Sunday, September 24, 2023 Sep 24, 2023
98° F Dallas, TX


Also: Cleo by Jean-Claude, Sam’s Cafe, Imagine That!
By D Magazine |


★★★ Everything about Sfuz-zi is the latest: located fashionably low on McKinney Avenue, with a smashing interior by Paul Draper (who also decked out the Crescent Club and San Simeon), Sfuzzi (pronounced foozy) is a fashionably frenzied room full of fashionably friendly waiters serving fashionable frozen bel-linistoahigh-fashionmob. This latest venture by hot spot impresarios at Crillon Management (who brought us San Simeon and Petaluma) definitely ranks as the hottest new spot in Dallas. It’s so hot you need reservations and so hot you may not get them. It’s so hot you’d better make sure they’re written in ink, or you may be erased from the reservation book, as I was. However, in this case, hot or not, the latest is the greatest.

The room is wonderful, though almost unbearably noisy. Draper has transformed the nondescript space into an Italian fantasy-trompe l’oeil classical frescoes peel off walls stripped back to basic brick; the shining stainless steel open kitchen at the back of the Roman room is framed by crumbled arches, while the painted Pegasus frieze around the ceiling nicely segues ancient Rome into downtown Dallas. Flying saucer light fixtures, Zolatoned restrooms, and Bentwood chairs provide contrasting touches of modern design. There are some jarring notes: monster menus that could easily flatten a table’s wineglasses and the waiters’ too-casual turquoise T-shirts.

All this is with-it enough to make your teeth ache, but though you may go to Sfuzzi the first time to see and be seen, you’ll go back to eat. The food is the gastronomic counterpart of the decor-classic Italian flavors combined with a modern touch. Pizzas 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 and looked it, presented on beaded glass plates that looked frosty, though unfortunately ours were still warm from the dishwasher. 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. A special soup, tomato bisque with Italian sausage and fried basil, was a perfect blend of soothe and spice.

Pastas aren’t handled as well-a serving of angel hair was overcooked and under-sauced. Skewers of tasty grilled chicken and sausage rested on orzo pasta in a soupy red sauce. But fettuccine with pancetta, parmesan, and cream was surprisingly lighter than a classic Alfredo, and the spaghettini accompanying a fashionable rare tuna steak was tossed with a lemony-tart red sauce.

All three available dessert selections were good, though all a little heavy to follow pizza or pasta. The richness of a wedge of creamy cheesecake was cut by a very tart orange-amaretto sauce, a dense triple chocolate terrine was given some texture with crumbled cookies and raspberry sauce, and the cannolli was enlivened with a smooth espresso chocolate sauce. A cup of steaming cappuccino was required to perk us up before we could thread our way upstream through the cool crowd still flowing in the doors at 10:30. 2504 McKinney Ave. 871-2606, Mon-Wed 11:30 am-11 pm; Thur & Fri 11:30 am-1 am. Sat 5pm-J am, Sun 5 pm-11 pm. MC, V, Moderate.

-Mary Brown Malouf

Cleo by Jean-Claude

★★★★ Jean-Claude Prevot has finally opened another restaurant in Dallas after too long an absence. This new one, Cleo by Jean-Claude, lodges in airy, glassed-in quarters in the new Centrum development in Oak Lawn. Pinkish walls are set off by turquoise-colored gazebos that surround two of the three dining areas. It’s a good thing the design imparts a feeling of space, because otherwise the tables might seem crowded together.

Fans of the old Jean-Claude-once perhaps Dallas’s best restaurant-will find much to evoke nostalgia here. Prevot himself is again much in evidence, though in a suit out front rather than in a chef’s white uniform. The activities of the kitchen are visible to diners, but behind large glass windows. 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 souffle’s. A couple of improvements mark the new setup: the menus are now printed out and presented in acrylic holders rather than recited orally, and the wine list is pretentiously (and, in this day and age, preposterously) all French.

Cleo by Jean-Claude is jockeying for a different position in the more competitive restaurant market than Prevot’s previous restaurant here. The price of a four-course fixed meal is only $27.50-remarkably low for what you get. Portions seem accordingly a bit smaller, and the sauces that typically adorn the simply grilled or sautéed entrées don’t have the depth and finish I remember from Prevot’s more expensive menu. But mis new establishment is unquestionably one of the great food buys in Dallas. If a diner chooses wisely, he can get a superb meal for his S27.50. Here are some hints: the standout appetizer is the garlicky escargots in a puff-pastry shell, and the best dessert is the hazelnut souffle. Among the entrées, the sweetbreads in a green-peppercorn sauce were sautéed to a delicate crunch, and both the treatments of fish we sampled were superb. The Centrum, 3102 Oak Lawn, Suite110. 520-9264. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:15;dinner 6-10:30. Closed Sun. AE, MC, V. Expensive. -W.L. Taitte

Sam’s Cafe

★★★ Sam’s Cafe is the southwest sister. of Marie] Hemingway’s chic New York bistros, presided over in Dallas by veteran restaurateur Hank Coleman (Zanzibar, the late Catalina Cafe, etc.)- In fact, forget Sam, and Mariel. This could easily be called Hank’s Cafe-the friendly proprietor is everywhere, ushering guests in. arranging tables, walking guests to the door, and generally making sure you have a good time at Sam’s Cafe. You will, and. if you stick to the simpler items on the straightforward New American menu, you’ll have a good meal, too.

In a glamour location at the corner of the Crescent, Sam’s offers Dallas the kind of star-studded, casual-chic atmosphere we’ve learned to like in Santa Fe. The peach room curves around the bar and open kitchen; one wall is lined with a massive, stripped-pine colonnade, while huge windows on the other side frame a glittering view of the Dallas skyline. The place is usually packed-you may have to wait for a table, even with a reservation-and like most restaurants that open with a big bang, the kitchen has some catching up to do.

Sam’s has had more than its share of bumps in the road-chef Lisa Smith was in a car accident a week after opening and may not return for months; one night, the power blew and the restaurant was dark for half an hour while Coleman and the Crescent engineers ran around trying to find the breaker box. The same evening the kitchen ran out of polenta and chicken poblano soup; another night there were no coffee filters and the espresso machine was on the blink.

However, on another visit, the polenta of the day was excellent-crisp on the outside and creamy on the inside, the golden slice was topped 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 tasty. The same barbecue sauce was paired with the shrimp Port Aransas style. A fresh moz-zarella and tomato was accented with rounds of grilled eggplant while Sam’s Salad was an excellent interpretation of the current salad style-a mélange of six greens, including, of course, arugula and radicchio, with yellow tomatoes, olives, fresh mozzarella, and a champagne vinaigrette. Sam’s Caesar salad is, in the proper Eighties style, “light”; though good, it’s not as redolent of anchovies and garlic as the classic version.

