Sunday, September 24, 2023 Sep 24, 2023
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Also: Jonathan’s, Koonazz, Tong’s
By D Magazine |

Agnew’s Grill

The site of the original Cafe Margaux has undergone yet another metamorphosis at the hands of owners Tom and Kay Agnew. The unpretentious digs on the Miracle Mile section of Lovers Lane have now become Agnew’s Grill. The idea is to offer something less pricey than the high-tariff fare that marked the short-lived Margaux Natural on this spot. There are some traditional grill items ike calves’ liver with bacon and onions and country-fried chicken, along with some nouvelle short-order items like grilled tuna sandwiches. But most of the food fits squarely in the New American mold, with generally high quality at prices lower even than the mid-range competitors in this category.

A lot of imagination has gone into the appetizers. We found both the fried oysters floating in a sea of peppery reduced cream sauce and the Salvadoran tamales in banana leaves exceptional. The coarse-grained, richly flavored country chicken pate was not far behind. 1 he cabbage soup with ham also has a particularly appealing smoky flavor. The one disappointment among the openers was the poadhed scallops on a bed of spinach, which turned out to be a chilled dish: the scallops had a nice texture, but the ingredients never melded into a pleasing whole.

The heartier r entrees at Agnew’s Grill have an edge over the more refined ones. The grilled duck sausage is perfectly set off by the accompanying warm lentil salad. A number of the nouvelie-infiuenced dishes, though, lack both the brilliance of the best of the genre and the hominess of the less ambitious fere. However, everything we’ve tried here has beer at least carefully prepared and more than palatable. These limited successes include the sautéed, curried shrimp with an-douille sausage and bell pepper, the grilled redfish with tomato pepper sauce, and the pork medallions with brown sage sauce. The side dishes-like marinated fresh artichokes, a tart apple relish, and perfectly crisp house fries-are all exemplary.

There is a lot more about Agnew’s Grill to like, such as the reasonably priced and varied wine list (all bottles cost $12} and the personable service. One strange failing, though, is the lackluster array of desserts. None of the three sweets available on our visits was worth the $2-75 charge or the calories. (The choice was among a dense, dry, tasteless rum cake; a strangely sour nut pudding; and a frozen chocolate mousse that was so hard it crumbled when attacked with a spoon.) Please, folks-if this is supposed to be some sort of broad hint that we really don’t need dessert, give us a better range of choices and let us decide for ourselves. 4424 Lovers Lane. 739-0886. Open 7 days. Lunch 11:30-2:30; dinner 5:30-10:30. All credit cards. Moderate.

-W.L. Taitte


The little house on Fair-mount, cradle of the legendary Calluaud’s and formerly home to the now-defunct D. Michael’s, has a new resident. Jonathan’s, a semi-French restaurant opened by a couple of novice restaurateurs, is an attractive, unpretentious place. There are two pleasant, homey dining rooms with big, paned windows looking out on the patio, a peaceful spot for springtime al fresco eating. The walls are painted restaurant pink, and the tables are set with a collection of base plates from great Dallas dining rooms-Oz, Brook Hollow Golf Club, etc. Unfortunately, Jonathan’s doesn’t come close to following in these footsteps. For every plus here, there seems to be a minus-good food but inept service on one visit, adequate service but disappointing food on another.

Dinner started out disconcertingly when our waiter reversed our drink order and forgot who belonged to which appetizer; at the time, there was only one other table occupied. But the piping hot Australian lamb chops in rosemary butter and a dish of tomato linguette with diced red pepper and Italian sausage in cream cheered us up, though we did have to ask for water and for bread and butter refills.

Entrees were preceded by a country-club-style salad-long on leaf lettuce with lots of toppings; sliced mushrooms and cucumbers, avocado and tomato wedges, and crumbled, hard-cooked egg were crowned with pimento-stuffed olives. An order of baked Boston bluefish was nicely cooked; the leek, carrot, and celery slivers topping the fillet were crisp-tender And chicken Napoli turned out to be a tender chicken breast in a very rich brown sauce with anchovies and capers. We drank lots of coffee while waiting for a Grand Marnier souffle; it was worth the wait, but in the bustle of serving one dessert, the second order was forgotten. When it did arrive, the seven-layer chocolate cake smacked of artificial vanilla and was cloyingly sweet.

