Sunday, September 24, 2023 Sep 24, 2023
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By D Magazine |

The more things stay the same, the more they change. Rocco begets Pomodoro. SRO is crowded out by SRO Europa Café. Maple Street East goes south, to be replaced by Acapella. The sun sets on Cafe Cancun and rises on Loma Luna Cafe.

And so it goes in a city of fanatic but fickle diners, and even more fanatic but fickle landlords and lenders. But as restaurants change hands and locations change identities, the quality of our food continues to improve. The old standbys-venerable Tex-Mex, thick, juicy steaks, finger-lickin’ barbecue-endure. Longstanding pro restaurateurs like Alberto Lombardi and Mario Leal aren’t getting older, they’re getting better. And there are new cuisines to sample as well: Pacific Rim is in, Sardinian is hot, New Mexican has arrived.

Twice a year, D’s dining critics put it all together for you in this guide to the best of Dallas’s many fine restaurants. Stash it near your telephone, scribble notes in the margin, write to us with your yeas and your nays. Bon appetit!

Restaurant Guide Editor: Laura Jacobus Dining Critics: Betty Cook, Mary Brown Malouf, W.L. Taitte

Typesetter: Dora Butler

Cover design: Connatser & Company

Photography: Michael Johnson

Stylist: Debra Allen



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 Nines Blvd. 630-0735. Inexpensive.

Blue RIbbon Bar-B-Que. Service is pretty much do-it-yourself-amble down the cafeteria line, pile your plate with terrific ribs, slow-cooked beef and ham. spicy sausage, and your choice of hot or mild beans, German potato salad, or coleslaw, then pick up your longneck and head for a table. 316 Hillside Village (Mockingbird and Abrams). 823-5524. Inexpensive.

The Bronx. The menu of top-notch burgers (the guacamole and bacon burger is a favorite) and omelettes is augmented by blackboard specials. On a recent visit, we started with potato skins, gooey with melted cheese, and then attempted to finish a hunk of Mom-style meatloaf, covered with onion- and pepper-filled tomato sauce. 3835 Cedar Springs. 521-5821. inexpensive.

Chips. Chips is the burger joint for me: I like its laid-back, not-too-loud’ atmosphere. I like the friendly and efficient service. 1 like the pig sandwich (shredded pork with relish), the chicken sandwich, and all the burgers I’ve tasted (chili, cheese, hickory, and plain). 4501 N Central Expwy. 526-1092. 2445 W Northwest Hwy. Suite 101. 350-8751. Inexpensive.

Cisco Grill. Both soups we tried were terrific-the baked potato soup was full of skin-on potato chunks and generously topped with melted cheese, crumbled bacon, and scallions. Cisco’s burgers, served on well-toasted sesame buns, are big; the bacon-cheddar burger we tried had plenty of both. 6630 Snider Plaza. 363-9506. Inexpensive.

Hard Rock Cafe. The menu ranges from burgers to more ambitious tare-grilled swordfish and such-but it’s best to stick to the basic burger or the “Pig Sandwich”-a pile of shredded pork and relish on a bun. 2601 McKinney. 855-0007. Moderate.

Ribby’s. This new, neon, drive-through barbecue shack has two, count ’em, two tables on the premises. First-timers will want (he rib sampler, with small portions of three kinds: marinated, beef, and original. The cole slaw is exceptional: the beans and bread are not. 6515 E Northwest Hwy 361-5555. Inexpensive.

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

Snuffer’s. Snappy, friendly service was a plus; the nachos were good and the chicken sandwich and French fries excellent. We agreed, though, that the burgers were way too salty and the buns way loo soggy. 3526 Greenville, 826-6850. Inexpensive.

Solly’s. There are those who believe that good barbecue can’t be found in the squeaky-clean reaches of Addison. They haven’t eaten at Solly’s, where the “casual cuisine” features barbecue as flavorful as that in any other part of town-and French fries that were recently derived from a potato, which is a sadly rare state of affairs. 4801 Belt Line. 387-2900. Inexpensive.

Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. 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 earn Sonny’s its fame. 2202 Imvood. 357-7120. Inexpensive.


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 menu is small, mostly Ca-jun, and 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. inexpensive.

Copeland’s. For a mass-market chain restaurant, Copeland’s has pretty good New Orleans-style food. But then for a mass-market chain restaurant, Copeland’s has pretty stiff prices. The kitchen relies heavily on two styles of sauces, one dark and assertive, the other pale and milder-both of them thick and liable to be pasty. The oysters on brochette is served atop the dark version. The light one adorns everything from softshell crab to fried redfish. 5353 Belt Line. 661-1883. Moderate.

Crescent City Cafe. Crescent City serves the best muffaletta sandwich in the area. It may well be the only muffaletta sandwich in the area, but this is not to detract from the accomplishment. Crescent City’s version consists of a round loaf of chewy, sesame seed-topped bread filled with ham, salami, three kinds of cheeses, and a mixture of marinated, chopped olives and vegetables. 2730 Commerce St. 321-1613. Inexpensive.

Koonazz. As long as Koonazz sticks to the roadhouse basics of the bayou country-most notably gumbo and fried seafood- the results are fine, if slightly overpriced. Fancier dishes are generally less satisfactory. The atmosphere here reminds you of a roadhouse, too, thanks to the folksy, garrulous waitpersons and the Louisiana-slyle bands that play frequently and loudly. 2731 W Northwest Hwy. 352-2751. Moderate.

Louisiana Purchase. The crawfish étoufée was sufficiently authentic to cause our Louisiana relatives to want to come back. The fried shrimp, oysters, and catfish are as good as any place around. Lots of the dishes, though, as at other putative Cajun places, are simply too hot for most tastes-beware the gumbo and especially the barbecued shrimp. Central Expwy at Parker Road, Plano. 422-2469. Moderate.

Pontchartrain. There are two kinds of gumbo, and we liked the delicate flavor of the filé gumbo belter than the traditional heavier stock. The broiled stuffed snapper, halibut, and shrimp are specialties, though the fried entrees were just as good. 13444 N Preston Rd. 385-1522. inexpensive.


Bahama Bob’s. Crunchy sweet onion rings, conch fritters, and chips, slices of the blandly sweet fruit in a spicy, crisp were all good. Entrées were less pleasing: our friendly warned us that the Jamaican jerk chicken was hot, but she didn’t say it was so heavily spiced you couldn’t actually finish it. which it was. And my companion’s coconut shrimp were so sweet he could only eat a few of them; they might have been belter as an appetizer. 302 N Market. 655-2627. Moderate.


August Moon. The moo goo gai pan has the most carefully sliced pieces of while meat, touched with a hint of garlic. The three kinds of meat in Mongolian barbecue have a rich flavor and an attractively chewy texture. But Papa Tsay”s Magic Basket suffered from a fried noodle basket that looked pretty but tasted stale. 15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. N 2300 N Central Expwy. 881-0071. Moderate.

Cathy’s Wok. From the informative menu (dishes arc described in detail, complete with calorie count). I tried decent wonton soup, an egg roll that was heavy on the cabbage, peppery chicken, and shredded pork with garlic sauce. Even when the food here isn’t perfect, the ingredients are fresh and mercifully MSG-free, and the prices are right. 4010 W 15th. Suite 80, Piano. 964-0406. Inexpensive.

Chin Big Wong. Dim sum seekers flock here during peak lunch hours on weekends, so expect a wait, and expect it to be worth it. Carts of goodies roll by: steamed dumplings, sate beef sticks, shrimp toast, spring rolls, barbecued pork. Most plates are $1.50, and will provide tastes tor three people. 9243 Skillman, Suite 104. 343-0545. Inexpensive.

Crystal Pagoda. Among the appetizers is one of the city’s best versions of Bon Bon chicken (shredded meat topped with a paste of peanuts and hot peppers). The Hunan lamb and the shrimp with cashew nuts are also memorable. But the crispy duck is a disappointment: not nearly crisp enough and almost tasteless. 4516 McKinney 526-3355. Moderate.

Forbidden City. Two chicken dishes look the prizes at our last meal. The old standby moo goo gai pan contained a wealth of fresh vegetables and satiny meat. The chef’s chicken was more unusual: shredded chicken meal flavored, but not overpowered, by touches of red-hot pepper, and balanced with crisp bean sprouts. 5290 Belt Line. 960-2999. Moderate.

Han-Chu. Standard dishes like the spring rolls can be a disappointment, but the golden coin shrimps proved a worthy appetizer. Among the entrées. Shang-hai smoked pork stir-fried with vegetables is an unusual standout, and the tangerine beef is one of the best versions in town. Caruth Plaza. 9100 N Central Expwy at Park Lane. Suite 191. 691-0900. Moderate.

Hao’s. The kitchen uses almost no MSG, which gives many of the dishes a uniquely fresh taste. Almost all the stir-fries come with a bevy of fresh vegetables including broccoli and snow peas and bell peppers. The food at Hao’s is well prepared, but many of the dishes tend to look and taste alike-even those that are supposed to be spicy, like the beef gui and the garlic shrimp. 8440 Abrams. 343-3998. Inexpensive to moderate.

Henry Chen’s. This is one of the best-looking Chinese restaurants in town. Of course, pretty is as pretty does, and Henry Chen’s acquits itself honorably on that front: the food, 10 judge from orange beef and chicken with snow peas, is significantly above average, if not quite as noteworthy as the decor. 3701 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 180. 956-9560. Moderate.

Hong Kong Royale. The barbecued duck will probably be too fatly for most Occidental tastes, but the special Chinese soup will make lots of converts to authenticity-a hearty beef broth filled with tender, bone-in chunks of meal, bok choy, and other, more unusual Chinese vegetables. Two of the best-prepared Chinese dishes we have been served in Dallas are the scallops in a potato nest and the fresh whole sole steamed under a blanket of black beans, cilantro. garlic, and scallions. 221 W Post. Richardson. 238-8888. Moderate to expensive.