Simple, grilled entrées, such as the semi-boned breast of free-range chicken smothered with slivered peppers, goat cheese, and herbs and the tenderloin with poblano béarnaise. come off better than more complicated dishes. Grilled quail with cranberry sauce on polenta points was overcooked and insufficiently sauced while snapper fillet steamed in a corn husk was dry and the accompanying poblano relish lacked flavor. Sides of Sam’s spuds-quartered, roasted new potatoes in butter and garlic-were delicious, as was a crispy pile of shoestring potatoes-bet you can’t eat just one.

The wine list was reasonable, though it would be nice to have more selection by the glass-no red was available. Service was friendly and attentive, even in the dark. Desserts provided, as they should, a pleasant memory of the meal. Apple cobbler was a soothing, grandmother’s dessert, hot and fragrant with cinnamon; lemon pie was a simple, meringue-less curd in a graham-cracker crust; and chocolate shortcake put an Oreo twist on the American classic- smooth cappuccino ice cream sandwiched in a chocolate biscuit and doused with kahlua sauce. 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. -M.B.M.

Imagine That!

★ Show me a restaurant that spells its name with an exclamation point, and I’ll show you a face filled with wan foreboding. The face in this case would be mine-cutesy tricks with type and/or punctuation, I’ve found, almost always signal a deeper concern for frolic than for food.

For a while, though, I thought Imagine That! might prove a happy exception to the rule. Dallas Alley entrepreneur Spencer Taylor, after all, hasn’t hit a false lick yet in his Midas makeover of the West End. Adding a casual restaurant to anchor his fun-and-games complex at its northeast corner was a nifty notion. So was retaining Tonny Foy to design the space: Roy’s play of colors against stark white (a scrawl of bright scribbles on one long wall, chunky orange chairs set at marble-topped tables on a floor of slate blue tile, a single skinny cactus in one corner) sets a mood that is childlike without being childish. Baby couth, you might call it, but never baby cute. And if the effect is inescapably reminiscent of another recent Foy triumph-well, no one objects to being associated with success.

No one could take issue, either, with the restaurant’s grazing-bar concept of small plates, priced to match ($6.50 tops) for quick-snack or compose-a-meal versatility. Chef Rodger Martin’s menu spans a spiffy spectrum of Southwestern salads, pizzas, pastas, and specialties. The food on our two visits seemed as fresh as the trendy format-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 all at once barely minutes after orders were placed, yet all were almost as cool as the salad, including an otherwise irreproachable black bean soup chunky with corn; linguini sauced with tomatoes, Nicoise olives, and goat cheese; a trio of oysters nicely crisped in blue corn meal; and veal sausage pizza accented with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes under no-longer-molten mozzarella. How food brought so quickly could have cooled so quickly still has me puzzled-I’d hate to think a kitchen clearly concerned with freshness and creative touches could be guilty of pre-cooking and not-quite-reheating its food, but no other explanation comes to mind.

Several main ingredients were less interesting than their accompaniments; apple-smoked spare ribs were tasteless, but their barbecue sauce had zest and their smoked-pear garnish was a lovely touch. 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.

Desserts sounded kickier than they proved; a cheesecake torte drizzled with chocolate was best of the three listed. The espresso was wonderful-a generous cup, strong and blistering and. apart from the service, the warmest aspect of our whole double-dining experience, if you can imagine that. 2019 N Lamar Stat McKinney Ave. 988-9378. Lunch Mon-Fri 11 am-2;3Opm; dinner Mon-Sat 6 pm-l am. Closed Sum. AE, MC, V. Inexpensive to moderate.

-Betty Cook



Bronx ★★★ Top-notch burgers, omelettes, and daily specials are the attraction at this long-time Cedar Springs hangout. Happy news: Frank Woods, who was chef during the Bronx’s glory days of the early Eighties, has returned. 3835 Cedar Springs. 521-5821. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-3; dinner Mon-Sat 5-11:30; Sun brunch 11-3. MC. V, AE. 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). The only problem with this program is this: Snuffer’s is so darned popular that waiting for a table and/or your order to arrive can be frustrating. 3526 Greenville. 826-6850. Mon-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun 11:30 am-2 am. 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 part of town-and French fries that were recently derived from a potato, which is a sadly rare state of affairs. 4801 Belt Line. 387-2900. Mon-Sat 11 am-9 pm. MC, V. Inexpensive.


Arcadia Bar ★★★★ First things first: the Arcadia Bar has nothing to do with the Arcadia Theater, which is across the street. The Arcadia Bar is a no-frills hangout. (The music is mostly recorded, though there is sometimes a pianist.) 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.

Louisiana Purchas ★★ Cajun is ragin’ in Piano, too, now that Louisiana Purchase is purveying étouffée to residents of the North Land. The étouffée in question was quite good, with crawfish, rice, and sauce doing their collective magic. The choice of size of entree (“large” or “not so large”) was also a nice touch. A shrimp poor-boy sandwich was worthwhile, if not as impressive, and the dessert sampler, substantial tastes of three desserts-bread pudding, sweet potato pecan pie, and French silk and peanut butter pie-was a sugar fiend’s dream. The only problems: below-par bread and a Caesar salad that didn’t deserve the name. Central Expwy at Parker Rd, Piano. 422-2489. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. 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). A( its best, this sophisticated country fare is unbeatable. But the disappointments included cochon de lait-roast young pig-that was stringy and fried shrimp that came in a tasteless batter. If some of these problems resolve themselves over time, Patout’s could become one of Dallas’s most exciting restaurants. 5600 W Lovers Lane 956-9077. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Fri 4-10; open Sat 11 am-11 pm. MC. V, AE. Moderate to expensive.

Pontchartrain ★★★ You own a bunch of acclaimed restaurants in Houston, but the economy goes sour; then your partner says he wants to do Cajun; then your wife says the humidity is driving her crazy, and if you don’t move her to Dallas she’ll volunteer you to write speeches for Joe Biden. This is the foundation of Pontchartrain, the new North Dallas Cajun restaurant. Everything is fresh and homemade. There are two kinds of gumbo, and we liked the delicate flavor of the fillet gumbo better than the traditional heavier stock. The broiled stuffed snapper, halibut, and shrimp are specialties, though the fried entries were just as good. We’re getting tired of blackened-every thing Cajun, but the subtle and tasty preparations here, [hough heavy, were refreshing. The large dining area is noisy; the crowd casual and as enthusiastic as the service. 13444 N Preston Road. 385-1522. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. 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 SI.50. and will provide tastes for three people. 9243 Skillman. 343-0545. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri 11-11. Sat 10 am-11 pm. Sun 10 am-10:30 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.

