Monday, October 2, 2023 Oct 2, 2023
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Spatz: The Secret Is Simplicity

And two other newcomers: Trieste and Mekong
By D Magazine |


★★★ No spats about Spatz-you can’t quarrel with the success of this new venture opened by Jess Gilbert, a former owner of the Bronx, and run by former staffers of Parigi. Spatz falls in between those other two admirable, mid-priced restaurants in terms of trendiness. The kitchen seems more ambitious than that of the Bronx but it doesn’t turn out dishes as chi-chi and outré as those at Parigi can be.

The breezy surroundings-it’s basically a bar with a large patio that is enclosed during the winter months-and the informal, almost blasé, service don’t prepare you for the quality of the food here, which is often much higher than at far more pretentious places. Maybe the secret is keeping things simple. The menu holds little more than a couple of soups, a couple of salads, a short list of pasta dishes (all made with the same delectable, al dente fettuccine), and simple things like fried catfish. The pastas (mostly take-offs on classic Italian preparations) are dependably flavorful, from a smoky-tasting number with peppered bacon and mushrooms (though missing the advertised pine nuts) to an assertive version with anchovies, capers, and lots of garlic. The fried things-such as big, tender shrimp-are surprisingly memorable, too, with homemade potato chips and a perky chili sauce on the side.

Most of the obvious ambition here seems to go into the daily specials like a poblano pepper stuffed with chicken and coated with a crisp cornmeal batter or tenderloin with an improbable-sounding but laudable sauce incorporating goat cheese and accompanied by roasted shallots. The only failure we have experienced at Spatz involved a grilled fillet of mahi-mahi that was burned in places-but even here, the sauce and the vegetable accompaniments of an onion confit and seasoned corn were some consolation.

Dessert selections at Spatz sound rather ordinary in their American hominess, but care obviously goes into their preparation. The apple pie a la mode has too strong a taste of cloves, but the fruit is firm and the crust tender. The big surprise is the orange macadamia-nut cheesecake-a creamy, fruity delight even for those of us who usually think cheesecake ought to stay as plain as possible. 2912 N Henderson. 827-7984. Lunch Tue-Sat 11:30-3; dinner Tue-Thur 5:30-11, Fri & Sat 5:30-midnight. Sun brunch 11-3:30. All credit cards. Moderate. -W. L. Taitte


★★★ The owners of La Tosca have come up with a daring idea in dining: a quiet, understated, un-American restaurant. That describes Trieste. Diane and Victor Mari Alonso’s new place in the old Plaza Cafe location, deep in the heart of the Decorative Center. The room is small and carpeted, the chairs are upholstered, the music is soft, and the light is flattering, creating a subdued and soothing environment for savoring a meal that, while not original, was delightful in the exactness of its execution.

The menu, which changes every Monday, was frankly French on our visit, with nary a twirl of pasta or shred of sun-dried tomato in sight. Instead, we found culinary golden oldies-classic items like coquille St. Jacques, rabbit in port wine, and sweet souffles. Chewy French bread-not muffins, blue corn bread, or focaccia- and butter accompanied the meal, and entrees included potato (a fen-shape of au gratin slices) and vegetable (slivered zucchini, squash, and tomato).

The fresh tomato looked as lively as it tasted with its garnish of créme fraiche and dollop of caviar, while the smoked trout mousse folded into rosy slices of smoked salmon was pure silk. Salads (also included with the entree) were small and simple-a few leaves of radicchio and lettuce and some shredded carrots under a creamy vinaigrette. The whole grilled baby snapper was fully cooked-no trendy translucent fish here- but perfectly moist. The rare lamb slices were bathed in a sauce full of fresh currants, while 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.

We were invited to invent our own souffle1 combinations, touted by our waiter as the chefs specialty, but it was the lack, rather than the choice, of flavor that made the results (chocolate with hazelnut and mocha with vanilla) disappointing. The homemade ice creams were a better choice. Whimsically presented as a sort of horizontal ice cream cone, a bouquet of little scoops spilled from a pastry cornucopia in a custard bath with strawberry puree.

The service here brings to mind the little-used word “cordial’- our waiter was warm, but did not feel compelled to be our best friend. Instead, he actually seemed intent on showing us the best Trieste has to offer, unobtrusively ensuring us a tranquil and leisurely evening. After dessert, he suggested we retire with our coffee to the sofa by the fire, a lovely conclusion to a gracious meal. 1444 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 600. 742-4433. Lunch Mon-Fri U:30 am-2:30 pm; dinner Tue-Sat 5:30-10. Closed Sun. MC, V, DC Moderate.

-Mary Brown Malouf


★★★ Never try to second-guess the Dallas restaurant scene. Here was Bryan Street, already solidly strung from Peak to Fitzhugh with ethnic eateries, most of them Oriental. So what sprang to life in the corner space where Cafe Brannon languished and died? You guessed it-yet another Oriental spot, this one named Mekong, with a menu that gives Vietnamese and Chinese fare equal time.

A combination more pregnant with ennui than with intrigue, wouldn’t you say? Don’t say it. unless you want to eat your own words as a sour garnish to some dynamite dishes in both national categories.

On the Vietnamese side, everything we tried on two visits rated stars for freshness

and subtle seasoning. Appetizers of shredded shrimp and pork rolled with lettuce in tender rice paper caught fire and flavor from the pepper-spiked carrot sauce that came with them, An Imperial roll looked pale on its snowy bed of vermicelli, but its pastry wrapping was an airy puff of peerless crispness. loaded with a hearty filling of minced pork and vegetables.

It was a hot pot soup, though, that knocked our socks off with pure joy. Served steaming in a tub-sized tureen with a dramatic swoosh of flame at its heart, the dish held a stellar array of chicken and seafoods-shrimp, scallops, and catfish-cooked barely tender with still-crisp celery, pepper, and onion strips in an ambrosial broth in which every contributing element could be discerned.

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-roasted whole in a hot stone over camphor wood chips, the golden-skinned bird was scented as well with other delicate nuances: black tea, citrus peel, sugar. Served with the simplest dipping sauce imaginable-a saucer of salted lemon juice heavily laden with fresh-ground black pepper-it was superb. Blandly ordinary beef chunks in onion and oyster sauce were hardly worth mentioning in such company, but barbecued spare ribs held their own; billed as an appetizer, the succulent quartet amounted to an entree-sized portion of nicely marinated pork.

Desserts after all this seemed superfluous. The one we tried, honey-crisped fried bananas, was frankly forgettable: iced French coffee with sweetened condensed milk was eminently satisfying. (As for other beverages, so far it’s BYO wine or beer; corkage is complimentary.)

The service at Mekong was excellent, ex cept for a long wait for the check on one visit. The setting-white tablecloths under glass, cushioned rattan chairs under ceiling fans and ferns-completes an amiable am bience reinforced by caring attention from the proprietor, who owned similar estab lishments in Terrell and Waxahachie before closing the latter to open Mekong. Both out- of-town locations were called La Pagode. No kin, he claims, to his across-the-street com petition, but very interesting, wouldn’t you say? 4301 Bryan St., Suite 101. 824-6200. Mon-Fri 10-10, Fri-Sun 10-11. All credit cards. Inexpensive. -Betty Cook



Anderson’s ★★ Anderson’s is what food in Texas used to be all about: plenty of choices of smoked meat, with a few token vegetables provided to ward off scurvy. The ’cue- especially the ribs-is as it should be, and the butter beans and baked potatoes are a credit to their genre. 5410 Harry Hines Blvd. 630-0735. Mon-Fri 11 am-7:30pm, Sat II am-3 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

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

Hard Rock Cafe ★ Rock ’n’ roll memorabilia and the sense of being where it, whatever it is. is happening are the draws here, not first-rate food. Accordingly, it’s not surprising to find that the burgers, steak, and swordfish on the menu consistently emerge charred and nearly inedible. What is surprising is that the starkly named pig sandwich-a simple assemblage of bun, shredded pork, and barbecue sauce, served with pretty good cole slaw and pretty poor fries-is truly great junk food. Stick with the pig sandwich and devil’s food cake for dessert and you’ll leave happy. 2601 McKin-ney. 827-8282. Daily II am-2 am. MC, V, AE, Moderate.

Ribby’s ★ This new, neon, drive-through barbecue shack has two, count ’em, two tables on the premises. First-timers will want the rib sampler, with small portions of three kinds: marinated, beef, and original. The cole slaw is exceptional; the beans and bread are not. 6515 Northwest Hwy. 361-5555. Sun-Thur I1 am-I0 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. 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. Open 24 hours daily. All credit cards.Inexpensive.

Snuffer’s ★★★ Some days nothing but a burger and fries will do, and on those days, very often nothing but Snuffer’s will do. The burgers are fat but not absurdly so, cooked perfectly to order, and the fries are crusty wonders (one order provides enough for three or four people). 3526 Greenville. 826-6850. Mon-Sat II am-2 am. Sun 11:30am-2 am. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Solly’s ★★ There are those who believe that good barbecue can’t be found in the squeaky-clean reaches of Ad-dison. They haven’t eaten at Solly’s, where the “casual cuisine” promised by the logo features barbecue as flavorful as that in any other pan 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. Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm. MC, V. 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 earn Sonny’s its stars. 2202 Inwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 10am-5pm, Sat 10 am-3 pm. Sun 11 am-2 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.


Arcadia Bar ★★★★ The Arcadia Bar is a no-frills hangout. The menu is small, mostly Cajun, 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. Daily 5 pm-2 am. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive.

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

Copeland’S ★★★ This enormous outpost of a New Orleans-based restaurant empire serves remarkably good food, most notably an appetizer of oystere en brochette and a dessert of chocolate cookie ice cream. 5353 Belt Line, 661-1883. Mon-Thur 11-11, Fri & Sat II am-midnight. Sun 10:30 am-Il pm. MC, V. AE. Moderate.

Crescent City ★★ Crescent City serves the best muf-faletta sandwich in the area. It may well be the only muffa-letta 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. The beignets and café au lait, while reasonably good, are no rivals to Cafe du Monde’s. Service is in the quick and “hon”-style tradition. 10819 Garland Rd. 321-1613. Mon-Sat 7am-10pm, Sun 7:30am-10 pm. MC, V. Inexpensive.

Louisiana Purchase ★★ Cajun is ragin’ in Piano, too, now that Louisiana Purchase is purveying etouffée 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, was a sugar fiend’s dream. The only problems: below-par bread and a Caesar salad that didn’t deserve the name. Central Expwy at Parker Rd. Plano. 422-2469. Sun-Thur II am-l0 pm, Fri & Sat II-I1. MC, V, AE- Moderate.