Jasmine. Among the unusual appetizers is a wonderful vegetable roll, surrounded by the crunchiest casing imaginable. The shrimp rolls, on the other hand, are glutinous and fishy-tasting from their seaweed wrappings. Main courses include macadam-ian chicken that could have used a few more macadamia nuts instead of so much canned bamboo, and abalone Imperial that had chewy, canned-tasting abalone but exquisitely cooked scallops and shrimp just touched with ginger. 4002 Belt Line Rd, Suite 200. Addison. 991-6867 Moderate.

May Dragon. A small labyrinth of intimate dining spaces in subtle colors is the setting for some of the best-prepared Chinese food in town, served with the attention due the Last Emperor himself. The menu holds few surprises, but even a doddering standard like moo goo gai pan offers delicately cut meat and immaculately fresh vegetables. 4848 Belt Line at Inwood. 392-9998 Inexpensive to moderate.

Plum Blossom. From appetizers of crispy five-spice quail and paper shrimp to main courses of knockout Peking duck and subtly gratifying bird’s nest chicken with pine nuts, 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 Stem-mons Fwy. 748-1200. Moderate to expensive.

Szechwan Pavillon. Our favorites from a recent visit were the Chamg Sha shrimp, entangled with strips of peppers, onion, and ginger and nestled in a boat of foil, and a knockout version of lamb Szechwan style. 8411 Preston. Suite 132. at Northwest Hwy. 368-4303. Moderate to expensive.

Taipei. Taipei has several dishes not found on every Chinese menu in town. We tried a number of them, including the Crispy Golden Brown Fish Ball: something like big fish croquettes doused in a bright red, sweet, hot sauce. The shredded duck with bean sprouts had rather dry duck meat, but lots of fresh and crunchy sprouts. 3820 W Northwest Hwy. Suite 150, 350-3969. Moderate.

Talwan. Ordinary things sit side by side with excellent dishes at the Addison Taiwan. The subnormal egg rolls seem to come from a different kitchen than the light, delicate shrimp dumplings. At least no one can complain any longer that they go too easy on the spicy dishes here: both the Mongolian beef and the tangerine chicken we sampled were heavily spiked with hot red peppers 4980 Belt Line. Addison. 387-2333. Moderate.

Tong’s House. This offbeat shopping center restaurant has attracted a loyal following because of its seafood specials like clams and whole fish (available mostly on the weekends) and its esoteric offerings that appeal mostly to Chinese customers (such as cattle stomach or jellyfish). Among the more conventional dishes, we almost always opt for the kon po scallops-not made with peanuts here, just lots of juicy scallops with garlic and pepper pods. 1910 Promenade Center, Richardson. 231-8858. Moderate.

Uncle Tal’s Hunan Yuan. Uncle Taj’s is the highest of high-end Chinese options in town. For prices consistently higher than any other Chinese restaurant in town, the customer gets such off-the-beaten-path dishes as sautéed sliced pheasant, frog’s legs with ginkgo nuts, and sliced duck with young ginger roots Galleria, 13350 Dallas Pkwy. Suite 3370. 934-9998. Expensive.


Café Royal. The menu often a choice of an a la carte or prix-fixe (534.50) dinner. My choices from the latter list included a typically lovely presentation of shrimp in a spiral of tomato and avocado coulis, and imaginatively prepared lamb cutlets. My companion’s 4 la carte snails in fennel sauce were sublime; the properly tableside-prepared Caesar salad and grilled sirloin that followed were nothing short of perfect, and chocolate crème brulée from the dessert can was heaven. Plaza of the Americas. 650 N Pearl. 979-9000. Expensive.

Chez Gerard. Though my last visit here began and ended on a high note, the effect was marred by slightly lackluster entries. A duck liver and spinach Napoleon was flawless-still-rosy slices of liver layered with spinach and pastry-and the onion soup was everything onion soup can be. At the other end, crème caramel was a precise balance of bittersweet syrup and lightly sweet custard. But the grilled sword fish was slightly dry, and the fennel sauce bathing a fillet of taramia was so subtle it was almost bland, 4444 McKinney. 522-6865, Moderate to expensive.

Cleo by Jean-Clauda, Fans of the old Jean-Claude will find much to evoke nostalgia here. Jean-Claude Prevot himself is again much in evidence, and the menu has some old favorites like the very French, lettuce-only salads, the duck in an Oriental-inspired ginger sauce, and the ethereal chocolate soufflés. The standout appetizer is the garlicky escargots in a puff-pastry shell, and the best dessert is the hazelnut soufflé. Among the entrees, both treatments of fish we sampled were superb. The Centrum, 3102 Oak Lam, Suite 110. 520-9264. Expensive.

The French Room. From salads (green bean and green salad with goal cheese croutons) to entrees (salmon and rack of lamb) to dessert (apple tart), the rood on our last visit was all that one could ask for. What’s more, the sommelier is both congenial and welt informed; he is as happy to advise customers on a single glass of wine as a rare bottle. Adolphus Hotel. 1321 Commerce, 742-8200. Expensive.

Frenchy Cafe. The menu is primarily a list of hot or cold sandwiches along with daily specials; we tried the beef bourguignon, a tender, flavorful stew served over buttered noodles, and a hot ham-and-cheese on croissant. Don’t miss dessert-the son (who waited on us) makes the excellent chocolate mousse; his dad (who walked us to the door) makes the lovely apple tart. 5950-C Royal In. 369-1235. Inexpensive to moderate.

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. Although The Grape still serves the cheese and pate offerings that were its specially when it opened in 1972, pasta and fish specials are the ticket these days. 2803 Greenville at Goodwin. 828-1981. Moderate.

La Madeleine. The favorite breakfast order is pastry and excellent coffee; for lunch and dinner, the lineup includes a variety of soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and what we call “real food”-that is. a hot meal, and vegetables. On my last visit this was winey beef boutguignon. accompanied by a mild Caesar salad and followed by (part of) a Napoleon. 3072 W Mockingbird. 696-6960. 3906 Lemmon. 521-0182. Inexpensive.

L’Ambiance. On our last visit, the appetizers-a creamy tomato soup topped by a cheesy crouton, and a row of a dozen perfectly cooked asparagus spears-were especially good. Rack of lamb was well prepared; the duck breast, recommended as a house specialty, was nicely cooked, but its unidentifiable fruit sauce was overly sweet. The watercress salad with goat cheese, bacon, and hard-cooked egg was delicious, but desserts-a dry flourless chocolate cake and boringly sweet chocolate Concorde-were forgettable. 2408 Cedar Springs. 748-1291. Expensive.

L’Ancestral. First courses-an onion tart accented with pungent orange zest and a salad of tiny-diced ham, tomato, cheese, apple, and cabbage bound with homemade mayonnaise-were unusual and outstanding. Grilled swordfish and perfect pommes frites were followed by simple green salads and soothingly classic desserts. 4514 Travis. 528-1081. Moderate to expensive.

Left Bank. The left bank in question is that of the Trinity River. and the restaurant in question is the best thing to hit Oak Cliff since the viaduct from downtown. The food is simple. French-influenced, and changes every day. On the weekend, all of Oak Cliff wants to be here, so reservations are essential. 408 N Bishop. Suite 104. 948-1630. Inexpensive to moderate.

L’Entrecote. Don’t come here too hungry-the menu lakes some time to peruse. Then there are the specials to take into consideration, so that composing a dinner for two is a challenge for the curious and easily tempted. In the end. everything we ordered was delicious, exquisite, and perfectly served. Endive, watercress, and tarragon salad was refreshing; a salad of asparagus, baby com, and rose petals was good but slightly too precious. Veal in lime and sage was followed by an ideal dessert of melting-ly light frozen raspberry torte. Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stem-mons Frwy. 748-1200. Expensive to very expensive.

Mr. Peppe. Mr. Peppe is not so much a restaurant as it is amindset. There exists a subset of moneyed, established Dallasites for whom fine dining begins and ends with Mr. Peppe. While the rest of us frantically trendy parvenus chase around from new hot spot to newer hot spot, the Mr. Peppe-ites are content to eat things like pepper steak and veal with lemon butter week in and week out. 5617 W Lovers Lane. 352-5976. Moderate.

Old Warsaw. The granddaddy-make that grand-père -of big-deal dining in Dallas was us romantic as ever. “Why do I feel like I should propose?” was the question of my escort. It could have been the low lights, the banquette sealing, the violin and piano duo playing requests. It probably wasn’t the food, which, on average, was nothing special. The low point was an appetizer special of overly oniony crawfish in puff pastry; the high point was crepes Suzette. 2610 Maple. 528-0032. very expensive.

The Riviera, Smoked red bell pepper soup with bacon and sun-dried tomatoes was a perfect blend of salt, sweet, and smoke; the special yellow fin tuna salad played the meaty fish against smooth avocado and balanced the combination with nutty sesame vinaigrette. Delicate halibut was given depth with a rich, though slightly salty, lobster sauce, and the succulently sweet bin of lamb was sparked by a green peppercorn sauce. 7709 Inwood. 351-0094, Expensive to very expensive.

St. Martin’s. 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 cluck with peach sauce, praiseworthy swordfish with capers and mushrooms, sensually dense chocolate satin pie. and unpleasantly eggy crime caramel. 3020 Greenville. 826-0940. Moderate to expensive.

Three Vikings. The took of the place is very light, with lots of pale blue and bleached pine. There’s nothing light about the food, though-which is good or bad. depending on how you feel about Scandinavian/Continental food. For my part, ] am immoderately fond of the Swedish meatballs, moderately fond of the Finnish shrimp chowder, and not fond at all of the heavy-on-the-béarnaise veal Oscar. 4537 Cole, 559-0987. Modvrate.

Trieste. The menu at Trieste, which changes every Monday, was frankly French on our visit. Entrees included potato (a fan-shape of au gratin slices] and vegetable (slivered zucchini, squash, tomato). The fresh tomato looked as lively as it tasted with its garnish of crème fraiche and dollop of caviar, while the smoked trout mousse folded into rosy slices of smoked salmon was pure silk. The rare lamb slices were bathed in a sauce full of fresh currants, and the French combination plate, lobster medallions and beef tender, was served with two sauces, a classic demi-glace and a rich béarnaise fragrant with tarragon. 1444 Oak Lawn Ave. Suite 600. 742-4433. Moderate.