Crystal Pagoda ★★★★ One of the oddest facts of dining in Dallas is that although there are more Chinese restaurants around than any other kind, we don’t have a La Madeleine ★★★★ The best croissants in town are a draw Tor 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 better idea. 3072 Mockingbird, 696-6960; 3906 Lemmon, 521-0182. Daily 7 am-9 pm. No credit cards; persona! checks accepted, inexpensive.

L’Ancestral ★★ At L’Ancestral, you forget the rules and you take your chances. The rules arc: 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 ratty duck, as my friend and I did recently, and you’ll be sorry. Alas, the previously pleasing clafbuii (a baked custard with cherries) disappointed on this go-round, 4514 Travis. 528-1081. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6 pm-10 pm, Fri & Sar 6-11. Surt 6-10. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

L’Entrecote ★★★★ After a long sliding spell. L’Emtre- cote has, as the French say. pulled up its socks. Thanks to the efforts of chef Michel Plat2, 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 tans. Finally, dessert-banana beignets with coconut mousse-was a killer. 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. estab lished 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 butler week in and week out, 5617 W Lovers Lane. 352-5976. Mon-Sat 6-10. All credit cards. Moderate.

The Riviera ★★★★★ I have attended Grateful Dead concerts that were quieter than The Riviera on a Saturday night, but minor hearing loss is a small price to pay for firstrate food in a charming setting. A green salad was nicely set off by sherry vinaigrette, and tame with a delectable goat cheese crouton. Sun-dried tomato and smoked bell pepper soup was satisfying, if heavy on the bacon. Norwegian salmon and sea scallops steamed with white wine and served with a light rosemary sauce was one of the best treatments of salmon I’ve ever tasted. And duck breast with intensely flavored lavender and honey sauce was worthwhile, too. For dessert the creditable, very buttery-tasting Grand Marnier crème brulée was outshone by the ethereally light apple tart with almond cream and caramel sauce. 7709 Inwood. 351-0094. Sun-Thur 6:30pm-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 6:30 pm-11 pm. All credit cards. Expensive to very expensive.

St. Martin’s ★★★ This is a great place to bring your squeeze or your squeeze-to-be, as long as neither of you demands consistently first-rate food. With its pretty blue walls and flickering candlelight, St. Martin’s is a pleasant place to drink wine and think romantic thoughts. The food was a mixed bag on my last visit: flabby bread, salads that resembled taco Tilling, passable roast duck with peach sauce, praiseworthy swordftsh with capers and mushrooms, sensually dense chocolate satin pie. and unpleasantly eggy crème caramel. 3020 Greenville. 826-0940 Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5-11, Fri A Sat 5 pm-12:30 am: Sun brunch 11-3. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Three Vikings ★★★ Three Vikings, which had been a fixture on Lower Greenville, packed up and disappeared some months back. Now it has resurfaced in the tiny space previously occupied by Da Piccolo and Red 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-bearnaise 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 teen inconsistent, but the setting and service are both casual and pleasant. 1923 McKinney. 720-0323. Tue-Thur & Sun 11:30-10:30, Fri 11:30-11:30, Sat 5:30 pm-11:30 pm. Close Man. All credit cards. Moderate.


Belvedere ★★ Perfectly tender Wiener schnitzel is wha keeps me coming back to Belvedere, a Swiss/Austriai restaurant that adjoins the CrestPark Hotel, a residentia hotel. Alas, this time around the rehsteak Hubertus, a Mon tana venison preparation that I had fond memories of fron past dinners, was dry and uninteresting. ] had to console myself with an extra order of spaetzle (fat, freshly made dumplings). Salads, appetizers, and desserts, while no egregious, have never been advisable here unless you’re extremely hungry. The setting, with its warm brick and cream color scheme, is pleasant and unimposing, as is the service. CrestPark Hotel, 4242 Lomo Alto. 528-6510 Lunch Tue-Sat 11:30-2: dinner Tue-Sat 6-10. Sun 6-9; Sun brunch 11-2.30. Closed Mon. All credit cards. Expensive.


The Chimney ★★★  It’s still crawled after all these yearsat this doyenne of North Dallas restaurants. The food-Middle European without much specific ethnic emphasis-is well prepared, ifunsubtle. The special appetizer, a crepeholding a bounteous harvest of seafood, tastes too stronglyof capers, for example. The hefty portion of venisontenderloin is cooked to a cum. but the reddish sauce addslittle in the way of flavor. Like the food, the setting ispleasant without being memorable. Most of the atmosphereconies from the delicate playing of the pianist at the babygrand-this is one of the few restaurants where live musicis an asset rather than a liability. 9739 N Central Expwy 369-6466 Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2: dinner Mon-Sat 6-/0:30:All credit cands. Expensive. -W.L.T.

Kuby’s ★★ After recovering from the shock of seeing the elegant spareness of Ceret (the restaurant that previously occupied the space) turned into a Bavarian bad dream, I rallied to enjoy Wiener schnitzel and potato salad at Kuby’s new location downtown in the Brewery. There are innumerable sandwich and sausage options, but whatever else you order, potato pancakes and apple strudel are in order as accompaniments. To judge from the lunchtime crowds, the new Kuby’s promises to join the old one (which has been around since 1961) as a local institution. 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0004. Mon 11 am-3 pm. Tue-Thur I1am-10 pm, Fri 11 am-midnight, Sat 5 pm-midnight. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate,


Greek 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 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. Inexpensive.


Anarkall 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 Mem-Sun 11:30-2:30; dinner Tue-Sat 5:30-10:30. All credit cards. Moderate.


India Palace ★★★★ This has been Dallas’s most am-bilious Indian restaurant from its beginnings, and nowadded to the already long menu is a two-page extension thatenables the adventurous to explore some of the byways ofIndian cooking. Unusual dishes include grilled items likethe tangri kebab (marinated, delicately charred chickendrumsticks) and the keshmi kebab (boneless chickenwrapped around skewers). Several dumpling-like fritterscome stuffed with raisins and flavored with yogurt sauces.And the fish masala turns out to be toothsome cubes ofmeaty fish in a heady sauce of tomatoes and peppers. Theprices for all these delicacies can mount up rapidly ifordered with necessary extras like the extraordinary Indianbreads, but you can compensate for extravagant explorationby alternating with visits to the bargain lunch buffets. 13360 Preston Rood. 392-0190. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2, Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30 All credit cards. Moderate to expensive. N -W.L.T.

