Monday, September 25, 2023 Sep 25, 2023
77° F Dallas, TX


Also: Ajanta Palace, Hao’s, Inaka Inn, Brazos
By D Magazine |

Loma Luna Cafe

Recently opened in the original Cafe Cancun location, this is the first Mexican restaurant in Dallas that really feels like New Mexico- and tastes like it, too. The new owners have tried for an authentic setting and succeed very well: the soothing curves of faux-adobe walls and arches divide the room into more intimate areas. Bleached floors, blond chairs, Chimayo ristras, and a corner fireplace blend in comfortably.

The food follows suit, based on the simple-sometimes almost stark-chili sauces typical of New Mexican cuisine. Most of the dishes we tried were hotter but less rich than beef-based Tex-Mex versions; flavors were strong, but less complex. Posole, whole corn hominy, was spiced with red chili and served instead of beans; green chilies were used abundantly on everything and blue corn used as often as yellow.

The nachos we ordered were neat triangles of white cheese on blue corn tostados; we also sampled two kinds of quesadiilas, one filled with cheese and green chilies, the other with cheese and chunks of grilled chicken. Both came with pico de gallo and some of the best guacamole I’ve had- perhaps because it was made, for once, with a perfectly fresh avocado.

Blue corn chicken enchiladas were stacked, not rolled, smothered with green chilies, and layered with lots of chicken and cheese. The huge Sandia Range Chicken, from the list of grilled items on the menu, was smoked and grilled over pecan wood. Served with Santa Fe-style beans and rice, the chicken was moist and tender even after its double treatment. A more complicated dish, shrimp Diablo, sounded good but was less successful than the other things we tried. Much of the cheese and poblano pepper stuffing had leaked out during the grilling process. We sampled both desserts offered. The flan was excellent, but the vanilla ice cream covered with cajeta, caramelized goat’s milk, was a delight. So was our waitress, unflurried and attentive in spite of an unexpected rush. 4131 Lomo Alto. 559-4011. Sun-Thur 11 am-10 pm; Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. Moderate. -Mary Brown Malouf

Ajanta Palace

Yes, the menu hero offers much the same Northern Indian dishes as most other such restaurants in the Metroplex, but the recipes differ sufficiently that you don’t feel that you are going to swoon from dèjá vu. The beef vindaloo here has a brick-red, vinegary sauce with lots of heft and just the right amount of spice, the lamb biryani offers lacy basmati-style rice flavored with lots of meat and cardamom, and the vegetable kor-ma blends fresh vegetables intriguingly with raisins and a creamy sauce. The luncheon buffet is attractive and particularly inexpensive at $4.95 a person.

But the real attraction of Ajanta Palace is the small selection of South Indian food available only between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and all day Sunday. The combination plate at $5.75 gives the adventurous diner a chance to sample most of the rare dishes such as idli, a bland bit of steamed breadstuff something between a biscuit and a dumpling; more appealing is a vada, which resembles a crisply fried doughnut. Describing uppama as curried cream of wheat doesn’t do the dish justice-it is especially good doctored up with the spicy gravy-like sam-bar, made from lentils and peppers. All these are accompanied by a fresh coconut chutney. The textures and flavors of Southern Indian cooking are striking and memorable, and they make Ajanta Palace a special addition to the roster of local restaurants. 1250-C Northwest Hwy, Garland. 681-0087. Lunch Tue-Sun 11-2:30; dinner Tue-Sun 5:30-10. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

-W.L. Taitte


The food here is different. The kitchen uses almost no MSG, which gives many of the dishes a uniquely fresh taste. Almost all the stir fries come with a bevy of fresh vegetables including broccoli and snow peas and bell peppers. The drawback is that many of the dishes tend to look and taste alike-even those that are supposed to be spicy, like the beef gui and the garlic shrimp. The Mandarin chicken does have an interesting texture and a refreshing lemon sauce. Thedragon wings (marinated and deep-fried)make an unusual appetizer, and the lightlyflavored, egg-colored fried rice is a standout.The only real failure among the dishes wetried here was the Chinese chicken salad-something like a taco salad with romaine andsesame seeds, about which the less said thebetter. 8440 Abrams. 343-3998. Sun-Thur 11am-10 pm Fri & Sat 11-11. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.

Inaka Inn

The mood of general joy that is pervasive here carries over into the food, which is country Japanese. Owner Tsuyoshi Oka-moto, a native of Southern Japan, does most of the cooking and has created special sauces for his minuscule menu’s entrées–there are eight of them, the raw ingredients for each temptingly displayed on immaculate ice-filled wooden trays between his workspace and the diners seated at the counter.

The dipping sauces add sophisticated subtlety to tare that is otherwise utterly simple. Yakitori chicken, ribbons of marinated breast meat charbroiled on bamboo skewers, was superbly moist and flavorful, its soy-based sauce haunted with sesame. The Kobe-yaki beef was lovely, succulent enough to be the beer-massaged original claimed by its name. A whole steamed Dungeness crab, served cold with a light mustard-zinged sauce, arrived pre-cracked, but still required arduous persuasion with a cracking tool and skinny fork to remove every fresh-tasting shred; I can’t say we minded.

What we did mind a little was that allcourses-rich-flavored miso soup chunkedwith vegetables; exquisite salad compositions of slim asparagus spears, cucumberand tomato slices, and razored red onionrings delicately dressed in vinaigrette; bowlsof brown and steamed rice-arrived simultaneously. We’d have liked to savor the saladsbefore the warm courses came, but perhapsthat’s the way they do it in rural Japan. Entrees, available solo for $4.39-$14.39 each,can be had with these accompaniments, aswell as a bouquet of steamed vegetables, for$2 more. 4422-B Lemmon Ave. 559-3305. Mon-Sat 5:30-10:30 pm. MC. V,AE. Inexpensive to moderate. -Betty Cook


The name sounds pure Texan, but this is another of the new hybrids-not wholly Tex-Mex or New Mexican, or Southwestern in the haute style of the Mansion or Routh Street Cafe, but a casual blend of all three.

We sipped on the house’s special “Rosa-rita,” a blend of cranberry juice, gold tequila, and lime juice prettily served in a martini glass, and munched on a basket of tri-colored chips-blue and yellow corn, and red chili-while trying to decipher the nearly illegible menu. We commenced with an order of “Brazos chilis con queso”-red corn tostados topped with onions, roasted peppers, and melted cheese. It sounded better than it tasted, mostly because it had been under the broiler too long. The “taco chivere,” a grilled flour tortilla filled with goat cheese, black beans, and chorizo, was more successful.