Patout’s ★★★ Alex Patout’s new restaurant serves some remarkable cooking alongside some pretty ordinary stuff. The spicy, earthy chicken and sausage gumbo is a marvel, and the Cajun smothered duck with oyster dressing is glazed to a crisp and succulent perfection. There are admirable versions of standard Louisiana dishes like shrimp remoulade and boudin (a livery-tasting rice sausage). At its best, this sophisticated country fore is unbeatable. But the disappointments included cochon de lait-roast young pig-that was stringy and fried shrimp that came in a tasteless batter. 5600 W Lovers Lane. 956-9077. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-3; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10, Fri 5-11; open Sat 11-11. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Pontchartrain ★★★ Everything here is fresh and homemade. There are two kinds of gumbo, and we liked the delicate flavor of the file gumbo better than the traditional heavier stock. The broiled stuffed snapper, halibut, and shrimp are specialties, though the Tried entries were just as good. We’re getting tired of blackened-everything Cajun. but the subtle and tasty preparations here, though heavy, were refreshing. The large dining area is noisy; the crowd casual and as enthusiastic as the service. 13444 N Preston Rd. 385-1522. Sun-Thur II am-I0 pm. Fri & Sat II-ll. All credit cards. Inexpensive.


August Moon ★★★★ Despite the tact that Dallas is overrun with Chinese restaurants, few manage to pull off the triple whammy: elegant and restful surroundings, first-rate food, and thoughtful extras like a “Bao Bao Menu” for the under-ten set. Our most recent foray was to August Moon’s Piano location, where we began with a flawless pupu tray offering greaseless fried shrimp and wonton, and an excellent beef sate, among other things. Spicy dishes like shredded beef Szechwan are a better bet than their blander brethren (lemon chicken being an exception) if you can take the heat, but rarely does a dish disappoint. 15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. N 2300 N Central Expwy. 881-0071. Sun-Thur II am-I0:3Opm, Fri & Sat 11-ll at Preston location. Sun-Thur II am-I0 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11 at Central location. MC. V. AE. Moderate.

Best A Round ★★★ Best A Round has the virtues of low prices, quick delivery, and food that may be short on finesse but is reliably tasty. Best A Round has a couple of counters for customers who want to eat in. but most either pick up or have their fodder delivered. 3607-A Greenville. 827-3631. Sun & Tue-Thur 4 pm-3 am. Fri & Sat 4 pm-4 am. Closed Man. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

Cathy’s Wok ★★ While what emerges from Cathy’s Wok won’t knock your socks off and is not worth the haul to the North land if you live in Dallas, it is a worthwhile alternative if you are a resident of Piano. I tried decent wonton soup, an egg roll chat was heavy on the cabbage, peppery chicken (with plenty of green pepper in a savory brown sauce), and shredded pork with garlic sauce (with lots of julienned carrots in a sweet sauce). Even when the food at Cathy’s Wok isn’t perfect, the ingredients are fresh and mercifully MSG-free, and the prices are right ($3.95 for lunch. $4,95 for dinner). 4010 W I5th. Piano. 964-0406 Mon-Sat II am-9:30 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

Chin Big Wong ★★★Dim sum seekers flock here during peak lunch hours on weekends, so expect a wait, and expect it to be worth it. Carts of goodies roll by: steamed dumplings, sate beef sticks, shrimp toast, spring rolls, baked barbecue pork buns. Most plates are $1.50. and will provide tastes for three people. 9243 Skillman. 343-0545. Mon-Thur 11 am-I0:30 pm. Fri 11-11. Sat l0am-llpm. Sun 10am-l0:30 pm. MC, V AE. Inexpensive.

Crystal Pagoda ★★★★ One of the oddest facts of dining in Dallas is that although there are more Chinese restaurants around than any other kind, we don’t have a single one that approaches the greatness of, say. New York’s Siu Lam Kung. Crystal Pagoda doesn’t match that standard, but it’s as good as Chinese food gets in Dallas-which is quite good. The shredded beef Szechwan-style and the moo shu pork are two especially good choices here. The service and setting are both exiremely pleasant. 4516 McKinney. 526-3355. Mon-Thur ll:30am-I0:30pm. Fri ll:30am-11 pm. Sat noon-Il pm, Sun noon-I0:30pm. MC, V.AE. Moderate.

Forbidden City ★★ On our last visit here, egg rolls were nothing special, and an order of orange beef was unaccept-ably tough, but the uninformatively named chefs chicken was remarkably good: innocent-looking shredded chicken Stir-fried in an incendiary sesame sauce and served on a bed of bean sprouts. 5290 Belt Line. 960-2999. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30pm. Fri & Sat II am-3 am, Sun noon-10:30 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Han-Chu ★★★ 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 11:30 am-II:30pm. Alt credit cards. Moderate.

Henry Chen’s ★★★★ This new Chinese restaurant 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, to 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 18a 956-9560. Sun-Thur 11 am-I0:30pm, Fri &. Sat 11-11. All credit cards. Moderate.

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

Jade Garden ★★ Jade Garden looks exceptionally unpromising and serves food that turns out to be exceptionally good. From the standard-moo goo gai pan-to the unusual-currv pan-fried rice noodles-the food belies the setting. 4800 Bryan. 821-0675. Sun-Tue & Thur II am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Closed Wed. MC, V. Inexpensive. Jasmine ★★★ Jasmine’s setting sets it apart from standard-issue Chinese restaurants. It’s plush to the point of featuring a white baby grand piano. For reasons unknown, the menu featured some fractured French, but its offerings don’t suffer as a result. Shrimp rolls arrived encased in black seaweed wrappers-not bad, mind you, but still, the stuff did take some getting used to. Happily, however, there were no untoward surprises involved in the top-notch treatments of moo shu pork and beef Mimosa (sautéed in an orange-flavored red pepper sauce). 4002 Belt Line. 991-6867. Mon-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri 11 am-11:30 pm. Sat 11:30-11:30, Sun 11:30 am-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

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

Szschwan Pavilion ★★★ Our favorites from a recent visit were the Charng 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. We were less impressed with the Peking duck-the skin was no crisper and the flesh no more succulent than that of the plebeian roast duck you can buy at any Chinese market. 8411 Preston, Suite 132, at Northwest Highway. 368-4303. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11 pm. Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC. V. AE. Moderate to expensive.


Taiwan ★★★ Ordinary things sit side by side with ex cellent 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 (available on the bargain luncheon menu) we sampled were heavily spiked with hot red peppers. 4980 Belt Line, Addison. 387-2333. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm; Fri & Sal 11:30-11:30. MC. V, AE. Moderate. N -W.L.T.

Tong’s House ★★ Although the dan-dan noodles with sesame-peanut sauce are still some of the best (and some of the only) to be found in town, the rest of a recent dinner at Tong’s was a bummer. Wonton soup was inedibly soggy, moo goo gai pan included canned mushrooms, and orange beef Szechwan-style was too chewy for comfort. All the same, there was a half-hour wait for a table. 1910 Promenade Center, Richardson. 231-8858 Mon-Thur 11 am-9:30pm, Fri & Sat II am-I0:30pm, Sun 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Topaz House ★★★ Topaz House has an exceptionally depressing-looking interior that is heavy on the harvest gold vinyl. Strike one. Then there was the disgracefully mushy appetizer of sesame noodles. Strike two. Happily, and surprisingly after that appetizer, two entrées were home-run hits: shredded pork with garlic sauce and jade shrimp, aka shrimp with broccoli, 110 Greenville, Richardson. 234-3887.

Sun-Thur 11:30am-l0pm, Fri A Sat ll:30am-I0:30pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan ★★★★ Uncle Tai’ is the highest of high-end Chinese options in town. For prices consistently higher than any other Chinese restaurant in town, the customer gets such off-the-beaten-path dishes as sautéed sliced pheasant, frog’s legs with gingko nuts, and sliced duck with young ginger roots. The quality of ingredients is very high, although the level of saltiness continues to be problematic. Galleria. 13350 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 3370. 934-9998. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat I1 am-l0:30 pm. Sun noon-I0 pm. Jackets required for dinner. Ail credit cards. Expensive.


Café Royal ★★★★ Cafe Royal’s $34.50 fixed-price dinner, which changes daily, is reasonably priced and. thanks to the lovely setting and skillful service, unreasonably romantic. The run-down on one night’s uniformly well-prepared options: an appetizer of a salad with quail breast or an artichoke bottom with lobster ragout and caviar butter sauce: a green salad or red-wine sorbet; an entree of sliced loin of lamb with wild mushrooms and a shallot and sage sauce or fillet of John Dory with angel-hair pasta and lemon thyme sauce; and a choice of dessert. Ham of the Americas. 650 N Pearl. 979-9000. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner Mon-Thur 6:30-10:30. Fri&Sat 6:30-11. Closed Sun. Jackets and ties required. All credit cards. Expensive.

Chez Gerard ★★★ The highlights of my most recent dinner checkup visit were topflight treatments of sautéed lamb chop with parsley and garlic and floating island (poached meringue floating atop vanilla custard). Shrimp rémoulade, cassoulet (a stew of white beans and sausage that Francophiles adore), and créme caramel were less distinguished, but still well within Chez Gérard’s range of dependable quality. 4444 McKinney. 522-6865. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. Ml credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Cleo by Jean-Claude ★★★★ Pans of the old Jean-Claude-once perhaps Dallas’s best restaurant-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 pristine, very French, lettuce-only salads, the duck in an Oriental-inspired ginger sauce, and the ethereal chocolate souffles. The price of a four-course fixed meal is $27.50-remarkably low for what you get. Here are some hints: the standout appetizer is the garlicky escargots in a puff-pastry shell, and the best dessert is the hazelnut soufflé. Among the entrées, both treatments of fish we sampled were superb. The Centrum, 3102 Oak Lawn, Suite 110. 520-9264. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:15; dinner 6-10:30. Closed Sun. AE, MC, V. Expensive.

The French Room ★★★★ With its cherubs, vaulted ceiling, and trompe 1’oeil garden, the nosy-hued French Room is far and away the most baroque-looking restaurant in Dallas. In the five years since its opening, it has had its culinary ups and downs; happily, however, a recent visit suggested that it is in an up cycle. From salads (green bean and green salad with goat cheese croutons) to entrées (salmon and rack of lamb) to dessert (apple tart), the food was all that one could ask for. What’s more, the sommelier is both congenial and well informed; he is as happy to advise customers on a single glass of wine as a rare bottle. Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce. 742-8200. Mon-Sat 6-10:30. Jackets and lies 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. Although The Grape still serves the cheese and pate 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 6-1!, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.

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

L’ Ambiance ★★★ Although the renovated gas station setting is unimpressive, the food was fine on a recent dinner visit. A suave potato-leek soup and watercress salad with bacon, mushrooms, and goal 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. 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 ★★ At L’Ancestral. you forget the rules and you take your chances. The rules are: stick to the steak au poivre or the lamb chops with herb butter and peerless pommes frites. Follow the rules and you’ll be happy. Order the dull redfish or the fatty duck, as my friend and I did recently, and you’ll be sorry. Alas, the previously pleasing clafouti (a baked custard with cherries) disappointed on this go-round. 4514 Travis. 528-1081. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Tnur 6pm-10pm, Fri A Sat 6-11, Sun 6-10. All credit cards. 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 Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Tae-Sat 6-10. No credit cards. Inexpen-

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

Mr. Peppe ★★★ Mr. Peppe is not so much a restaurant as it is a mindset. There exists a subset of monied, established Dallasites for whom fine dining begins and ends with Mr. Peppe. While the rest of us frantically trendy parvenus chase around from new hot spot to newer hot spot, the Mr. Peppe-ites are content to eat things like pepper steak and veal with lemon butter week in and week out. 5617 W Lovers Lane. 352-5976. Mon-Sat 6-10. All credit cards. Moderate.

