster lunch of gluey ham and cheese crêpes, soggy chicken salad-stuffed tomato, mushy sole meunière, and an unpleasantly textured crème brulée. 1923 McKinney. 720-0323. Tue-Sun 11-11. AU credit cards. Moderate.



Joe Ku’s



★Because Travis Walk is the home of Oltimo, one of the best places around to get your hair cut, I was quite excited to hear of a new restaurant oponing there. Unfortunately, Joe Ku’s was a disappointment on my initial visits. Although the service was very eager to please and the setting is fun in a casually post-modern fashion, the food was a disappointment. Shrimp fried rice and pork with garlic sauce were both significantly below-par versions. 4514 Travis, Suite 201. 520-1888. Mon, Tue 11-11; Thur-Sat 11 am-3 am; Sun 4 pm-11 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



Sofia



★★ Ever the Pollyanna, I decided that a truly disastrous dinner at Sofia actually served a purpose: that of reminding me how bad a restaurant can be, and therefore teaching me to appreciate all the restaurants better than this one. The setting (home of the former La Pergola) is perfectly pleasant, and service was well intentioned, but what emerged from the kitchen, on this particular night, anyway, was amazingly, consistently tasteless: shrimp and artichoke hearts, tortellini,and lemon veal. Management was extremely concerned at our nearly untouched food, but I still would be very wary of spending money here. 1800 McKinney Ave. 871-9030. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner daily 5-midnight. Al! credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

RESTAURANTS

AMERICAN



D REVISITS



Baby Routh ★★★★★ heur a lot of criticism of Baby Routh, but my last meal at Routh Street Cafe’s m ram siblingwas innovative, satisfying, and beyond reproach: oysters on the half shell wiIn Southwestern mignonette; Caesar salad with cumin and cayenne-garlic croutons; quail with chipotles. wild rice-pecan salad, and mango-serranodressing; 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 6-1!; Iate-night menu Tnur-Sat 11 pm-1 am; brunch Sat <6 Sun 11:30-3. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Beau Nasb ★★★★★ 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, its 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 Man-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6:30 pm-ll:30 pm; Sun brunch 11-2:15. AU 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 Ms 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. Galleeria, 13340 Dallas Pkwy. 851-2882. Mon-Thur 6:30-10:30 pm .Fri&Sas 6:30-11. Closed Sun. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. Expensive.

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

City Cal★★★★★ 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; jam balaya with ham, oysters, shrimp, and andouille sausage: chocolate quiche with shortbread crust; and crème brulée with a coconut cookie crust were all they should have been. 5757 W Lovers Lane (just west of Dallas N ToIlv,m). 351-2233. lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Man-Sal 6-10:30. Closed Sun. MC, V.AE. Moderate.

Deep Ellum Cata ★★★ 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;30pm; dinner Tue-Thur 6pm-midnight, Fri & Sat 6pm-l am. MC, V, AE. inexpensive to moderate.

Dream Cate ★★★★★ 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 al all knows is that although the place has no liquor license, you can bring your own wine or beer. 3312 Knox. 522-1478. Mon-Fri 7am-3pm. Thur-Sai 6pm-10 pm. Sat & Sun 8 am-3 pm. No credit cards, inexpensive.

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 running 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 7am-llpm, Fri & Sut 7am-ll:30pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.

Laurals ★★★★ 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. à 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 soufflé of the day (apricot with raspberry sauce on my visit). Sheraton Park Central. 12720 Merit Dr. 851-2021. Mon-Sat 6:30 pm-10J0 pm. Ail credit cards. Expensive.

The Mansion on Turtle Creek ★★★What never seems to change at tin1 Mansion is its historic beauty and top-of-the-line service. What does change is the menu. Now it’s printed daily, the better to accommodate changing offerings according to season-and the creative inspiration of Dean Fearing. Regulars tend to opt for whatever appears on any given day; diners for whom the Mansion is a relatively rare experience may prefer to sample such classics as the peerless tortilla soup; Louisiana crab cakes with a sauce of smoked chilies, lobster, and blood orange; and crème brulée with raspberry sauce for dessert. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Main dining room-jackets and ties required. Lunch Mon-Fri noon-2:30; brunch Sat noon-2:30, Sun 11-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 6:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11; supper Mon-Thur 10:30 pm-midnight, Fri A Sal II pm-midnighi. Promenade Room-breakfast daily 7am-H am; tea Mon-Fn 2-5 pm. AU credit cards. Expensive.

Margaux Natural ★★★★★ Life is full of surprises, and most of them are nasty, but some are very nice indeed. Margaux Natural falls into the latter category. When I heard that spa cuisine < low -calorie, low-cholesterol tare i was going to be served in the former location of Cafe Margaux, I was able to control my enthusiasm, given the spa cuisine I’ve lasted before in a number of other venues. All it took was one lunch and one dinner at Margaux Natural to make a believer of me : the food-the menu changes weekly, but I can vouch for the green endive and oak leaf salad, grilled rainbow trout, Mack bean soup, and the homemade pasta-is so sensually appealing thai it’s hard to believe it’s also good for you. However, the way you feel after a meal here-energetic as opposed to leaden-is incontrovertible proof of mat. 4424 Lovers Lane- 739-0886 Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Tue-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5:30-10. Closed Mon. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

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

Parlgl ★★★ Parigi is a restaurant that inspires strong emotion. Its fens love its marbleized, post-modern look and its menu, which changes daily and might be described as hybridized nouveau American-French-Italian. Its detractors hale ils patrician attitude (no iced tea on this menu-too plebeian) and its menu, which in its stranger manifestations can seem more Martian than anything else. On my last dinner visit. I found myself reflecting once again on the Parigi paradox: the pasta dishes always sound too interesting to pass up, and nearly always turn out to be too Strange la enjoy: in this case, the relevant examples were tomato fettuc-cine with shrimp and asparagus in sorrel cream sauce and cilanrro linguette with chicken, black beans, and red bell pepper pesto. Still, Parigi’s wine list is well chosen, its Saturday brunch is a lovely thing, and its waiters are terrific, 3311 Oak Lam. 521-0295 Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Tue-Thur 6:30-10:30. Fri A Sat 6:30-11: Sal brunch 10:30-3. Closed Sun A Mon. All credit cards. Expensive.

a revisit?

Pyramid Room ★★The Pyramid Room was once the pinnacle of dining in Dallas. As other, newer restaurants took off, though, the Pyramid Room was pretty effectively left in the dust. Recently. Avner Samuel, formerly chef at the Mansion, Beau Nash, and Plaza Cafe, wits hired to jazz up the proceedings. On the basis of my lunch here, the jury is still out. Grilled chicken Cobb salad was blah, and crab ravioli on spinach leaves with whole-grain mustard sauce was an unfortunate concept. Fairmont Hotel. Bosse. Akard. 720-2020. lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner daily 6-11. AU credit cards. Expensive,

Roscoe’s Easy Way When the Easy Way moved from Love*S Lane to Lemmon Avenue, the faithful were worried. There was no need for consternation. Though the setting is now slicker, the rale of ordering still applies: stick to the barbecue and you’ll be happy 5420 Lemmon. 528-8459. Sun. Mon 7 am-midnight; Tue-Thur 7am-2am: Fri A Sat 7 atn-3 am. All credit cants. Inexpensive.

Routh Street Cafe ***** Routh Street Cafe’s formula for national gastronomic fame: Stephan Pyles’s Mew Southwestern Cuisine: a sleek, Tonny Fby-designed setting: and snappy, congenial service. The five-course, fixed-price menu ($42. with surcharges for certain items) is printed daily, but certain items-such as cornmeal catfish with smoked peppermint marigold saute, lobster enchilada with red pepper crème fraiche, lamb with pecan and garlic sauce, berry buckle with cinnamon ice cream, and apple-walnut spice cake-have become near-fix tu res. When food-obsessed travelers come to town, this is the reservation they want. This means prime-time reservations should he made well in advance. 3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. Expensive.