Watel’s. Our meal began with shrimp provencal, perfectly cooked crustaceans in a sunny tomato sauce, and soothing leek soup. Grilled baby salmon and pork chops with apples wen; Better than the grilled ribeye, which was too chewy and wercooked. Chocolate fondant- layers of white and dark chocolate-was the best dessert choice, with the apple tart running a close second. 1923 McKinney. 720-0323. Moderate.


Belvedere. Perfectly tender Wiener schnitzel is what keeps me coming back to Belvedere 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). CrestPark Hotel. 4242 Lomo Alto. 528-6510. Expensive

Bohemia. This homey holdout against light-dining sissiness is as solid as the food it serves-cm our last visit an admirably long-simmered sauerbraten, the vinegar-spiked beef slices fall-apart tender, and half a slow-roasted Long Island duck, its moist succulence barely held together by burnished skin. The duckling’s bread-like dumpling was airy, accompaniments of boiled potato and caraway-scented sauerkraut mild and, yes, filling. 2810 N Henderson. 826-6209. Moderate.

Café Kashtan. A recent dinner visit here was relatively disappointing, but that was mostly because my party was collectively starving and service was excruciatingly slow. However, it also didn’t help that kulebiaka wasn’t on the dinner menu. Still, the salanka, an intensely flavored broth with bits of beef, sausage, and vegetables accompanied by pirozki. a meat-filled roll, the chicken Kiev, the veal Soblianka with mushroom sauce, and the almond cake with raspberry sauce were appeasingly excellent. 5365 Spring Valley Rd at Mantfort. 991-9550. Inexpensive to moderate.

The Chimney. The food here-Middle European without much specific ethnic emphasis-is well prepared, if unsubde. The special appetizer, a crepe holding a bounteous harvest of seafood, tastes too strongly of capers, for example. The hefty por-lion of venison tenderloin is cooked to a (urn, but [he reddish sauce adds little in the way of flavor. 9739 N Central Expwy. 369-6466. Expensive.

Franki’s Li’l Europe. Entrées offered on our lunch and dinner visits ranged from Italian to French to German find Austrian, with side trips to Hungary and Yugoslavia. Top stop for my money was segediner, a Hungarian dish involving succulent pork chunks simmered with mild sauerkraut and cream. Cevapcici, described as the Yugoslavian national dish, was a half-dozen hand-formed ovals of veal, lamb, and pork sausage on saffron-scented rice. Chicken Pavarotti crossed the Italian border with a lender sauléed breast lavished with fresh mushrooms in a fine, fresh tomato sauce. 362 Casa Linda Plaza (behind the fountain). Garland Rnad at Buckner. 320-0426 Inexpensive to moderate.

Hofstetter’s. Here, in a setting that leads one to expect nothing more than sandwich-shop fare, some of the best Germanic cuisine in (he 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. Plaza at Bachman Creek. 3830 W Northwest Hwy. Suite 390. 358-7660. Inexpensive to moderate.

Kuby’s Sausage House Inc. Stand in line here for the requisite noontime half-hour, and vou can watch the social set mingle meekly for a shot at German classics served exactly as they have been for twenty-seven years: plump knackwurst partnered with pastrami-flecked German potato salad, a brimming bowl of superior sauerkraut on the side; onion-spiked tartar steak, red as cherries (not an atom of fat in it), spread thick between rye bread slices. 6601 Snider Plaza. 363-2231. Inexpensive.


Kosta’s Cafe. There is no great Greek food in Dallas: in fact, there’s still not much Greek food at all. A combination plate at Kosta’s is as close as you can get to Greece, gustatorily speaking. All the elements are there: the dolma (meat-stuffed vine leaves) were tasty, though their tenderness bordered on mushi-ness; the souvlaki {grilled lamb chunks) and grilled shrimp were authentically seasoned and nicely cooked; pastitsio, a tomato laced casserole of meat and macaroni, was delicious, and the square of spanokopita (layered spinach, filo pastry, and cheese) was savory and flaky. However, everything, even the saganaki. flamed several feet before our eyes, was too cool, and the salad was short on feta, olives, and the aromatic oil that normally make salad one of the glories that is Greece. 4914 Greenville. 987-3225. 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 spanokopita are especially commendable. 1916 Greenville. 826-4910. Inexpensive.


Akbar. Usually one of our favorite local Indian restaurants. Akbar disappointed us recently. We don’t like our tandoori chicken overcooked and dried out. but surely no one likes it undercooked, and that was the way it was served to us this time around. The accompanying onion kulcha (bread stuffed with onions and also cooked in the tandoor, which is an Indian clay oven) was undercooked and gooey, loo. 2115 Promenade Center. Richardson. 235-0260. Lunch inexpensive, dinner moderate.

Ajanta Palace. The beef vindaloo at Ajanta Palace has a brick-red, vinegary sauce with lots of heft and just the right amount of spice, and the lamb biryani offers lacy basmati-style rice flavored with lots of meat and cardamom. But the real attraction here is the small selection of South Indian food available only between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and all day Sunday, The combination plate at $5.75 gives the adventurous diner a chance to sample most of the rare dishes. 1250-C Northwest Hwy, Garland. 681-0087. Inexpensive to moderate.

Ashoka. The shrimp curry Bombay and the lamb korma were bath beautifully sauced. The lamb cubes grilled in the landoori oven, though, seemed a small portion, and both this dish and the tandoori chicken seemed, surprisingly, a trifle spicy. Preston-wood Creek Shopping Center, 5409 Belt Line 960-0070. Inexpensive in moderate.

India Palace. Unusual dishes include grilled items like the tangri kebab (marinated, delicately charred chicken drumsticks) and the reshmi kebab (boneless chicken wrapped around skewers) Several dumpling-like fritters come stuffed with raisins and flavored with yogurt sauces. 13360 Preston Rd. 392-0190. Moderate to expensive.

Kalachandji’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 S9.50 dinner changes every night, but is always worth taking h chance on if you’re a gastronaut. 5430 Gut ley. 821-I048. Inexpensive.

Kebab ’N’ Kurry. A visit to the Walnut Hill K ’N’ K to check out the $7.95 weekend brunch was rewarding. Although a few items (mushy strawberry and banana fruit salad, fishy fish curry) didn’t send me, plenty of choices did, including succulent tan-doori chicken; fragrant kashmiri pillau (rice with peas, currants, almonds, and cashews): savory palak panir (spinach cooked with homemade cheese); flavorful lamb kofta (meatballs in a mild curry sauce); and tender naan (flat bread). 2620 Walnut Hill Ln. 350-6466. Inexpensive to moderate.

Kebab ’N’ Kurry. If there are vegetarians among your friends or family members that you want to take to dinner, Indian restaurants offer some of the best options. The rice pillau that is always served blends with the dol or legume of the day-here we found a creamy half-puree of dark lentils. There is also always a mixed curried vegetable offered, and the puree of roasted egg-plant is a particular treat. Of course, for those who eat meat there are splendid dishes of shrimp in a creamy tomato sauce and lamb roghan josh. 401 N Central Ex/my. Suite 300. Richardson. 231-5556 Inexpensive to moderate.

TaJ Mahal. Add one more to the list of good local Indian restaurants. Lamb vindaloo and chicken shahs korma are especially good here, though it’s hard to go wrong with anything on the menu Canah Plaza. Central Expwy & Park Ln. 692-0535. Inexpensive to moderate.


Acapella Cafe. The menu offers a creative catalogue of pizzas playing the lead, a supporting cast of pastas, and a couple of chicken dishes. A new Hawaiian pizza sounds bizarre-fresh pineapple, coconut, ginger, with whole macadamia nuts and optional cubed ham on great crust-but the Sum of the parts is spleo-did; trust me, and try itt. 2508 Maple. 871-2262. Inexpensive to moderate.

Alessio’s. Crab cannelloni, an appetizer of the day, was estimable enough 10 warrant on-the-menu status. Shrimp proven-cal. with mushrooms and tomatoes. was quite good, if not as seductive. Linguine with shrimp and scallops in a delicately spicy tomato sauce was agreeable, though not as meritorious as the perfectly breaded veal parmigiana. 4117Lomo Alto. 521-3585. Moderate to expensive.

Catfé Italia. Cafe Italia is informal, and prices are low. which makes one inclined to overlook such minor glitches as flabby garlic bread and flat San Pellegrino water. I tried entrees of an on-the-money combination of cannelloni and manicotti and a very meaty yet unheavy lasagna. Barely sweet flan with a drift of lightly whipped cream and kilter-strength espresso made for a nice finish. 5000 Maple. 521-0700. Inexpensive to moderate.

Camplsi’s Egyptian Reataurant. The only thing new about Campisi’s within living memory, as far as I can tell, is a fresh coat of enamel added to the entrance recently. So wherein lies its hypnotic hold on the trend-seeking yups of Dallas? Whatever it is. I have to admit it suckers me too. My crab claws, a house specialty, had undoubtedly started the evening frozen, but their lemon-butter bath was wonderful, and the platter held five dozen of the tiny things. Our all-the-way pizza and butter-drenched garlic bread were quite passable, too. 5610 E Mockingbird. 827-0355. Inexpensive to 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 ricotta. Italian sausage, and herbs One of these and a perfectly simple green salad, and you won’t be in the market for dessert, 3921-B Cedar Springs. 521-0110. Inexpensive.

La Cucina. It’s hard to get too worked up about La Cucina, which is an enjoyable, if unexceptional, Italian restaurant, but this is not to discount its virtues. Chief among them is a reasonable price structure, Skip the veal, which has been weirdly mealy-tasting on my visits, and go for the pasta: fettuccine alla San Remo (inky pasta with scallops, roasted peppers, and tomato sauce) and alla vodka (sauced with vodka, hot pepper, cream, and tomato) are especially worthwhile. The Crescent. Suite 260.2200 Cedar Springs. 871-5I55. Inexpensive to moderate.