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

The Riviera ★★★★★ I have attended Grateful Dead concerts thai were quieter than The Riviera on a Saturday night, but minor hearing loss is a small price to pay for first-rate food in a charming setting. A green salad was nicely set off by sherry vinaigrette, and came with a delectable goat cheese crouton. Sun-dried tomato and smoked bell pepper soup was satisfying, if heavy on the bacon. Norwegian salmon and sea scallops steamed with white wine and served with a light rosemary sauce was one of the best treatments of salmon I’ve ever tasted. And duck breast with intensely flavored lavender and honey sauce was worthwhile, too. 7709 Imvood. 351-0094. Sun-Thur 6:30pm-l0:30pm, Fri & Sat 6:30 pm-Il pm. All credit cards. Expensive to very expensive.

St. Martin’s ★★★ 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 céme caramel. 3020 Greenville. 826-0940. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5 pm-12:30 am; Sun brunch 11-3. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Three Vikings ★★★ Three Vikings had long been a fixture on Lower Greenville. Now it has resurfaced in the tiny space previously occupied by Da Piccolo and Bed Moon Café on Cole Avenue. The look 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, I 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. Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Tue-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11 Sun 5:30 pm-9 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Watel’s ★★ This charming/funky little establishment near downtown is so appealing as a potential hangout that it bears watching for signs of improvement. On my visits, food has been inconsistent, but the setting and service are both casual and pleasant. 1923 McKinney. 720-0323. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, dinner Tue-Thur 6-10:30. Fri & Sat 6-11:30; Sun brunch 11:30-4. All credit cards. Moderate.


Belvedere ★★ Perfectly tender Wiener schnitzel is what keeps me coming back to Belvedere. Alas, this lime 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, while not egregious, have never been advisable here unless you’re extremely hungry. CrestPark Hotel. 4242 Lomo Alto. 528-6510. Lunch Tue-Sat 11:30-2; dinner Tue-Sat 6-10. Sun 6-9; Sun brunch 11-2:30. Closed Man. 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. Two bonuses: the by-the-glass wines are well chosen, and service is efficient and unobtrusive. 2810 N Henderson. 826-6209. Sun & Tue-Thur5:30-9pm, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30pm. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Moderate.

Cate Kashtan ★★★ On a recent visit here, we were disappointed that kulebiaka. that utterly satisfying mélange of chicken, rice, and mushrooms baked in a pastry shell- wasn’t on the dinner menu. Still, the salanka. an intensely flavored broth with bits of beef, sausage, and vegetables accompanied by pirozki. a meat-filled roll, the chicken Kiev, the veal Soblianka with mushroom sauce, and the almond cake with raspberry sauce were appeasingly excellent. 5365 Spring valley Rd at Montfort. 991-9550. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30 pm; dinner Mon-Sat 5-10. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

The Chimney ★★★ The food here-Middle European without much specific ethnic emphasis-is well prepared. if unsubtle. The special appetizer, a crepe holding a bounteous harvest of seafood, tastes too strongly of capers. for example. The hefty portion of venison tenderloin is cooked to a turn, but the reddish sauce adds little in the way of flavor. 9739 N Central Expwy 369 6466 Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30. All credit cards. Expensive.

Hofstetter’s ★★★★ Tucked away in the Plaza at Bach-man 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 regular menu, but the real action is on Hofstetter’s blackboard, which lists the daily specials. Plaza at Bachman Creek. 3830 W Northwest Hwy. 358-7660. Lunch Mon-Sat 11-2:30; dinner Tue-Thur 5-9:30, Fri & Sat 5-10. MC. V, AE. inexpensive to moderate.

Kuby’s ★★ After recovering from the shock of seeing the elegant spareness of Ceret (the restaurant that previously occupied the space) turned into a Bavarian bad dream, I rallied to enjoy Wiener schnitzel and potato salad at Kuby’s new location downtown in the Brewery. There are innumerable sandwich and sausage options, but potato pancakes and apple strudel are musts as accompaniments. To judge from the lunchtime crowds, the new Kuby’s promises to join the old one {which has been around since 1961) as a local institution. 703 McKinney in the Brewery 954-0004. Mon 11 am-2 pm, Tue-Thur II am-l0pm, Fri II am-midnight. Sat 5 pm-mid-nigbt. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.


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

Little Gus’ ★★★ Little Gus’ is the Clark Kent of Dallas restaurants. During the day. it’s a mild-mannered greasy spoon serving breakfast and burgers. At night it steps into a phone booth and turns into… super Greek restaurant. The moussaka and spanakopita are especially commendable. 1916 Greenville. 826-4910. American menu Mon-Sat 7:30 am-4pm; Greek menu Mon-Thur 6 pm-10 pm; Fri & Sat 6 pm-ll pm; Sun brunch 9 am-I:45 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.


Akbar ★★★★ 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 her bed potatoes and peas; and malai kofia, curry, cheese, and vegetable dumplings in a cream and almond sauce. 2115 Promenade Center at Coil & Belt Line roads. 235-0260. Lunch Mon-Fri II am-2pm. dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. Sat & Sun brunch 11:30-2:30. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive.

Anarkali Cafe ★★★ One strategy that the indecisive diner might keep in mind is the old surprise-me routine. On a recent visit to Anarkali Cafe, my two companions and I were unable to come up with a coherent plan of attack for Anarkali’s moderately extensive menu. So we turned our gastronomic fate over to the waiter, and asked him to tell the chef to give us whatever he thought best. The result was something of a lamb fest. but every dish was well prepared. 200 W Polk. 680-1016, Lunch Mon-Sun 11:30-2:30; dinner Tue-Sat 5:30-10. All credit cards. Moderate.

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

Curry In, Curry Out ★★★★ 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, 1250-C Northwest Hwy. 681-0087. Tue-Fri lunch 11:30 am-2:30pm; dinner 5 pm-9:30 pm; Sat & Sun 11:30 am-9:30pm. Closed Mon. MC. V Inexpensive.

India Palace★★★★ This has been Dallas’s most ambitious Indian restaurant from its beginnings, and now added to the already long menu is a two-page extension that enables the adventurous to explore some of the byways of Indian cooking. Unusual dishes include the tangri kebab (marinated, delicately charred chicken drumsticks) and the keshmi kebab (boneless chicken wrapped around skewers). Several dumpling-like fritters come stuffed with raisins and flavored with yogurt sauces. The prices for all these delicacies can mount up rapidly if ordered with necessary extras like the extraordinary Indian breads, but you can compensate by alternating with visits to the bargain lunch buffets. 13360 Preston Rd. 392-0190. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-3; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10. Fri &< Sat 5:30-10:30. All credit cards. 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 $9.50 dinner changes every night, but is always worth taking a chance on if you’re a gastronaut. 5430 Gurley. 821-1048. Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Tue-Sat 5:30-9:30, Sun buffet 5:30-9. All credit cards. 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 tandoori chicken; fragrant kashmiri pillau (rice with peas, currants, almonds, and cashews); flavorful lamb kofta (meatballs in a mild curry sauce); and tender naan (flat bread). 2620 Walnut Hill Ln. 350-6466. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2: dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30: brunch Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

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

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


Alessio’s ★★★ On a recent visit, 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, though not as meritorious as the perfectly breaded veal parmigiana accompanied by buttered, parslied mostaccioli. 4117 Lomo Alto. 521-35S5. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Sun & Mon 6-10 pm. MC. V. AE. Moderate to expensive.

Café Italla ★★ Café 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 made for a nice finish. 5000 Maple. 521-0700. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

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, for 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. 5610 E Mockingbird. 827-0355. Mon-Fri 11 am-midnight. Sat II am-1 am. Sun 11 am-midnight. No credit cards. Moderate.

Ciao ★★ New Wave pizza may be the featured attraction at Ciao, and they are well and good, but the smart money is on the calzone, a sort of pizza turnover filled with fresh ric-cotta. Italian sausage, and herbs. One of these and a perfectly simple green salad, and you won’t be in the market for dessert. 3921-B Cedar Springs. 521-0110. Mon-Sat 11:30am-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, 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. 871-5155. Mon-Sat 11-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.


La Tosca ★★★ Despite its stark black-and-white decor (right down to waiters’ costumes), this long-running, low-key retreat somehow manages to suggest warm comfort-a suggestion sustained in the food, as elegantly simple as the setting. Garlicky mussels steamed with tomato and black pepper in white wine are toothsome; tomato and fresh moz-zarella 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, although Parmesan slices served with it were near-leathery-a flaw underscored by the mozzarella’s tenderness; and breasts of chicken seemed somewhat dry, although their caper-strewn tomato sauce could not have been better. Small cavils, though, weighed against such generally consistent pleasures as fresh profiteroles sinfully drenched with hot chocolate and whipped cream. A clip-on listing of low-fat and low-cholesterol dishes is provided for the conscience-stricken. 77!3 Inwood. i52-S373. Sun & Tue-Thur 6pm-10:30pm: Fri & Sat 6-11 Pm. All credit cards. Expensive. -B.C.

Lombardi’s ★★★★★ This newest Lombardi establishment replaces the ill-fated Pucci in Travis Walk. The menu is identical 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 Trans. 521-1480. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-midnight. Sun 5.30-10:30. All credit cards. Moderate.

Lombardl’s Expresso ★★★★ This takeout/eat-in bakery/café allows the consumer to eat when and how he or she chooses. There are cold and hot pastas, design-your-own pizzas (artichoke hearts, proscuitto, and goat cheese make a nice trio), sandwiches made with rosemary-topped foccacia bread, and more desserts than you can snake a stick at. The menu changes from day to day (always a good sign), and the numerous things [ tasted were consistently quite good. 6135 Luther Lane. 36I-6984. Mon-Sat 8 am-9 pm. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Massimo Da Milano ★★★★ If there’s a bad item available at this attractive Italian bakery/cafe. I’ve yet to discover it despite exhaustive research. Although the changing pizza, pasta, and salad offerings are always alluring, more often than not I find myself opting for the focaccia sandwich, round flat bread filled with ham. cheese, leaf lettuce, and tomato slices. For dessert, there are any number of pastries to choose from, but nothing suits a cup of espresso better than the little amaretti cookies. 5519 W Lovers Lane. 351-1426. Mon-Thur 9 am-I0pm, Fri & Sat 9 am-II pm. Sun 9-9. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.