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

BAKERIES

La Madeleine -*** These are trying times, and every so often one needs a judicious combination of caffeine and carbohydrates to make il through the afternoon. La Madeleine’s strong coffee and raspberry beignets (or. alternatively, almond croissants) do the job forme, There are also more wholesome alternatives along the lines of soups, salads, and sandwiches-as well as the lop-quality breads that arc the true raison d’être of the place. The rustic setting at both locations is pleasant. 3072 Mockingbird. 696-6960; 3906Lemmon, 521-0182. Daily 7am-9pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

Massimo Da Mllano ★★★★ 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 1 find myself opting for the focaccia sandwich, round flat bread filled with ham. cheese, leaflet-luce, and tomato slices, For dessert, there are any number of pastries to choose from, but nothing suits a cup of espresso better than the little amaretti cookies. These days, service for the cafeteria-sty le service line ranges from disorganized to efficient, which is an improvement over days past, when disjointed to chaotic were the applicable adjec-tives. 5519 Lovers Lane. 351-1426 Moii-Viw9am-10pm. Fri A 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 meal, with a few token vegetables provided to ward off scurvy. The ’cue-especially the ribs-is as it should be. and the butter beans and baked potatoes are a credit to their genre. 5410 Harry Hines Blvd. 630-0735. Mon-Fri 11 am-7:45pm. Sat 11 am-3pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

Ribby’s ★ This new, neon, drive-through barbecue shack has two, count em, two tables on the premises. First-timers will want the rib sampler, with small portions of inn.*-kinds, marinated, beef, and original. The cole slaw is exceptional, the beans and bread are not. 6516 Northwest Hwy 361-5555. Sun-Thur 11 am-midnight, Fri à Sat 11 ami am. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

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

Solly’s ★★ There are those who believe thai good barbecue can’i be found in the squeaky-clean reaches of Addison. They haven’t eaten at Solly’s, where the “casual cuisine” promised by the logo features barbecue as flavorful as that in any other pan of town-and French fries that were recently derived from a potato, which is a sadly rare state of affairs. 4801 Belt Une. 387-2900 Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm. No credit cards; personal checks and MC. y accepted for takeout. Inexpensive.



BREAKFAST



Cindy’S ★ With its utilitarian decor, everyone-you’ve-ever-known crowd, and everything- but-the- kite hen -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 Dai Rich Shopping Center. Coit & Belt Une. Richardson, 231-3660: Hill N Central Expwy, 739-0182. Sun-Thur 6 am-U pm, Fri & Sat 6 am-midnight at Lemmon location; Sun-Thur 6am-l0pm, Fri & Sat 6 am-midnight at Richardson location; daily 6 am-10 pm at Central Expwy location. MC, V. Inexpensive.



BURGERS



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



D REVISITS



Snuffer’s ★★★ Some days nothing but a burger and fries will do, and on those days, very often nothing but Snuffer’s will do. The burgers are fat but not absurdly so, cooked perfectly to order, and the fries are crusty wonders (one order provides enough for three or four people). The only problem with this program is this: Snuffer’s is so darned popular that waiting for a table and/or your order to arrive can be frustrating. 3526 Greenville. 826-6850 Mon-Sat II am-2am, Sun II:30am-2am. All 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 executed. 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 Une. The food is uneven here, but shrimp rémoulade for an appetizer and beignets and cafe au lait for dessert are worth a visit. 4440 Belt Une at Midway. 960-6878. Daily 11-11. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

D REVISITS

Cafe Margaux ★★★★ Maybe it’s taking Cafe Margaux a while to settle into its new. larger li 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 .is crawfish étouffée, 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. MC, V. AE

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 wail for a table and don’t expect much in the way of decor and architecture. 5353 Belt Line. 661-1883. Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight. Fri & Sat 11 am-1 am, Sun 10:30 am-midnight. MC. V. AE. Moderate.

Louisiana Purchase ★★Cajun is ragin’ in Piano, too, now that Louisiana Purchase is purveying étouffée to residents of the North Land. The étouffée in question was quite good, with crawfish, rice, and sauce doing their collective magic. The choice of size of entrée (“large” or “not so large”) was also a nice touch. A shrimp poor-boy sandwich was worthwhile, if not as impressive, and the dessert sampler, substantial tastes of three desserts-bread pudding, sweet potato pecan pie, and French silk and peanut butter pie-was a sugar fiend’s dream. The only problems: below-par bread and a Caesar salad that didn’t deserve the name. Central Expwy ai Parker Rd, Piano. 422-2469. Mon-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri & Sal 11-11. Sun 5 pm-10 pm; Sun brunch 11:30-2. 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 Une. 385-7227. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. AU credit cards. Moderate.

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, sale beef sticks, shrimp toast, spring roils, baked barbecue pork buns. Most plates are SI .50. and will provide tastes for three people. 9243 Skillman. 343-0545. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30pm. Fri 11-11. Sat & Sun lOam-11 pm. Sun 10 am-11:30pm. 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 ll:30am-10:30pm. Fri U:30am-Upm, Sainoon-Upm.Sunnoon-10:30pm. 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 Une. Addison. 385-7888. Sun-Thur U:30am-10:30pm. Fri à Sat 11:30 am-II:30pm. 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 Il:30am-I0:30pm, Fri & Sal 11:30am-U:30pm. All credit cards. Moderate

Hong Kong Royals ★★★ Being the only non-Orientals in the room makes Chinese fd fens of Western descent very happy. This was the case when I forced a friend to accompany me to the wilds of Richardson in search of great Chinese The dim sum that we had heard enthusiastic reports on wasn’t available, so the jury’s still out on whether this restaurant is the answer to the prayers of exiled New Yorkers who search the Metroplex for the Chinese food they remember. However, a standard lunch of chicken with almonds and shredded pork with garlic sauce was very satisfying. What’s more, the pastel-hued decor at Hong Kong Royale is unusually pretty. Plainly, this place warrants further exploration. 221 W Post, Richardson. 238-8888. Mon-Fri 1I-II, Sal & Sun 10 am-11 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Jada 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. Sm-Tue & Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sor 11-U. Closed Wed. MC, V. Inexpensive.

Jasmine ★★★ Jasmine’s setting sets it apart from standard-issueChinese 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 suiter as a result. Shrimp rolls arrived encased in blade seaweed wrappers-not bad, mind you, but still, the stuff did take some getting used to. Happily, however, there were no untoward surprises involved in the top-notch treatments of moo shu pork and beef Mimosa (sautéed in an orange-flavored red pepper sauce). 4002 Belt Une. 991-6861 Mon-Thur 1! am-10pm, Fri 11 am-U:30pm. Sal 11:30-11:30, Sun 11:30 am-IOpm. All credit cards. Moderate.