Ensalada paraiso, Brazos’s chef’s salad, is a meal in itself and a good one, loo. Assorted greens mixed with hearts of palm, avocado, goat cheese, peppers, pine nuts, and beef or chicken (we chose the latter) are served with your choice of dressing-red chili vinaigrette or Texas goat cheese and cilantro.

Grilled entrees come with black beans, rice, and red or green chili; we tried the chili-marinated redfish the first visit, the beef tampiquena the second, and were disappointed both times, as both dishes were overcooked. The two special entrées, served in individual casseroles, were better: red chili-cheese enchiladas were very good, and the home-style version of that junior league cookbook perennial, King Ranch chicken, was tasty too, with lots of chicken and tortillas under gooey cheese and sour cream. 2100 Greenville at Prospect. 821-6501. Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-3; dinner Tue-Thur 6-11, Fri & Sat 6-midnight, Sun 6-10; Sun brunch 11 am-3 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.




Chips. Chips is the burger joint for me: I like its laid-back, not-too-loud atmosphere, I like the friendly and efficient service. I like the pig sandwich (shredded pork with relish), the chicken sandwich, and all the burgers I’ve tasted (chili, cheese, hickory, and plain). I like the skinny, sweet onion rings and the big basket of fries, and I love having to choose between cold beer and an honest-to-gosh. from-scratch milkshake. You can get it all to go, but beware-these are juicy sandwiches and your bun will be soggy by the time you get home. 4501 N Central. 526-1092. 2445 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 101. 350-8751. Inexpensive.

Hard Rock Cafe. If you like to lunch at three in the afternoon, you won’t have to wait in line to eat an ordinary, overpriced hamburger and you’ll get a better look at the awesome display of rock memorabilia. The menu ranges into more ambitious fare-grilled swordfish and such-but it’s best to stick to the basic burger with the Ore-Ida style fries or the “Pig Sandwich”-a pile of shredded pork and relish on a bun that is better than its name sounds. Waiters seem to take literally Hard Hock’s slogan “Love All-Serve All”: service was extremely friendly and efficient. Even if you must lunch or dine at a normal hour. Hard Rock is worth the wait at least once-hail, hail rock ’n’ roll. 2601 McKinney. 855-0007. Moderate.

Snuffer’s. “Does this burger store have chocolate milkshakes?” “No.” “Then it’s not a good burger store.” Such was my eight-year-old companion’s pre-visit review of Snuffer’s. I told him [his was a burger store for big kids, but once we were there, 1 felt it was for youngsters, after all. The pain-fully loud rock music, dim lights, and apparent average number of drinks per customer seemed to indicate that the optimum age for enjoying Snuffer’s is somewhere between thirteen and thirty-two-not our bracket that night. Snappy, friendly service was a plus: the nachos were good and the chicken sandwich and French fries excellent. We agreed, though, that the burgers were way too salty and the buns way loo soggy. And we both missed our milkshakes. 3526 Gnenville. 826-6850. inexpensive.


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

Louisiana Purchase. The crawfish étoufée (available in, two portion sizes) was sufftciently authentic to cause our Louisiana relatives to want to come back. The fried shrimp, oysters, and catfish are as good as any place around. Lots of the dishes, though, as at other putative Cajun places, are simply too hot for most tastes-beware the gumbo and especially the barbecued shrimp. Central Expressway at Parker Food, Piano. 422-2469. Moderate.


Patout’s. Nationally famous Louisiana chef Alex patout has moved his family to Dallas to try to salvage this outpost of his high-end Cajun restaurant empire Some of the foodis so good that we wish him well, but the restaurant doeshave several strikes against it. The selling is bland, with noneof the downhome feeling that the food suggests. And whycan’t Patout and his cohorts learn to season the fried foodshe is trying to push so that they will have some taste? Butsuch detectable things as the gumbo and the crawfish platter offer some hope. 5600 W Lovers Lane. 956-9077.Moderate to expensive, -W.L.T.

Pontchartrain. There are two kinds of gumbo, and we liked the delicate flavor of the fill 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, though heavy, were refreshing. 13444 N Preston Rd. 385-1522. Inexpensive.


Bahama Bob’s. Crunchy sweet onion rings, conch fritters, and plantain chips, slices of the blandly sweet fruit in a spicy crisp coating, were all good. Entrees were less pleas-ing: our friendly waitress warned us that the Jamaican jerk chicken was hot-very hot-but she didn’t say it was so heavily spiced you couldn’t actually finish it, which it was. On the other side of the coin, my companion’s coconut shrimp were so sweet he could only cat a few of them; they might have been better as an appetizer. The black beans and rice that accompanied the meal were fine; the fruit muffins were dry, with no discernible fruit. 302 N Market. 655-2637. Moderate.



August Moon. Not quite the standout it used to be among area Chinese restaurants (is the strain caused by cloning into three locations finally catching up with the place?). August Moon is still mostly reliable and pleasing. The moo goo gai pan has the most carefully sliced pieces of white meat. touched with a hint of garlic. The three kinds of meat in Mongolian barbecue have a rich flavor and an attractively chewy texture. But one of our favorite dishes on earliervisits, Papa Tsay’s Magic Basket, suffered from a fried noodle basket chat looked pretty but tasted stale, and the bits oflobster in the dish were not overly fresh-tasting, either.15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. N 2300 N Central Expwy. 881-0071. N Moderate. -W.LT.

Forbidden City. Competition among Chinese restaurants becomes ever hotter along the Addison strip. Forbidden City has never seemed to us one of the very best of the contenders, but it does hold its own for quality. Two chicken dishes took the prizes at our last meal. The old standby moo goo gai pan contained a wealth of fresh vegetables and satiny meat. The chefs chicken was more unusual: shredded chicken flavored, but not overpowered, by touches of red-hot pepper, and balanced with crisp beansprouts. 5290 Beit Line. 960-2999. 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 (bod. 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 180. 956-9560. Moderate.

Hong Kong Royale. The barbecued duck will probably be too fatty for most Occidental tastes, but the special Chinese soup will make lots of converts to authenticity-a hearty beef broth filled with tender, bone-in chunks of meat, bok choy. and other, more unusual Chinese vegetables. Two of the best-prepared Chinese dishes we have been served in Dallas are the scallops in a potato nest and the fresh whole sole steamed under a blanket of black beans, cilantro, garlic, and scallions. These delights don’t come cheap. The sole cost $25 (worth it if you’ve got it). And even the noontime dim sum can mount up in price awfully fast here. 221 W Post. Richardson. 238-8888 Moderate to expensive.