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

Nero’e Italian ★★★ There is an extensive menu of pasta. veal, and seafood, but the two things to concentrate on are the Italian wine-the selection is great, and the staff well informed-and the pizza, which comes in both traditional and New Wave varieties. 2104 Greenville. 826-6376. Mon-Thur 6-11 pm, Fri & Sat 6 pm-midnight. Sun 6-11. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

Pizzeria Uno ★★★ Serious pizza-seekers care about what’s on the plate, not how long it lakes to get there. They may have a point: these are terrific buttery-crusted Chicago-style pan pizzas. The menu warns: “Be careful when you order. Each Uno pizza has about twice the food content as the pizzas you are probably accustomed to.” The menu is right, and the reason is the vertical quantity of ingredients, not the diameter. A regular pizza, which the menu recommends for two. looks smallish when it arrives, but only two would-be wart hogs could finish it in one sitting. 4002 Belt Line. Addison. 991-8181. Mon-Thur 11 am-I0:30 pm. Fri II am-midnight, Sat noon-midnight. Sun noom-10. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

Ristorante Savino ★★★ Everything on the menu at Savino is a good bet. but 1 never can resist the vitello ton-nato (roasted veal sliced and served cold with tuna sauce-a dish that, trust me. tastes much better than it sounds). 2929 N Henderson. 826-7804. Sun-Thur 6pm-I0:30pm, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-ll pm. AH credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

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

Sardo’s ★★★★ If you’re feeling low. a visit to Sardo’s is in order. Pasta is wonderful here, and the breaded veal cutlet with wilted greens is a close competitor. Plaza on Bachman Creek, 3802 W Northwest Hwy. 351-4378. Mon-Fri II am-2 pm, 5 pm-ll pm, Sat 5pm-ll pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Sfuzzi ★★★ Pizzas here are 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. From the selection of “primi plates” (read: grazing menu), the salads were terrific. Arugula and radicchio were sprinkled with crisp pancetta and crumbled gorgonzola and dressed in balsamic vinaigrette: spinach salad was arranged with grilled chicken chunks, toasted pine nuts, and yellow tomatoes. Pastas aren’t handled as well-a serving of angel hair was overcooked and undersauced. But fettuccine with pancetta, parmesan, and cream was surprisingly tighter than a classic Alfredo. 2504 McKinney. 871-2606 Mon-Wed 11:30 am-11 pm; Thur & Fri ll:30am-l am, Sat 5pm-l am. Sun 5 pm-ll pm. MC, V. Moderate.

311 Lombardl’s ★★★★ Here, surrounded by the glow created by creamy apricot walls, happy hordes of downtown workers gel what may well be the best Italian food in town at reasonable prices. No pasta was visible in the pasta and bean soup, but it was a hearty, herb-enlivened delight anyway. A pizza with leeks, pancetta. goat cheese, and mushrooms could have held its own against New York’s best. The next stop on the menu was good enough to be required eating for potato-philes: potato gnocchi with two sauces (tomato and irresistible gorgonzola). 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 II am-l am. Sat 5pm-l am. Sun 5-10pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Trattoria LombardI ★★★ This is now the oldest extant Lombardi’s location, and even if it’s not quite as pretty as its successors in the West End and Travis Walk, it’s still a swell source for a good Italian meal. A recent lunch of green salad, tortellini, cannelloni, and manicotti was pleasing, if not earth-shattering. 2916 N Hall. 528-7506 Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10:30, Fri & Sat 5-11, Sun 5-10. All credit cards. Moderate.


Kobe Steeks ★★ 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 arc the most popular options-are of good quality, and the whole experience has a certain retro charm. Quorum Ham. 5000 Bell Line at Dallas Parkway. 934-8150. Sun-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Mr. Sushi ★★★★ It’s all raw fish to me. but a number of my friends are dedicated seekers of sushi, and the most serious of them swears by Mr. Sushi. My friend was moved by the “sushi B” dinner-tuna, white meat fish, yellowtail, jumbo clam, shrimp, salmon, smelt egg, salmon egg, cooked egg, and tuna roll-and I was appeased by the sautéed soft-shell crab and perfect shrimp tempura. 4860 Belt Line, Addison. 385-0168 Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Sun 5:30-/0. All credit cards. Moderate.

Mr. Sushi & Hibachi ★★★★ Mr. Sushi’s original location is one of the favorite stops of local seekers of raw fish. This new establishment also includes a hibachi room for those in quest of Benihana-type slice-and-dice grilled thrills. On my visit I unintentionally ended up on the hibachi side, where the food was uninspired. However, my sushi scouts report that the sushi here is as terrific as at the original Mr. Sushi. 9220 Skillman, Suite 227. 349-6338. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5:30-10. All credit cards. Moderate 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. 5738 Cedar Springs. 351-2281. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-1:45; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri-Sun 5:30-11. All credit cards. Moderate.

Sushi On McKinney ★★★ As a rule, the sushi is a better bet than the cooked things at this self-styled “friendly post-modern sushi bar.” The atmosphere is lively to (he point of freneticism. which is either a refreshing or a disturbing change from the traditionally quiet, subdued atmosphere of local Japanese restaurants. 4500 McKinney. 521-0969. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. Moderate.


Antonio’s ★★★ 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 flan, and merengue (whipped cream or chocolate ice cream sandwiched between two layers of egg-white pastry). 14849 Inwood (south of Belt Line). Addison. 490-9557. Dinner Mon-Thur 5pm-10pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. All credit cards. 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 the low prices. The chicken fajitas are 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. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri 5:30-midnight, Sat 11 am-midnight. Sun 11-11. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Cadillac Bar ★★★ As its name suggests, the focus of the Cadillac Bar isn’t food. Which is just as well, considering what I tasted there. The best bets are the nachos. particularly the signature Cadillac nachos. and the cheesecake. Pan 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-10:30pm, Fri II am-mid-night. Sat 5 pm-midnight. Sun noon-I0:30 pm. MC. V, AE. Moderate.

Cafe Cancún ★★★ Cafe Cancún was a Mexican food trailblazer in Dallas, one of the first to offer black beans and white cheese as an alternative to pintos and day-glow Cheddar. In recent years, however, quality control was a problem, and many Cafe Cancún fans lost faith. Brethren, it is time to rejoin the fold: on a recent visit, everything-from the warm, fresh tostadas to the enchiladas verdes with chicken to the luscious coconut ice cream-was very good. 4131 Lomo Alto, 559-4011. Mon-Thur II am-I0 pm. Fri & Sat 11-Il, Sun noon-l0pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

Cantina Laredo ★★★★ Standard Tex-Mex combinations are available here, and they’re quite good, but the com-ida casern-home-style food-is where the smart money is. Standouts include the tacos al pastor filled with marinated pork, cabrito (baby goat to you. gringo), mesquite-grilled shrimp with garlic butter, and red snapper with lime butter. 4546 Belt Line, Addison. 458-0962. Sun-Thur 11-11. Fri & Sat II am-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate.

Casa Rosa ★★★ From chili con queso to botanas especiales (bean, chicken, and beef nachos; marinated beef strips: and flautitas with sour cream and guacamole) to the Puerto Vallarta combination (beef taco, enchilada with chili con came, chicken enchilada with sour cream sauce, and Spanish rice) to praline cheesecake for dessert, everything (except for the underdone, too-tomatoey Spanish rice) was well prepared, if not in the forefront of culinary innovation. Inwood Village, Inwood at Lovers Lane, Suite 165. 350-5227. Mon-Thur II am-3pm & 5-10 pm, Fri II am-3pm & 5-11 pm. Sat II am-II pm, Sun 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Chito’s ★★★ A New Yorker I know loves Mexican food more than life itself. Chito’s on Maple is where I took her on her last stop in Dallas, and she found its funky setting and low prices (guacamole has reached 57 in one Manhattan Mexican restaurant) inordinately satisfying. The food at Chito’s-especially the bean, cheese, and guacamole quesa-dillas-is good enough to please even native Dallasites. who are accustomed to the Tex-Mex way of life. 4447 Maple, 522-9166. Mon-Thur 9 am-9pm, Fri & Sat 9 am-4 am. Sun 9-9. MC, V. Inexpensive.

Chori’s Taqueria ★★★ 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-10 pm, Fri-Sun 8 am-2 am. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

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

Garmo’s ★★★ Garmo’s does a better job with standard Tex-Mex than most of its local peers. Its rice-a weak point at all but the most painstaking of establishments-is especially nice. Beware the spinach enchiladas, however; on two recent visits they have been dauntingly stringy to the point of requiring one more margarita to erase their memory. 2847 N Henderson. 828-9423. Daily 11 am-10:30pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.

Genaro’s ★★★ 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 jalapeno and tomatillo cream sauce topped with pumpkin seeds arrived sans pumpkin seeds, the accompanying black beans and pea-studded rice were pleasing, anyway. 5815 Live Oak at Skillman. 827-9590. Mon-Thur 11 am-I0:30 pm, Fri 11 am-2:30 am. Sat II am-midnight. Sun ll-ll. 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 fare: tamales, pupusas, and a licuado du plantano (a plantain milkshake) for dessert. 600 W Davis. 948-3672. Tue-Thur 9 am-l0pm, Fri-Sun 9 am-midnight. Closed Man. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. 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. Standouts are the numerous varieties of burritos made with fat. tender flour tortillas: the bean and cheese and the potato and egg are two good choices. 3505 W Northwest Hwy. 528-2960. Mon-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri 11-11. Sat 9am-IIpin, Sun 9am-I0pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

J. Pepe’s ★★★ J. Pepe’s Mexican food is a cut above most local Tex-Mexeries, and its setting is exceptionally pleasant. These two facts, plus the availability of outdoor seating, go far to explain the madding crowds found here on weekend nights. 2800 Routh. 871-0366. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-11, Fri 5:30-midnight. Sat ll-11 midnight. Sun 11-11. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate.


Jimi’s Baja Boat Club ★ Jimi’s was formerly Chi mi’s, but the menu still says Chimi’s. so one wonders, what’s in a name? A flour tortilla by any other name would taste as good, though not many taste as good as Ch-uh, Jimi’s. The sturdy but flaky rounds enfold shredded chicken or beef to make soft burritos or crisp chimichangas, and piping hot stacks are ready to roll into fajitas. This is not a spot for nibblers-portions are enormous, but good to the last bite, which you will probably want to take with you and finish the next day. The setting is comfortable-lots of plants, wood, and windows make the room seem cozy when it’s cold and airy when it’s warm. Service was enthusiastic, starring one of the best Tex-Mex waitresses in town-a veteran familiar to patrons of the old Guadalajara and El Gallito. But the kitchen was out to lunch on our last visit-bottomless baskets of chips and glasses of tea couldn’t make up for a forty-five-minute wait for our order. 4301 Bryan. 826-0541. Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight. Fri & Sat 11 am-l:30am. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.

La Botica ★★ 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. Lunch Tue-Fri 11-2; dinner Tue-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11. Closed Sun and Mon. No credit cards; persona! checks accepted. Moderate.

Mario & Alberto ★★★ The standards of Mario Leal’s second restaurant don’t seem to have suffered with the opening of a third one. 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. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun. Drinks with $5.50 membership charge. All credit cards. Moderate.