Our waiter at lunch was johnny-on-the-spot, but the food missed. “Fresh” tuna salad was not. though the serving was generous; as my companion noted, “They must use a whole can.” Chicken Madeira was a tasteless breast in a watery sauce, though the accompanying vegetables were fine.

Jonathan’s is a pleasant place to be; if the good service coincided with the good food, it would be a pleasant place to eat. 2917 Fair-mount. 954-0028. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Tue-Sun 6-11. AE. Moderate.

-Mary Brown Malouf


The building that for years housed the Turtle Cove seafood restaurant has yet another reincarnation- this time as a Cajun place by the sniggering name of Koonazz. Like most of the quotidian (as opposed to the fancy) Cajun places in Dallas, this one has its fair share of both hits and misses. 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 Louistana-style bands that play frequently and loudly.

The menu lists three kinds of gumbo, which turn out to be all from the same Tabasco-spiced pot, distinguished only by the addition or omission of some little extras. The best version is the andouille gumbo, topped with slices of that deliciously spicy Louisiana sausage. Another downhome Southern Louisiana dish done well here is the boudin. (Boudin is like a sausage in that it is cooked in a casing, but it is mostly rice rather than meat; the Koonazz example is enriched by tiny shrimp and other seafood.) Most of the best restaurants in the true Cajun country also are good at deep-frying; here again Koonazz is true to form. The Cajun fried shrimp have a crisp coating and are not overcooked. The all-you-can-eat catfish are small’ whole ones. If you have the patience to pick the pristine white meat from all the tiny bones. it is sweet and succulent.

On the other hand, most of the Louisiana urban (read “New Orleans”) dishes are much less successful, The exception is the shrimp remoulade, a properly oily, spicy version. The [blackened redfish is of the worst variety (dry and far too peppery). The ba-ba-cue shrimp (that’s how the menu reads) are nothing at all like the classic versions of that dish invented at Paxcal’s Manale restaurant in New Orleans; maybe those not prejudiced by prior acquaintance with the real thing will like these smoky little crustaceans better than we did. Another of the less successful entrees is probably more country than city in origin; the rabbit sauce piquant has a bright-tasting sauce, but the meat was unpleasantly gamy-tasting. The seafood platter, which has a sample of almost everything the kitchen does, is not a bargain: too many misses, not enough hits. We probably should have tried some of the interesting-sounding vegetable side dishes, because the carrots and potatoes that came with our main, courses were disasters.

We weren’t crazy about any of Koonazz’s desserts. The bananas Foster are probably the best: whipped up by the owner himself, they could use a bit more fruit and a bit more rum to go over the ice cream. The sweet potato pie has a good filling, but the crust on our slice was woefully soggy. The unusual bread pudding is very dense and contains some strange ingredients, like cherries. 2731 W Northwest Hwy. 352-2751. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-3; dinner Mon-Sat 5-11. Open Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate. -W.L.T.


Tong’s House in Richardson is a hole in the wall with a loyal cull following for its authentic Chinese specialties, especially its weekend seafood specialties. Tong’s is a new sister restaurant in upscale quarters in North Dallas. The decor, with its pristine-looking wood and its colorful kites, promises more than the food delivers. We found the food here to be sub-par in all kinds of dishes, from the fanciest to the simplest.

We tried a special of the day of (supposedly) fresh lobster, chunked and stir-fried with ginger and garlic. To our dismay, the lobster meat turned out to be shrunken and dried out, even hard to find within the claws. The condition of the meat and the off taste did not speak well for the freshness of the lobster. There also seemed to be less meat from the tail than nature usually dictates, and we half suspected the kitchen of reserving some of the choice pieces to include later in somebody else’s mixed seafood dish. Our bad feeling about the portion size was reinforced by a dish on the other end of the scale of fan-ciness. In that old standby, sweet and sour pork, the tiny pieces of pork were hard to find within the large spheres of dough; the meat seemed to have been precooked. Other disappointments at Tong’s were a tough, almost unchewable orange beef, Szechwan style, and tough wrappers on the fried dumplings.