May Dragon ★★★The food and service are as distinctive-and as commendable-as the post-modern decor at this Addison entry in the local Chinese restaurant sweepstakes. I’ve tried a raft of food here-from steamed dumplings to the whimsically mimed Pensum s Double Happiness, which involves shrimp and chieken, not penguin- and never been less than happy. 4848 Belt Line at Inwood. 392-9998. Mon-Thur 11-10:30, Fri 11-11, Sal 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 greatt), dinner was phenomenally good. And dessert-jasmine sorbet and rice ice cream with candied apple and kiwi sauce-was the best I’ve ever had in a Chinese restaurant. Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Fay. 748-1200. Mon-Sat 6pm-IO:30 pm. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Tang’s House ★★ Although the dan-dan noodles with sesame-peanut sauce are still some of the best (and some of the only) to be found in town, the rest of a recent dinner at Tong’s was a bummer. Wonton soup was inedibly soggy. moo goo gai pan included canned mushrooms, and orange beef Szechwan-sty le was too chewy for comfort. All the same, there was a half-hour wait for a table. Still, Tong’s is worth a trip for true Chinese food fens, if only for die 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 cnter, Richardson. 231-8858 Mon-Thur II am-9:30pm, Fri & Sat II am-IO:30 pm, Sun 11 am-I0pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Uncle Tars Hunan Yuan★★★ Uncle Tais is the highest of high-end Chinese options in town. For prices consistently higher than any tuner Chinese restaurant in town, the customer gels 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 problematic. Gallenria, 13350Dallas Pkwy, Suite 3370. 934-9998. Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10:30 pm. Sun noon-I0pm. Jackets required for dinner. All credit cards. Expensive.



ETHIOPIAN



Queen of Sheba ★★ Springsteen’s “I’m on Fire” would be the proper musical aperitif for a meal at Queen of Sheba. The food is heavily stew-oriented and, for the most part, incendiary. 5527 McKinney. 521-0491. Daily 11-11. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



FRENCH/CONTINENTAL



Actuelle ★★★If I had a chapeau to hand. I would eat it. As it is, I’ll have to settle lot ingesting my words. W^en I first reviewed Actuelle. I found it off-putting and said so, However, as the months passed, and reliable sources continued to file reports of formidable meals at Actuelle. I revisited 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 anil Serrano cjo;oes and a dessert of apple-almond custard tone with caramel sauce, ranged from remarkably good to perfect. Service is excellent, and the setting is austerely attractive. 77ic Quadrangle. 2800 Routh. 855-0440, Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11, All credit cards. Expensive.

Café Royal ★★★ Romance may be invaluable, but a romantic dinner shouldn’t cost more than a used car. Café Royal’s $34.50 fixed-price dinner, which changes dally, 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 aedcaviar butter sauce; a green salad or red-wine sorbet; an entrée of sliced loin of lamb with wild mushrooms and a shallot and sage sauce or fillet or 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 & Sal 6:30-11. Closed Sun. Jackets and ties required. All credit curds. Expensive.

Chez Gerard ★★★ 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 sauteed lamb chop with parsley and garlic and floating island (poached meringue floating atop vanilla custard). Shrimp rémoulade, cassoulet (a stew of while beans and sausage that Francophiles adore and the less reverent refer to as the Gallic version of beans and weenies), and crime caramel were less distinguished, but still well within Chez Gerard’s range of dependable quality. 4444 McKinney. 522-6865. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30 Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

The Franch Room ★★★★ With its cherubs, vaulted ceiling, and trompe l’oeil garden, the rosy-hued French Room is far and away the most baroque-looking restaurant in Dallas. In the five years since its opening, it has had its culinary tips and downs; happily, however, a recent visit suggested that it is in an up cycle. From salads (preen bean and green salad with goat cheese croutons) to entrees (salmon and rack of lamb) to dessert (apple tart), the food was all that one could ask for. What’s more, the sommelier is both congenial and well-informed; he is as happy to advise customers on a single glass of wine as a rare bottle. Adolphus Hotel. 1321 Commerce. 742-8200. Mon-Sat 6-10. 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 paté offerings that were its specialty when it opened in 1972, pasta and fish specials are the ticket these days. 2808 Greenville at Goodwin. 828-1981. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Sun-Thur 6-11. Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.

L’ Ambiance ★★★Although the renovated gas station setting is unimpressive, (he food was fine on a recent dinner visit. A suave potato-leek soup and watercress salad with bacon, mushrooms, and goat cheese made for excellent appetizers. Fish has never been a good main-course bet here. so we opted for lamb chops and duck with the fruit sauce of the day. Both were memorably well-prepared. For dessert, floating island with pecan praline and chocolate soufflé cake enlivened by coconut arid tnacadamia 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.

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

Laft Bank ★★★★ The left bank in question is that of (he Trinity River, and the restaurant inquest ion is the best thing to hit Oak Cliff since the viaduct from downtown. The food is simple. French-influenced, and changes every day. On the weekend, all of Oak Cliff wants to be here, so reservations arc essential. 405 A’ Bishop, Suite 104. 948-1630. lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Tue-Sai 6-10. No credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

L’Entrecote ★★★★ After a long sliding spell. L’Enire-cotc 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 fans, Finally, dessert- banana beignets with coconut mousse-was a killer. Loews Anatole Hole!. 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 oui. 5617 W Lovers Lane. 352-5976 Man-Sal 6-10. Al! credit cards. Moderate.

Old Warsaw ★★★ Old Warsaw, the granddaddy-make that grand-père-of big-deal dining in Dallas, hasn’t appeared in Z>’s listings for a while because we’ve been wailing to revisit it until after it moves. The fabled impending move-to LTV Center, in March, when last we heard-is beginning to seem like the joke about Franco’s death on “Saturday Night Live.” so watch this space. 2610 Maple. 528-0032. Mon-Sat 6pm-IO:30pm. Closed Sun. All credil amis. Very expensive.

Tha Rivlera ★★★★★ I have attended Grateful Dead concerts that were quieter than the Riviera on a Saturday night, but minor hearing loss is a small price to pay for first-rate food in a charming selling. A green salad was nicely set off by sherry vinaigrette, and caine with a delectable goat cheese crouton. Sun-dried tomato and smoked bell pepper soup was satisfying, if heavy on the bacon. Norwegian salmon and sea scallops steamed with white wine and served with a light rosemary sauce was one of the best treatments of salmon I’ve ever tasted. And duck breast with intensely flavored lavender and honey sauce was worthwhile, too. For dessert the creditable, very buttery-tasting Grand Marnier crème brulée was outshone by the ethereally light apple tart with almond cream and caramel sauce. 7709 Inwood. 351-0094. Sun-Thur 6:30pm-H):30pm, Fri & Sat 6:30pm-ll 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 crème caramel. 3020 Greenville. 826-0940. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5-11, Fri A Sal 5 pm-l am. Sun brunch 11-3. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



GERMAN/EASTERN EUROPE



Belvedere ★★Perfectly tender Wiener schnitzel is what keeps me coming back to Belvedere, a Swiss/Austrian restaurant that adjoins the CrestPark Hotel, a residential hotel, Alas, this time around the rehsteak Hubertus, a Montana venison preparation that I had fond memories of from past dinners, was dry and uninteresting. I had to console myself with an extra order of spaetzle (fat. freshly made dumplings). Salads, appetizers, and desserts, white not egregious, have never been advisable here unless you’re extremely hungry. The setting, with ils warm brick and cream color scheme, is pleasant and unimposing. as is the service. CrestPark Hotel, 4242 Lomo Alto. 528-6510. Lunch Tue-Sat 11:30-2; dinner Tue Sat 6^10:30. Sun 6-9; Sun brunch 11-2:30. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Expensive.