Mario’s Chiquita ★★★ This Piano outpost of Mario Leal’s mini-empire is-surprise, surprise-very much like his other two restaurants, from the odd color scheme to the average Tex-Mex offerings to the superior Mexico City-style specialties. 221 W Parker. Suite 440, Piano. 423-2977 Mon-Thur 11:30 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-II pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Mario’s Chiquita ★★★ This longtime institution has opened a new location in Travis Walk with good results. The food is the same as ever, which is to say average for the most part, with exceptional specialties such as the carniras tam-piquenas, pork prepared carne asada style. 4514 Travis. 521-0721. Sun-Thur 11:30 am-10pm. Fri & Sat 11:30-11. All credit cards. Moderate.

Martinez Cafe ★ ★★ Tex-Mex abounds in Dallas: top-notch Tex-Mex, however, is relatively rare. That’s where Martinez Cafe comes in. It’s been a long lime since standard-issue Tex-Mex made me sit up and take notice as I did here. Here you will find snappy salsa, notable nachos, tasty tacos. and enticing enchiladas. Just one caveat; if Mex ican 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, Sat 11-11 MC. V, AE. Inexpensive.

Mia’s ★★★ When Mia’s-that bastion of family-run Tex-Mex restaurants known and loved for its melt-in-your-mouth chili rellenos and steam-up-your-mouth sunset sauce-dared . to move away from its hole in the wall on Lemmon Avenue, we were scared. We were heartened, though, when we saw the same old faces and the same old green tablecloths brought over from the old place. Once we were led by the hand to our table-after an appropriately long wait-and served our favorite chicken fajitas with sunset sauce, we felt much better. If you stare intently at the tablecloth and the flawless food, you can even imagine you’re back in the old Mia’s. 4322 Lemmon. 526-1020. Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.


Primo’s ★ This is the Mexican restaurant for the “thirty- something” crowd-small enough to have character, nice enough to be comfortable. MTV on one of the bar’s televi sion sets, sports on the other, and Sixties music coming through the speakers. Oh yes, and plenty of high chairs. The menu is Tex-Mex, with blackboard specials, and, except for bland margaritas and some overcooked shrimp, everything we sampled on a recent visit was as soul-satisfying as good Tex-Mex can get. Primo’s offers one of the best botanas plat ters around-two kinds of nachos, midget flautas, and ter rific qaesadillas. Take note of the tiny, crispy meat tacos- fried after they’re filled, and available in the standard size, too. The chicken enchilada in ranchera sauce was also memorable. 3309 McKinney. 520-3303. Mon-Thur II am- midnight, Fri 11 am-1 am, Sat 5pm-I am. Sun 11-11. All credit cards. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.

Raphael’s ★★ Of three three Raphael’s locations,I like the looks at Belt Line and the food at Greenville best. Whichever branch you choose, the vegetarian burritos. an assorted trio, are good enough to earn respect from the most hidebound carnivore. 3701 McKinney, 521-9640: 6782 Greenville, 692-8431: 4900 Belt Line, 991-3610 Mon-Sat 11-11, closed Sun at McKinney location. Mon-Fri 11:30-3 & 5:30-10. Sat noon-10:30, closed Sun at Greenville location, Mon-Thur 11:30 am-3 pm & 5 pm-I0 pm. Fri 11:30 am-II pm. Sat noon-ll pm. closed Sun at Belt Line location. N All credit cards. 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. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 11 am-9 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Uncle Julio’s ★★ The decor is heavy on pink and purple, and the food is notable more for its quantity-portions range from generous to immense-than for its quality. One notable exception: the tamales, which are available with pork and with chicken, are excellent. Beware, however, of the mesquite-grilled specialties, which are overwhelmingly woody tasting. 4125 Lemmon Ave. 520-6620. Mon-Thur II am-I0:30pm. Fri 11 am-ll:30 pm. Sat 11:30-11:30. Sun 11:30 am-10:30pm. MC. V. AE. Moderate.

Villa Margarita ★★★ Here you can have some of the best nachos (with black beans, white cheese, and sour cream) to be had in these parts. After the nachos, the standard Tex-Mex is fine, but I prefer the tender, flavorful came asada. 362 Promenade Center. Coit & Belt Line, Richardson. 235-5447. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat 11 am-1 am. Sun II am-9 pm. MC, V. AE. Moderate.


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. 6025 Royal. Suite 540. 739-7139. Daily 10 am-9 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.


Bluebonnat Cafe ★★★ Bluebonnet Cafe is pan of Whole Foods Market, and as the name of [he establishment indicates, the food lends toward the healthful. Happily, however, Bluebonnet doesn’t take a doctrinaire stand. Burgers, wine, and coffee-three controlled substances at hard-line health establishments-are allowed here. Check out the strawberry-banana-papaya smoothie and the black bean nachos with white cheese and guacamole. 2218 Greenville. 828-0052. Mon-Fri 11 am-9 pm, Sat 9-9. Sun 9 am-3 pm. MC, V; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

Dream Cafe ★★★★★ On weekends, this place is full of sleepy yuppies, hippies, and preppies in quest of fresh-squeezed orange juice, blueberry pancakes, and migas. What still isn’t widely known is the appeal of the Dream Cafe’s changing lunch and dinner choices, which are simultaneously healthy, satisfying, and sophisticated. And what hardly anyone at all knows is that although the place has no liquor license, you can bring your own wine or beer. 2200 Routh St. Suite 170, in the Quadrangle. 954-0486. Mon-Fri 7 am-2:30 pm. Wed-Sun 6 pm-10 pm, Sat & Sun 8 am-2:30pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

Theresa’s Semiramis Bar & Grill ★★ Theresa’s Semiramis Grill is the first American venue to offer a hot item in Europe, food cooked on top of a “Semiramis stone ” The stone is a thick piece of very fine granite about ten inches square, and it is delivered to the table hot enough to cook the various combinations of meats and vegetables that are offered with it. No oil is used, so the stone is salted to keep the food from sticking. Food cooked without a lot of fat is good for you, but it doesn’t taste particularly exciting. The shrimp we sampled, however, were yummy in their accompanying tarragon butter, though hardly any longer fat-free. 601 Pacific at Record, West End. 741-7778 Mon Il am-2 am, Tue-Thur II am-midnight, Fri II am-2 am. Sat 5 pm-2 am, Sun brunch 12-4. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.


Actualle ★★★★ Although breast of Long Island duck with angel-hair pasta was on the fatty side on my last visit, everything else, including tortilla soup with smoked chicken and serrano chilies 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. The Quadrangle. 2800 Routh. 855-0440. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-II. All credit cards. Expensive.

Baby Routh ★★★★★ I hear a lot of criticism of Baby Routh, but my last meal at Routh Street Cafe’s infant sibling was innovative, satisfying, and beyond reproach: oysters on the half shell with Southwestern mignonette; Caesar salad with cumin and cayenne-garlic croutons; quail with chipotles, wild rice-pecan salad, and mango-serrano dressing; and the hall-of-fame banana split with fresh berries and macadamia nuts. 2708 Routh. 871-2345. Lunch daily 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6-11; late-night menu Thur-Sat II pm-1 am; brunch Sun 11:30-3. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.


Beau Nash ★★★ It’s a heady sensation in often early-to- bed Dallas to see a bar and restaurant thronged with people after 11 on a weeknight (though more of the glitzy patrons were drinking than eating). But the crowds can be noisy, and the trendiness of this glossy spot carries over to the menu, sometimes to its detriment. Everything we sampled had an assertive and appealing taste, especially the Chinese- dump ling-shaped ravioli filled with wild mushrooms and drizzled with [wo 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 an other sort. Enough already! The mimosa cake we sampled for dessert looked prettier than it lasted. Hotel Crescent Court. 400 Crescent Court, Maple at McKinney. 871-3240. Breakfast Mon-Fri 6:30-11:15, Sat & Sun 6:30-11:15; lunch daily 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6:30 pm-11:30 pm; Sun brunch 11-2:15. All credit cards. Expensive. -W.L.T.


Blom’s ★★ Someone seems to have decided that this kitchen would serve the New Southwestern cuisine without bothering to find out whether the chef had a bent for the bizarre combinations that often make this style of cooking work. Lots of the strange-sounding dishes on the menu taste even worse than they sound: the papaya filled with spiny lobster and fruit just sat there next to a forlorn green salad, all surrounded by lime-yogurt dressing, and neither the jalapeno souffc nor the mint-flecked sauce complemented the perfectly cooked rack of iamb. The best dishes here come closest to classical cuisine: a creamy shrimp bisque hardly affected by the trendy pecans floating at the bottom and a pasta tossed with tenderloin strips that, for all the fancy description, tasted just like good old beef stroganoff. Westin Hotel, Galleria. 13340 Dallas Pkwy. 851-2882- Mon-Thur 6:30-10 pm, Fri & Sal 6-11. Closed Sun. Jackets required. Ail credit cards. Expensive. -W.L.T.


Cats Margaux ★★★★ We can hardly keep up with the changes here. To the Cajun cuisine that made the reputation of this place have been added other New American dishes (some heavily influenced by the chefs East Indian background)-and now the whole menu of the defunct Margaux Natural is offered alongside the regular menu. 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 sau-téed fillet mounded over shrimp and oyster dressing, were far more exciting. 3710 Rawlins. 520-1985. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-mid-night. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.


City Cafe ★★★ The simple dishes had it all over the com plicated ones here on our last visit. The ordinary-sounding fresh tomato soup turned out to be comfort food for angels, and the sautéed sole with lemon butter was elegant perfec tion. The Maryland crabcakes, on the other hand, hardly justified all the effort, and the roasted shoulder of wild boar 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. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat 6-10:30. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE Moderate. -W.L.T.

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

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

Deep Ellum Cafa ★★★ 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. 2704 Elm. 741-9012. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm; dinner Tue-Thur 6 pm-midnight. Fri & Sat 6 pm-1 am. MC, V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Gershwin’s ★★ Gershwin’s now offers “small plates,” which are like appetizers, except the idea is you order several instead of a main course. Black bean cakes with sour cream, baked goat cheese with almonds, and barbecued shrimp are some of the small-plate highlights. The rest of the menu continues to be surprisingly well prepared in light of its exten-siveness (usually a warning sign for savvy restaurant-goers). 8442 Walnut Hill. 373-7171. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-midnight. Sun !0:30am-3pm & 5 pm-10 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Imagine That! ★ Imagine That! offers diners the grazing-bar concept of small plates, priced to match ($6.50 tops) for quick-snack or compose-a-meal versatility. I recall fondly a grilled salmon cutlet spiked with a zingy relish of capers. jicama, and onion, and a salad of sliced smoked duck on fresh spinach leaves bathed with walnut-crackling vinaigrette. Unfortunately, I recall almost everything else with some regret. Temperature was the most mystifying problem-dishes were delivered barely minutes after orders were placed, yet all were almost as cool as the salad. Two dishes were frank failures-the new-potato relish adorning bland slices of roasted lamb was disagreeably sweet, as was a salad of bay scallops, pineapple, and sesame in a flavorless nest of vegetables julienne that was downright unpleasant. 2019 N Lamar St at McKinney Ave. 988-9378. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm: dinner Mon-Sat 5 pm-4 am. Closed Sun. AE, MC, V. Inexpensive to moderate.