Kebab ’N’ Kurry ★★★ A visit to the Walnut Hill K ’n’ K to check out the S7.95 weekend brunch was rewarding. Al-though a few items (mushy strawberry and banana fruit salad, fishy fish curry) didn’t send me, plenty of choices did, including succulent tandoori chicken; fragrant kashmiri pillau (rice with peas, currants, almonds, and cashews); savory palak panir (spinach cooked with homemade cheese); flavorful iamb kofta (meatballs in a mild curry sauce); and tender naan (flat bread). Dessert was a lesson in the outer limits of sweetness-if there is anything on the plane) sweeter than gulab jamun (pastry balls in cardamom-flavored syrup), I hope never to taste it. 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 ★★★ I suspect mat part of Kebab “n” Kurry’s secret lies in the comparatively limited menu. There arc really only a few delights of North Indian cuisine offered, but they are done extremely 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. All credit cards. 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 Ilalian restaurants. The food isn’t exactly bad. but it has very little to do with Italian food as we know it in other 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-midnighl, Sat 11 am. Sun 11 am-midnight. No credit cards. Moderate.

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

La Cucina ★★ It’s hard to gel too worked up about La 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 aila vodka (sauced with vodka, hot pepper, cream, and tomato) are especially worthwhile. Whatever you order, sitting outside and overlooking the fountain in the center of The Crescent’s courtyard is a pleasure. The Crescent, Suite 260. 2200 Cedar Springs. 871-5155. Mon-Sat 11-11 Closed Sun. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Lombardl’s ★★★★★ This newest Lombardi establishment replaces the ill-fated Pucci in Travis Walk. The menuis identical to and the decor similar to 311 Lombardi’s; thedifference 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 Italianrestaurant as Dallas has seen. One route to gustatory happiness: Caesar salad, veal filled tortelloni gilded with a but-:e. and superb cappuccino. Travis Walk. 4514 Travis.521-1480. lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30-midnight. Sun 5:30-10. All credit cards.Moderate.

Massimo Da Milano ★★★★ If there’s a bad item available at this attractive Italian bakery/café. I’ve yet to discover it despite exhaustive research. Although the changing pizza, pasta, and salad offerings are always alluring, more often than not I find myself opting for the focaccia sandwich, round flat bread filled with ham, cheese, leaf lettuce. and tomato slices. For dessert, there are any number of pastries to choose from, but nothing suits a cup of espresso better than the little amaretti cookies. These days, service for the cafeteria-style service line ranges from disorganized to efficient, which is an improvement over days past. when disjointed to chaotic were the applicable adjectives. 5519 W Lovers Lane. 351-1426. Mon-Thur 9 am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 9 am-11 pm. Sun 9-9. MC, V. AE. inexpensive.

Rlstorante Savino ★★★ Everything on the menu at “a good bet, but I never can resist the vitello tonnato (roasted veal sliced and served cold with tuna sauce-adish that, trust me. tastes much better than it sounds). The less-than-breathtaking setting is more than offset by the arm service. 2929 N Henderson. 826-7804. Sun-Thur 6 pm-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-11 pm. Ait credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Sfizi ★★ Sfizi is an odd, rewarding little West End eating establishment. Odd because this presumably Italian restau-rant includes nachos among its appetizers: rewarding its tortellini in cream sauce is one of the best ver-;ions in the city, Obviously, this is a menu that requires care in ordering: the same lunch that featured the aforementioned stellar tortcllini also included dull salads and ravioli. In any case. prices are low, and the informal setting is airy and Pleasant. 1718 Market. 698-9390. Mon-Thur 11 am 10 pm, Fri 11 am-12:30 am. Sat 5 pm-12:30 am, Sun 5 pm-10 pm. All redit cards. Inexpensive.

311 Lombardl’s ★★★★ What is the Italian translation of “good karma”? Our waiter didn’t know, but 3II Lombar-is achieved it. Here, surrounded by the glow created creamy apricot walls, happy hordes of downtown workers get what may well be the best Italian food in town at rasonable 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 Lould have held its own against New York’s best. The next op on the menu was good enough to be required eating for potato-philes: potato gnocchi with two sauces (tomato and irresistible gorgonzola). A tender, thin veal cutlet topped with arugula and diced tomatoes was simply immense, Dessert of raspberry ice cream and respectable espresso rounded off a repast that was pure pleasure from start to finish. 311 Market. 747-0322. Mon-Thur 11-11. Fri 11 am-1 am Sat 5 pm-1 am. Sun 5-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.


Kobe Steaks ★★ Kobe takes literally the “dining as entertainment” concept. Here, your dinner-sliced, diced, and cooked on a hibachi grill-is the show, and your fellow diners are part of the deal, too. The basic ingredients-steak and shrimp are the most popular options-are of good quality, and the whole experience has a certain retro charm, which is perversely appealing to jaded hipsters. Quorum Plaza. 5000 Beit Line at Dallas Parkway. 934-8150. Sun-Thur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Shogun ★★★ Shogun serves commendable versions of the standards of Japanese cuisine-lightly bartered tempura, juicy teriyaki chicken, and fresh-tasting sushi (commonly referred to as “bait” by non-aficionados)-in a pleasingly serene atmosphere. The only element of the plentiful, reasonably priced lunch that took me aback was the unidentified soup. For all I know, it was superb by the standards of the East, but it resembled primordial ooze from my Occidental viewpoint. This small restaurant is exceptionally pleasant, thanks to the quietly efficient service. 5738 Cedar Springs. 351-2281. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-1:45; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10:30, Fri-Sun 5:30-11. All credit cards. Moderate.

Sushi On MeKinney ★★★ As a rule, the sushi is a better bet than the cooked things at this self-styled “friendly post-modem sushi bar.” The atmosphere is lively to the point of frenclicism, 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.


BlueGoosa ★★ When Big Hungry Boys want to eat Tex-Mex, the Blue Goose is where they head. The sheer quantity of food that appears at the table is enough to make those of normal appetite gasp with disbelief. Quantity, however, is not the end of the story here. The quality is surprisingly high, in light of the low prices. The chicken fajitas are the best in town, and the beef fajitas are more than respectable. The flour tortillas that accompany both are admirably thin and fresh. The standard Tex-Mex is standard, with the exception of great rice and poor guacamole 2905 Greenville. 823-3339. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon -Thur 5:30-11. Fri 5:30-midnight. Sal 11 am-midnight. Sun 11-11. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Cantina Larado ★★★★ A belief shared by many Mexican food enthusiasts hereabouts is that great Mex can only be found in grungy, time-worn establishments located in the vicinity of Maple Avenue. However, holding to this belief would mean missing out on Cantina Laredo, which is situated in a clean, new building in-yes-Addison. Standard Tex-Mex combinations are available here, and they’re quite good, but the comida casern-home-style food-is where the smart money is. Standouts include the tacos at pastor filled with marinated pork, cabrilo (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.