La Tbsca. Garlicky mussels steamed with tomato and black pepper in white wine are toothsome; tomato and fresh mozarella slices with basil in the house dressing are fresh and fine; tagliolini takes heart from a generous topping of smoked salmon, caviar, and vodka. The carpaccio was admirable, its mustard sauce perfect, and breasts of chicken seemed somewhat dry, although their caper-strewn tomato sauce could not have been better. Small cavils, (hough, weighed against such generally consistent pleasures as fresh profiteroles drenched with hot chocolate and whipped cream. 7713 Inwood. 352-8373. Expensive.

Lombardl’s Expresso. There are cold and hot pastas, design-your-own pizzas (artichoke hearts, prosciutto, and goat cheese make a nice trio), sandwiches made with rosemary-topped focac-cia bread, and more desserts than you can shake a stick at. The menu changes from day to day (always a good sign), and the numerous things I tasted were consistently quite good. 6135 Luther Lane. 361-6984, Inexpensive to moderate.

Da Mllano. If there’s a bad item available at this at-tractive Italian bakery/café. I’ve yet to discover it despite ex-haustive research. Although the changing pizza, pasta, and salad offerings are always alluring, more often than not I find myself opting for the focaccia sandwich, round flat bread filled with ham. cheese, leaf lettuce, and tomato slices. 5519 W Livers Lane. 351-1426. Inexpensive.

Massimo Da Milano A1 Teatro. The day’s entrées,, listed on a separate menu, yielded a very small serving of excellent veal scallops, sautéed and brandy-flamed in cream sauce with plain and porcini mushrooms; and succulent chicken breast slices, rosemary-scented- grilled, and sauced with capers and white wine. A sautéed grouper fillet was laden with tiny bones, but Tagliatelle alla Valdostana was positively ambrosial. A thick, gummy wedge of grilled polenta was severely disappointing. Desserts, however, gave absolute redemption, from demure plain cheesecake to chocolate-coconut mousse. The Quadrangle. 2800 Routh Street. 871-1900. Inexpensive to moderate.

Momo’s. Momo’s has expanded, and if bigger in this case doesn’t mean better, it also doesn’t mean worse. Which is to say that the food is the same as ever: quite good, if not quite as earth-shaking as members of Momo’s fanatical following believe. The pizzas and pastas are especially noteworthy. 9191 forest Lane. 234-6800. Moderate.

Momo’s Pasta. Momo’s trademark pizzas are not available here, but the twenty pasta variations that are the new place’s sole entrées are all-new, all-different, and altogether praiseworthy. Conchiglie, the big shell-shaped scoops, held a blend of four cheeses in creamy harmony, Gnocchi were most memorable of all, bathed in a creamy melt of Gorgonzola and Parmesan married with tomato. 3312 Knox. 521-3009. Inexpensive.

Nero’s Italian. Critics should follow their own advice-after touting the pizzas here for years as the best thing on Nero’s menu, we tried tonier offerings on our last visit, with mixed results. Osso Buco, the traditional peasant’s dish of veal shank baked with garlic, tomato, carrot, onion, and celery and herb-seasoned, was a hearty, meaty delight Pork loin Palermo, on the other hand, was a dry and leathery disaster. To our excellent waiter’s credit, he offered to replace it. but we had already progressed through Caesar salad and focaccia and voted to move on to triple-chocolate cake (ambrosial) and fine espresso. 2104 Greenville. 826-6376 Moderate.

O.F. Siclli’s. The food served from the large menu of Italian specialties, while not exciting, is dependably pleasant and very modestly priced. Pastas and pizzas predominate-the lasagna was lusty, the spaghetti laudably meal-sauced on our visit-but the standout discovery was an appetizer I’ve seen nowhere else: a spicy melange of Italian sausage with onions, green peppers, and mushrooms rolled in homemade pizza dough and baked. O.F. Sicili’s calls it a sausage roll and sells it tor $3.95; 1 call it wonderful and recommend it as an ample lunch entrée for two. with salad. 5631 Alta. 828-9600. Inexpensive.

Pizzeria Uno. When the place is packed-which is any time near lunch or dinner-Job-like patience is required of customers. However, serious pizza-seekers care about what’s on the plate, not how long it takes to get there. And these are terrific buttery-crusted Chicago-style pan pizzas. A regular pizza, which the menu recommends for two, looks smallish when it arrives, but only two would-be wart hogs could finish it in one sitting. 4002 Bell Line. Addison. 991-8181. Moderate.

Ristorante Savlno. Everything on the menu at Savino is a good bet, but I never can resist the vitello tonnato (roasted veal sliced and served cold with tuna sauce-a dish that, trust me, tastes much better than it sounds). The less-than-breathtaking setting is more than offset by the warm service. 2929 N Henderson. 826-7804. Moderate to expensive.

Ruggeri’s. 1 couldn’t help regretting that no one warned me the soft-shelled crab on my appetizer plate had been frozen, not fresh, before its sautéeing in garlic-spiked olive oil; but its texture and taste were acceptable if its rectangular shape was not. Otherwise, everything on our dinner visit touched happy chords, from al dente angel hair pasta with tomato, fresh basil, and garlic to veal scallops sautéed with artichoke hearts and mushrooms in butter. And if I had the chefs recipe for cioppino, I swear I’d open a restaurant myself-the fisherman’s slew of fresh seafoods in spicy marinara sauce was nothing less than sublime. 2911 Routh Si. 871-7377. Moderate.

Sfuzzi. Pizzas here arc exceptional, with a thick but somehow light crust; the grilled salmon pizza with yellow tomatoes ranks as one of the best pies in Dallas, but the veal version, with sun-dried tomatoes, is also a winner. And the salads are terrific. Pastas aren’t handled as well-a serving of angel hair was overcooked and undersauced. But fettuccine with pancetta, Parmesan, and cream was surprisingly lighter than a classic Alfredo. 2504 McKinney. 871-2606 Moderate.

311 Lombardi’s. No pasta was visible in the pasta and bean soup, but it was a hearty, herb-enlivened delight anyway, A pizza with leeks, pancetta, goat cheese, and mushrooms could have held its own against New York’s best. The next stop on the menu was good enough to be required eating for potato-philes: potato gnocchi with two sauces (tomato and irresistible Gorgonzola). 311 Market. 747-0322. Moderate.

Trattorla Lombardi. This is now the oldest extant Lombar-di’s location, and even if it’s not quite as pretty as its successors in the West End and Travis Walk, it’s still a swell source for a good Italian meal. A recent lunch of green salad, tortellini, cannelloni, and manicotti was pleasing, if not earth-shattering. The house red wine could use some work, though. 2916 N Hall. 528-7506 Moderate.

Travis Walk Lombardi’s. If you can resist a pre-meal orgy of Parmesan-crusted, rosemary-scented focaccia loaves, the menu here offers a full-range Italian dining experience as fine as you’ll find in Dallas. Start with flawless carpaccio. paper-thin and mustard-sauced, or delicate soft-shell crabs sautéed wilh garlic and tomato in white wine. Proceed with succulent rabbit in pro-vencal sauce, or a sautéed veal chop strewn with vinaigrette-spiked arugula. Travis Walk, 4514 Travis. 521-1480. Moderate.


Hana Japanese Rastaurant. As in most Japanese restaurants, the sushi bar here is the social center, and Hana’s oyster shot, a chewable potion involving raw oyster, fresh quail egg, and spicy accents, is alone worth a visit. The kitchen excels, too. with shrimp tempura and fried oysters crisped to air-light, greaseless perfection, grilled salmon steak and beef teriyaki moistly under. 14865 Itwood. 991-8522. Moderate.

Hlbach-Ya Japanese Restaurant. Applause is due for the beef that stars on Hibachi-Ya’s menu along with chicken and shrimp. Best by far was a traditional entrée. Ume steak, meltingly tender filet perfumed by marinating in plum sauce, then grilled and cubed for easy chopsticking. The best appetizers, too, were beef-notably in sirloin tataki, rare slices served with a fruity ponzu sauce, and in hibachi roils, bite-sized bits of fresh carrot, bell pepper, onion, and pineapple wrapped in sliced sirloin, with teriyaki sauce for dipping. 3850 W Northwest Hwy. Suite 510. 350-1110. Inexpensive.

Inaka Inn. Yakitori chicken, ribbons of marinated breast meat charbroiled on bamboo skewers, was superbly moist and flavorful, its soy-based sauce haunted with sesame. A whole steamed Dungeness crab, served cold with a light mustard-zinged sauce. arrived precracked, but still required arduous persuasion with a cracking tool and skinny fork to remove every fresh-tasting shred; I can’t say we minded. 4422-B Lemmon Ave. 559-3305. Inexpensive to moderate.

Kobe Steaks. 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. Quorum Piaza, 5000 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. 934-8150. Moderate to expensive.

Mr. Sushi. A number of my friends are dedicated seekers of sushi, and the must serious of them swears by Mr. Sushi. My friend was moved by the ’’sushi B” dinner-tuna, white meat fish, yellowtail, jumbo clam, shrimp, salmon, smelt egg. salmon egg, cooked egg, and tuna roll-and I was appeased by the sautéed soft-shell crab and perfect shrimp tempura. 4860 Belt Line, Addison. 385-0168. Moderate.

Mr. Sushi & Hibachi. Mr. Sushi’s original location is one of the favorite stops of local seekers of raw fish. This new establishment also includes a hibachi room for those in quest of Benihana-type slice-and-dice grilled thrills. On my visit 1 unintentionally ended up on the hibachi side, where the food was uninspired. However, my sushi scouts report that the sushi here is as terrific as at the original Mr. Sushi. 9220 Skillman, Suite 227. 349-6338. Moderate to expensive.

Shogun. Shogun serves commendable versions of the standards of Japanese cuisine-lightly battered tempura, juicy teriyaki chicken, and fresh-tasting sushi-in a pleasingly serene atmosphere. This small restaurant is exceptionally pleasant, thanks to the quietly efficient service. 573S Cedar Springs- 351-2281. Moderate.