Laurels ★★★★ The menu dégustation, with a fixed price of $38.50, changes daily and is a good bet. A la carte choices are expensive, but choices like Maine lobster, wild mushrooms and basil with fettuccine. and roasted pheasant with green apple pasta and blue cheese sauce are well worth the tariff. Desserts are killers here, especially the soufflé of the day. Sheraton Park Central. 12720 Merit Dr. 851-2021. Mon-Sat 6:30 pm-10:30 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

The Mansion on Turtle Creak ★★★★★ What never seems to change at the Mansion is its historic beauty and top-of-the-line service. What does change is the menu. Regulars lend 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 créme brulée with raspberry sauce for dessert. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Jackets and ties required. Lunch Mon-Fri noon-2:30: brunch Sat noon-2:30, Sun 11-2:30: dinner Sun-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11; supper Mon-Thur 10:30 pm-midnight. Fri & Sat 11 pm-midnight. All credit cards. Expensive.

McKinney & Knox ★★★ Though the menu attempts too many things to do them all well, portions are huge, prices are reasonable, and there are plenty of good choices here: the house salad (with jicama, mushrooms, red pepper slices, and grated cheese), onion rings, and FOB {fall off the bone) pork ribs. 4544 McKinney. 522-4340. Sun-Thur 11-10, Fri & Sat ll-ll. MC. V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Parlgl ★★★ On my last dinner visit, 1 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 to enjoy: in this case, the relevant examples were tomato fettuccine with shrimp and asparagus in sorrel cream sauce and cilantro 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. Jiff Oak Lawn. 521-0295. Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Tue-Thur 6:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 6:30-11; Sat brunch 10:30-3. Closed Sun & Mon. All credit cards. Expensive.

Pyramid Room ★★★★ With the rapid growth of fine American restaurants in Dallas, this old standby ceased to be top-of-mind. But don’t forget the Pyramid Room. Under new chef Avner Samuel. the place is no longer erratic, and some of the best dishes are the plainest ones. Salads are excellent, the pasta fresh and homemade (served with elephant garlic, which was quite interesting and milder than the name suggests), the chicken items (one served with angel-hair pasta and a hot chicken salad) are imaginative and ample, and the service is gracious and efficient. 17l7 N Akard, Fairmont Hotel. 720-5249. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner daily 6-11. All credit cards. Expensive.

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

Sam’s Cafe ★★★ Sam’s Cafe is the Southwestern sister of Mariel Hemingway’s chic New York bistro, and like most restaurants that open with a big bang, the place is usually packed. On one visii. the polenta of the day was excellent-crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, the golden slice was lopped with sautéed peppers and squash in cilantro cream. Skewers of grilled chicken were moist and flavorful and the three accompanying sauces-poblano béarnaise, fresh tomato, and barbecue-were lasty. Simple, grilled entrees, such as the semi-boned breast of free-range chicken smothered with slivered peppers, goat cheese, and. herbs. come off better than more complicated dishes. 100 Crescent Court, Suite 100. 855-2233. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-11:30, Fri-Sun 5:45-12:30 am. MC. V. AE. Moderate.

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


Atlantic Café ★★★★ After several disappointing meals at Atlantic Café 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 track. The new menu includes such winners as shrimp and crab ravioli and nicely sautéed soft shell crab. 4546 McKinney at Knox. 559-4441. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Sun-Thur 6-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30; Sun brunch 11:30-2. Ail credit cards. Expensive

.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. 3601 Greenville, 821-9449; 4535 Maple, 522-4498: Village at Bachman Lake. 3701 W Northwest Hwy. Suite 310. 350-9777. Mon-Thur 11-10 pm, Fri & Sat II am-ll:45 pm. Sun 11:30 am-9 pm at Greenville location; Mon-Thur & Sat 11 am-10 pm. Fri II am-11:45 pm. Sun 11:30 am-9 pm at Maple location; Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat II am-ll:45 pm, Sun noon-9 pm at Northwest Hwy location. MC, V. 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, while respectably prepared, are outshone by the non-Cajun seafood choices like a stmple charbroned swucuush, winen was peccably fresh and juicy on a recent visit. Bay Street does well with bread and dessert, and has half a dozen white wines by the glass. 5348 Belt Line, Addison. 934-8502. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. Alt credit cards. Moderate,

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

Gulf Coast Oyster Company ★★★ This casual little restaurant with a misleading name-oysters aren’t the only focus of attention, and the place has a Greek, not a Gulf Coast, accent-takes its seafood seriously. A meal here starts with pita bread and Greek dips and segues to such main courses as broiled trout or broiled shrimp with rice. Corner Shopping Center, 8041 Walnut Hill Lane. 361-1922. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30: dinner Mon-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11. Closed Sun. MC, V. AE. Moderate.

Hampton’s 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 sitting too long in the kitchen, and we missed the warm sourdough bread we remembered from the last visit, Berkshire Court, Preston Center, Preston at Northwest Hwy 739-3474. Mon~ Thur ll:30 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat11:30-11, Sun ll:30 am- 9 pm. MC, V. AE. Moderate.

Newport’s ★★★★ When Newport’s hits, as it did on an order of trout amandine on my last visit, it’s as good as any seafood restaurant in town. Unfortunately, on this same visit, swordfish kebabs were below par. However, such instances are anomalies in my experience. Which is a good thing, because unlike its competitors for serious seafood-Atlantic Café and Cafe Pacific-Newport’s can’t rely on a gorgeous setting (the vast, woody setting is merely inoffensive) or polished service (the waiter was bungling). 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220. Lunch Sun-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10:30. Fri & Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5-10. Sun brunch 11-3. MC. V, AE. Expensive.


Ratcliffe’s ★★★ Apart from a tendency to overprice some items ($4.25 for sliced cucumbers in piercing dill vinegar??) and oversalt some sauces, this suave establish ment deserves the loyalty of its many local and business- travel aficionados. A ceviche of bay scallops and shrimp was simply perfect; grilled Hawaiian yellow fin tuna was proper* ly moist in an admirable leek-laden Zinfandel sauce. A salmon fillet ordered poached was delivered grill-broiled in stead, but its flavor and texture were so sublime. I gladly spumed the hovering waiter’s offer to correct the error. The day’s dessert souffle (Grand Marnier) and the moment’s fresh espresso capped the evening very well. Check the wine list here-it’s one of the country’s recognized best, although the house by-the-glass pourings seemed as overpriced as the cucumbers’. 1901 McKinney. 871-2900. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner Sun-Thur 5-10. Fri & Sat 5-11. Reservations recommended. MC. V, AE. Expensive. -B.C.

Rusty Pelican ★★★ Given the corny name and heavy-on-the-wood-and-earth-tones look of the place, my expectations of the Rusty Pelican were somewhere between zip and zero. To my happy surprise, two of four things ordered-shrimp cocktail and trout amandine-were excellent, and the other two-shelled Dungeness crab and mahi-mahi breaded with hazelnuts-were more than edible, if less than electrifying. 14655 Dallas Pkwy. Addison. 980-8950 Lunch Mon-Fri 11:15-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10 pm. Fri 5-11. Sal 4:30-11 pm. Sun 4:30-10 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

Seaport Oyster Bar ★★★ We kicked off the meal with a dozen fairly fat raw oysters. Fried catfish followed, crisp enough yet not overfried-no confusing this with just fried anythings. The fried crab, however, had lingered too long in its bed of grease and emerged with crust that would not yield easily to a probing fork. Gumbo was acceptably murky and full of savory detail. A $2 membership buys beer. etc. 12101 Greenville Ave, 669-3877. Mon-Sat II am-midnight. AE, CB. Inexpensive.


Bubba’s ★★ Forget the catfish, forget the chicken-fried steak, forget the vegetables. 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 Hilkrest. 373-6527. Daily 6:30 am-10 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

Bubble’s Beach Dinar ★ The Forties-style diner look of the place is fine, except for the pastel blue Naugahyde booths. The problem is the food: on my visit, a pedestrian chicken-fried steak and an egregious])’ bad burger and fries. 603 Munger, West End Marketplace. 720-0313. Sun-Thur 9am-midnight, Fri &Sat 9 am-3 am. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Celebration ★★★ After years of exploration of Celebration’s menu, I have finally found 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. Lunch daily 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5-11, Sun II am-10 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

Chaise Lounge ★★★★ “This Is The Place Your Mother Warned You About,” says the sign outside. The food served inside this dark roadhouse is swell: com and conch chowder, pan-fried trout, and rice and raisin pudding with heavy cream are noteworthy. If you don’t like to rock out to Cajun music, sit in the kitchen at dinner. 3010 N Henderson. 823-1400 Tue & Wed 5 pm-10:30 pm, Thur-Sat 5 pm-11 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V.AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Good Eats ★★ This spiffy diner is a prime source of nutrition for many Oak Lawn residents, who rely on the basic breakfast fere, burgers, barbecue, and grilled fish that make up the menu. Nothing at Good Eats is ever truly great, but nothing is ever truly terrible, either 3531 Oak Lawn. 521-1398 Sun-Thur 7 am-11 pm. Fri & Sat 7 am-11:30 pm. All credit cards, inexpensive.

Highland Park Cafateria ★★★★ HPC is a treasured local institution, from the Southern classics on the menu to the line staff, some of whom have been on the job for decades. Perhaps as a result, many regulars believe that heaven itself will resemble HPC, with hairnetted attendants querying, ’”Serve you?” and booths always available. The menu on cloud nine: ham or chicken-fried steak, green beans, mashed potatoes and cream gravy, a jalapeno corn muffin, and cherry cobbler. 4611 Cole, 526-3801; Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Pkwy. Suite 600, 934-8800 N, downtown, 500 Akard at San jacinto. Suite 220, 740-2400. Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm at Cole location; Mon-Sat II am-8 pm. Sun 10:45 am-3 pm at Village on the Parkway location; Mon-Fri 6:30am-2 pm at downtown location. MC. V, AE. inexpensive.

Mama Taught Ma How ★★★★ Mama is Doris Alexander, her daughters are Judy Sharp and Vickie Pi land, and together they run this restaurant with a combination of charm and warmth that is as specific to the South as are grits. Standouts include the red beans and rice, chicken-fried steak (both available every day), chicken and dumplings, and coconut cream pie (which are available only on some days). 14902 Preston Rd, #512 (SE corner of Preston & Belt Line) in Pepper Square. 490-6301. Mon-Fri 7 am-2:30 pm, Thur 5-8 pm. No credit cards; local personal checks accepted. 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 Mines. 352-0051- Mon-Fri 5:30 am-3 pm. Sal 5:30 am-2 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Rosemarie’s ★★★★ Rosemarie Hudson never forgets a customer, and her warmth accounts in pan 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. 1411 N Zang. 946-4142. Mon-Fri 11-2. No credit cards-inexpensive.