We did find some good dishes at Tong’s. The Three Ingredients-shrimp, chicken, and beef with vegetables-had a good flavor and pleasant texture. And both vegetable dishes we tried (dried sautéed string beans and eggplant with garlic sauce) were tasty, if a bit oily. But by and large, Tong’s seemsa big letdown for fans of Tong’s House whomight be otherwise attracted by its prettier,less crowded surroundings. 11661 PrestonRd, Suite 143 (at Forest Lane). 361-6588.Mon~Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11-11, Sat noon-11pm, Sun noon-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate. -W.L.T.



Bronx. Top-notch burgers, omelettes, and daily specials arc 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 5:30-11:30; 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. AH credit cards. Inexpensive.

Sonny Bryan’s. Accompanied by the last two Sonny Bryan’s, virgins in town. I headed for Sonny’s on a cool day-pointing out that the wood smoke and patrons eating from the hoods of their vehicles are essential elements of the experience. Reviewing ethics compelled us to order different things, but the wisdom of sticking to the awe-inspiring sliced beef sandwich was reconfirmed by the scorched ribs, rubbery sliced ham, and ho-hum beans. However, that sandwich alone is sufficient to earn Sonny’s its feme. 2202 Inwood. 357-7120. Mon-Fri 10 am-pm, Sat 10 am-3 pm. Sun 11 am-2 pm. No credit cants; personal checks accepted. 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.

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

Patout’s. Alex Patout’s new restaurant serves some remarkable cooking alongside some pretty ordinary stuff. The spicy, earthy chicken and sausage gumbo is a marvel, and the Cajun smothered duck with oyster dressing is glazed to a crisp and succulent perfection. There are admirable versions of standard Louisiana dishes like shrimp remoulade and boudin (a livery-tasting rice sausage). At its best, this sophisticated country 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 11:30-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10. Fri 5-11. Sun 5-9; open Sat II-11. All credit cards. 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 file 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-everything Cajun, but the subtle and tasty preparations here, though heavy, were refreshing. The large dining area is noisy; the crowd casual and as enthusiastic as the service. 13444 N Preston Rd. 385-1522. Sun-Thur II am-10 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. Alt credit cards. Inexpensive.


August Moon. Despite the fact that Dallas is overrun with Chinese restaurants, few manage to pull off the triple wham-my: elegant and restful surroundings, first-rate food, and thoughtful extras like a “Bao Bao Menu” for the under-ten set complete with an entertaining maze to “Help Wang find his way around the Great Wall.” Our most recent foray was to August Moon’s Piano location, where we began with a flawless pupu tray offering greaseless fried shrimp and won-ton, and an excellent beef sale, among other things. Spicy dishes like shredded beef Szechwan are a better bet than their blander brethren (lemon chicken being an exception) if you can take the heat, but rarely does a dish disappoint. 15030 Preston at Belt Line. 385-7227. N 2300 N Central Expwy. 881-0071. N Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11 at Preston location. Sun-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11 at Central location. MC, V. AE. Moderate.

Best A Round. Here at D. our fun-loving staff members frequently find themselves hard at work-and hungry-at odd hours. Lately, we’ve taken to ordering in from Best A Round, which has the virtues of low prices, quick delivery, and food that may be short on finesse but is reliably tasty. Best A Round has a couple of counters-and a television that tends to be tuned to MTV-for customers who want to eat in, but most either pick up or have their fodder delivered. 3607-A Greenville. 827-3631. Sun & Tue-Thur 4 pm-3 am, Fri & Sat 4 pm-4 am. Closed Mon. No 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 $1.50, and will provide tastes for three people. 9243 Skiilman. 343-0545. Mon-Thur II am-10.30 pm. Fri 11-11, Sat 10 am-II pm, Sun 10 am-10:30 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.

Han-Chu. Han-Chu is a great restaurant for an illicit affair: the place is dark as a cave even at high noon. By Chinese-restaurant standards, it’s even sophisticated-looking: the color scheme is eggplant and burgundy, the waiters are in black tie, and there are roses on the tables. On my most recent visit, I found the shredded pork with ginger sauce to be memorable, thanks to a zippy flavor and an appealing texture imparted by the presence of black mushrooms and bamboo shoots. The princess chicken, on the other hand, was an altogether forgettable aggregation of cubed chicken, celery, and water chestnuts. Caruth Plaza, 9100 N Central Expwy at Park Lane, Suite 191 691-0900 Sun-Thur 11:30 am-I0:30 pm, Fri & Sat ll:30am-ll:30pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Henry Chen’s. This new Chinese restaurant is one of the best-looking Chinese restaurants in town. Of course, pretty is as pretty does, and Henry Chen’s acquits itself honorably on that front: the food, to judge from orange beef and chicken with snow peas, is significantly above average, if not quite as noteworthy as the decor. 3701 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 180. 956-9560. Sun-Thur 11 am-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. Moderare,