Chiml’s ★★ Dallas isn’t exactly lacking for Mexican restaurants with food in the decent-to-noteworthy range and a cheerful, airy setting. So, while Chimi’s so-called Sonoran cuisine, which tastes a whole lot like regular Tex-Mex to me is nothing revolutionary, it is cause for good cheer among Bryan Places urban pioneers. Brannon Building, Bryan & Peak. 826-0541. Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 am-1:30 am. MC. V, AE.

Chori’s Taqieria ★★ 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.

Ganaro’s ★★★ With its tropical art-deco look, Genaro’s is the prettiest place in town for margarita consumption Happily, for the most part, the food matches the margaritas. Enchiladas Genaro, filled with snapper and crab meat, we 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. And the coconut ice cream was lushly satisfying, as always. 5815 Live Oak a Skillman. 827-9590. Mon-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-11:30 pm. Sun 11 am-11. All credit cards. Moderate.

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-10 pm. Fri-Sun 9 am-midnight. Closed Mon. No credit cards. Inexpensive.

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

Mario & Alberto ★★★ The standards of Mario Leal’s second restaurant don’t seem to have suffered with the opening of a third one-this popular North Dallas spot seemed as fine (and as busy) as ever. Among the main courses, the filete de la casa (tenderloin strongly flavored with garlic, accompanied by lightly fried potato slices) remains a favorite. Those who crave fajitas will find a relatively restrained version here-a manageably modest serving, and no sizzling fireworks. The Tex-Mex plates continue to run way behind the specialties in excellence. Coconut or cinnamon ice cream makes a refreshing dessert. Preston Valley Shopping Center, 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.


Mia’s ★★★ When Mia’s-that bastion of family-run Tex-Mex restaurants known and loved for its melt-in-your-mourh chili rellenos and steam-up-your-mouth sunset sauce-dared move away from its hole in the wall on Lemmon Avenue next to the pet fish shop, we were scared. What if the homemade flour tortillas lost their hefty feel? What if they started serving chili rellenos every night? What if you didn’t have to sit outside on the curb and wait for hours for your table, dreaming of your favorite Mia’s dish? What if they changed the Mia’s experience? Well, i( was scary walking into the larger new quarters just a ways down Lemmon from the old spot. Neon, mirrored walls and a chrome ceiling greeted us and brought tears to our eyes. We were heartenedwhen we saw the same old faces, though, 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 set 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. Next time, we may even ven-ure out to the new patio. 4322 Lemmon. 526-1020. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10, Fri 5-10:30, Sat 11 am-10 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Raphael’s ★★ Of the three Raphael’s locations. l 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 Greemille. 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 11:30am-3 p, & 5 pm-10 pm, Fri 11:30 am-11 pm, Satnoon-11 pm, closed Sun at Belt Line location. N All credit cards. Moderate.


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

Theresa’s Semiramls 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 ; offered with it. No oil is used, so the stone is salted to keep the food from slicking. Food cooked without a lot of fat is good for you, but it doesn’t taste particularly exciting (especially when our salmon and tuna were no longer at the peak of freshness). The shrimp we sampled, however, were yummy in their accompanying tarragon butter, though hardly any longer fat-free. There are pastas of the day that can also be ordered as appetizers arid tempting desserts like Godiva Chocolate pie and Kahlua Mocha cake. 601 Pacific at Record. West End. 741-7778, Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight, Fri 11 am-2 am, Sat 4 pm-2 am,Sun 11 am-4 pm. Alt credit cards. Moderate to 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. That just leaves one question: what is it about Southwestern cuisine that requires every dish to be hyphenated? 2708 Routh. 871-2345. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6-11; late-night menu Thur-Sat 11 pm-1 am; brunch Sun 11:30-3. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Beau Nash ★★★★★ As the months have gone by, Beau Nash has come into its own identity, and its virtues seem more and more apparent. For one thing, it keeps late hours- at least by Dallas standards-and does so every night. For another, it’s a lively, entertaining hangout. And last but not least, the menu has been astutely adjusted, although not completely overhauled. Happily, the smoked salmon pizza-the perfect partner to champagne-survived. Hotel Crescent Court. 400 Crescent Court, Maple at McKinney. 871-3240 Breakfast Mon-Fri 6:30-10:30. Sat & Sun 7-10:30; lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6:30pm-11:30pm; Sun brunch 11-2:15. All credit cards. Expensive.

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

CafeMargaux ★★★★ Maybe it’s taking Cafe Margaux a while to settle into its new, larger location, but my last cou-p!e of meals here, though still well worth eating, weren’t as scintlating as meals past at the Lovers Lane location (which is now occupied by the altogether wonderful Margaux Natural). In any case, this is still the best place in town to chow down on Cajun classics such as crawfish etoufée, as well as hybrid creations such as crawfish and shrimp enchiladas con queso. 3710 Rmvlins 520-1985. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-22, Fri & Sat 5:30-mid-night. All credit cards. Moderate.

Crockatfk ★★★★ 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 recognizes the taste of their customers, though 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 am-2:30 pm; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10 pm, Fri & Sat 6-11 pm. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

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

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

Laurels ★★★★  Two things that usually bode ill for one’s prospects of eating well in a restaurant are height and association with a hotel. Laurels, located on the twentieth floor of the Sheraton Park Central, is an exception to both caveats. The menu d égustation. with a fixed price of $38,50 changes daily and is a good bet. A la carte choices are expensive, but choices like Maine lobster, wild mushrooms, and basil with fettuccine and roasted pheasant with green apple pasta and blue cheese sauce are well worth the tariff. Desserts are killers here, especially the souffle of the day (apricot with raspberry sauce on my visit). Sheraton Park Central, 12720 Merit Dr. 851-2021, Mon-Sat 6:30 pm-10:30 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

The Mansion on Turtle Creek ★★★★★ What never seems to change at the Mansion is its historic beauty and top-of-the-line service. What does change is the menu. Now it’s printed daily, the belter to accommodate changing offerings according to season-and the creative inspiration of Dean Fearing. Regulars tend to opt for whatever appears on any given day: diners for whom the Mansion is a relatively rare experience may prefer to sample such classics as the peerless tortilla soup; Louisiana crab cakes with a sauce of smoked chilies, lobster, and blood orange; and crème brulée with raspberry sauce for dessert. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Main dining room-jackets and ties required. Lunch Mon-Fri noon-2:30; brunch Sat noon-2:30. Sun 11-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 6-10.30, Fri & Sat 6-11; supper Mon-Thur 10:30 pm-midnight, Fri & Sat II pm-midnight. Promenade Room-breakfast daily 7 am-11 am: tea Mon-Fri 2-5 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.