Talpel. Taipei has several dishes not found on every Chinese menu in town. We tried a number of them, including the Crispy Golden Brown Fish Ball: something like big fish croquettes doused in a bright red, sweet, hot sauce. The minced chicken with lettuce was filled with lots of coarsely chopped celery and other vegetables, and didn’t have much flavor. The shredded duck with bean sprouts had rather dry duck meat, but lots of fresh and crunchy sprouts. The general level of the cooking here might best be assessed in a standard dish like beef with broccoli. The meat was tasty and not overcooked, but it had a kind of grayish color that comes from insufficient heat in the wok. 3820 W Northwest Highway, Suite 150. 350-3969. Moderate.


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

The French Room. From salads (green bean and green salad with goat cheese croutons) to entrees (salmon and rack of lamb) to dessert (apple tart), the food on our last visit 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. Expensive.


Frenchy Cafe. This Mom. Pop, and son operation is greatfor a slightly off-the-beaten-track lunch. On the back side ofPreston Royal, the decor is nothing to speak of, but the service was pleasant, the pace efficient but unhurried, and thefood was good. The menu is primarily a list of hot or coldsandwiches along with daily specials; we tried the beefbourguignon, a tender, flavorful stew served over butterednoodles, and a hot ham-and-cheese on croissant. Don’t missdessert-the son (who waited on us) makes the excellentchocolate mousse; his dad (who walked us to the door)makes the lovely apple tart. 5950-C Royal Ln. 369-1235.Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.


La Madeleine. Despite the dependably grumpy service, the good food and usual hustle and bustle make this bakery and café a pleasant place 10 eat alone-a rare thing to findfor the first two meals of the day, nearly impossible for theevening. The favorite breakfast order is pastry and excellentcoffee; for lunch and dinner, the lineup includes a variety ofsoups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and what we call”real food’-that is, a hot meat, and vegetables. On my lastvisit this was winey beef bourguignon. accompanied by amild Caesar salad and followed by (pan of) a Napoleon. 3072 Mockingbird. 696-6960; 3906 Lemmon, 521-0182.Inexpensive. -M.B.M.


L’Entrecote. Don’t come here too hungry-L’Entrecote’smenu is ambitiously extensive; the two long pages describing the complicated and subtle dishes dreamed up by chefMichel Platz take some time to peruse. Then there are thespecials to take into consideration, so that composing a dinner for two is a challenge for the curious and easily tempted. In the end, everything we ordered was delicious, exquisite, and perfectly served, leaving us wondering about at)the things we couldn’t try. Endive, watercress, and tarragonsalad was refreshing; a salad of asparagus, baby com, androse petals was good but slightly too precious. Veal in limeand sage was followed by an ideal dessert of meltingly lightfrozen raspberry torte. The wine list was diverse andreasonable. My only complaint was with the overwhelmingview of the Logan’s Run-style lobby and the Seventies disco-looking lighting-the matchless food isn’t matched by its set-ting. Loews Anatole Hotel. 2201 Stemmons Frwy, 748-1200. Expensive to very expensive. -M.B.M.

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


Belvedere. Perfectly tender Wiener schnitzel is what keeps me coming back to Belvedere. Alas, this time around the rehsteak Hubertus, a Montana venison preparation that I had fond memories of from past dinners, was dry and uninteresting. I had to console myself with an extra order of spaetzle (fat, freshly made dumplings). Salads, appetizers, and desserts, while not egregious, have never been advisable here unless you’re extremely hungry. CrestPark Hotel, 4242 Lomo Alto. 528-6510. Expensive.


Bohemia. This homey holdout against light-diningsissiness is as solid and staid as the food it serves-on ourlast visit an admirably long-simmered sauerbraten. thevinegar-spiked beef slices fall-apart tender, and half a slow-roasted Long Island duck, its moist succulence barely heldtogether by burnished skin. The duckling’s bread-likedumpling was airy, accompaniments of boiled potato andcaraway-scented sauerkraut mild and, yes, filling. Alas, wecould hardly finish our flaky strudel and meringue-flourished strawberries-on-vanilla glace before waddlinghomeward. By-the-glass wines, by the way, included a Texaswhite, Llano Estacado Cher in Blanc and others, as well asthe Hungarian cabernet, Magyar, we found as pleasant as-well, as old Czechoslovakia must have been. 2810 N Henderson. 826-6209. Moderate. -B.C.



Ashoka. This small Far North Dallas Indian restaurant isthe only one we know of that offers a buffet in the eveningas well as at lunchtime. When we visited, though, the dishesseemed warmed over and were slow to be replenished, soordering off the menu seems a better choice. The shrimpcurry Bombay and the lamb korma were both beautifullysauced. The lamb cubes grilled in the tandoori oven, though,seemed a small portion, and both this dish and the tandoorichicken seemed, surprisingly, a trifle spicy. Prestonwood Creek Shopping Center, 5409 Belt Line. 960-0070. Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.

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 grilled items like the tangri kebab (marinated, delicately charred chicken drumsticks) and the reshmi kebab (boneless chicken wrapped around skewers). Several dumpling-like fritters come stuffed with raisins and flavored with yogurt sauces. And the fish masala turns out to be toothsome cubes of meaty fish in a heady sauce of tomatoes and peppers. 13360 Preston Rd. 392-0190 Moderate So expensive.

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


Acapalla Cafe. Critics who fretted over the fading decor of Adriano’s in the Quadrangle wouldn’t know the place in its reincarnation as Acapella. They’d recognize the menu, though-with the exception of a handful of additions, it’s the same, with a creative catalogue of pizzas playing the lead, a supporting cast of pastas, and a couple of chicken dishes. A new Hawaiian pizza sounds bizarre-fresh pineapple, coconut, ginger, with whole macadamia nuts and optional cubed ham on great crust-but the sum of the parts is splendid; trust me, and try it. Try, too, one of the new filled pastas; I found the ravioli, fragile squares centered with mild cheese and spinach in rich cream sauce, near-ethereal. 2508 Maple. 871-2262. Inexpensive to moderate.


Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant. The only thing new about Campisi’s within living memory, as far as I can tell, is a fresh coat of green (top) and red (bottom) enamel added to the entrance recently. So wherein lies its hypnotic hold on the trend-seeking preps and yups of Dallas? Whatever it is, I have to admit it suckers me too-a companion and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit, a trip back in time if ever there was one, right down to worn linoleum and booth-side jukeboxes. My crab claws, a house specialty, had undoubtedly started the evening frozen, but their lemon-butter bath waswonderful, and the platter held live dozen of the tiny things.Our all-the-way pizza and butter-drenched garlic bread werequite passable, too. 5610 E Mockingbird. 827-0355. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.