Sushi On McKinnty. As a rule, the sushi is a belter bet than [he cooked things at this self-styled “friendly post-modern sushi bar” The atmosphere is lively to the point of freneticism. which is either a refreshing or a disturbing change from the traditionally quiet. subdued atmosphere of local Japanese restaurants. 4500 McKinnev. 521-0969. Moderate.


Blue Goose. 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 (he low prices. The chicken fajitas art the best in town, and the beef fajitas are more than respectable. The standard Tex-Mex is standard, with the exception of great rice and poor guacamole. 2905 Greenville. 823-8339. Inexpensive.

Blue mesa. The chile relleno with chicken, cheese, and mango salsa was beautifully presented, and the sweet-tail fruit accented the spice and cheese surprisingly. The counterpoint was repealed in the contrasting flavors of savory black beans and sweet corn pudding Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line. 934-0165. Moderate.

Brazos. Grilled entrées, come with black beans, rice, and red or green chili; we tried the chili-marinated redfish the first visit, the beef tampiquena the second, and were disappointed both times. The two special entrées were better: red chili-cheese enchiladas were very good and King Ranch chicken was tasty, too. 2100 Greenville at Prospect. 821-6501. Moderate.

Cadillac Bar. The best bets arc the nachos, particularly the signature Cadillac naehos (served in a portion large enough to serve as a meal Tor two moderately hungry people) and the cheesecake 5919 Maple Ave. 350-3777. Moderate.

Cantina Laredo. Tex-Mex here is good, but the specialties are belter: cabrito barbacoa (barbecued goat) was rich and tender, and polio ranchem was a tender breast with a spicy sauce of tomatoes, onions, and peppers. Desserts are good here, too: apple pie is served on a sizzling fejita skillet with cinnamon ice cream. 4546 Belr Line. 458-0962. Moderate.

Casa Rosa. Fried stuffed jalapenos a tortilla soup were good beginners, both attractively presented. The chile relleno that followed was breaded loo heavily, but the filling and the ranchers sauce were flavorful. Polloen la concha was a rich dish of chicken chunks and slivered peppers smothered in thick cheese and sour cream in a fried Dour tortilla shell. 165 Inwood Village (lnwood at Lovers). 350-5227. Moderate.

Chito’s. A New Yorker 1 know loves Mexican food more than life itself. Chito’s on Maple is where I took her on her last slop in Dallas, and she found its funky setting inordinately satisfying. The food at Chito’s-especially the bean, cheese, and guacamole quesadillas-is good enough to please even native Dallasites, who are accustomed to the Tex-Mm way of life. 4447 Maple. 522-9166. Inexpensive.

Chuy’s. We sampled a “Chuychanga,” a big fried flour tortilla encasing a half breast of chicken and some melted cheese, served with a selection of sauces. Without the sauce, the dish was underseasoned. Chuy’s special enchiladas, New Mexican blue corn tortillas stacked with chicken, cheese, and tomatillo. were gooey and good. 211 N Record St. 747-2838. Inexpensive.

Garcla’s Caribbean Grill. What is this world coming to? We’ve had Tex-Mex, Mex-Mex. tropical-Mex. and now, from Garcia’s, fish-Mex-dieir term, I swear it. Your reviewer, for one, has not been waiting breathlessly for catfish enchiladas, but Garcia’s peerless chili con queso-composed of while cheese and spinach, unlikely as it may seem-is alone worth a visit. Plaza at Bachman Creek. 3830 W Northwest Hwy. 358-2664. Inexpen.

Garmo’s. Garmo’s does a better job with standard Ten-Mex than most of its local peers. Its rice-a weak point at all but the most painstaking of establishment-in especially nice. Beware the spinach enchiladas; on (wo recent visits they have been daunt-ingly stringy to the point of requiring one more margarila to erase their memory. 2847 N Henderson. 828-9423. Inexpensive.

Genaro’s Tropical. Enchiladas Genaro, filled with snapper and crab meat, were extremely gratifying. And even if chicken with jalapeno and tomatillo cream sauce topped with pumpkin seeds arrived sans pumpkin seeds, the accompanying black beans and pea-studded rice were pleasing, any way. 5815 Live Oak at Skillman. 827-9590. Moderate.

Gloria’s. Gloria’s is in our Mexican category because, technically, there is Mexican food available here. But the point of Glorias is the Salvadoran tare: tamales, pupusas. and a licuado du plan-tano (a plantain milkshake} for dessert.. 600 W Davis. 948-3672. 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 at Gonzales. There definitely are, most notably the numerous varieties of burritos made with fat, tender flour tortillas. 3505 W Northwest Hwy. 528-2960. Inexpensive,

J. Pepe’s. J. Pepe’s Mexican food is a cut above most local Tex Mexeries. and its setting is exceptionally pleasant. These two facts, plus the availability of outdoor waring, go far to explain the madding crowds found here on weekend nights. 2800 Routh. 871-0366. Inexpensive to moderate.

La Botlca. The mishmash of Dallasites who have found La Botica must like it for The same reasons I do: it’s casual, fairly quiet, and steeped in family-run friendliness. The food-Mexican staples with a hefty addition of beef dishes-is fine but rarely exciting. Particularly good: the tangy enchiladas verdes. the simple tacos. and the chicken soup. 1900 N Haskell. 824-2005. Moderate.

La Calle Doce. The motto on the menu reads “The Shrimp that Goes to Sleep is Swept Away”-the diner’s first clue that this appealing Oak Cliff restaurani specializes in marine Mexican cuisine. From the seafood side at the menu we tried camaron a la diabla, shrimp in a spicy-hot sauce: from the landlubber list we chose chiles rellenos, stuffed with shredded, not ground, beef and tacos de came deshebrada, flour tortillas filled with the same tasty mixture. 415 West I2th. 941-4304. Inexpensive.

L’Asadero Monterey. The specialty here is cabrito-baby goal-but it’s not always available in forms popular with most gringos-on my last visit only the kidneys and heart were still on the menu. If you can’t get the goal, not to worry. The rest of the menu is tasty, too. Pollo a la parilla was tender and juicy, its topping of grilled onions sweet and tender. 112 N Collett. 826-0625. Inexpensive.

Loms Luna Cafe. The radios we ordered were neat triangles of white cheese on blue com tostados; we also sampled two kinds of quesadillas. one filled with cheese and green chilies, the other with cheese and chunks of grilled chicken. Both came with pico de gallo and some of the best guacamole I’ve had. Blue cam chicken enchiladas were slacked, not rolled, smothered with green chilies, and layered with lots of chicken and cheese. 4131 Lomo Alto. 559-4011. Moderate.

Mario ft Alberto. 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. Preston Valley Shopping Center, LBJ Frwy at Preston, Suite 425. 980-7296. Moderate.

Mario’s Chiqulta. This Piano outpost of Mario Leal’s mini-empire is-surprise, surprise-very much like his other two restaurants, from the odd 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 Chi-quita, Mario’s Chiquita is big enough that getting seated immediately is rarely a problem. 221 W Parker. Suite 440. Plano. 423-2777. Moderate.

Mario’s Chiquita. This conservative but pretty pastel restau-rant offers dependable Tex-Mex, but its forte is the kitchen’s specialties: such as the tacos al carbon or the carnitas a la tam-piqueno. a plate of grilled pork strips sided by a cheese enchilada in a terrific ranchera sauce. Carne asada is great and almost worth ordering for the triangles of grilled Linares cheese alone. 4514 Travis (in Travis Walk). 521-0721. Moderate.

Martinez Cafe. The food is Tex-Mex-standard combinations, but of superlative quality and served with a smile. Outstanding chips and salsa and a plate evenly striped with rice, beans, and cheese enchiladas made me happy; flautas and guacamole were equally good. The menu here is what you expect from a good Tex-Mex restaurant; the food is what you hope for. 3011 Routh St, 855-0240. Inexpensive.

Mla’s. The Tex-Mex served here is good and dependable, the service is fast and friendly, but the ambience is elbow-to-elbow and, for me, Mia’s success is its failure. The long lines make you think too hard about just how good those enchiladas are. Are they worth a forry-five-minute wait? Thirty minutes? Fifteen? If you’re a believer, it’s not too much trouble to call ahead and reserve your chile relleno on Tuesdays, and if you want one, that’s what you’ll have to do. 4322 Lemmon Ave. 526-1020. Inexpensive.

On The Border Cafe. The patio here is extremely popular with SMU students and other “Parky” types. Inside, the scene is somewhat calmer. Chicken fajita quesadillas were a satisfying beginning; cheese enchiladas were a rich version, and beef fajitas were tender and smoky. The bonus was the Border’s burger; grilled to order and sided by jalapeno French fries, it was one of the best I’ve had. 3300 Knot St. 528-5900. Moderate.

Primo’s. Primo’s offers one of the best botanas platters around-two kinds of nachos, midget flautas, and terrific quesadillas. Take note of the tiny, crispy meal tacos-fried after they’re filled, and available in the standard size. too. 3309 McKin-ney. 520-3303. Inexpensive.

Raphael’s. Of the two Raphael’s locations, I like the food at Greenville best. Whichever site you choose, the vegetarian bur-ritos, an assorted trio, are good enough to earn respect from the most hidebound carnivore. 3701 McKinney. 521-9640. 6782 Greenville. 692-8431. Moderate.

Ricardo’s. This latest in the area’s supply of “Miami Vice”-style Mexican restaurants (offering pretty pastel settings and tropically influenced food) proves that there is gastronomic civilization even as one travels so far north as to sight the Oklahoma border. 17610 Midway at Trinity Mills. 931-5073. Moderate.

Tacos & Botanas. My dining companion ordered a puffed taco. chalupas. and tamales, and while it wasn’t my idea of the perfect combination plate, it was all first-rate, especially the chili-covered tamales. Pork garnachos, from the smail plates list, were like scaled-down chalupas crossed with a nacho and were a little on the dry side, a problem solved by combining them with the excellent guacamole. 3810 Congress. 520-7623, Moderate.