Bohemia ★★★ Have you heard the one about Czech food? A week later and you’re hungry again. At Bohemia. the attraction is sturdy Eastern European food-like Wiener schnitzel, pork roast, and bread dumplings-served in delicately charming surroundings (lace curtains, tulip lamps, Viennese waltzes). Two bonuses: the by-the-glass wines are well chosen, and service is efficient and unobtrusive. With one notable exception (being under a quilt with your sweetie), there is no better place than Bohemia to be on a nippy day. 2810 N Henderson. 826-6209. Sun & Tue-Thur 5:30-9:30pm, Fri & Sal 5:30-10:30 pm. Closed Mon. AU credit cards. Moderate.<BR>Café Kashtan ★★★ A recent dinner visit here was relatively disappointing, bu! that was mostly because my party was collectively starving and service was excruciatingly slow. However, it also didn’t help that kulebiaka. that utterly satisfying mélange of chicken, rice, and mushrooms baked in a pastry shell-wasn’t on the dinner menu. Still, the salanka, an intensely flavored broth with bits of beef, sausage, and vegetable:, accompanied by pirozki. a meatfilled roll, the chicken Kiev, the veal Soblianka with mushroom sauce, and the almond cake with raspberry sauce were appeasingly excellent. 5365 Spring Valey Rd at Montfort. 991-9550- Lunch Man-Sal 10-2:30; dinner Mon-Sai’5-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate,

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



GREEK



Greek Express * Greek Express is cheap, cheerful, and enough of a challenge to Unci thai you feel you’ve made a significant discovery fit’s tucked behind a clothing store on Oak Lawn), The burgers and fries are satisfyingly greasy. but it’s the Greek specialties that are standouts. 3301-A Oak Lawn. 528-1308. Mon-Sat 10-10. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE Inexpensive.

Little Gus’ ★★★ Little Gus’ is the Clark Kent of Dallas restaurants, During the day, it’s a mild-mannered greasy spoon serving breakfast and burgers. At night it steps into a phone booth and turns into. . .super Greek restaurant. The moussaka and spanakopita are especially commendable. 1916 Greenville. 826-4910. American menu Mon-Sat 7:30 atn-4 pm; Greek 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 malai kofta, curry, cheese, and vegetable dumplings in a cream and almond sauce. 2115 Promenade Center at Coit & Belt Line roads. 235-0260. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2pm, dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. Sat A Sun brunch 11:30-2:30. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.

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

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

Curry In, Curry Out ★★★Love the name. Also love the food and the prices. This charming little family-run establishment may be somewhat spartan in appearance, but it is immaculate, and the food that emerges from the kitchen is well worth a trip to Garland, even if you don’t live nearby. One more incentive: prices are shockingly low. If you’re serious about Indian food, Curry In, Curry Out is required eating. As the name suggests, meals may be eaten in or carried out. Northwest Crossing Shopping Center, 1250North-west Highway 681-0087. Tue-Thur 11 am-9 pm, Fri 11 am-10 pm, Sal noon-10pm, Sun noon-9 pm. MC. V. Inexpensive.

India Palace ★★★★ I’ve given upon keeping track of the shifting, intricate lineage of who owns which local Indian restaurants, but it doesn’t matter, because they’re all quite good at the moment. India Palace is no exception to this general rule of excellence. Whether you order à la carte or opt for the weekend buffet brunch, you’ll be happy with the food here. India Palace’s exceptionally thoughtful service is a bonus. 13360 Preston. 392-0190. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-3: dinner Sun-Thur 5 pm-10pm, Fri & Sat 5:30pm-10:30pm. AU credit cards. Moderate.<BR>Kalachandjr’s ★★ Kalachandji’s is a vegetarian Indian restaurant run by local Hare Krishnas, Not to worry, though: there 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. 5430Gurley. 821-1048. Lunch Tue-Sat 11-2; dinner Tue-Sat 5:30-9, Sun 5:30-8:30. All credit cards. Inexpensive.



ITALIAN



Adriano’s ★★ Adriano’s, which seemed to be on the cutting edge of New Wave Italian dining when it opened, is looking a bit timeworn these days. The setting is still sunny and high-tech in nature, but the walls could use a paint job. The trademark pizzas, however, have maintained their appeal-particularly the pancetta version with fresh tomatoes and mushrooms. Pasta is available, too. and it’s not bad, but you can do better elsewhere. The Quadrangle. 2800 Routh, Suite 170 871-2262. Lunch Mon-Fri U.30-2; dinnerSm-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-midnight. All credit cunts. Inexpensive to modérai*.

Alessio’s ★★★ If you’re not happy with your meal at lessio’s, it will only be because you have failed to apprise the ever-watchful Alessio Franccschetti of any problems. Happily, on a recent visit, there wore 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 lettuce salad that accompanied entrées was Simple perfection. Linguine with shrimp and scallops in a delicately spicy tomato sauce was agreeable. Chough not as meritorious as the perfectly breaded veal parmigiana accompanied by buttered, parslied mostaccioli. 4117 Lomo Alio. 521-3585. Tue-Sal 6-10:30pm, Sun & Mon 6-10 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate to expensive.

Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant ★ Campisi’s belongs more in the annals of Dallas folklore than on the list of the city’s serious Italian restaurants. The food isn’t exactly bad, but it has very little to do with Italian food as we know it in other eating establishments. However, lor those who grew up on the stuff- and their number is legion, to judge from the ubiquitous line outside the door-nothing else will do. 5m E Mockingbird. 827-0355. Mon-Fn 11 am-midnight, Sat II am-1 am, Sun 11:30 am-midnight. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Moderate.

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 lor dessert. 3921-B Cedar Springs. 521-0110. MmSat 11:30 am-midnight. Sun 3 pm-midnight. MC. V, AE; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

La Cucina ★★ It’s hard to get too worked up about La Cucina, which is an enjoyable, i I a uextrpltional, 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 alia vodka (sauced with vodka, hot pepper, cream, and tomato) are especially worthwhile Whatever you order, sitting outside and overlooking 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.

LaTosca ★★★ This chic, minimalist restaurant was designed by the late Perry Bentley, and it still looks as fresh in 1987 as it did when it opened in 1981. The food has also worn well, especially the state-of-the-art tortellini and veal scallopine with lemon sauce, 7713 Inwood, 352-8373. Sun & Tue-Thur 6 pm-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 6 pm-11 pm. Sun noon-9pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

Lombardi’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 Lombardi’s hasn’t been swamped-yet-by seekers of Italian-style good vibrations, it’s as close to perfect an Italian restaurant as Dallas has seen. One route to gustatory happiness: Caesar salad, veal filled tortelloni gilded with a butter sauce, and superb cappuccino, Travis Walk. 4514 Travis. 521-1480 Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri A Sal 5:30-midnight, Sun 5:30-10. Alt credit cards. Moderate.

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

Ristorante Savino ★★★ Savino docs 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 6pm-IQ;30 pm, Fri & Sat 5:30pm-11 pm. All credit cants. Moderate.

Ruggarl’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 shortcoming. Although I have yet to order anything at Ruggeri’* thai blew me away, neither have 1 ended up with anything–pasta or veal- thai was less than acceptable. 2911 Routh. 871-7377. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 6-11:30 pm. Fri A Sat 6pmmidnight. AU credit cards. Moderate.

311 Lombardi’s ★★★★ What is the Italian translation of “good karma”? Our waiter didn’t know, hut Ml Lombardi’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-phi!es: potato gnocchi with two sauces (tomato and irresistible gorgonzola I. 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 ami am.Sat 5 pm-1 am, Sun 5-10pm. All credit tards. Moderate.



D REVISITS



Trattoria Lombardi ★★★ This is now the oldest extant Lombardi’s location, and even if it’s not quite as pretty as its successors in the West End and Travis Walk, it’s still a swell source for a good Italian meal. A recent lunch Of green salad, tortellini, cannelloni, and municotti was pleasing, if not earth-shattering. The house red wine could use some work, though. 3916 S Hall. 528-7506 Lunch Mon-Sat 11-2; dinner daily 5-10:30. All credit cards. Moderate.



JAPANESE/KOREAN



Kobe Steaks ★★ Kobe takes literally the “dining as entertainment” concept. Here, your dinner-sliced, diced, and cooked on a hibachi grill-is the show, and your fellow diners are part of the deal. too. The basic ingredients-steak and shrimp are the most popular options-are of good quality, and the whole experience has a certain retro charm, which is perversely appealing I” faded hipsters. Quorum Plow. Belt Lineal Dallas Parkway. 934-8150. Sun-Thur5-11, Fri & Sat 5-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.