Lombardl’e Expresso. This takeout/eat-in bakery/caffé allows the consumer to eat when and how he or she chooses. There are cold and hot pastas, design-your-own pizzas (artichoke hearts, prosciutto, and goat cheese make a nice trio), sandwiches made with rosemary-topped foccacia bread, and more desserts than you can shake a stick at. The me changes from day to day (always a good sign), and the numerous things I tasted were consistently quite good. 6135 Luther Lane. 361-6984. Inexpensive to moderate.

Massimo Da Mllano Al Teatro. The day’s entiées, listed on a separate menu, yielded a very small serving of excellent veal scallops, sautéed and brandy-flamed in cream sauce with plain and porcini mushrooms; and a very generous portion of succulent chicken breast slices, rosemary-scented, grilled, and sauced with capers and white wine. A sautéed grouper fillet was laden with tiny bones, but the evening’s featured Tagliatelle alia Valdostana was positively ambrosial, the paper-thin pasta ribbons and sliced mushrooms bathed in cream and fontina cheese with a whispered accent of garlic. Steamed cauliflower and broccoli, served with the meal entrees, were adequate; a thick, gummy wedge of grilled polenta was severely disappointing. Desserts, however, gave absolute redemption, from demure plain cheesecake to chocolate-coconut mousse. The Quadrangle. 2800 Routh Street. 871-1900. Inexpensive to moderate.


Nero’s Kalian. Critics should follow their own advice-after touting the pizzas here for years as the best thing on Nero’s menu, we tried tonier offerings on our last visii, with mixed results. Osso Duco, the traditional peasant’s dish of veal shank baked with garlic, tomato, carrot, onion, and celery and herb-seasoned, was a hearty, meaty delight, fork loin Palermo, on the other hand, tasted as if it might have stayed in the oven while Rome burned-the day’s special dish was a dry and leathery disaster. To our excellent waiter’s credit, he offered to replace it, but we had already progressed through Caesar salad (fresh and nicely seasoned, although overlight on the requisite anchovy accent) and fbccaccio (disappointingly thick and doughy), and voted to move on to triple-chocolate cake (ambrosial) and fine espresso. 2104 Greenville. 826-6376. Moderate. -B.C

O.F. Siclll’s. The food served from the large menu of Italian specialties, while not exciting, is dependably pleasant and very modestly priced. Pastas and pizzas predominate in all their familiar variations-the lasagna was lusty, the spaghetti laudably meat-sauced on our visit-but the standout discovery was an appetizer I’ve seen nowhere else: a spicy mélange of Italian sausage with onions, green peppers, and mushrooms rolled in homemade pizza dough and baked. O.F. Sicili’s calls it a sausage roll and sells it for S3-95; I call it wonderful and recommend it as an ample lunch entree for two, with salad. 5631 Alta. 828-9600. Inexpensive.

311 Lombardl’s. Here, surrounded by the glow created by creamy apricot walls, happy hordes of downtown workers get what may well be the best Italian food in town at reasonable prices. No pasta was visible in the pasta and bean soup, but it was a hearty, herb-enlivened delight anyway. A pizza with leeks, pancetta. goat cheese, and mushrooms could have held its own against New York’s best. The next stop on the menu was good enough to be required eating for potato-philes: potato gnocchi with two sauces (tomato and irresistible gorgonzola). A tender, thin veal cutlet topped with arugula and diced tomatoes was simply immense. Dessert of raspberry ice cream and respectable espresso rounded off a repast that was pure pleasure from start to finish. 311 Market. 747-0322. Moderate.


Hibachi-Ya Japanese Restaurant. Applause is due for the beef that stars on Hibachi-Ya’s menu along with chicken and shrimp, not only hibachi-grilled but in less familiar traditional Japanese dishes. Best by far was a traditional entree, Ume steak, meltingly tender filet perfumed by marinating in plum sauce, then grilled and cubed for easy chopsticking. The best appetizers, too, were beef-notably in sirloin tataki, rare slices served with a fruity ponzu sauce. and in hibachi rolls, bite-sized bits of fresh carrot, bell pepper, onion, and pineapple wrapped in sliced sirloin, with teriyaki sauce for dipping. 3850 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 510. 350-1110 Inexpensive.

Shogun. Shogun serves commendable versions of the standards of Japanese cuisine-lightly battered tempura, juicy teriyaki chicken, and fresh-tasting sushi (commonly referred to as “bait” by non-aficionados)-in a pleasingly serene atmosphere. This small restaurant is exceptionally pleasant, thanks to the quietly efficient service. 5738 Cedar Springs. 351-2281. Moderate.


Blue Mesa. We started our meal with the special marga-ritas-startlingly neon blue from a dash of blue curacao, but with a fresh lime taste. Chips and dip are usually effective forecasters in Mexican restaurants; Blue Mesa serves mixed blue and yellow tostados with a smoky chipotle-black bean salsa and a cumin-flavored tomato salsa. The chile rellieno with chicken, cheese, and mango salsa was beautifully presented, and the sweet-Ian fruit accented the spice and cheese surprisingly. The counterpoint was repeated in the contrasting flavors of savory black beans and sweet corn pudding. Com meal pasta was cooked al dente; it was sauced with tomatoes, com, and cumin and lopped with pieces of chicken breast rubbed with red chili. The “adobe pie” could have been half the size-the cereal bowl-sized dome of fresh com masa was baked with a stuffing of chicken, cheese, and peppers and blanketed with a smooth red chili sauce. Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line. 934-0165. Moderate.

Chuy’s, If PeeWee Herman opened a Mexican restaurant in Dallas’s West End, chances are it would look a lot like Chuy’s. Past the playhouse atmosphere, though, is some serious Mexican food. We started with fresh lime margaritas and an order of banditos, fried cheese and chili-filled whole wheat tortillas, along with the full-flavored salsa and crispy chips. Then we chose a “Chuychanga.” a big fried flour tortilla encasing a half breast of chicken and some melted cheese, served with a selection of sauces; slightly sweet ran-chera sauce, a tart tomatillo verde, Tex-Mex chili gravy, or New Mexican-style fiery green chili sauce. Without the sauce, the dish was underseasoned. Chuy’s special enchiladas, New Mexican blue com tortillas stacked with chicken, cheese, and tomatillo, were gooey and good; the chile relleno. an Anaheim pepper sniffed with well-seasoned meat, was covered in a too-tomaioey sauce. 211 N Record St. 747-2838. Inexpensive.

Garcia’s Caribbean Grll. What is this world coming to? We’ve had Tex-Mex, Mex-Mex, tropical-Men, and now, from Garcia’s, fish-Mex-their term, 1 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 as Bachman Creek. 3830 W Northwest Hwy. 358-2664. inexpensive to moderate.