Uncle Jullo’s. The food is notable more for its quantity than for its quality. One notable exception: the tamales. which are available with pork and with chicken, are excellent. 4125 Lem-mon Ave. 520-6620. Moderate.

Villa Margarita. VM is one of the best Mexican restaurants north of LBJ. Here you can have some of the best nachos to be had in these parts. After the nachos, the standard Tex Mex is fine, but 1 prefer the tender, flavorful carne asada. 362 Promenade Center. Coit & Belt Line, Richardson. 235-5447. Moderate.


Bluebonnet Cafe. Bluebonnet Cafe is part of Whole Foods Market, and as the name of the establishment indicates, the food tends toward the healthful. Happily, however. Bluebonnet doesn’t take a doctrinaire stand. Burgers, wine, and coffee-three controlled substances at hard-line health establishments-are allowed here. Check out the strawberry-banana-papaya smoothie and the black bean nachos with white cheese and guacamole. 2218 Greenville. 828-0052. Inexpensive.

Dream Cafe. I find Dream Cafe’s breakfast and brunch dishes bead and shoulders above some of their more solemnly nutritious lunch and dinner specialties. In fairness, my samplings of the latter were limited, but a stir-fry of tempeh and polenta cubes with, vegetables was disappointing. What did knock my socks off was a fresh-as-morning omelette delectably filled with chicken, fresh pears, and blue cheese. 2800 Routh St, Suite 170, in the Quadrangle. 954-0486. Inexpensive.


Actuelle. Although breast of Long Island duck with angel-hair paste was on the fatty side, everything else, including tortilla soup with smoked chicken and serrano chilies and a dessert of apple-almond custard torte with caramel sauce, ranged from remarkably good to perfect. The Quadrangle. 2800 Routh. 855-0440. Expensive.

Baby Routh. Chef Rex Hale doesn’t seem to have hit his stride yet with the sometimes recherché inventions of the New Southwestern cuisine on his menu. Some of these are takeoffs on standard dishes: seafood tamales with ancho cream sauce (rather mealy, without the texture of the best tamales) or seafood jam-balaya (interestingly high-picante but with a weird vegetable accompaniment masquerading as gumbo z’herbes). Salads lack oomph here these days, but the desserts have plenty of verve. 2708 Routh. 871-2345. Moderate to expensive.

Beau Nash. Everything we sampled at Beau Nash this time had an assertive and appealing taste, especially the Chinese-dumpling-shaped ravioli filled with wild mushrooms and drizzled with two sauces, but sometimes the assertive tastes competed too strongly with one another. The thick, tender veal chop, for instance, hid a bed of spaghetti squash in a sunny sauce and lay under a compote of fresh tomatoes and herbs-all surrounded by a wine-dark sea of sauce of another sort. Enough already! Hotel Crescent Court, 400 Crescent Court, Maple at McKinney. 87I-3240. Expensive.

Cafe Margaux. The “natural” dishes still seem overpriced, if tasty (there couldn’t have been more than three scallops sliced into our pricey dish of fusille pasta with sun-dried tomatoes). Both the Asian-inspired quail (marinated and deep-fried, then served with a turmeric-flavored sauce) and catfish Margaux, a sautéed fillet mounded over shrimp and oyster dressing, were far more exciting. 3710 Rawlins. 520-1985. Moderate to expensive.

City Cafe. The ordinary-sounding fresh tomato soup turned out to be comfort food for angels, and the sautéed sole with lemon butter was elegant perfection. The Maryland crabcakes, on the other hand, hardly justified all the effort, and the roasted shoulder of wild boor stuffed with wild rice, pine nuts, and currants with a cranberry cassis sauce proved overcooked and chewy. At dessert time, however, elaboration won the day with a peanut butter fudge pie. whipped cream, and hot fudge sauce. 5757 W Lovers Lane (just west of Dallas N Tollway). 351-2233. Moderate.

Crockett’s. We tried a curry-chicken ravioli that was excellent, a ginger-cumin-duck pasta plate that missed, and fabulous crab cakes. Crockett’s is the most underrated hotel restaurant in Dallas. 5410 LBJ Freeway, Doubletree Hotel at Lincoln Center. 934-8400. Moderate to expensive.

Dakota’s. The appetizer sampler contained tantalizing bits of crisp calamari, succulent baby back ribs, zesty crabcakes. and tangy marinated shrimp. The veal T-bone was perfectly cooked. though the side dish of linguini with black olives and sun-dried tomatoes proved the meal’s only disappointment, since it lacked coherence and subtlety. The fish special-marlin topped with asparagus and lump crab meal-and the sensational desserts more than made up. 600 N Akard. 740-4001. Lunch moderate, dinner expensive.

Deep Ellum Cafe. Deep Ellum isn’t exactly becoming gen-trified, hut this spiffy little restaurant could start a trend A duck and chicken shortcake sounds standard enough until you slop to think about it-then it seems adventuresome: it is just what the name implies, a stew of fowls on top of which sits a piece of crusty shortbread and a dollop of whipped cream, Among the pastas, we were especially taken with the large ravioli filled with spinach and ricotta. Perhaps the best dish we sampled, though, was an appetizer of fish cakes Thai -style-light and zingy and flavorsome. Desserts are belt-bustingly rich. 2704 Elm 741-9012. Inexpensive to moderate.

Gershwin’s. Most of the food on the large menu is satisfying and the portions lend to be huge. Both the mixed-seafood appetizer (delicious fried calamari, shrimp, crabcakes. and mushrooms) and the California-style pita would have done as starters for two or even three people. The seleclion of three kinds of grilled fish and the king-size desserts also offered good value. Only the veal scallopini topped with fettuccine swimming in a sweetish sauce disappointed. 8442 Walnut Hill at Greenville. 373-7171. Moderate to expensive.

Laurels. The menu dégustation, with a fixed price of $38,50, changes daily and is a good be). A la cane 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. Sheraton Park Central, 12720 Merit Dr. 851-2021. Expensive.

The Mansion on Turtle Creek. What never seemto change at the Mansion is its historic beaut) 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 (end to opt for whatever appears on any given day; diners tor 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. 2821 Turle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Expensive.

McKinney and Knox. The menu is huge, and the specials of the day add even more choices-interesting ones, but not ex-cessively ambitious. Fish can be a real test of a kitchen’s mettle. and we found two fish specials excellent: sautéed redfish with lime-cilantro sauce served with linguini, and a grilled yellowfin tuna with a pineapple-basil buerre blanc (the latter sauce lasted better than it sounds). 4544 McKinney. 522-4340. Moderate.

Parigl. The design-it-yourself pizza is splendiferous, the twin chicken patés (one creamy, one roughly textured) subtle, the grilled fish buttery and tender Why then are the most famous specialties so infuriatinngly uneven? The inventive-sounding pasta dishes often turn out to be Frankensteinish-the one with fresh fennel, chicken, and homemade tomato sauce was an inedible monster. 3311 Oak Lawn. 521-0295. Expensive.

The Promenade at the Mansion. The Southwest ancho pizza with smoked chicken, jalapeno jack cheese, poblano peppers, and cilantro may be the best New Wave pizza in Dallas. Southwestern-style soups, especially (he yellow-tomato gazpacho, arc also outstanding. The pork loin scallopini with a sauce of capers, tomato, smoked bacon, and parsley is yet another winner. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 559-2100. Moderate to expensive.

Pyramid Room. Under new chef Avner Samuel, the place is no longer erratic, and some of the best dishes are the plainest ones. Salads are excellent, the pasta is fresh and homemade (served with elephant garlic, which was quite interesting and milder than the name suggests), the chicken items (one served with angel-hair pasta and a hot chicken salad) are imaginative and ample, and the service is gracious and efficient I717 N Akard. Fairmont Hotel. 720-5249. Expensive.

Routh Street Cafe. The muffins, salads, sorbets, and desserts here always bleuw away all criticism. But the appetizers and main courses are spectacular only some of the lime; they can also be just a bit loo experimental. We loved our quail with saffron fet-tuccini and our venison with a blue-corn tamale, but our black bean cake with sea scallops and our lamb with a guajillo-chili waffle (!?) didn’t entirely work. 3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Very expensive.

Sam’s Cafe.. The huge, rich square of fried polenta smothered in sauce and cheese makes a happy beginning. The tenderloin topped with a béarnaise very mildly flavored with poblano pepper is meltingly tender, and the barbecued salmon boasts a crunchy exterior and a smoky taste (satisfying even if the sauce doesn’t taste all that different from the commercial variety). 100 Crescent Court, Suite 140. 855-2233. Moderate to expensive.

San Simeon. This sleek-looking spot has the undeniable cachet of chic, but we are yet to be convinced that the food matches the ambience and the reputation. The crab in a Mandarin pancake in a spicy sauce, for instance, seemed awfully like an old-fashioned crepe in a classic French sauce amerivaine (and the crab seemed limp, with an unacceptable number of shell bits). Fish still seems the strong suit of chef Richard Chamberlain, formerly of Ratcliffe’s; the swordfish with a black-bean citrus sauce was the highlight of our meat. 2515 McKinney at Fairmount in Chateau Plaza. 871-7373. Expensive.

Spatz. The pastas are dependably flavorful, from a smoky-tasting number with peppered bacon and mushrooms to an assertive version with anchovies, capers, and lots of garlic. Most of the obvious ambition here seems to go into [he daily specials like a poblano pepper scuffed with chicken and coaled with a crisp eornmeal baiter. 2912 N Henderson. 827-7984. Moderate.


Atlantic Café. After several disappointing meals at Atlantic Cafe in the last year, I had given up on the place. However, after hearing of recent changes. I returned and found the food to be back on (rack. The new menu includes such winners as shrimp and crab ravioli and nicely sautéed soft shell crab. 4546 McKin-ney at Knox, 559-4441. Expensive.