Mr. Sushi ★★★★ It’s all raw fish to me. but a number ofmy friends are dedicated seekers of sushi, and the most serious of them swears by Mi. Sushi. My friend was moved by the “sushi B” dinner-tuna, white meat fish, yellowtail, jumbo clam, shrimp, salmon, smell egg. salmon egg, cooked egg. and tuna roll-and I was appeased by the sauiecd soft-shell crab and perfect shrimp tempura. 4860 Belt Line, Addison. 385-0168. lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mim-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sal 5:30-11, Sun5:30-10. 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 trie unidentified soup. For all I 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-Thur 6-10:30, Fri-Sun 5:30-11. Alt credit cards. Moderate.

Sushi On McKinney ★★★ As a rule, the sushi is a better bet than the cooked things at this self-styled “friendly post-meodem 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 cKinney. 521-0969. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sal 5:30-11. All credit cards. Moderaie.



MEXICAN



Antonio’s ★★★ Although one has to order with care to assure hitting the highlights, Antonio’s is worth a trip for anyone serious about Mexican food. Recommended: nachos. which are made with first-class ingredients (black beans, white cheese, fresh-lasting guacamole, jalapenos, and real, runny sour cream), rich-tasting black bean soup, shrimp with a subtly nutty pumpkin-seed sauce, coconut (Ian. and merengue (whipped cream or chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two layers of egg-white pastry) 14849 Inwood (south of Belt Une). Addison. 490-9557. Lunch Mon-Fri II am-2’:30 pm; dinner Mon-Thur 4 pm-I0 pm. Fri & Sat 5~II pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Blue Goose ★★ When Big Hungry Boys want to cat Tex-Mex. 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 bed fajitas 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 Greermille. 823-8339. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-11. Fri 5:30-mid?iSht. Sat II am-midnight, Sun 11-11. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Border Stop ★ On the Border’s spin-off has a couple of advantages on most fast-food establishments: there’s outside seating (even if il does face Lemmon Avenue!, and beer and margaritas are available. What’s mure, the chicken fajitas are as good as fajitas gel. 3923 Lemmon. 522-3770. Mon-Thur7am-midnighi. Fri 7am-3:30am. Sun Sam-midnight. MC. V. AE. 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 (he signature Cadillac radios (served in a portion large enough to serve as a meal for two moderately hungry people) and the cheesecake. Tet|inla 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-B.JtOpm, Fri II am-1 am, Sat noon-lam. Sun naon-10:J0pm. MC, V.AE. Moderate.



D REVISITS



Cantina ★ Snuffer’s Mexican addition has changed its menu since it opened, and I’m happy to see black beans on the menu.in the form of nachos and chalupa.s The big problem here, though, is the same: the char-grilled beef, chicken, and shrimp that are the main elements of most of the choices on the menu arc marinated in something that tastes way too much like Liquid Smoke, a singularly lingering flavor. You feel like you should invite Smoky the Bear to lunch here. 3534 Greenville. 821-2400. Sun 11:30 am-midnight: Mon, Tue II urn-midnight; Wed-Sat 11 am-2 am. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

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 Tcx-Mex combinations are available here, and they’re quite good, but the comida casera-home -sty le food-is where the smart money is. Standouts include the tacos al pastor filled with marinated pork, cabrito (baby goat to you, gringo), mesquiie-grilled shrimp with garlic butter, and red snapper with lime butter. 4546 Belt Line, Addison. 458-0962. Sun-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sal It am-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.

Casa Rosa ★★★ This has long been a preppy hangout supreme, and in this instance those well-scrubbed WASPs in Ralph Lauren attire are on to something. From chili con queso to botanas especiales (bean, chicken, and beef nachos; marinated beef strips: and flautitas with sour cream and guacamole) to the Puerto Vallarta combination (beef taco, enchilada with chili con carne-. 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 ai Lovers Lane, Suite 165. 350-5227. Mon-TJiur II am-3pm A 5-10 pm. Fri II am-3pm A 5-11 pm, Sat 11 am-ll pm, Sun I! am-10pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Chlml’s ★★ Dallas isn’t exactly lacking for Mexican restaurants with food in the decent-to-noteworthy range and

a cheerful, airy setting. So, while Chain’s so-called Sonoran cuisine, which tastes a whole lot like regular Tex-Mcx tome. is nothing revolutionary, it is cause for good cheer among Bryan Place’s urban pioneers Bryan & Peak. 826-0541. Sun-Thur 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat II ami am. MC. V. AE.

Chori’s Taquerla ★★ This soulful little spot is the home of top-notch budget Mex. Tacos and sopes are less than a dollar, and the higher-priced specialties are worth the extra bucks- 609 S Hampton. 330-5034. Tue Thur 9 am-10pm. Fri & Sat 8 am-midnight, Sun 8 am-10 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

Genaro’S ★★★With its tropical art-deco look, Genaro’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 jalaneno and tomatillo cream sauce lopped with pumpkin seeds arrived sans pumpkin seeds, the accompanying black beans and pea-studded rice were pleasing, anyway. And the coconut ice cream was lushly satisfying. 5815 Live Oak at Skillman. 827-9590. Mon-Thur II am-10:30pm. Fri & Sal II am-II;30 pm, Sun 11 arn-IO:30pm. All credit cards, Moderate.

Gloria’s ★★ Gloria’s is in our Mexican category because, technically, there is Mexican food available here. But the point of Gloria’s is the Salvadoran tare: tamales, pupusas. and a licuado du plantano (a plantain milkshake) for dessert. 600 W Davis. 948-3672. Tuc-Thur 9 am-10 pm. Fri-Sun 9 am-1 am. Closed Mon. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

Gonzales ★★ 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 needs to know the topography of the menu to find them. They are most notably the numerous varieties of burritos made with fat. tender flour tortillas: the bean and cheese and the potato and egg are two good choices for those 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 7am-9pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

J. Papers ★★★ J Pepe’s Mexican food is a cut above most local Tex-Mexeiies, 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. Ali. Inexpensive to moderate.

Marlo & Alberto ★★★ The standards of Mario Leal’s second restaurant don’t seem to have suffered with the opening of a third one-this popular North Dallas spot seemed as Tine (and as busy) as ever. Among the main courses, the filete 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 sizzling fireworks. The Tex-Mex plates continue to run way behind the specialties in excellence. Coconut or cinnamon ice cream makes a refreshing dessert, Preston Valley Shopping Center. LIU Frwy as Preston, Suite 425. 98Q-72M Mon-Thur 11:30am-IO:30pm. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.

Mario’s Chiquita ★★★ This Piano outpost of Mario Leal’s mini-empire is- surprise, surprise-very much like his other I wo restaurants, from the odd pastel color scheme, with its emphasis on skating-rink pink, to the average Tex-Mex offerings to the superior Mexico City-style specialties. Unlike the original Chiquita. Mario’s Chiquita is big enough that getting seated immediately is rarely a problem, 221 W Parker, Suite 400. Piano. 423-2977. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm. Fri A Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Martinez Cafe ★★★ Tex-Mex abounds in Dallas: top-notch Tex-Mex, however, is relatively rare. That’s where Martinez Cafe comes in. It’s been ii long time since standard-issue Tex-Mex made me sit up and take notice as 1 did here. There’s nothing outré on the menu, just the standards, prepared as they should be. Here you will find snappy salsa, notable nachos. tasty tacos, and enticing enchiladas. Just one caveat: if Mexican food and margaritas are synonymous in your book, don’t come to Martinez Cafe. There aren’t any margaritas to be had, though beer and wine are available. 3011 Routh. 855-0240. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10. Fri 5:30-11. Sas 11-11. MC. V, AE.