Genaro’s. With its tropical art-deco look, Genaro’s is the prettiest place in town for margarita consumption. Happily, for the most part, the food matches the margaritas. Enchiladas Genaro, filled with snapper and crab meat, were extremely gratifying. And even if chicken with 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 lustily satisfying, as always. 5815 Live Oak at Skillman. 827-9590. Moderate.

L’Asadero Monterey. The specialty here is cabrito- baby goat-but it’s not always available in forms popular with most gringos-on my last visit only the kidneys and heart were still on the menu. If you can’t get the goat, not to worry. The rest of the menu is tasty, too. Polio a la parilla was tender and juicy, its topping of grilled onions sweet and tender. Cheese enchiladas were properly gooey and spicy; only the steak Milanesa (Mexican fried steak) was a little dry. Nachos come with black beans and the service was excellent, even with two demanding children in the party. 112 N Collett. 826-0625. Inexpensiv


Martinez Cafe. This family-run café in a converted houseon Routh Street has a comfortable, home-grown feel. Thefood is Tex-Mex-standard combinations, but of superlativequality and served with a smile. Outstanding chips and salsaand a plate evenly striped with rice, beans, and cheeseenchiladas made me happy; flautas and guacamole wereequally good. The menu here is what you expect from agood Tex-Mex restaurant; the food is what you hope for. Unfortunately for some of us, Martinez Cafe does not servemargaritas, but does offer beer and wine. 3011 Routh St. 855-0240. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.


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


On The Border Cafe. The comer patio here is extremely popular with some SMU students and other “Parky” types; I guess an afternoon absorbing sun and margaritas at On The Border gives them strength for a tough night of mingling at Sam’s or Sfuzzi… Inside, the scene is somewhat calmer. This is Dallas’s original fejita factory, and the room has the appropriate Texas feel-lots of cactus and lots of Western memorabilia. We were introduced to a series of waiters before anyone decided to actually take our order, but once it got going, the service was fine and the food was good. Chicken fajita quesadillas were a satisfying beginning; cheese enchiladas were a rich version, and beef fejitas were tender and smoky. The bonus was the Border’s burger; grilled to order and sided by jaiapeno French fries, it was one of the best I’ve had. 3300 Knox St. 528-5900. Moderate.


Tacos & Botanas. My dining companion ordered a puffed taco, chalupas, and tamales, and while it wasn’t my idea of the perfect combination plate, it was all first-rate. especially the chili-covered tamales. Pork gamachos, from the small plates list, were like scaled-down chalupas crossed with a nacho and were a little on the dry side, a problem solved by combining them with the excellent guacamole. From the regular menu of Chiquita’s time-proven specialties, we had the three-enchilada combination-chicken with chili verde, cheese with ranchera sauce, and beef with chili- which was delicious. 3810 Congress. 520-7623. Moderate.


Baby Routh. This chic, minimalist setting-including the now-ubiquitous outdoor patio open for dining in appropriate weather-still feels like the place to be in Dallas. But new chef Rex Hale doesn’t seem to have hit his stride yet with the sometimes recherche’ inventions of the New Southwestern cuisine on his menu. Some of these are takeoffs on standard dishes: seafood tamales with ancho cream sauce (rather mealy, without the texture of the best tamales) or seafood jambalaya (interestingly high-picante but with a weird vegetable accompaniment masquerading as gumbo z’herbes). An original dish, a thin slice of venison sautéed with a mustard serrano glaze, also failed to excite. Salads lack oomph here these days, but the desserts (like the overwhelmingly fancy and tasty banana split) have plenty of verve. 2708 Routh. 871-2345. Moderate to expensive.

Beau Nash. Everything we sampled at Beau Nash this time had an assertive and appealing taste, especially the Chinese-dumpling-shaped ravioli filled with wild mushrooms and drizzled with two sauces, but sometimes the assertive tastes competed too strongly with one another. The thick, tender veal chop, for instance, hid a bed of spaghetti squash in a sunny sauce and Lay under a compote of fresh tomatoes and herbs-all surrounded by a wine-dark sea of sauce of another sort. Enough already! The mimosa cake we sampled for dessert looked prettier than it tasted. Hotel Crescent Court, 400 Crescent Court, Maple at McKinney. 871-3240. Expensive.

Cafe Margaux. We can hardly keep up with the changes here. To the new-style 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 sautéed fillet mounded over shrimp and oyster dressing, were far more exciting. 3710 Rawlins. 520-1985. Moderate to expensiv.


Gershwin’s. Judging from the crowds, Gershwin’s fills a genuine need for a moderately priced restaurant suitable either for singles on a heavy date or for family occasions. Most of the food on the large menu is satisfying, and the portions lend to be huge. Both the mixed-seafood appetizer (delicious fried calamari, shrimp, crabcakes, and mushrooms) and the California-style pizza would have done as starters for two or even three people. The selection of three kinds of grilled fish and the king-sized desserts also offered good value. Only the veal scallopini topped with fettuccine swimming in a sweetish sauce disappointed. 8442 Walnut Hill at Greenville. 373-7171. Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.

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 dégustation, with a fixed price of $38.50. changes daily and is a good bet. A la cane choices are expensive, but choices like Maine lobster, wild mushrooms, and basil with fettuccine and roasted pheasant with green apple pasta and blue cheese sauce are well worth the tariff. Desserts are killers here, especially the souffle of the day (apricot with raspberry sauce on my visit). Sheraton Park Central, 12720 Merit Dr. 851-2021. 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 better to accommodate changing offerings according to season-and the creative inspiration of Dean Fearing. Regulars tend to opt for whatever appears on any given day; diners for whom the Mansion is a relatively rare experience may prefer to sample such classics as the peerless tortilla soup; Louisiana crab cakes with a sauce of smoked chilies, lobster, and blood orange; and crème brulée with raspberry sauce. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Expensiv.


Parlgl. So much is so good at this hip place that typifies the yuppifkation of Oak Lawn: the design-it-yourself pizza is splendiferous, the twin chicken patés (one creamy, one roughly textured) subtle, the grilled fish buttery and tender. Why then are the most famous specialties so infuriatingly uneven? The inventive-sounding pasta dishes often turn out to be Frankensteinish-the one with fresh fennel, chicken, and homemade tomato sauce was an inedible monster. And the vaunted desserts, like the chocolate blob, can be too gooey and sweet. 3311 Oak Lawn. 521-0295. Expensive. -W.L.T.