Aw Shucks. The best fried things in life are fai-free, virtually, if they’re cooked right. And as far as I’m concerned, the catfish, oysters. and shrimp served here qualify on both counts. I’ve never had a belter whole farm-raised catfish than the cornmeal-crusted golden beauties that are any day’s catch at Aw Shuck’s order counter, and the fillets, giant butterflied shrimp, and oysters of our latest visit were almost as succulent 3601 Greenville. 821-9449. 4535 Maple. 522-4498, Village at Bachman Lake, 3701 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 310. 350-9777. Inexpensive.

Bay Street. Bay Street has made some efforts toward climbing aboard the Cajun bandwagon with such dishes as Cajun popcorn (fried crawfish tails), gumbo, and crawfish étouffée. Still, these Cajun upstarts are outshone by the non-Cajun seafood choices like a simple charbroiled swordfish, which was impeccably fresh and juicy on a recent visit. 5348 Belt line, Addison. 934-8502. Moderate.

Café Pacific. There are a lot of first-rate waiters working in Dallas, but Don at Cafe Pacific has to be in the very top rank. Even if the food hadn’t been as close to perfection as mere mor-tals can approach, his courtly but never pretentious manner would still have made a recent lunch at Café Pacific a pleasure. All the same. Chinese chicken salad and a daily special of red snapper with a julienne of snow peas were all that they could and should have been. Highland Park Village. Preston at Mockingbird. Suite 24. 526-1170. Expensive.

Hampton’s Seafood. Pluses include an enthusiastic staff. fresh fish, and generous cocktails. We enjoyed the grilled mahi-mahi in a beurre blanc sauce with baby shrimp, but the tortellini marinara had been silting too long in the kitchen, and we missed the warm sourdough bread we remembered from the last visit. Berkshire Court. 8411 Preston Rd, 739-3474. Moderate.

Newport’s. Newport’s is at its best in its simplest dishes-grilled silver salmon, on our last visit, was perfectly plain and perfectly wonderful; a sampler appetizer tray of raw clams, shrimp, oysters, and ceviche could not have been fresher. Some of the trendier offerings are as delightful-a crab quesadilla. for instance, was to swoon over, tender flaked meal with cheese between crisp flour tortilla triangles-and some are not: a boned rainbow trout was eclipsed by its roasted tomatillo sauce, itself delicious but loo heavy for the delicate fish. 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220. Expensive.

Rusty Pelican. Given the corny name and the heavy-on-the-wood-and-earth-tones look of the place, my expectations of the Rusty Pelican were somewhere between zip and zero. To my happy surprise, two of four things ordered-shrimp cocktail and trout amandine-were excellent, and the other two-shelled Dunge-ness crab and mahi-mahi breaded with hazelnuts-were more than edible, if less than electrifying. 14655 Dallas Pkwy. Ad-dison. 980-8950. Expensive.

Brownie’s. The food here runs to plate-lunch daily specials (a fine, simple meal loaf, real chicken-fried steak, not-so-fine fried trout fillets on our visit, each with a choice of three vegetables, well seasoned and invariably overcooked, for $3.95) along with a broad selection of any-time breakfast and lunch standards. 5519 E Grand Ave. 824-2996. Inexpensive.

Buboa’s. Forget the catfish, forge! 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. 6617 Hillcrest. 373-6527. Inexpensive.

Celebration. After years of exploration of Celebration’s menu, 1 have finally (bund its weak spot: spaghetti, which vies with Highland Park Cafeteria’s version for the title of worst desecration of pasta in town. However, everything else on a recent visit was as swell as ever. Given its consistent record, one problem dish can hardly be held against Celebration, which is an enduring source of well-prepared comfort food. 4503 W Lovers Lane, 351-5681. Moderate.

Good Eats. My companion’s strip steak was perfect, and my chicken pie, which looked deceptively like a lunar stab of cardboard pastry, turned out to be a miracle mix of tender chicken, new potato, carrot, corn, and green beans under its flaky crown. Broccoli-rice casserole was a trifle dry but flavorful, and corn on the cob was gloriously not overcooked. 3531 Oak Lawn. 521-1398. 6950 Greenville. 739-5088. Inexpensive,

Highland Park Cafeteria. As cafeterias go, the original HPC is the mama of them all. a homey dispensary of all the revered classics (chicken-fried steak with cream gravy, crisp-battered fried chicken, sautéed calves’ liver and onions mercifully not cooked to death). Where else can you find a good country sour slaw, or the minced crunch of carrots and celery in Jello? Closest thing to a new wrinkle here is mashed potatoes lavished with sour cream and all the other trimmings you’d pile on a baked one. 4611 Cole. 526-3801. Village on the Parkway, 5100 Bell Line at Dallas Pkwy. Suite 600. 934-8800. N 500 Akard at San Jacinto, Suite 220. 740-2400. Inexpensive.

Mama Taught Me How. Standouts include the red beans and rice, chicken-fried steak (both available every day), chicken and dumplings, and coconut cream pie (which are available only on some days). 14902 Preston Rd. #512 (SE comer of Preston & Belt Line in Pepper Square. 490-6301. Inexpensive.

Mama’s Daughter’s Diner. The plate lunches we tried were generous models of no-nonsense nostalgia, the chicken-fried cutlet tender in crisp-browned batter with mashed potatoes under perfect cream gravy, all from scratch; the gren vagetables-pork-seasoned turnip greens, cheese-whiczzed broccoli-over-cooked (weren’t they always, back then?); the cole slaw a fresh crunch, cream-dressed and Southern-sweet. Navy beans were ac-tually big white Northerns, but their Flavor was fine, and a pot roast’s rich juices almost made me forget I prefer my beef rare. 2014 Irving Blvd /between Wycliff and Oak Lawn). 742-8646. 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 Hints. 352-0051. Inexpensive.

Rosemarie’s. Rosemarie Hudson never forgets a customer, and her warmth accounts in part for the fanatical loyalty this little cafeteria-style operation inspires; the terrific chicken-fried steak, mashed potatoes, yeast rolls, and peanut butter pie also might have something to do with it. I411 N Zong. 946-4142. Inexpensive.

Theo’s Diner. Don’t fret because this landmark has changed hands and undergone a minor face-lifting. The only other visi-ble change is a generally cleaner look throughout. And the lit-tle diner that could still does, making from-scratch burgers and garlic-breamed grilled cheese sandwiches as homey as any around, as well as the undisputed best skins-on fries that have ever passed my lips. Ill S Hall at Commerce. 747-6936. Inexpensive.

Tolbert’s Chill Parlor. The chili labeled Frank’s Original Texas Red wouldn’t win this year’s award at Terlingua, but it’s a respectable, if underseasoned, long-simmered version. Donkey tails, a pair of cheese-stuffed hot dogs wrapped in flour tortillas and deep-fried, are an inspired Tolbert invention. For my money, though, the burgers are the best bet. 350 N St Paul. Suite 160. 953-1353. 1800 N Market. 969-0310. Inexpensive.


Cafe Sport. Main courses offer things as far afield as veal and even fish, but the red meats are the stars. The Sport Cut of prime rib, served with a huge rib bone still attached, was a Lucullan slab of meal, served with tasteless Yorkshire pudding and a vegetable of the day. The chocolate mousse pie was an unusual recipe-a catty, almost brownie-like bottom and a layer of mousse almost like a topping above it. 3227-C McKinney. 720-2233. Moderate to expensive.

Del Frisco’s. In some respects, this scion of a distinguished New Orleans steakhouse is Dallas’s most satisfactory purveyor of prime beef. The extras are worth having: spicy turtle soup; fluffy, loaded baked potatoes; magnificently crunchy French fries. Even desserts here can be memorable. The best bet here is the ribeye-it’s lush and perfectly aged. 4300 Lemmon. 526-2101. Expensive.

Hoffbrau. Maybe you have to be a UT alum to appreciate this place, modeled on a famous Austin hangout. The mystique includes a particular, rigid Formula for serving the steaks: they are preceded by a salad that includes lots of chopped green olives, they are accompanied by long, soggy fried potato quarters, and they are doused by a sauce of lemon and margarine. The steaks really aren’t loo bad, perhaps because the beef is cooked in a pan or on a griddle, rather than charbroiled. This gives a more reliable way to gauge doneness and keeps the steaks from tasting unpleasantly overcharged. 3205 Knox. 559-2680. Moderate.

Huntington Grill. The a la carte appetizers were some of the best dishes we tried here. The seafood bisque was perfectly flavored, the fettuccine with snails sautéed in a cream sauce extremely rich, and the Scottish smoked salmon pristine and satiny. The salad with goat cheese topped with raspberry dressing, though, turned out to be inferior to the dinner salad with a Louis dressing. Of the dishes offered “From Our Broiler,” the best was the large, perfectly broiled lobster tail on the steak and lobster tail combination. The tenderloin on that combination, like the hefty twenty-four-ounce T-bone, suffered from a too heavily charred crust. Westin Hotel. Galleria, 13340 Dallas Pkwy. 851-2882. Expensive to very expensive.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib. Everything you eat at Lawry’s is accompanied by elaborate ritual. When the beef arrives, you expect trumpets to herald the beef cart, which looks somewhat like the QE2 as it lumbers down the aisle. The can is laden with six roasts in varying degrees of doneness, available in different size cuts; once the beef is on your plate, you understand what the hoopla is all about. The tender, marbled slice was raspberry-red, rimmed with fat. and tender and flavorful to the last bite. 3008 Maple Ave. 521-7777. Expensive.

Morton’s Of Chicago. This Chicago steakhouse has wonderfully marbled and perfectly cooked porterhouse steaks. There are other options, including veal chops, butterflied whole chickens, and fresh fish specialties, but Morion’s does steaks best. 501 Elm. 741-2277. Expensive.

The Palm Restaurant. Garish caricatures of the famous and infamous cover the walls of the noisy Dallas branch of this New York steakhouse. The place is a circus, but the food is serious, though almost absurdly abundant. The gargantuan servings of meat and potatoes defy all rules of portion control; however tasty the food, it’s hard to believe anyone could finish a meal here. 701 Ross Ave. 698-0470. Very expensive.