Mia’s ★★★ For lo these many years. 1 have been hearing about the chile rellenos at Mia’s. And for lo these many years. I have been missing out cm 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. I finally tasted the elusive entree, stuffed with ground beef, potato, and raisins, and can report that the result was worth lite wail. 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. 4418 Lemmon. 526-1020. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10. Fri 5-10:30. Sat II am-I0:30pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.



MIDDLE EAST



Who’s Who ★ Here’s what’s what at this little takeout eat -in establishment: skip the mundane sandwiches and opt for the falafel, hummus, or eggplant dip 66? 5 Roval. Suite 540. 739-7139. Sat-Thur 11 arn-9 pm, Fri II am-6pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

NATURAL



Bluebonnet Cafe ★★★ If you are a yuppie of a certain age. here is where, to the tune of James Taylor, you’re likely to run into friends, acquaintances, or the ex-spouses of same. Bluebonnet idle, is part of Whole Foods Market, and as the name of the establishment indicates, the food tends toward the healthful. Happily, however, Bluebonnet doesn’t take a doctrinaire stand. Burgers, wine, and coffee-three controlled substances at hard-line health establishments-are allowed here. Check out the slrawberry-banana-papaya smoothie and the black bean nachos with white cheese and guacamole. 2218 Greenville. 828-0052. Mon-Fri 11 am-9pm. Sat 9-9, Sun9am-3pm. MC. V. Inexpensive.



SEAFOOD



Aw Shucks ★★ Although the “fried thangs”-oysters and shrimp-that are the featured attraction at this relaxed restaurant are splendid, one does tend to feel in need of a shower after eating at Aw Shucks. But if you can handle the inherent grease factor involved in dining at an establishment fitted out with a battery of deep-fat fryers, Aw Shucks is a worthwhile destination. One exception to the rule of quality here is the tat French fries, which have hardly any flavor. 3601 Greenville, 821-9449; 4535 Maple. 522-4498; Village at Bachman Lake. 3701 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 310, 350-9777. Mon-Thur 11-11 pm, Fri A Sat 11 am-Il:45 pm, Sun 11:30 am-10 pm at Greenville location; Mon-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri & Sas 11 am-l!:45 pm. Sun 11:30 am-10 pm as Maple location; Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm. Fri A Sat II am-ll:45pm. Sun 11:30 am-10 pm at Northwest Hwy location, MC, V Inexpensive.

Café Pacific ★★★Park Village. Suite 24. 526-1170. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30. Sun 10:30-2:30: dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11. All credit earth. Expensive.

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 m 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. Lunch daily 11-2:30: dinner Mon-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sal 11-ll. Sun 11 am-9pm. 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. sword fish kebabs were below par. However, such instances are anomalies in my experience. Which is a good thing. because unlike ils competitors lor scrums seafood-Atlantic Cafe and Café Pacific-Newport’s can’t rely on a gorgeous setting (the vast, woody setting is merely inoffensive) or polished service. 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220. Lunch Mon-Fn 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-Woodand-earth-tones look of the place, my expectations of the Rusty Pelican were somewhere between zip and zero. To my happy surprise, two ol’ four things ordered-shrimp cocktail and trout amandine-were excellent, and the other two-shelled Dungeness crab and mahi-mahi breaded with hazelnuts-were more than edible, if less than electrifying 14655 Dallas Pkw\. Addison. 980-8950. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Mon-Thur 5-10pm, Fri 5-11, Sat 4:30-11 pm. Sun 4:30-10pm. 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 puncluate the black-and-white deco decor, 6617 Hillcrest. 373-6527. Daily 6:30 am-10 pm. No credit cards; personal check* 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 entrées 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 entrées 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 A Sat 511. Sun 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

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

Highland Park Cafeteria ★★★ Standing in line at HPC and moving past the portraits of the presidents is a ritual of unmatched resonance in Dallas dining. HPC is a treasured local institution, from the Southern classics on the menu to the line staff, some of whom have been on the job for decades. Perhaps as a result, many regulars believe that heaven itself will resemble HPC, with hainetted attendants querying, “Serve you?” and booths always available. The menu on cloud nine: ham or chicken-fried steak, green beans, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, a jalapefno corn muffin, and cherry cobbler. The Addison and downtown branches have their virtues, but they don’t reproduce the allure of the original Knox Street location. 4611 Cole, 526-3801; Village on the Parkway, 5100 Bell Line at Dallas Pkwv, Suite 600, 934-8800N; downtown, 500 Akard at San Jacinto. Suite 220. 740-2400. Mon-Sat II am-8pm at Cole location; Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm, Sun 10:45 am-3 pm at Village on the Parkway location; Mon-Fri 6:30am-2 pm at downtown location. No credit cards. MC, V. AE for takeout and buffet orders of more than $10. Inexpensive.

Marna Taught Ma How ★★★★ Here is a down-home dream come true: lovingly prepared versions of (he greatest hits of Dixified cuisine. That name, incidentally, is no trumped-up product of marketing strategy. Mama is Doris Alexander, her daughters are Judy Sharp and Vickie Piland, and together they run (he place with a combination of charm and warmth that is as specific to the South as are gri(s. Standouts include the red beans and rice, chicken-fried steak (both available every day), chicken and dumplings, and coconut cream pie (which are available only on some days). 14902 Preston Rd. #512 (SE comer of Preston & Belt Line) in Pep-per Sauare. 490-6301. Mon-Fri 7am-2:30pm. 1hur5-8pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

Rosemaries ★★★★ In the days when 1 toiled at The Dallas Morning News, one of my prescriptions for a bad morning was a quick trip across the bridge to Oak CI iff for lunch at Rosemarie’s. These days. I don’t make it to Rosemaries quite so often, but when I do, it’s like old-home week. Rosemarie Hudson never forgets a customer, and her warmth accounts in part for the fanatical loyally this little cafeteria-style operation inspires; the terrific chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, and peanut butler pie also might have something to do with it. 1411 N Zang. 946-4142. Mon-Fri 11-2. No credit cards. 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 chicken-fried steak is in order. 10422 Harry Hines. 352-0051. Mon-Sat 5:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.

Tolbert’s ★★ Tolbent lives again, though in a different location in a slick downtown office tower. Still. the place is sufficiently rusticated in appearance to make it a good place to bring out-of-lowners disappointed in Dallas’s lack of way-out-West charm. It may be blasphemy to say, but I’ve never been a fan of Tolbert’s chili. The burgers, however, are fine, and the donkey tails-flour tort illa-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 II 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 espariola. a heavy-duty assemblage of potato, egg, and onion, and gambas al ajillo, shrimp in garlic- and pepper-enlivened olive oil. For dessert, the orange-sauced bunuelo makes for a satisfying close to a thoroughly pleasing meal. 8220 Westchester. Preston Center. 373-4663. Mon-Sat 5 pm-12:30 am; happy hour 5-7. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.



STEAKS



Dai 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 1 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 Dei Frisco’s version with raisins, coconut, and Jack Daniel’s sauce. 4300 Lemmon. 526-2101. Mon-Thur 5 pm-10 pm. Fri & Sat 5-II, Sun 5 pm-9 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib ★★★★ Finding myself once again on the verge of the big NB (nervous breakdown), I decided on dinner at Lawry’s. The 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 lime. 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. Ai lunch or dinner, the look of Lawry’s is surreal-ly 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. Morton’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 serious-looking. Instead, of course, the decor, such as it is. consists of the worst caricatures ever committed to paper of the locally famous and semi-famous. Lunch ai the Palm, il turns out, is a really good idea. The lunch specials are not only less pricey than the choices at dinner, but they’re frequently better, to judge from the celestial roast pork 1 tried this time around, 701 Ross. 698-0470. Mon-Thur 11:30am-10:30pm, Fri 11:30 am-11 pm, Sal 5-11 pm, Sun 5-9:30pm. All credit cards. Very expensive.