The Promenada at tha Mansion. Lunch at the Promenade features some terrific examples of New Southwestern cuisine. The Southwest ancho pizza with smoked chicken, jalapeno jack cheese, poblano peppers, and cilantro may be the best New Wave pizza in Dallas. Southwestern-style soups, especially the yellow-tomato gazpacho, are also outstanding. The pork loin scallopini with a sauce of capers, tomato, smoked bacon, and parsley is yet another winner. Lunchtime desserts at the Promenade lean toward extraordinary versions of downhome favorites (shortcakes, cob-blers, Mississippi Mud pie, and the like). 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 559-2100 Moderate to expensive.

Routh Street Cafe. A dinner at this-one of Dallas’s two most celebrated restaurants these days-is always memorable and satisfying. But in the years Routh Street has been open we have found it dependably erratic. The muffins, salads, sorbets, and desserts always blow away all criticism; this time even the unlikely-sounding sorbets (chocolate sapote-sarsaparilla ice?) were as spectacular as the down-home-sounding desserts (banana-cream macadamia-nut pie with fudge sauce and blackberry buckle). But the appetizers and main courses are spectacular only some of the time; they can also be just a bit too experimental. We loved our quail with saffron fettuccine and our venison with a blue-corn tamale, but our black bean cake with sea scallops and our lamb with a guajillo-chile waffle (!?) didn’t entirely work. 3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Very expensiv.


Sam’s Cafe. After a rather shaky first few months, thischic spot has settled down to serving some excellent food.The huge, rich square of fried polenta smothered in sauceand cheese makes a happy beginning. The tenderloin toppedwith a béamaise very mildly flavored with poblano pepperis meltingly tender, and the barbecued salmon boasts acrunchy exterior and a smoky taste (satisfying even if thesauce doesn’t taste all that different from the commercialvariety). Only the desserts don’t always satisfy-the Reinede Saba chocolate cake can be curiously wimpy. And ofcourse, the sights are a big attraction here-the post-modernDallas skyline out front and the beautiful people inside. (Ifco-owner Mariel Hemingway isn’t on the premises, there arealways lots of people who know they look like movie stars.) 140 Crescent Court, Suite 140. 855-2233. Moderate to expensive. -W.LT.

San Slmeon. This sleek-looking spot has the undeniable cachet of chic, as well as one of the most experienced teams of maitre d’ and waiters in town. But we arc yet to be convinced that the food matches the ambience. Attempts at the flashy eclecticism of New Southwestern cooking seem halfhearted; the crab in a Mandarin pancake in a spicy sauce, for instance, seemed awfully like an old-fashioned crepe in a classic French sauce americaine (and the crab seemed limp, with an unacceptable number of shell bits). Fish still seems the strong suit of chef Richard Chamberlain, formerly of Ratcliffe’s; the swordfish with a black-bean citrus sauce was the highlight of our meal. 2515 McKinney at Fairmount in Chateau Plaza. 871-7373. Expensive.



Aw Shocks. The best fried things in lite are fat-free, virtually, if they’re cooked right. And as far as I’m concerned.the catfish, oysters, and shrimp served here qualify on bothcounts. I’ve never had a better whole farm-raised (as opposed to river-caught) catfish than the cornmeal-crustedgolden beauties that are any day’s catch at Aw Shuck’s ordercounter, and the fillets, giant butterftied shrimp, and oystersof our latest visit were almost as succulent. If you’re crazyabout crabcakes (I’ve never quite seen what all the fuss wasabout), you’ll find them here heavier on crab meat thanmost. And imagine my surprise when an order of buffalowings, which I’ve always found more for fire than for food.turned out to be golden nuggets of sparkling flavor. 3601 Greenville, 821-9449; 4535 Maple. 522-4498; Village at Bachman Lake, 3701 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 310, 350-9777. Inexpensive. -B.C.

Bay Street. Bay Street has made some efforts toward climbing aboard the Cajun bandwagon with such dishes as Cajun popcorn (fried crawfish tails), gumbo, and crawfish étouffée. Still, these Cajun upstarts, while respectably prepared, are outshone by the non-Cajun seafood choices like a simple charbroiled swordfish, which was impeccably fresh and juicy on a recent visit. (And if you are optimistic enough to order swordfish on a regular basis, you know how rare it is when the meaty fish does not emerge with the texture of fish jerky.) 5348 Belt Line, Addison. 934-8502. Moderate.

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. Comer Shopping Center, 8041 Walnut Hill Lane. 361-1922. Moderate.

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


Brownle’s. The food here runs to plate-lunch daily specials (a fine, simple meat loaf, real chicken-fried steak, not-so-fine fried trout fillets on our visit, each with a choice of three vegetables, well seasoned and invariably overcooked, for $3.95) along with a broad selection of any-time breakfast and lunch standards. Desserts are dewnhome-admirable pies and cobblers, bread pudding too sweetly fruit-sauced. 5519 E Grand Ave. 824-2996. Inexpensiv


Good Eats. The Oak Lawn Good Eats, itself a spin-off from the Austin original, now has a North Dallas sibling. We’ll catch that one next month; but first, we felt we should revisit the Inner City favorite for fair reference’s sake. I’m glad we did-the Oak Lawn location’s food has improved measurably since I first reviewed it. soon after it opened. My companion’s strip steak was perfect, and my chicken pie, which looked deceptively like a lunar slab of cardboard pastry, tumed out to be miracle mix of tender chicken, new potato, carrot, com, and green beans under its flaky crown. Black-eyed peas were blank-eyed from lack of seasoning, which we’re inclined to applaud these days (for health) even as we salt (for taste). Broccoli-rice casserole was a trifle dry but flavorful, and corn on the cob was gloriously not overcooked. The two cakes of the day, cooked on premises, were both superior-a rich layered chocolate and a cream-frosted pink horror that proved to owe its unlikely color to the same source as its splendid flavor, fresh strawberries. Service was prompt, smooth-paced, and friendly. 3531 Oak Lawn, 521-1398; 6950 Greenville. 739-5088 Inexpensive. -B.C.


Dal Frisco’s. In some respects, this scion of a distinguished New Orleans steakhouse is Dallas’s most satisfactory purveyor of prime beef (we mean the bona fide USDA graded, aged stuff). The steep prices include extras here, as they usually don’t elsewhere, and the extras are worth having: spicy turtle soup; fluffy, loaded baked potatoes; magnificently crunchy French fries. Even desserts here can be memorable. But on our last visit, the steaks weren’t quite as majestic as on a previous visit. They still had a fine flavor and were cooked just as we had ordered, but there seemed to be more tendons and chewy parts than we remembered. We weren’t sure whether these shortcomings were the fault of a less than ardent trimmer or a couple of overexercised steers. They didn’t spoil our visit, but they did take the usual edge of pleasure off of it. 4300 Lemmon. 526-2101. Expensive.