Ruth* Chris Steak House. Service has usually been efficient here, but this time our waitresses vanished after the main course was served. And we have never failed to like the heavy beef here before, but this time our sirloin strip was aged to the point of rankness and none of out three steaks was cooked to order (two were overdone, one markedly underdone). 5922 Cedar Springs Rd. 902-8080. Expensive.


Bageistein’s. Past the bakery, there is a deli. Past the deli, there is a restaurant with several levels of sealing. Here you can order superior breakfast specials, complete with fresh hash browns and toasted bagels. Or you can order elaborate sandwiches made from pastrami or smoked tongue, and other deli tare like chopped liver, lox, or knockwurst. Or you can order complete dinners, including surprisingly tasty broiled fish accompanied by pilaf and fresh broccoli. Northwood Hills Shopping Center, 8104 Spring Killey. 234-3787. Inexpensive to moderate.

Cindy’s. With its utilitarian decor, everyone-you’ve-ever-known crowd, and everything-but- the -kitchen-sink array of breakfast fare, Cindy’s is a local institution. Eat in, or drop by the deli side and take your plunder home. 4015 Lemmon. 522-5275. 385 Dai Rich Shopping Center. Coil & Bell Line. Richardson. 231-3660. N 11111 N Central Expwy. 739-0182. Inexpensive.

City Market. Ordering involves some executive decision-making-it’s hard to choose from the selection of delicious salads {almond chicken with rice, potatoes in pesto with black olives), hearty soups, and excellent sandwiches. This is not the time to skip dessert-in addition to the apricot-raisin bread pudding, on my last visit there was a glorious hot chocolate pudding/cake I thought only my mother could make. 200 Thammell Crow Center (Ross at Harwood). 979-2690. Inexpensive.

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. At lunch, there are plenty of reasonably priced sandwiches and salads to choose from, including the knockout pizzas served next door at Beau Nash. 400 Crescent Court, Suite 150. Maple at McKinney. 871-3223. Moderate.

Everyday Gourmet. This is the takeout establishment that I’ve been wailing for-or it would be, if only it kept later hours. The food is homey, but never tastes amateurish. The fere changes, but peerless meat loaf and thicken salad are two standards, and the prices for this simple perfection are reasonable. 4446 Lovers Lane. 373-0325. Inexpensive to moderate.

Marty’s. The selection is enormous and eclectic-everything is here, from chicken fingers to paté, caviar to potato salad. We took home supper: chicken breasts marsala, lemon pasta, marinated vegetables, and key lime pie. My immediate treat, a piece of orange marmalade cake, was the only disappointment-it was a little too moist to be pleasant. 3316 Oak Lawn. 526-4070. Expensive.

Pacific Express. The smoked chicken salad with walnuts and the beef tenderloin and Jarlsberg cheese sandwich with jalapeno chutney were fine, but the tuna salad was overwhelmed by blue cheese and the tortellini in the pasta-vegetable salad were scarce and overcooked to the point of disintegration. Pacific Place Bldg, 1910 Elm, Suite 103. 969-7447. Inexpensive.

Pasta Plus. Prepared items-meat lasagna, baked ziti with three cheeses, and chicken cannelloni were our choices-were presented in Mom-style pyrex casseroles and looked delicious, but suffered in taste and texture when reheated. Salads were good, but the pasta outshines the pluses-rotelle, meat-stuffed tortellini and marinara and piselli (cream with mushrooms and peas) sauces were wonderful in any combination. 225 Preston Royal East. 373-3999. Inexpensive.

Petaluma. Soups, salads, sandwiches, and desserts were uniformly excellent on my last visit, standouts being Oriental chicken salad, pasta with sun-dried tomatoes, potato salad with fresh dill dressing, and while chocolate “blondies.” 2515 McKinney. 871-2253. Inexpensive.

Polio Bueno. This may well be the fast food of the gods. PB’s hickory-roasted chicken is remarkably succulent. With it you can get very good cole slaw and rice, pretty good cornbread, and pretty odd beans. You can eat inside the clean, spiffy-looking premises or lake your treasure home. 3438 Samuell Blvd. 828-0645. Inexpensive.

Tomasso’s. Classic dishes like lasagna and cannelloni hold up well after reheating, and the rotolo, pasta rolled with ricotta, spinach, and mozzarella and topped with your choice of sauce, makes an impressive first course or, sided with salad and bread, an elegant lunch or supper entree. 5365 Spring Valley at Mont-fort. 991-4040. Inexpensive to moderate.


Chao Wang. The moo satay-curried strips of pork grilled on a skewer-is especially flavorful here, and the Panang beef has a thick sauce in which lime leaves lurk. Sadly, the lunch buffet includes only Chinese dishes, which can be avoided on the dinner menu. Keystone Park Shopping Center, Suite 400,13929 N Central Expwy. 437-3900. Moderate.

Thai Lanna. The sinus-searing chicken and coconut milk soup at Thai Lanna is one of those magic dishes thai is good for what ails you. Ginger chicken Thai style and broccoli beef or pork over noodles are also winners. Whatever you order, ease into it-Thai Food is hot and spicy as a rule, and Thai Lanna follows that rule more rigorously than most restaurants. 4317 Bryan. 827-6478. 1490 W Spring Valley. 690-3637. Inexpensive.

Thai Soon. Thai Soon demonstrates that a vegetarian and seafood menu can work in an ethnic restaurant. Some of these dishes are similar to the eggplant delicacies that are among the best things at the original Thai Lanna. Others are based on tofu-the Thai green curry with coconut cream has a knockout flavor, but you may find yourself knocked out by the spiciness of the dish. 2018 Greenville. 821-7666. Inexpensive 10 moderate.


Ba-Le. This is perhaps the tiniest of Dallas’s Vietnamese restaurants. As always at Vietnamese restaurants, real lemonade and killer iced coffee are the beverages of choice. Two entrées of choice are tenderloin of beef with vermicelli and the Vietnamese crepe. which is more of afrittata, really. 4812 Bryan. Suite 102. 821-1880. 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-hounds I respect, I had never had a meal that was better than average here until I went to lunch with a regular, who simply asked the chef to show us his stuff. The results, most notably a shrimp and shredded cabbage salad with a peanut sauce, were dramatically more distinguished than on my past visits. 4302 Bryan at Peak. 821-4542. Inexpensive to moderate.

Mai’s. Lunch specials at Mai’s are a great, inexpensive way to be introduced to Vietnamese food if you haven’t discovered it. The garlic shrimp or the fiery lemongrass chicken makes for a great lunch. 4812 Bryan. Suite 100. 826-9887. Inexpensive.

Mekong. Mekong’s menu gives Vietnamese and Chinese fare equal time. On the Vietnamese side, the hot pot soup was a stellar array of chicken and seafoods cooked barely lender with still-crisp celery, pepper, and onion strips in an ambrosial broth. I’d have bet nothing from the Chinese listings could possibly equal that soup. I’d have been wrong. An entree of roast duck almost outshone it-it was superb. 4301 Bryan Street, Suite 101. 824-6200. Inexpensive.

Saigon. First time I dined here, I ordered the shrimp wrapped around sugar cane simply to see what it was. Since, I’ve ordered it every visit-the shrimp is puréed and molded around slim sticks of sweet cane, then grilled and served with lettuce and cilantro leaves, cucumbers and carrot slices, all to be wrapped in rice paper and dipped in hoisin sauce for savoring. Savory it is, but we did save room last trip to try chicken simmered with beer in a deep, rich tomato sauce with bread for dipping (we fought over it). 1731 Greenville. 828-9795. Inexpensive.


Cacharel. The fare-including such Gallic classics as green salad with goat cheese, asparagus soup, scallops with an assertive tarragon sauce, and lamb with a natural-juice sauce-would be worth twice the tariff. Brookhallow Two, 2221 E Lamar, Suite 910, Arlington. 640-9981. Moderate.

Tandoor. Tandoor offers a superior assortment of appetizers: minced lamb patties, vegetables fried in chickpea barter, potato/chili patties, 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 letdown: tough curried lamb, slightly overcooked tandoori chicken, and dull cheese and vegetable dumplings. 532 Fielder North Plaza, south of 1-30. Arlington. 261-6604. Moderate.

Via Raal. The appetizers include such novelties as crepa de salrnone (thin slices of smoked salmon enfolded in crepes and served dry except for a garnish of pico de gallo) and rellenos de pescado (cylinders of fish mousse studded with salmon and surrounded by a rich sauce). Main courses at Via Real also tilt toward the seafood end. Tom North Centre. 3591 N Belt Line at Nonhgate, Irving. 255-0064. Moderate.


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 lacking in smoky flavor (though tender and lean enough) the last time around. The extras here have never been worth hooting about, so that didn’t leave much besides the cold beer to make the visit memorable. 2533 White Settlement Rd. (817) 332-0357. Inexpensive.

Hadary’s. For a one-visit overview, order the maza, a selection of salads, and a meat combination plate. That way you can sample a little of everything: tabuli (wheat, tomato, and parsley salad), hummus (garlicky puréed chickpeas), savory fried falafel, lentils, cucumbers in yogurt, and a delicious batinjan mtabbal (roasted eggplant dip), along with freshly baked puffed pita bread. 3308 Fairfield at Camp Bowie. (817) 731-6961, Moderate.

Le Chardonnay. Former Ceret chef Philip Lecoq is a co-owner of this 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. (817) 926-5622. Moderate.

Reflections. The goat-cheese ravioli, served as an appetizer, sat in a creamy sauce and was dotted with caviar. Both the blackened redfish (accompanied by Maryland crabcakes) and the juicy, pink rack of lamb were perfectly cooked. And the dessert cart offered a raspberry tart with a firm, crisp crust and a chocolate cake with rich buttercream frosting. The Worthington Hotel, 200 Main. (817) 870-1000. Expensive.

Saint-Emlllon. 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, textbook lobster bisque, rich spinach cannelloni, and creditable snails in garlic butter made for a great start. Juicy swordfish provencal and nicely roasted duck with cherry sauce were all one could ask for. 3617 W Seventh. (817) 737-2781. Moderate.