TAKEOUT



Crescent Gourmet ★★★The Crescent Gourmet offers some of the best baked goods in town for breakfast. The croissants. Danishes, and muffins are done right-and on the premises. Any of the aforementioned, along with fresh-squeezed juice, would start any day right. At lunch, there are plenty of reasonably priced sandwiches and salads to choose from, including the knockout pizzas served next door at Beau Nash. 400 Crescent Court. Suite 150. Maple ai McKinney. 871-3223. Mon-Fri 10:30 am-3 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.

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 whatsoever. Chateau Plaza. 2515 McKinney. 871-2253. Mon-Fri 7am-6pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Pollo 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 cornbread, and pretty odd beans. You can eat inside the clean, spiffy-looking premises or take your treasure home. 3438 Samuell Blvd. 828-0645. Daily 10:30 am-11 pm. No credit cams. Inexpensive.



THAI



Bangkok Inn ★★ Despite its sign proclaiming “We Expert in Chinese Food.” most patrons think that Bangkok Inn is expert in Thai food. Both the pad Thai, the great Thai rice-noodle dish, and the moo satay are exceptional here. Bring your own wine; there’s no corkage fee, 6033 Oram. 821-8979. Mon-Fri 11:30am-10pm. Sat 1 pm-11 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

Slam ★★★★★ Gone from the scene for more than two years. Siam has relumed in a new location. The signature dishes that made the original Siam’s reputation are as good as ever; the pork satay comes with peerless curried peanut sauce, the spring rolls are commendable, the beef salad is rolling in leaves of fresh mint. and pud Thai. a dish of rice noodles with shrimp, ground peanuts, and scrambled egg. tastes better here than anywhere. Now more than ever. Siam is one of Dallas’s all-time great Asian restaurants. Northwest Comers Shopping Center, 2415 W Northwest Highway #108 (accessible from Harry Hines), 358-3122. Lunch Mon-Thur Ui30am-2:30pm, dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10. Fri 5:30-11. Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.

Thal Lanna ★★ The best offerings here-ginger chicken Thai style, broccoli beef over noodles, and broccoli pork over noodles-arc peerless. Do pay heed to the starred items; global food travelers generally agree that Thai cuisine is the world’s hottest and spiciest. 4317 Bryan. 827-6478; 1490 W Spring Valley. 690-3637. Mon-Fri II am-2:30pm & 5 pm-10 pm. Sat & Sun II am-10 pm at Bryan location: Sun-Thur II am-10pm. Fri & Sat II-II at Spring Valley location. MC. V. 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 arc the beverages of choice. Two entrées of choice are tenderloin of beef with vermicelli and the Vietnamese crepe, which is more of a frit-tata, really. 4812 Bryan. 821-1880. Daily 7:30am-9pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

La Pagode ★★ In the past. I’ve experienced the emperor’s new clothes syndrome in regard to La Pagode. Although I had heard numerous reports of excellence from restaurant-hound s I 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 II-I0, Fri A Sat II-II. Closed Sun. MC. V. DC. Inexpensive to moderate.

Mars ★★ 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-l0:30pm. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun II am-I0:30 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 1 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, 1731Greenville. 828-9795. Tue-Thur 11 am-10pm, Fri & Sat II-II. Sun & Mon 5-10 All credit cards. Inexpensive.



LAS COLINAS/M1D CITIES



China Terrace ★★★ I like to think that 1 will forgive almost anything for good food. However, if that were the case, the well-prepared steamed dumplings, Szechwan beef, and shrimp with snow peas that I tried on my last visit to China Terrace would have left me happy. Instead, the harshly lit setting and the tough-luck attitude of the service la request for a beer at 9:55 was refused because the bar was closed) put a significant dent in my sense of well-being. 5435 N MacArthur. Irving. 550-1113. Sun-Thur 11 am-10pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. MC. V, AE. Moderate.

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

Tandoor ★★ Intrigued by the idea of jeers 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 sulfa tous 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 patties, 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 & Sat 5:30-10:30. MC, V. AE. Moderate.



FORT WORTH



Angelo’s ★How much of Angelo’s reputation is warranted and how much mere mystique? I found the sliced barbecue and the chopped beef sandwich both tacking 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 II am-10 pm. Closed San. No credit cards.

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-IOpm, Fri

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 people grab a bite at the nearest eatery that appeals. Restaurant critics and their long-suffering friends head out for North Richland Hills, where they have been told 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 question 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 Pan H” (which translates to breast of chicken with cashew nuts and vegetables), and Thai doughnuts, with an orange-peanut sauce for dipping. (And thanks to reader Lisa Bain Grossman for the recommendation. ) 6455 Hilltop Dr. North Richland Hills. (817) 656-2144. Lunch Tue-Sun 11 am-3:30 pm; dinner Tue-Thur 4:30 pm-9:30 pm, Fri & Sat 4:30 pm-!0:30pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Sairtt-Emflion ★★★★ 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 crème caramel. 3617 W Seventh. (817) 737-2781. Mon-Fri ll:30am-2 pm & 6-10pm, Sal 6-10pm. 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.

Andrew’s Why mess around with a successful formula? Andrew’s still features obscure folk singers on the guitar. serves its well-regarded hamburgers, and offers its strong specialty drinks with ridiculous names. Although there are now two Andrew’s locations in Dallas, only the McKinney location offers live music. It’s still a kick to see the yuppie crowd that packs this comfortable nightspot listening to die old Joan Baez tunes. 3301 McKinney. 521-6535. 14930 Midway. 385-1613; Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am; Sun K):30am-2 am. All 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 Oie 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.

Barnacles. What a find! This place is comfortable, easygoing in die 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. Features 85C draft beer at Happy Hour, S3.50 pitchers, and daily drink specials. 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 fare can be uneven, but there’s no cover charge, so who’s complaining? 1915 Greenville. 826-2623. Mon-\ted5pm-midnight, Thur-Sat5 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. MC. V.

Boller Room. It’s easy to see how this bar got its name: it’s the actual boiler room of the old Sunshine Biscuit Company. However, this has nothing to do with its popularity as a dance club and the best new singles bar close to downtown. Some may feel inhibited dancing in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows next to the dance floor; others won’t want to leave. Part of the Dallas Alley in the West End Marketplace. 603 Munger. 988-0581. Daily 4 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.

Bowley & Wilson’s. If you’re looking for a place to have your church social, don’t come here. Not for the faint of heart or timid of ear, Bowley and Wilson dish out hysterical music and humor that landed them in jail on one occasion. If you’re looking fora reasonably priced, humor-filled evening, Bowley & Wilson and the Blue Bathroom Humor Band are for you. You can win free drinks by being a good sport when they ask you to join in the act. Win free Kamikazes by successfully singing “Old Ben Lucas” in front of the audience, 4714 Greenville. 692-6470. Tue-Sat 7:30 pm-2 am. Show starts at 9:30. Cover varies. MC. V, AE.

Cheers. Looking for a good dive bar to watch a basketballgame? Or how about a small, casual place for a hamburger or sandwich? Well, they’re both here. The crowd was starting 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.

Club Dada. You may recognize the name from the avant-garde performing group. Victor Dada. That’s because three of the members opened il, and il does have an eclectic style; new music and jazz and nightly versions of “performance art.” One of our favori tes is the “Word of the Day,” or “Monday Night Feedback.” where an improv team gives its own version of Monday Night Football. 2720 Elm at Crowdus. 744-3232. Mon-Fri 4 pm-2 am. Sat 6pm-2 am. Sun 8 pm-2 am. MC. V, AE.