Jasmine. This is Dallas’s-who knows, maybe the wor!d’s-only Art Deco Chinese restaurant, complete with a glittering white grand piano pounding out slightly disheveled classics and show tunes. The clientele is faithful, the service eminently professional, the food consistently above average. Among the unusual appetizers is a wonderful vegetable roll, surrounded by the crunchiest casing imaginable.The shrimp rolls, on the other hand, are glutinous and fishy-tasting from their seaweed wrappings. Main courses includeMacadamian chicken that could have used a few moreMacadamia nuts instead of so much canned bamboo, andabalone Imperial that had chewy, canned-tasting abalone butexquisitely cooked scallops and shrimp just touched withginger. The single best dish we have sampled here is Eggplant Delite (much lighter in taste and texture than the usualChinese eggplant preparations): the single worst, a pastilyundercooked sesame apple dessert. 4002 Belt Line Rd, Ad-dison. 991-6867 Sun-Thur 11-10, Fri & Sat 11-11. All creditcards. Moderate. – W.L.T.

Mekong. Mekong’s menu gives Vietnamese and Chinese fare equal time. On the Vietnamese side, appetizers of shredded shrimp and pork rolled with lettuce in lender rice paper taught fire and flavor from the pepper-spiked carrot sauce that came with them. It was a hot pot soup, though, that knocked our socks off. The dish was a stellar array of chicken and seafoods-shrimp, scallops, and catfish- cooked barely tender with still-crisp celery, pepper, and onion strips in an ambrosial broth. I’d have bet nothing from the Chinese listings could possibly equal that soup. I’d have been wrong. An entree of roast duck almost outshone it-roasted whole in a hot stone over camphor wood chips, the golden-skinned bird was delicately scented-served with a saucer of salted lemon juice heavily laden with fresh-ground black pepper, it was superb. 4301 Bryan Street. Suite 101. 824-6200. Mon-Thur 11-10. Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 10-10. All credit cards. Inexpensive.

Taiwan. Ordinary things sit side by side with excellent dishes at the Addison Taiwan. The subnormal egg rolls seem to come from a different kitchen than the light, delicate shrimp dumplings. At least no one can complain any longer that they go too easy on the spicy dishes here; both the Mongolian beef and the tangerine chicken (available on the bargain luncheon menu) we sampled were heavily spiked with hot red peppers. 4980 Belt Line. Addison. 587-2333. Sun-Thur ll:30am-i0:30pm; Fri & Sat 11:30-11:30. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

Tong’s House. Although the dan-dan noodles with sesame-peanut sauce are still some of the best (and some of the only) to be found in town, the rest of a recent dinner at Tong’s was a bummer. Wonton soup was inedibly soggy, moo goo gai pan included canned mushrooms, and orange beef Szechwan-style was too chewy for comfort. All the same, there was a half-hour wait for a table. Still. Tong’s is worth a trip for true Chinese food fens, if only for the opportunity to order such frighteningly authentic dishes as pig’s stomach with bean soup, cold cattle stomach, and beef tendons in hot sauce. 1910 Promenade Center. Richardson. 231-8858. Mon-Thur 11 am-9:30 pm. Fri & Sat 11 am-10:30 pm. Sun 11 am-10 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.


Cleo by Jean-Claude. Fans of the old Jean-Claude- once perhaps Dallas’s best restaurant-will find much to | evoke nostalgia here. Jean-Claude Prevot himself is again much in evidence, and the menu has some old favorites like the pristine, very French, lettuce-only salads, the duck in an Oriental-inspired ginger sauce, and the ethereal chocolate souffles. The price of a four-course fixed meal is just $27.50-remarkably low for what you get. The standout appetizer is the garlicky escargots in a puff-pastry shell, and the best dessert is the hazelnut souffle. Among the entrées, both treatments of fish we sampled were superb. The Centrum, 3102 Oak Lawn, Suite 110. 520-9264. lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:15; dinner 6-10:30. Closed Sun. AE, MC, V. Expensive.