Morton’s Of Chicago. This Chicago steakhouse hag wonderfully marbled and perfectly cooked porterhouse steaks. There are other options, including veal chops, but-terflied whole chickens, and fresh fish specialties, but Morton’s does steaks best. A soufflé dessert was chalky and disappointing. 501 Elm. 741-2277. Expensive.

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


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 with several levels of seating. 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 fere like chopped liver, lox, or knockwurst. Or you can order complete dinners, including surprisingly tasty broiled fish accompanied by pilaf and fresh broccoli. Service has improved greatly over the last few years. Northwood Hills Shopping Center, 8104 Spring Valley. 234-3787. Inexpensive to moderate.

Cindy’s. With its utilitarian decor, everyone-you’ve-ever-known crowd, and everything-but-thc-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 Centra! Expwy, 739-0182. Inexpensive.

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

Crescent Gourmet. The Crescent Gourmet offers some of the best baked goods in town for breakfast. The croissants, Danishes, and muffins are done right-and on the premises. 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. Moderate.


Marty’s. This is the most complete traitteur business in [own. and I’m happy to say that, after some ups and downs, the quality of the food here is consistently high. The selection is enormous-you can purchase all or part of any meal, to prepare at home or ready-to-heat. Everything is here, from chicken fingers to paté, caviar to potato salad. We took home supper: chicken breasts marsala, lemon pasta, marinated vegetables, and key lime pie. My immediate treat, a piece of orange marmalade cake, was the only disappointment-it was a little too moist to be pleasant. Everything else was delicious, but you get what you pay for: it’s all ire’s expensive. 3316 Oak Lawn. 526-4070. Expensive. -M.B.


Pacific Express. This polished downtown cafeteria hadlost some of its luster on my last visit; the effect of the elegantinterior was marred by vases of tacky fake (lowers, and thefood generally sounded better than it tasted. The smokedchicken salad with walnuts and the beef tenderloin andJarlsberg cheese sandwich with jalapeno chutney were fine,but the tuna salad was overwhelmed by blue cheese and thetortellini in the pasta-vegetable salad were scarce and overcooked to the point of disintegration. Tropical fruits cakewas dry; peach cobbler was mushy. Perhaps the kitchen washaving a bad day; I hope so. Pacific Place Bldg., 1910 Elm,Suite 103. 969-7447. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.

Pollo Bueno. 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. Inexpensive.


Bangkok Inn. Despite its sign proclaiming “We Expert in Chinese Food,” most patrons think that Bangkok Inn is expert in Thai food. Both the pad Thai, the great Thai rice-noodle dish, and the moo satay are exceptional here. Bring your own wine; there’s no corkage fee. 6033 Oram. 821-8979- 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 includes only Chinese dishes, which can be avoided on the dinner menu. Keystone Park Shopping Center, Suite 400.13929 N Central Expwy. 437-3900. Moderate.

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 conies with peerless curried peanut sauce, the spring rolls are commendable, the beef salad is rolling in leaves of fresh mint, and pud Thai, a dish of rice noodles with shrimp, ground peanuts, and scrambled egg, tastes better here than anywhere. Now more than ever, Siam is one of Dallas’s all-time great Asian restaurants. Northwest Corners Shopping Center. 2415 W Northwest Highvay. #108 (accessible from Harry Nines). 358-3122. Moderate.


Ba-Le. This is perhaps the tiniest of Dallas’s Vietnamese restaurants. As always at Vietnamese restaurants, real lemonade and killer iced coffee are the beverages of choice. Two entrees of choice are tenderloin of beef with vermicelli and the Vietnamese crêpe, which is more of a frittata, really. 4812 Bryan. Suite 102. 821-1880 Inexpensive.

Mal’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 lemon-grass chicken makes for a great lunch, especially if you follow it with Vietnamese-style iced coffee with condensed milk. You don’t come here for the atmosphere: Mai’s decor is distinctly utilitarian. 4812 Bryan, Suite 100 (at Fitzhugh). 826-9887. Inexpensive.


Cacharel. This pretty establishment with a glassed-in exhibition kitchen has a fixed price of $10 for lunch and $24 for dinner. The fire-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. Moderate.

Tandoor. Tandoor offers a superior assortment of appetizers: minced lamb patties, vegetables fried irtchickpea batter, potato/chili patties, turnovers with potatoes-and peas, and cheese fritters stuffed with mint chutney. A tomato and coconut milk soup provided a pleasurable interlude before our main dishes, which were a relative letdown: tough curried lamb, slightly overcooked tandoori chicken, and dull cheese and vegetable dumplings. 532 Fielder North Plaza. south of 1-30, Arlington. 2&-6604. Moderate.


Angelo’s. How much of Angelo’s reputation is warrantedand how much mere mystique? I found the sliced barbecue and the chopped beef sandwich both lacking in smoky flavor (though tender and lean enough) the last time around. The extras here have never been worth hooting about, so that didn’t leave much besides the cold beer to make the visit memorable. 2533 White Settlement Rd. (817) 332-0357. Inexpensive.

Reflections. Port 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 red-fish (accompanied by Maryland crab cakes) 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. 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. Expensive.

Saint-Emlllon. 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 sword fish provencal and nicely roasted duck with cherry sauce were all one could ask for. For dessert, pass on the fluffy, lightweight chocolate mousse and opt for the extraordinary crime caramel. 3617 W Seventh. (817) 737-2781. Moderate.


Adair’s. The great old beer joint of Dallas continues to pull in its rednecks, loud-mouthed attorneys, chic city women who act country, and all-around fun-loving people who like to drink beer and spill it on the pool tables. Since Adair’s moved to its Deep Ellum location, cynics have been predicting its demise. But the half-pound hamburgers and whiny jukebox still draw a crowd. 2624 Commerce. 939-9900.

Amnizla. If you like lots of smoke, Madonna tunes cranked as high as they go, and you’re under the age of twenty-one, then Amnizia could be the stuff your dreams are made of. This hangout has to be one of the smokiest, loudest teenage paradises around. If you’re not of drinking age, they’ll let you come in and strut your young self but they won’t issue you a plastic yellow wristband, the necessary ID that must be shown in order to imbibe. 2829 W Northwesi Hwy, Suite 632. 351-1262.

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.

Bolter Room. It’s easy to see how this bar got its name: it’s the actual boiler room of the old Sunshine Biscuit Company. However, this has nothing to do with its popularity as a dance club and the best new singles bar close to downtown. Some may feel inhibited dancing in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows next to the dance floor; others won’t want to leave. Pan of the Dallas Alley in the West End Marketplace. 2019 N Lamar. 988-0581.