Parigl ★★★ On my last dinner visit to Parigi. I found myself reflecting once again on the Parigi paradox: the pasta dishes always sound too interesting to pass up, and nearly always turn out to be too strange 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. 3311 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. 1717 N Akard, Fair-moni Hotel 720-5249. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Sat & Sun 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 ly, but certain items-such as cornmeal catfish with smoked peppermint marigold sauce, lobster enchilada with red pepper crème fraiche, lamb with pecan and garlic sauce, berry buckle with cinnamon ice cream, and applc-walnui spice cake-have become near-fixtures. When food-obsessed travelers come to town, this is the reservation they want. This means prime-time reservations should be made well in ad- . vance. 3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun A Mon, Reservations. All credit cards, Expensive.

San Simeon ★★★★ Richard Chamberlain’s food matches the splendor of San Simeon’s service and its subtle, post-modern interior. (Keep your eye on the lighting; it changes over the course of a meal.) Pick hits include a chowder of corn, wild rice, and duck sausage; chilled bow-tie pasta and prosciutto with sage walnut pesto; and Romano-crusted veal with angel-hair pasta and tomato sauce. 2515 McKinneyat fairmount in Chateau Plaza- 871-7373. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 6-10:30. Fri & Sat 641; Sun brunch 11-2:30. All credit cards. Expensive.


Atlantic Café ★★★★ After several disappointing meals at Atlantic Cafe1 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 11-2. All credit cards. Expensive.

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

Cafe Pacific ★★★★★ There are a lot of first-rate waiters working in Dallas, but Don at Café Pacific has to be in the very top rank. Even if the food hadn’t been as close to perfection as mere mortals can approach, his courtly but never pretentious manner and ability to be there exactly when you need him would still have made a recent lunch at Café Pacific a pleasure. All the same, Chinese chicken salad and a daily special of red snapper with a julienne of snow peas were all that they could and should have been. Highland Park Village. Preston at Mockingbird. Suite 24. 526-1170. 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 (which could hardly be simpler-or better) or broiled shrimp with rice. Corner Shopping Center. 8041 Walnut Hill Lone. 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 ★★★ If you like Newport’s, but you’d rather not hang out in the neighborhood of (he Starek Club, Hampton’s is your Kinda place. Pluses include an en-husiaslic 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 11:30am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30-11, Sun 11:30 am-9 pm. MC. V. AE. Moderate.

Rusty Pelican ★★★ You can’t judge a restaurant by its decor-or its nomenclature, either, at least not in the case of the Rusty Pelican. Given the corny name and time-warped (from somewhere in the mid-Seventies) heavy-on-the-wood-and-earth-tones look of the place, my expectations of the Rusty Pelican were somewhere between zip and zero. To my happy surprise, two of four things ordered-shrimp cocktail and trout amandine-were excellent, and the other two-shelled Dungeness crab and mahi-mahi breaded with hazelnuts-were more than edible, if less than electrifying. 14655 Dallas Pkwv. Addison. 980-8950. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:15-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10 pm. Fri 5-11. Sat 4:30-11 pm. Sun 4:30-10 pm. All credit cards. Expensive.


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. You could drive through at Bubba’s and take your order home, but that would deprive you of hanging out in the lipstick-red booths that punctuate the black-and-white deco decor. 6617 Hillcrest. 373-6527. Daily 6:30 am-10 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

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 wilh heavy cream are transcendently noteworthy. If you don’t like to rock out to Cajun music, sit in the kitchen at dinner. 3010 N Henderson 823-1400. Mon-Wed 4 pm-midnight, Thur-Sat 4 pm-2 am. 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 fare, burgers, barbecue, and grilled fish that make up the menu. Nothing at Good Eats is ever truly great, but nothing is ever truly terrible, either. In any case, the juke box and sassy service seem to make everything taste better. 3531 Oak Law. 521-1398. Sun-Thur 7am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 7 am-11:30 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

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

Theo’s Diner ★★★ Although the lyrics don’t specify Theo’s by name, I suspect that Theo’s grilled ham and cheese sandwich is what Janet Jackson has in mind when she makes musical reference to nasty food in “Nasty Boys.” With its garlic-buttered Texas toast, this is the ultimate grilled-cheese thrill. As for the fries, some people think they’re the best in Dallas. Others disagree: they think they’re the best on the planet. Then there is the ambience, which could hardly be more intimate-there are just nine seats around the counter. One more attraction: the proprietor’s plot summaries of “All My Children.” /// S. Hall St. 747-6936, Mon-Sat 7 am-4 pm. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.


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 menu. But after sampling slightly greasy, over breaded fried shrimp, I intend to slick 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-Fri 11-11. Sat 11:30 am-11 pm, Sun 11:30 am-10pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Morton’s ★★★★ This Chicago steakhouse has wonderfully marbled and perfectly cooked porterhouse steaks. There are other options, including such non-beef choices as veal chops, butterflied whole chickens, and fresh fish specialties, but Morton’s does steaks best. A souffle’ dessert was chalky and disappointing. 501 Elm. 741-2277. lunch Mon-Fri, 11:30-2:30; dinner Mon-Sat 5:30-11. All credit cards. Expensive.



Bageistein’s ★★ As you go deeper into this storefrontestablishment, you discover that it is more than Dallas’s bestbagel emporium. Past the bakery, there is a deli. Past thedeli, there is a restaurant with several levels of seating. Hereyou can order superior breakfast specials, complete withfresh hash browns and toasted bagels. Or you can orderelaborate sandwiches made From pastrami or smokedtongue, and other deli fare like chopped liver, lox. orknockwurst. Or you can order complete dinners, includingsurprisingly tasty broiled fish accompanied by pilaf andfresh broccoli. Service has improved greatly over the lastfew years. Northwood Hills Shopping Center, 8104 Spring Valley. 234-3787. Mon 6 am-3 pm, Tue-Sun 6 am-9 pm. MC. V. AE. Inexpensive to moderate. N -W.LT.

Everyday Gourmet ★★★★★ This is the takeout establishment that I’ve been waiting for-or it would be. if only it kept later hours. The food is homey in the best sense, but never tastes amateurish. The fare changes, but peerless meat loaf and chicken salad are two standards, and the prices for this simple perfection 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.