Theo’s Diner ★★ Don’t fret because this landmark has changed hands and undergone a minor face-lifting (the worn and wobbly old bolted-down stools have been replaced by movable ones). The only other visible change is a general ly cleaner look throughout. And the little diner that could still does, making from-scratch burgers and garlic-breathed grilled cheese sandwiches as homey as any around, as well as the undisputed best skins-on fries that have ever passed my lips. A new special added to the daily lunch menu, Greek spinach-and-feta pie. must be good too: on our visit, it was all gone before we could try it. 111 S Hall at Commerce. 747-6936 Mon-Sat 7 am-4 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted, inexpensive. -B.C.

Tolbert’s ★★ It may be blasphemy to say, but I’ve never been a fan of Tolbert’s chili. The burgers, however, are fine, and the donkey tails-flour tortilla-wrapped, deep-fried, cheese-stuffed hot dogs-are junk food nonpareil. Skip dessert, especially the farkleberry sundae, which is vanilla ice cream sullied with blueberry glop. 350 N St Paul, Suite 160. 953-1353. Mon-Thur 11 am-8 pm, Fri & Sat 1! am-10 pm. Closed Sun. Ail credit cards. Inexpensive.


Del Frisco’s ★★★★★ In this age of Perrier, fish, and steamed vegetables, every so often it is important to balance the system with red wine, beef, and baked potatoes. Del Frisco’s, a straight-ahead steak house with premium fare and prices to match, is made for just such occasions. An appetizer of shrimp rémoulade was as good a version as you’ll find this side of New Orleans. 1 was quite happy with my softball-sized eight-ounce filet until I tasted the twelve-ounce rib-eye that my partner in cholesterol had ordered. This was a steak to remember-a supremely flavorful piece of meat. Some things to bear in mind: your steak will arrive in a pool of melted butter unless you nix this idea. And bread pudding fans are advised to plan their meal to allow for Del Frisco’s version with raisins, coconut, and Jack Daniel’s sauce. 4300 Lemmon. 526-2101. Mon-Thur 5 pm-10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11. Sun 5 pm-9 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

Hoffbrau ★★ It used to be that if you played word association, the name ’”Hoffbrau” would invariably be paired with the word “steak.” Of late, a number of non-beefy items such as chicken and shrimp have been allowed on the Hoffbrau menu. However, after sampling slightly greasy, overbreaded fried shrimp, 1 intend to stick to the steaks in the future. Although you don’t get meat of the caliber found at Del Frisco’s or the Palm at Hoffbrau, you don’t get a tab of that caliber, either. 3205 Knox. 559-2680. Mon-Wed 11:30 am-10 pm, Thur 11:30 am-11 pm, Fri 11:30 am-11 pm. Sat noon-II pm, Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib ★★★★ The only choices here are prime rib, prime rib, and prime rib-in three cuts-so the stress of ordering is minimal. The beef was lender 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. 3008 Maple. 521-7777. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & 11:30. Sat 5:30-11:30, Sun 5-10; Sun brunch 11:30-2. All credit cards. Expensive.

Morton’s of Chicago ★★★★ This Chicago steakhouse has wonderfully marbled and perfectly cooked porterhouse steaks. There are other non-steak options, such as veal chops, butterflied whole chickens, and fresh fish specialties, but Morton’s does steaks best. 501 Elm. 741-2277. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Mon-Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. Expensive.

The Palm Restaurant ★★★★ The Palm is a weird experience for first-timers, to judge from the comments of the friend who accompanied me on my last checkup lunch. She knew it was famous for huge, expensive lobsters and steaks, and, logically enough, expected the place to be plush and serious-looking. Instead, of course, the decor, such as it is, consists of the worst caricatures ever committed to paper of the locally famous and semi-famous. Lunch at the Palm, it turns out, is a really good idea. The lunch specials are not only less pricey than the choices at dinner, but they’re frequently better, to judge from the celestial roast pork I tried this time around. 701 Ross. 698-O470. Mon-Thur ll:30 am-10 pm, Fri 11:30 am-I0:30 pm, Sat 5-11 pm. Sun 5-9:30 pm. All credit cards. Very expensive.


Bageistein’s ★★ This is more than Dallas’s best bagel emporium. Past the bakery, there is a deli. Past the deli, there is a restaurant. 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 fare 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 Valley. 234-3787. Mon 6 am-3 pm, Tue-Sun 6 am-9 pm. All credit cards. 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 Dal Rich Shopping Center, Coit & Belt Line, Richardson, 231-3660: 11111 N Central Expwy, 739-0182. Sun-Thur 6 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 6 am-4 am at Lemmon location: Sun-Thur 6 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 6 am-midnight at Richardson location: daily 6 am-10 pm at Central Expwy location. MC, V. Inexpensive.

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

Crescent Gourmet ★★★ 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 at McKinney. 871-3223. Mon-Sat 10 am-3 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.

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

Marty’s ★★★★ Dallas’s longest established gourmet yuppeteria continues to offer the rarest of commodities: thoughtful advice. Therefore, when dinner and accompanying wine must be acquired speedily, I tend to turn to Marty’s. The last such Last-minute foray resulted in vegetables vinaigrette, moussaka, German potato salad, apple-walnut . cobbler, and a bottle of Sausal Zinfandel. All the elements of this meal were individually pleasing and collectively wonderful. 33l6 0ak Lawn. 526-4070. Mon-Sat 10 am-6:30 pm. Closed Sun. Alt credit cards, Marty’s charge. Expensive.

Pacific Express ★★★★ Pacific Express makes the hasty downtown lunch into an art form. 1 happen to be obsessed with the tuna salad with toasted almonds, grapes, and blue cheese in tarragon mayonnaise, but the smoked chicken salad with toasted walnuts and shallot vermouth mayonnaise has its devotees, too. Pacific Place Bldg. 1910 Elm. Suite 103. 969-7447. Mon-Fri 8 am-10 am & II am-2 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. inexpensive.


Pasta Plus ★ One of Dallas’s first fresh pasta shops is still one of the best, for pasta anyway. Prepared items-meat lasagna, baked ziti with three cheeses, and chicken can nelloni were our choices-were presented in Mom-style pyrex casseroles and looked delicious, but suffered in taste and texture when reheated. Salads (green, marinated vegetable, and pasta) were good, but the pasta outshines the pluses-rotelle. meat-stuffed tortellini and marinara and piselli (cream with mushrooms and peas) sauces were won derful in any combination. Homemade Italian cream cake and rum cake were moist and rich; however, Mrs. Field’s makes better cookies. Be forewarned-Pasta Plus doesn’t take credit cards, which seems odd: takeout implies conven ience, and for me, convenience means plastic. 225 Preston Royal East. 373-3999. 714 Preston Forest. 373-3733. Mon-Sat II am-7pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.

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

Polio Busno ★★★ PB’s hickory-roasted chicken is remarkably succulent. With it you can get very good cole slaw and rice, pretty good combread. and pretty odd beans. 3438 Samuell Blvd. 828-0645. Mon-Sat 11-10. Sun noon-9 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

Tommaso’s ★★★ Tommaso’s makes it possible for the overtaxed gastronome to enjoy the illusion of cooking at home while in fact eating fast rood. The rotolo, a pasta roll tilled with ricotta. mozzarella, and spinach, is especially good. The only problem with the rest of Tommaso’s offerings is the overabundance of choice. Do you want egg. spinach, tomato, whole wheat, or parsley and garlic pasta? Do you want it cut as angel hair, tagliolini, spaghetti. linguiette. tagliatelle, or fettuccine? And then there is the sauce question-do you want tomato and fresh basil, amatriciaina, meat, cream and mushroom, walnut, or pesto? You can hardly go wrong, unless you opt for the dull lasagna. 3034 Mockingbird at Central, 987-4415:5365 Spring Valley. Suite 158 at Montfon, 991-4040. N Mon-Fri II am-7 pm. Sat 10am-6 pm. Closed Sun. MC, V. Inexpensive to moderate.


Bangkok Inn ★★ 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 11:30 am-10 pm, Sat 1 pm-11 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. Inexpensive.


Chao Wang ★★ Though there are ethnic restaurants in most parts of Dallas. Thai restaurants are not so common yet that every neighborhood has one. That’s why Chao Wang seems a place to treasure, though its cooking can’t compete with the very best Siamese cuisine in the city. 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 in cludes only Chinese dishes, which can be avoided on the dinner menu. There is live musical entertainment on weekend nights. Keystone Park Shopping Center, Suite 400, 13929 N Central Expressway. 437-3900. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Wed 5-10:30, Thur-Sun 5 pm-2 am. All credit cards. Moderate. N -W.L.T.

Slam ★★★★ Gone from the scene for more than two years, Siam has returned in a new location. The signature dishes that made the original Siam’s reputation are as good as ever: the pork satay comes with peerless curried peanut sauce, the spring rolls 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. Northwest Corners Shopping Center, 2415 W Northwest Highway #108 (accessible from Harry Hines). 358-3122. Lunch Mon-Fri ll:30am-2:30 pm, dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri 5:30-11, Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.

Thai Lanna ★★★ The sinus-searing chicken and coconut milk soup at Thai Lanna is one of those magic dishes that 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. Mon-Fri II am-2:30pm & 5 pm-10 pm, Sat & Sun 11 am-10 pm at Bryan location; Mon-Thur II am-3 pm and 5-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Sun 11 am-10 pm at Spring Valley location. MC, V. Inexpensive.


Ba-Le ★★ As always at Vietnamese restaurants, real lemonade and killer iced coffee are the beverages of choice. Two entrees of choice are tenderloin of beef with vermicelli and the Vietnamese crepe, which is more of a frittata. really. 4812 Bryan, Suite 110. 821-1880. Daily 8 am-9 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

La Pagoda ★★ Although 1 had heard numerous reports of excellence from restaurant-hounds 1 respect, 1 had never had a meal that was better than average here until I went to lunch with a regular, who simply asked the chef to show us his stuff. The results, most notably a shrimp and shredded cabbage salad with a peanut sauce, were dramatically more distinguished than on my past visits. 4302 Bryan at Peak. 821-4542. Mon-Thur 11-10. Fri & Sat Il-11. Sun 5-10 MC. V, DC. Inexpensive to moderate.

Mai’s ★★ Lunch specialist 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. 4812 Bryan, Suite 100 (at Fitzhugh). 826-9887. Wed & Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sal ll-II. Sun II am-10 pm. Closed Mon & Tue. MC, V. Inexpensive.

Saigon ★★★★ Situated where Yolanda’s used to be on Lowest Greenville, Saigon is definitely the best-looking Vietnamese restaurant in town. It also promises to be the best Vietnamese restaurant in town, period. Everything I tried on three visits was impressive, but the intriguing-sounding shrimp wrapped around sugar cane was particularly laudable. 1731 Greenville. 828-9795. Tue-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun & Man 5-10. All credit cards. Inexpensive.


Cacharel ★★★★ This pretty establishment with a glassed-in exhibition kitchen has a fixed price of $10 for lunch and $24 for dinner. 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. Brookhollow Two. 2221 E Lamar, Suite 910, Arlington. 640-9981. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2: dinner Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards, Moderate.