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


L’Ancestral. Country French at this family-run restaurant is anything but rustic-the understated interior is city-sophisticated, the service is smooth, and the food is prepared and presented with polish. First courses-an oniontart accented with pungent orange zest and a salad of tiny-diced ham. tomato, cheese, apple, and cabbage bound withhomemade mayonnaise-were unusual and outstanding.Entreés of grilled sword fish and iamb chops with perfectpommes frites (that’s French fries 10 you) were followedby simple green salads. And to finish. LAncestral offerssoothingly classic desserts-comforting caramel pot decrème and sumptuous chocolate truffle cake. 4514 Travis.528-1081. Lunch Mon-Sat 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10,Fri & Sat 6-11, Sun 6-10. All credit cards. Moderate toexpensive. -M.B.M.

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 first-rate food in a charming setting. A green salad was nicely set off by sherry vinaigrette, and came with a delectable goat cheese crouton. Sun-dried tomato and smoked bell pepper soup was satisfying, if heavy on the bacon. Norwegian salmon and sea scallops steamed with white wine and served with a light rosemary sauce was one of the best treatments of salmon I’ve ever tasted. And duck breast with intensely flavored lavender and honey sauce was worthwhile, too. 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 6:30 pm-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 6:30 pm-11 pm. All credit cards. Expensive to very 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 fee! about Scandinavian/Continental food. For my pan. 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-béamaise veal Oscar. 4537 Cole. 559-0987. Lunch Tue-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Tue-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. All credit cards. Moderate.

Trieste. The owners of La Tosca have come up with a daring idea in dining: a quiet, understated, un-American restaurant. The menu, which changes every Monday, was frankly French on our visit. Entrees included potato (a fen-shape of au gratin slices) and vegetable (slivered zucchini, squash, tomato). The fresh tomato looked as lively as it tasted with its garnish of crème fraiche and dollop of caviar, while the smoked trout mousse folded into rosy slices of smoked salmon was pure silk. The rare lamb slices were bathed in a sauce full of fresh currants, and the French combination plate, lobster medallions and beef tender, was served with two sauces, a classic demi-glace and a rich béar-naise fragrant with tarragon. We were invited to invent our own souffle’ combinations, but it was the lack, rather than the choice, of flavor that made the results (chocolate with hazelnut and mocha with vanilla) disappointing. The homemade ice creams were a better choice. 1444 Oak Lawn Ave., Suite 600. 742-4433. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Tue-Sat 5:30-10. Closed Sun. MC. V, DC. Moderate.


The Chimney. It’s still crowded after all these years at this doyenne of North Dallas restaurants. The food-Middle European without much specific ethnic emphasis-is well prepared, if unsubtle. The special appetizer, a crepe holding a bounteous harvest of seafood. tastes too strongly of capers, for example. The hefty portion of venison tenderloin is cooked to a turn, but the reddish sauce adds little in the way of flavor. Like the food, the setting is pleasant without being memorable. Most of the atmosphere comes from the delicate playing of the pianist at the baby grand-The Chimney is one of the few restaurants where live music is an asset rather than a liability. 9739 N Central Expwy. 369-6466. Lunch Man-Sat 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30. All credit cards. Expensive.

Ruby’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, 1 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. Man 11 am-2 pm, Tue-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri 11 am-midnight. Sat 5 pm-midnighi. Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.



Koste’s Cafe. There is no great Greek food in Dallas; in fact, there’s still not much Greek food at all. Accompanied by a glass of retsina and preceded by an order of saganaki. a combination plate at Kosta’s is as close as you can get to Greece, gustatorily speaking. All the elements are there: the dolma {meat-stuffed vine leaves) were tasty, though their tenderness bordered on mushiness; the souvlaki (grilled lamb chunks) and grilled shrimp were authentically seasoned and nicely cooked; pastitsio, a slightly sweet, tomato-laced casserole of meal and macaroni, was delicious, and the square of spanokopita (layered spinach, filo pastry, and cheese) was savory and flaky. However, everything, even the saganaki, flamed several feel before our eyes, was too cool and the salad was short on feta. olives, and the aromatic oil that normally make salad one of the glories that is Greece. 4914 Greenville. 987-3225. Mon-Thur 11 am-10 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11, Sun 5 pm-10 pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive.