Pacific Express ★★★★ Pacific Express, a chic eighty-eight-seat cafeteria, makes the hasty downtown lunch into an art form. I 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. Other choices include pasta salad, wild rice salad, and several sandwiches, Pacific Place Bldg, 1910 Elm, Suite 103. 969-7447. Mon-Fri 8 am-10am & 11 am-2 pm. Closed Sat & Sun. No credit cards; personal checks accepted. Inexpensive.

Polio Bueno ★★★ This may well be the fast food of the gods. PB’s hickory-roasted chicken is remarkably succulent. With it you can get very good cole slaw and rice, pretty good combread. and pretty odd beans. You can eat inside the clean, spiffy-looking premises or take your treasure home. 3438 Samuell Blvd. 828-0645. Mon-Sat 11-11. Sun noon-9 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.


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

That 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 broc-col i 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 11 am-2:30 pm A Spm-10 pm. Sat & Sun 11 am-10 pm at Bryan location; Sun-thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11 at Spring Valley location. MC, V. Inexpensive.


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

Saigon ★★★★ Situated where Yolanda’s used to be on Lowest Greenville. Saigon is definitely the best-looking Vietnamese restaurant in town. It also promises to be the best Vietnamese restaurant in town, period. Everything I tried on three visits was impressive, but the intriguing-sounding shrimp wrapped around sugar cane was particularly laudable. As usual al Vietnamese restaurants, the beverages of choice are fresh lemonade and/or iced coffee. 1731 Greenville. 828-9795. Tue-Thur It am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun & Mon 5-10. All credit cards. Inexpensive.


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


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

Reflections ★★★★ 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 (accompanied by Maryland crab cakes) and the juicy, pink rack of lamb were perfectly cooked. And the dessert can offered a raspberry tan with a firm, crisp crust and a chocolate cake with rich buttercream frosting. Our only reservations concerned some of the sauces-both the vinaigrette poured over the salads and the sauce accompanying the lamb had touches of sweetness that were not quite subtle enough. The Worthington Hotel. 200 Main. (817) 870-1000. Dinner Mon-Sat 6-10. Alt credit cards. Expemnr.

Safnt-Emlllon ★★★★ Considering the four-course fiKed price of S20 per person, it’s surprising lhai more Dailasites don’t make the trek to Saini-Emition. The last time I did, the results were impressive. A thoughtfully put together salad (leaf lettuce, radicchio, watercress, walnuts, and bits of bacon dressed with walnut oil), textbook lobster bisque, rich spinach cannelloni, and creditable snails in garlic butter made for a great start. [Order the last with the boneless quail and you’ve got the snail-and-quail special.) Juicy swordfish provencal and nicely roasted duck with cherry sauce were all one could ask for. (Actually, one could ask thai the duck be boned.) For dessert, pass on the fluffy, lightweight chocolate mousse and opt for the extraordinary cremc caramel. 3617 W Seventh. (817) 737-2781. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-2 pm & 6-10 pm, Fri & Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun. MC. K AE. Moderate.


Bar Of Soap. We’d like to see Ihis place make it jusi because of its name. A combination art pub and launderette, you can do your wash in the back room while sipping your favorite beer or wine. But you’ll want to make sure you stay there long enough to hear original music and poetry readings performed on top of the “soap box.” Along with the original artwork hanging on the walls, plans are in the works to provide people a chance to show their own productions on the bar’s VCR. 3615 Parry Ave. 823-6617. Daily noon 2 am. No credit cards.

Barnacle. What a find! This place is comfortable, easygoing in the [j^wer Greenville manner, bedecked with nets and other bits of nautical kitsch. On a balmy evening with the front doors thrown open, it has that “Nawtins” flavor. The huge mural of the Mississippi past and preseni wins immediate entry into the Dallas Museum of Great Bar Art, where it joins the massive Mardi Cms heads that decorate Fat Tuesday. The menu is surprisingly extensive. We had tasty Cajun popcorn (striplets of crawfish in a tangy house sauce), followed by a creditable Fishing Camp Scampi-juicy shrimp, perfecti) pasta, thick cheese bread, and carrots. The musical lare can be uneven, but there’s no cover charge, so who’s complaining? 1915 Greenville. 826-2623. Mon-Sat 5 pm-2 am. Sun 7 pm-2 am. MC, V, DC, CB,

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

Bow Ties. We know what you’re asking. Where can you get that first drink after a rough flight into Love Field? Right across the streel at ihis club in the F.xecutive Inn. It’s loud, raucous, and filled with a variety of ages up to forty-all of them the kind of party people you see on airplanes. And if you get tired of talking to them, go stand by the band. They’re about as loud as a 747. This live music Top Forty dance club has potential. 3232 WMockingbird. 357-5601. Mon-Thur 11 am-1 am. Fri & Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun 4 pm-midnight. All credit cards.

Buyers. All those sharp-looking fashion buyers who flood our city have to go somewhere. Often, it’s the Buyers bar on ihe second floor of the Slouffer Hole!-a cozy spot where the patrons sip wine and chat about hem lines. You’d better look right here Fakes are spotted all the way across the room. Stouffer Hotel, 2222 Summons Freeway. 631-2222. Mon-Sat 11 am-1 am, Sun noon-1 am. All credit cards.

Cactus. Are you ready to gei down in Richardson? At Ihe end of the work day. it seems that everyone who must drive Central all the way from downtown stops here to unwind. By Friday, the place is a madhouse, with Richardson residents packed two-deep at the bar talking mortgages and landscaping and sex, like all good suburbanites. 13929 N Central Expw: 234-1055. Daily 11 am-2 am. MC. V, AE.

Crwers. Looking for a good dive bar to watch a basketball game? Or how about a small, casual place for a hamburger or sandwich’.’ Well, they’re both here. The crowd was starting to make this place look like an SMU dorm. Changes were made to accommodate the over twenry-one drinking crowd, and it’s working. 5114 Greemitle, 692-5738. Daily 5 pm-2 am. MC. V. AE.

Club CJearvlew. Tired of the Starck Club, that million-dollar setting for the leased-out New Wave generation, where happiness is hanging out in the bathroom lobby? Welt, new you have a veritable carnival of trendy activities in one nightclub, and it’s all for the artsy, modem-music, strange hair crowd. This Deep Ellum club has avant-garde sculpture and hip art (like an “artistic” depiction of a bum’s home on a city street). There is greai dance music in one part of the club, and then a warehouse in the back where bands play, the standard coed bathrooms, and a place upstairs to make out with someone or make sure your purple wig is on straight. 2806 Elm. 939-0006 Tue. Wed, Thur, & Sun 9 pm-2 am. Fri & Sat 9 pm-4 am. MC. V, AE.