Secret Garden ★★★ This surprising hideaway in a strip shopping center in the remote wilds of south Arlington of- fers both a comfortable ambience and food carefully prepared by the owner. The menu changes monthly, and ap parently some months are more ambitious than others. On our visit, the cuisine was comparatively simple, with a fillet of sole poached in a spinach leaf and other dishes boasting lots of fresh dill. The Black Angus tenderloin was. most unusually, poached as well in a strongly flavored beef broth. ■ There is always a low-sodium meal of about 650 calories of fered, We found nothing to complain of here, though the prices seemed steep considering the setting, the simply cooked food, and the remote location. 1900 W Arbrook Drive, Suite 116. Arlington. (817) 465-3352. Dinner Wed-Sat 6 pm-10 pm. AE, MC. V. Expensive. -W.L.T.


Juanita’s ★ This Tex-Mex restaurant is owned by the wife of novelist Dan Jenkins. The food served in her pretty establishment is interesting, but inconsistent. It ranges from blackened redfish to heavy-on-the-ancho-chiles enchiladas to shrimp in “fiery” garlic butter that lacks detectable fire. 115 W Second. (817) 335-1777. Mon-Thur 11 am-ll:30pm, Fri II am-! am. Sat noon-I am. Sun 11-11. MC. V. AE. Moderate.

La Chardonnay ★★★★ Former Ceret chef Philip Lecoq is a co-owner of this new bistro. 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-Sat 11:30 am-9:30 pm. Sun l lam-2 pm. MC. V; personal checks accepted. Moderate.

Reflection ★★★★ Fort Worth’s most beautiful and most serene dining room is the scene for some of its best food. The goat-cheese ravioli, served as an appetizer, sat in a creamy sauce and was dotted with caviar. Both the blackened redfish 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. Dinner Mon-Sat 6-10. All credit cards. Expensive.

Saint-Emilion ★★★★ Considering the four-course fixed price of $20 per person, it’s surprising that more -Dallasites don’t make the trek to Saint-Emilion. The last time I did, the results were impressive. A thoughtfully put together salad (leaf lettuce, radicchio, watercress, walnuts, and bits of bacon dressed with walnut oil), textbook lobster bisque, rich spinach cannelloni, and creditable snails in garlic butter made for a great start. Juicy swordfish proven-cal and nicely roasted duck with cherry sauce were all one could ask for. 3617 W Seventh. (817) 737-2781. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm: dinner Mon-Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE. Moderate.


Chaise Lounge. It’s nice that Esquire agrees with what we’ve said all along-this is a great club for drinking, eating. playing, and meeting. The well-trained staff is a real asset here. Under the guidance of Dick Chase, the gonzo barmeister. they’re friendly, lively, and knowledgeable about the drinks (watch that Sex on the Beach) and the standout Cajun-based food. If the Chaise has a drawback its the noise level, especially on weekends when the band is cooking. But that’s far outweighed by the multiple pleasures of this valuable clud. 3010 N Henderson. 823-1400. Mon-Sat 5 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE.

Club Clearview. The centerpiece of Deep Ellum’s alternative music and social scene. Club Clearview has been scorned and laughed at. but never ignored. Nowhere in Dallas can you find such a delightful combination of the outrageous and innovative, of modern music groups, weird shows, and nouveau fashion victims. But let none of it intimidate you. You can go in there in a business suit, lean against the wall, watch the parade, and nobody will bother you. 2806 Elm. 939-0006. Sun, Wed, & Thur 9 pm-2 am, Fri & Sat 9 pm-4 am. MC. V, AE.

Dave’s. Dave’s is casual, friendly, and comfortable-not because of the surroundings, but by virtue of a friendly staff, a casual, eclectic crowd, and great bartenders. No one sits in the uncomfortable metal chairs unless the place is too crowded to sit or stand at the bar, and no one can accuse Dave’s of being pretty, but the attraction’s still there-and the neighborhood crowd loves it. 2812 N Henderson. 826-4544. Daily 4 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.

Empire. At Dallas’s latest club to the beautiful people, everyone wears black, they all look worldly, they don’t all look straight, and they absolutely adore this former dinner theater on the edge of Deep Ellum. The owners call Empire “elegant,” “classical,” “modem,” “minimal,” and “international.” and the truth is it’s all these things: the most ornate, fashionable nightclub we’ve ever had. It’s worth an evening just to come look at the fixtures, let alone the people. 2424 Swiss Ave. 828-187). Sun-Thur 5 pm-2 am, Fri & Sal 5 pm-4 am. AE.

Greenville Avenue Country Club. Chic. Understated-ly elegant. Exclusive. None of these words have anything to do with the GACC, and they’ll throw anyone in the pool who pretends otherwise. Despite the name, this remains one of the best beer-and-sandwich bars in town. The patio’s now covered for chilly days and the restrooms, thankfully, have been brought into the 20th century. Otherwise, this is the friendly, comfortable joint it always was. 3619 Greenville. 826-5650. Daily 11 am-2 am. MC, V, AE.

Improv Comedy Club end Restaurant. A good thing about this place is that you can get pretty good (but not great) food and then be entertained all night long at the same place. A not-so-good thing is that if just you and your sweetie go, you’ll be sealed at a table for four and they’ll plunk two strangers down with you. Another good thing is there’s not really a bad seat in the house-even from the back you can clearly see the facial expressions of the comics on stage. And another not-so-good thing is that every comic in the world i is not Robin Williams or Steve Martin-if you’re used to a steady diet of big-name TV comics, you may think some of these comedians’ jokes are a bit thin. But. hey. drink another beer and laugh. 9810 N Central Expwy, in The Corner Shopping Center. 750-5868 Sun-Thur showtime 8:30. doors open at 7, cover $5 ($3 Mon); Fri & Sat showtimes 8:30 & 10:45, doors open at 6:30, cover $7 Fri, $8 Sat. MC, V, AE.

Library. Sit back in the big, cushy den chairs and sip a Manhattan or a martini. No strawberry daiquiris, please: this is a bar for adults. But a beer would be fine in this sophisticated spot tucked away in a back corner of the Melrose Hotel. There’s even a piano player to soothe your soul. Melrose Hotel, Oak Lawn at Cedar Springs. 521-5151. Mon-Sat II am-2 am. Sun II am-midnight. All credit cards.

Louie’s. The crowd is an odd mix of media and legal types, neighborhood folks, and barflys, but it works. Louie’s has great drinks, cheap prices, good service, and wonderful pizza. What more could one ask for? 1839 N Henderson. 826-0505- Mon-Fri 3 pm-2 am,Sat 8 pm-2 am. MC. V. AE.

Max’s 403. Brace yourself! There’s another “high-energy dance club” on Upper Greenville. This one has been the rage of the dance-and-get-picked-up set since its December opening. In the same location where Packard’s and Brio were once the latest hot clubs, this latest hot club promises state-of-the-art music and sound systems and a more sophisticated crowd. In other words, it’s the same old thing-which seems just fine to everyone who packs the place. 5500 Greenville, Suite 403. 361-9517. Tue-7hur 5 pm-2 am, Fri5 pm-3 am, Sat 7 pm-3 am. Sun 7 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.

Rick’s Casablanca. Very quietly. Rick’s is taking its place as a Lower Greenville institution. It hasn’t changed its format a hundred times, nor has it changed its tunes. The long, narrow, and always crowded bar brings in an assortment of fun, brassy dance bands. Outdoors is a spacious patio, one of the best hangouts in spring and summer. 1919 Greenville. 824-6509. Sun-Thur 4 pm-2 am, Fri & Sot 6 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.

Sam’s Cafe. Yes, we know Sam’s is a restaurant. Yes, we know the burgers there cost almost $6. Yes, we know it’s the Southwestern sister of Mariel Hemingway’s chic New York bistro. But even if you aren’t planning to eat even one bite, the bar at Sam’s will welcome you with an open tab. A cocktail at Sam’s has now become the thing to do after Sfuzzi and before San Simeon, or before Sfuzzi and after San Simeon, or before San Simeon and Sfuzzi. Get the picture? 100 Crescent Court, Suite 100. 855-2233. Mon-Fri 11 am-2:30 pm, Mon-Thur 5:30 pm-11:30 pm, Fri-Sun 5:45 pm-12:30 am. MC, V, AE.

Take 5. Though we were drawn into Take 5 one dreary evening by virtue of sheer volume, it’s hard to hit an off night here. The music is consistently good; on our first visit. Dallas Brass and Electric cranked out everything from Prince to vintage Chicago. Even on a Sunday, there’s reason here to celebrate. Part of Dallas Alley in the West End Marketplace. 2019 N Lamar. 988-0581. Mon-Sun 5 pm-2 am. All credit cards.

Tejas Cafe. This is a great after-work bar for McKinney, Avenue types-it’s not as cool as Sfuzzi. but it’s not as crowded either. There’s a good selection of imported beer, happy hour prices from 5-7 weekdays and noon-7 weekends, attentive service, and passable margaritas. 2909 McKinney. 871-2050. Mon-Fri noon-1 am, Sat & Sun noon-2 am. All credit cards.

Terilli’s. Terilli’s is always packed-with jazz Jovers, people waiting for a table for dinner, and Greenville Avenue wanderers. The bartenders are attentive and friendly; the drinks are on the money; the live jazz on Tuesday through Sunday is great if you can hear it above the roar of the crowd; and you can order Italchos-Terilli’s trademark Italian nachos-until 1 a.m. One caveat: the open kitchen is right next to the bar and it gets as hot as Hades on a busy night. Leave the sweaters at home. 2815 Greenville. 827-3993. Mon-Sat 11:30 am-2 am. Sun 11 am-2 am. MC, V. AE.

T1H, This drinking man’s arcade is just the ticket if you’re experiencing withdrawal pains between visits to the State Fair’s famous Midway Tilt is two long rooms lined with, among other things, pinball machines, shoot-the-duck-as-it-bobs-in-the-water games, motorcycles-with-screens-mounted-on-their-dash-that-simulate-obstacle-course games, and games testing marksmanship with a water pistol that could make you the winner of that stuffed Spuds hanging on the top row. Kick back with your favorite libation and enjoy being a kid again. In the West End Marketplace. 603 Munger 720-7276. Mon-Sat 5 pm-2 am. Sun noon-8 pm. All credit cards.


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 Plow in the Stockyards. Metro 429-5979. Daily 10 am-2 am. MC. V, AE.

Caravan Of Dreams. Caravan of Dreams, which covers three floors of a chic Sundance Square building, has excellent live jazz/blues (and a bar) on the first floor, a theater with movies and live drama (and a bar) on the second floor, and an outdoor patio with a cactus garden (and a bar) on the roof. 312 Houston. (817)877-3000. Wed-Sun 7 pm-2 am. Sat 7pm-2am, Sun 6 pm-midnight. Closed Mon & Tue. Cover for shows only. MC, V, AE. DC

The White Elephant Saloon. In 1887, Luke Short, then the owner of the White Elephant, shot it out with a former U.S. marshal. Today, the Elephant has country/western music six nights a week and lots of tourists trying desperately to leam the two-step on a small dance floor. 106 E Exchange. (817) 624-8273. Sun-Thur noon-midnight, Fri & Sat noon-2 am. Happy hour: Mon-Fri 4 pm-7 pm. MC. V, AE.