Tha Den. This dark, warm, intimate bar is located inside the Stoneleigh Terrace Hotel. You never know who you’re going to sec here, if anyone at all. It’s the perfect place to meet someone for a quiet conversation. And if they bore you, you can always spend your time trying to figure out whose picture is hanging next to Bob Hope’s. Stoneleigh Terrace Hotel, 2927 Maple Aye. 871-7111. Mon-Sat 11 am-midnight. Sun noon-I0 pm. MC. V, AE. DC.

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 thai have come and gone on Greenville Avenue, this place has staying power. 3606 Greenville. 827-5544. Tue-Thur 8 pm-2 am,Fri& Sat 7-4. Closed Mon. Cover $3 Thur; $4 Fri & Sat. MC, V, AE.

Fat Tuesday. You can laissez les bon temps rouler in this spacious pleasure barn, though even a healthy crow! seems swallowed up here. The Mardi Gras mood is enhanced by the huge, festive masks that adorn the walls, especially the striking sun mask that smiles over the bar-our first nomination for the Dallas Museum of Nightclub Art. Ultimately, of course, the Bourbon Street spirit depends on spirits, and Fat Tuesday delivers. More than a dozen high-octane mixtures churn perpetually in blenders; the aptly named Crawgator, a house specialty, mixes three kinds of rum. brandy, and juices. The Cajun buffet-all the jambalaya and chicken wings you want for S2-is satisfactory. 6778 Greenville. 373-7377. Daily II am-2 am. MC, V, AE.

Four Seasons Ballroom. This place offers big-band music for ballroom dancing. A strict dress code is enforced: dresses for the ladies and coats and ties for the gentlemen. Only setups, beer, wine, and soft drinks are served, except on Fridays, when food is available. Cover varies, and free dance lessons are offered. 4930 Military Plwy. 349-0390. Wed 8:45-11:45pm, Fri9pm-12:30. No credit cards.

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 Munger. 988-0581. Daily 4 pm-2 am. Cover varies. MC. V, AE.

Funny Bone. The Funny Bone is to comedy what McDonalds 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 in the High Point Village Shopping Center 437-2000. Shows: Web, Thur. Sun 8:30; Fri8:30& 10:45; Sat 8, 10. A midnight; Tue 9 pm. MC, V, AE.

Greenville Avenue Country Club. Does anyone really swim in the pool here? Well, not while we were there, but we are told it does still happen occasionally, and yes, our waitress said they check the chlorine content from time to time. If you’re looking fora 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 fare with a healthy sampling of salad selections. 3619 Greenville. 826-5650. Daily II 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.

Humperdlnk’s. Its 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 boisterous 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 II am-2 am. All credit cards.

Knox Street Pub. Here, across the street from such yuppie delights as On the Border and Hoffbrau. is a bar still fighting to be laid back. And what is laid back these days? How about a varied jukebox with rock V roll, English New Wave, country/western, and Sixties pop? How about terrible restrooms and old pool tables? How about a motley clientele? The pub is a classic neighborhood bar. a vanishing species. 3230 Knox. 526-9476. Mon-Sat II am-2 am, Sun 5 pm-10pm. No credit cards.

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

Louie’s. First, a quick history of the search for a media bar in Dallas. For years, Joe Miller’s held the title, and since Joe’s death in 1986, his widow. Linda, has run the bar, but she made one huge mistake in the minds of many of Joe Miller’s regulars-she fired long-time bartender Louie Canelakes. Now Louie has returned with his own place, and it has everything a serious barfly could wish for-a casual, no-nonsense atmosphere, stiff drinks, attentive waitresses, good bartenders, and the omnipresent Louie Canelakes. 1839 N Henderson. 826-0505. Mon-Sat 3 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE.



The Lounge. Want to throw down a beer with young intelligentsia? Here’s what you do; first, dress chic, but don’t let it look elegantly chic. Casual chic is the style here (unless you’re in die 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-Thur 5 pm-1 am. Fri & Sal 5 pm-2 am. AE, DC. CB.



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, entertainment, and media celebs thai ring the cantina. Old Town. 5500 Greenville. 691-3888. Sun-Thur 10:30 am-11 pm, Fri & Sal 11:30 am-midnight. MC, V, AE.



Milo Butterfinger’s . This is one of the few remaining “bar” bars on the Upper Greenville strip. Milo’s has outlived the disco and the fern-even the upscale meat market. It’s 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 die corner. Bui judging by the fresh-faced college clientele, you’d swear he’d moved into the basement of the SMU student center. 5645 We. 368-9212. Mon-Fri ll:30am-2am. Satnoon-2am. Sun 2 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.



Outback Pub. In an age where people actually pay bar consultants to engineer dives that are studiously raunchy and raucous (Dick’s. The Chaise Lounge), the West End’s Outback Pub is an Aussie twist on an age-old theme. It’s a pub. Novel idea. Darts, shuffleboard. pool, neon beer signs, soundless soap operas, good, cold beer. The food is cheap and filling; the Karma is right for playing hooky from work. Ross at Market. 761-9355. Daily II am-2 am. MC, V, AE.



Pinot’s Wine Bar. You want wine by the glass, this is the

place to get it-twenty-one varieties, ranging in price from S2.50 to S21 a glass. (If you’re trying to check oui all twenty-one in one night, the half-glass option might be advisable. ) There is a menu, and it’s more than passable, if less than awe-inspiring, but wine, not food, is the lure here. 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 7pm-2 am. Closed Sun. Cover varies. No credit cards.



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.



SRO. This place was made for the younger real estate brokerage crowd that loves to party on Thursday night, and don’t assume the downturn in the real estate market has changed those partying habits. Our Thursday visit found the place SRO indeed. A walk from our seat at the bar to check out the al fresco seating created enough friction to light up a three-way bulb (all those natural fibers rubbing up against one another). SRO’s sleek black interior and low-voltage lighting 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. Daily 11 am-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 thai the bar thai 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 & Sun 9 pm-2 am; Fri &Sas9 pm-4 am. Closed Mon-Wed. Cover $5 Thur & Sun after 9 pm: $10 Fri & Sal after 9 pm. AU 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 Oie Hard Rock Cafe. This is a bar for low-key Bohemians who want to have civilized conversation while gazing out picture windows lacing 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 11 am-2 am. Sat noon-2 am, Sun 6 pm-2 am. MC, V. AE.



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





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 Longhorn 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.



The Blue Bird. Even when the band’s not playing, you’ll feel like dancing at The Blue Bird: the jukebox is the best in Fort Worth. But then, the petrons don’t want that to get around; they know a good thing when they’ve found it. The club is packed nearly every weekend with regulars dancing to the infectious music of Robert Ealey and the Blues-blasters. This is rhythm and blues at its finest, but sssshhh! 5636 Wellesley. (817) 732-6243. Fri & Sat 10pm-2 am. No credit cards.



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. 1817) 877-3000. Wed-Sat 7pm-2 am. Sun 6 pm~midnight. Closed Mon & Tue. Coierfor shows only, MC. y, AE. DC-



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), hut lacks the cutesy crowd or trendy atmosphere. A stage tucked in the corner features national and local bands, with music ranging from folk to reggae, rock to country. Although all the food is good, none of it can surpass the pizza. 2905 W Berry. 1817) 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 musk six nights a week and lots of tourists trying desperately to learn the two-step on a small dance floor. 106 E Exchange. 1817) 624-8273. Sun-Thur noon-midnight. Fri A Sat noon-2 am. Happy hour: Mon-Fri 4pm-7pm. MC. V. AE.