Chaise Lounge. It’s nice that Esquire agrees with what we’ve said all along-this is a great dub 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 kncwledgeable about the drinks (watch that Sex on the Beach) and the standout Cajun-based food. If the Chaise has a drawback it’s the noise level, especially on weekends when the band is cooking. But that’s far outweighed by the multiple pleasures of this valuable club. 3010 N Henderson. 823-1400.

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 art.” One of our favorites is the “Word of the Day,” or ’”Monday Night Feedback,” where an improv team gives its own version of Monday Night Football. 2720 Elm at Crowdus. 744-3232.

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.

The Dan. This dark, warm, intimate bar is located inside the Stoneleigh Terrace Hotel. You never know who you’re going to see here, if anyone at all. It’s the perfect place to meet someone for a quiet conversation. And if they bore you, you can always spend your time trying to figure out whose picture is hanging next to Bob Hope’s. Stoneleigh Terrace Hotel, 2927 Maple Ave. 871-7111.

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. 828-1879.

Fat Tuesday. The drinks (potent frozen slush concoctions, many of which contain 190 proof alcohol), Mardi Gras atmospbere, and unusual bar food (New Orleans-style Po’ Boys and other Cajun staples) have spelled survival for Fat Tuesday in these doom-and-gloom times. We only wish the dance floor were bigger and the music were live every night. 6778 Greenville. 373-7377.

Froggy Bottoms. We’d really love this bar if it weren’t so small and so dark. Froggy Bottoms has all the ingredients of being the ideal spot to rendezvous with a long-lost soul mate, and that’s why we’re confused. Here’s a crank-it-up rhythm and blues club with neither the dance floor to go along with the gyrating runes nor adequate seating for those who want to sit back and enjoy the top-notch talent on stage. But if you don’t mind dancing in a dark comer while juggling your drink, it’s well worth the trip: the R & B played here is truly awesome. Pan of Dallas Alley in the West End Marketplace. 2019 N lamar. 988-0581.

Gershwin’s Bar & Grill. It’s not, you say, really a bar. And you’re right, it’s not. It’s a restaurant that happens to have a couple of bars. But it’s definitely a necessary part of Dallas nightlife. The place is subdued and quiet so mat you can talk without shouting, and there’s a cushion of calming sound from the elevated baby grand piano. The waitpeople are studiously unobtrusive and the tables are spaced far enough apart to ensure quiet, private conversations. Around you, groups of well-aged yuppies drink Cabernet Sauvignon and murmur and laugh like small clans of friends gathered around warm campfires to spend the evening. 8442 Walnut Hill at Greenville. 373-7171.

Greenville Avenue Country Club. Chic. Underscated-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.

Improv Comedy Club and 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 seated 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 sec the fecial expressions of the comics on stage. And another not-so-good thing is that every comic in the world 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 Comer Shopping Center) 750-5868.

Joe Miller’s. The more things change, the more they stay the same. That’s certainly true of Joe Miller’s. It’s still one of the best places in town for a real drink, and as always, after work there are plenty of good conversations going on that anyone can enjoy. That is unless you can’t say anything but “Come here often?” or “What’s your sign?” 3531 McKinney. 521-2261.

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 thereafter 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 they come. 7001 Fair Oaks. 692-1770.

Max’s 403. Brace yourself There’s another “high-energy dance club” on Upper Greenville. This one has been the rage of (he 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 musk 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.

Mlml’s, This is the perfect spot for European beer lovers. Also Asian beer lovers. Caribbean beer lovers, and, if you must be boring, American beer lovers. At this quiet spot, in the heart of the noise-blasting Greenville clubs, you can play a game called ’Around the World,” where you drink beer from dozens of countries-more than DO brands. Mimi’s also has fine sandwiches and snacks. Bartender plays albums (not singles) and is open to any request. 5111 Greenville. 368-1994.

The Palm Bar. If you’re downtown, few places are as nice as this for a drink after work. If you’re not downtown, it’s worth the trip. The decor is elegant but not pompous, the drinks are excellent and reasonably priced, and the service is flawless. If you work late, beware-this place closes a p.m. Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce. 742-8200.

Poor David’s Pub. Has anything changed at Poor David’s-ever? Hmrn. That poster, upper right from the stage, may not have been there in 1984. Hard to say. Pitcher prices have nudged upwards a bit, but not much. Other than that. Poor David’s is happily frozen in time. An son and the Rockets still provide straight-ahead blues several times a month; name acts like Loudon Wainwright III 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 pin-ball machine.) 1924 S Greenville. 821-9891.

Randy’s. You gotta love these far North Dallas/Addison clubs. Love ’em. You can be as pretentious as possible, wear spiked heels longer than stilettos, dress in shiny GQ suits, be driven to the club in a limousine, and still the bouncers will look at you as if you really don’t belong in their place, Randy’s is subscribing to the theory that you can’t be glitzy enough, and people are falling all over themselves to join the private club. Inside, it’s the typical pumping-music-and-twirling-light-show, but oh, what a beautiful experience (and we mean this from the bottom of our hearts) just to be a part of it all. 15203 Knoll Trail, Addison. 907-2639.

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 Marie! 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 140. 855-2233.

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

Terilli’s. Terilli’s is always packed-with jazz lovers, serious drinkers, 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 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.

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

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

Zanzibar. Zanzibar offers drinks and good deli food in a colorful cafe setting. The decor-neon, glass bricks, and pink-and-green walls-is odd enough to work. And even though Zanzibar looks cosmopolitan, it has a neighborhood bar feel to it that leads to discussions among perfect strangers from table to table. 2912 Greenville. 828-2250.


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 every weekend with regulars dancing to the infectious music of Robert Ealey and the Blues-blasters. This is rhythm and blues at its finest, but sssshhh! 5636 Wellesley. (817) 732-6243.

Caravan of Dreams. Caravan of Dreams, which coversthree floors of a chic Sundance Square building, has excellent live jazz/blues (and a bar) on the first floor, a theaterwith movies and live drama (and a bar) on the second floor,and an outdoor patio with a cactus garden (and a bar) on theroof. 312 Houston. (817) 877-3000

Related Articles

Food and Drink

Kessler Park Eating House

The North Oak Cliff neighborhood restaurant boasts Slavic roots.
Food and Drink

Review: Fernando’s Mexican Cuisine

A Mexican-food fix that offers more than your typical combination plates.
By Jennifer Chininis

Eating Around TOWN

The newest tastes, the biggest trends.
By D Magazine