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

Dav & Buster’s. “There’s nothing quite like it” is Dave & Buster’s slogan, and they’re not kidding. The place is enormous, but the brass and dark wood decor adds a degree of sophistication. Head for the umpteen pool tables lining the walls; try shuffleboard. darts. Pente, or backgammon; or just sip a cool one at the large bar on the main floor. 10727 Composite, near Walnut Hill ai Summons Frwy. 353-0649. Mon-Thur 11 am-1 am, Fri 11 am-2 am. Sat 11:30 am-2 am, Sun 11:30 am-midnight. All credit cards.

Fat Tuasday. You can laissez les ban temps router in this spacious pleasure barn, though even a healthy crowd seems swallowed up here. The Mardi Gras mood is enhanced by the huge, festive masks mat adorn the walls, especially the striking sun mask that smiles over the bar-our first nomination for the Dallas Museum of Great Bar. Ultimately, of course, (he Bourbon Street spirit depends on spirits, and Fat Tuesday delivers. More than a dozen high-octane mixtures chum perpetually in blenders; the aptly named Crawgator, a house specialty, mixes three kinds of rum. brandy, and juices. The Cajun buffet-all the jambaJaya and chicken wings you want for S2-is satisfactory. 6778 Greenville. 373-7371 Daily 3 pm-2 am. MC. V. AE.

500 Café. Everyone likes to think they’re part of the eclectic crowd, but you can find the real thing here-a combination of the city’s intelligentsia, New Wavers, and Deep Ellumites. This little bar near Fair ft?rk offers live entertainment Thursday through Saturday and such unusual delights as poetry readings and short films during the week. 408 Exposition Ave. 821-4623. Wed 8 pm-midnight. Thur-Sat 9 pm-2 am. Closed Sun-Tue. AE.

Garahwlrrs Bar ft Grill. This restaurant features two bars-and both are constantly packed. If you don’t like the bar closest to the door, work your way over to the one beside a grand piano that appears to be built on top of a scaffolding. Most of the crowd is at the bar waiting for a table, so if you’re going to hustle someone, you’d better hurry. 8442 Walnut Hill at Greenville. 373-7171. Sun 10:30 am-3 pm & 5 pm-midnight, Mon-Thur 11:30 am-midnight. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-1 am. No cover. All credit cards.

GrwnvIRe Avwiu* Country Club. Does anyone really swim in the pool here? Well, not while we were there, but we are told it does still happen occasionally, and yes, our waitress said they check the chlorine content from time to time. If you’re looking for a predictable bar. GACC is it- predictably musty, predictably dark, with a predictably low-key crowd early in the evening that, predictably, grows deafening before midnight, singing along to the predictably extensive selection on the jukebox. The food is good, greasy bar fare with a healthy sampling of salad selections. 3619 Greenville. 826-5650. Daily 11 am-2 am. MC, K AE.

Mad Hatters. This tiny bar sandwiched in between knick-knack shops and apartment buildings was fairly packed the Saturday night we were there. But, unless you’re a regular, you might feel as if you’re the ugly duckling in sorority rush. The crowd looks you over as soon as you hit the door and decides shortly there after that you’re not one of them. So, forget sitting inside and opt for a table out on the enclosed atrium. The drink menu offers no surprises but those sweet-looking waitresses are as mean as ihey come. 7001 Fair Oaks. 692-1770. Daily 11 am-2 am. MC. V. AE.

Narta- It’s hard to imagine a hotel bar that’s romantic, but elevator up to the twenty-seventh floor of the Anatole. In one of his racier moves, TrammellCrow had a huge painting of a nude woman named Nana put behind the green marble-topped bar. You’d probably stare at (he painting, bui the view of Dallas through the huge windows is better. Fine jazz trio plays Thursday through Sunday. Loews Anaivie Hotel. 2201 Stemmans Fay. 748-1200. Daily 7 wn-2pm & 6 pm-10:30 pm All credit cards

Outback Pub. In an age where people actually pay bar consultants to engineer dives that are studiously raunchy and raucous (Dick’s. The Chaise Lounge), the West End’s Outback Pub is an Aussie twist on an age-old theme, il’sa pub. Novel idea. Dans, shuffleboard. pool, neon beer signs, soundless soap operas, good, cold beer. The food is cheap and filling: (he karma is right for playing hooky from work. 1701 Market. 761-9355. Daily II am-2 am. All credit cards.

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

Prohibition Room. Long regarded as the place in the bailment next door to the Starck Club, the Prohibition Room has developed an aura of its own. For one reason, it has begun lo regularly draw some of the top local bands, like Robert Lee Kolb When you enter, you’ll think it’s another pool-and-shuffleboard bar, but when >ou run out of quarters, go lo the back by the stage and listen to an evening’s worth of fine music. 703 McKinneyin the Brewery. 954-4407. Mon-Fri 4 pm-2 am. Sat & Sun 6 pm-2 am. MC, V. AE,

Stoneieigh P. Ask someone about the Stoneleigh P and they’re likely to describe it as one of their favorite places for a casual lunch. Ask someone else, and they’ll tell you what a great bar it is for a late-night drink. Both are right. This would be a great neighborhood bar even if it weren’t in a great neighborhood. It’s a long-time favorite of the downtown set and advertising types. 2926 Maple. 871-2346. Mon-Tliur 11 am-1 am, Fri & Sea 11 am-2 am, Sun noon-midninht. AE

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

The Wine Press. This is the perfect place to go on a rainy night-or any time you’re looking for romance, intimacy, and spirits. The Wine Press is decorated with wine bottles from floor to ceiling on almost every wall. The atmosphere is low-key and elegantly casual; the service, friendly but nol havering; the wine selection, extensive-to say the least. 4217 Oak Law. 522-8720. Tue-Sai II am-2 am. Sun & Mon 11 am-midnight. Ail credit cards.

Zanzibar. Zanzibar offers drinks and good deli food in a colorful cafe setting. The decor-neon, glass bricks, and pink-and-green walls-is odd enough to work. And even though Zanzibar looks cosmopolitan, it lias a neighborlwod bar feel to it that leads to discussions among perfect strangers from table to table. 2912 Greenville. 828-2250. Tue & Wed 11:30 am-midnight, Thur 11:30 am 1 am. Fri & Sat 11:30 am-2 am. Sun 10:30 am-3 pm & 4 pm-midnighi, Man 5 pm-midnight. MC, V. AE.


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

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/we stern music six nights a week and lots of tourists trying desperately lo leam the two-step on a small dance floor. 106 E Exchange. (817) 624-8273. Sun-Thur noon-midnight, Fri & Sat noan-2 am. Happy hour: Mon-Fri 4 pm-7 pm. MC. V, AE.