Little Gus’. Little Gus’ is the Clark Kent of Dallas restaurants. During the day, it’s a mild-mannered greasy spoon serving breakfast and burgers. At night it steps into a phone booth and turns into.. super Greek restaurant. The mous-saka and spanakopita are especially commendable. 1916 Greenville. 826-4910. American menu Mon-Sat 7:30 am-4 pm; Greek menu Mon-Thur 6pm~l0pm; Fri & Sat 6pm-Il pm; Sun brunch 9 am-l:45 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.



Akbar. Usually one of our favorite local Indian restaurants,Akbar disappointed us recently. We don’t like our tandoorichicken overcooked and dried out. but surely no one likesit undercooked, and that was the way it was served to us thistime around. The accompanying onion kulcha (bread sniffedwith onions and also cooked in the tandoor, which is an Indian clay oven) was undercooked and gooey, too. Even theshrimp cooked with large pieces of pepper were underdoneto the point of translucence. We hope that this visit was anaberration, but we have noticed that the luncheon buffet-which used to be full of innovative dishes-has slumped alittle lately, as well. 2115 Promenade Center, Richardson235-0260. Lunch Mon-Fri II-2, Sat & Sun 11:30-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10. Fri-Sun 5:30-10:30. All credit cards.Lunch inexpensive, dinner 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 by ways 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. The prices for all these delicacies can mount up rapidly if ordered with necessary extras like the extraordinary Indian breads, but you can compensate for extravagant exploration by alternating with visits to the bargain lunch buffets. 13360 Presion Rd. 392-0190. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30, Sat & Sun noon-3; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10. Fri & Sat 5:30-10:30. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

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


Café ItaHa. Cafe” Italia is informal, and prices are low. which makes one inclined to overlook such minor glitches as flabby garlic bread and flat San Pellegrino water. I tried entrees of an on-the-money combination of cannelloni and manicotti and a very meaty yet unheavy lasagna. Barely sweet flan with a drift of lightly whipped cream and killer-strength espresso made for a nice finish. 5000 Maple. 521-0700. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:30-10, Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-11 pm. Closed Sun, MC. V.AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Camplsli’s Egyptian Restaurant. Campisi’s belongs more in the annals of Dallas folklore than on the list of the city’s serious Italian restaurants. The food isn’t exactly bad, but it has very little to do with Italian food as we know it in other eating establishments. However, for those who grew up on the stuff-and their number is legion, to judge from the ubiquitous line outside the door-nothing else will do. 5610 E Mockingbird. 827-0355. Mon-Fri 11 am-midnight, Sat 11 am-1 am. Sun 11 am-midnight. No credit cords. Moderate.

Lombardl’s Expresso. This takeout/eat-in bakery/café. like Massimo da Milano before it. 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 menu at Lombardi’s Expresso changes from day to day (always a good sign), and the numerous things I tasted were consistently quite good. 6135 Luther Lane. 361-6984. Mon-Sat 8 am-9 pm. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

Massimo Da Milano. If there’s a bad item available at this attractive Italian bakery/cafe. I’ve yet to discover it despite exhaustive research. Although the changing pizza, pasta, and salad offerings are always alluring, more often than not I find myself opting for the focaccia sandwich, round flat bread filled with ham. cheese, leaf lettuce, and tomato slices. For dessert, there are any number of pastries to choose from, but nothing suits a cup of espresso better than the little amaretti cookies. 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.

Momo’s. Momo’s has expanded, and if bigger in this case doesn’t mean better, it also doesn’t mean worse. Which is to say that the food is the same as ever: quite good, if not quite as earthshaking as members of Momo’s fanatical following believe. The pizzas and pastas are especially noteworthy. 9191 Forest Lane. 234-6800. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-1:30 pm; dinner Mon-Thur 5:45-9:30 pm, Fri 5:30-11 pm. Sat 5:30-11, Sun 5:15-9 pm. Reservations recommended. MC, V. Moderate.

Ristorante Savino. Everything on the menu at Savino is a good bet. but I never can resist the vitello tonnato (roasted veal sliced and served cold with tuna sauce-a dish that, trust me. tastes much better than it sounds). The less-than-breathiaking setting is more than offset by the warm service. 2929 N Henderson, 826-7804. Sun-7hur 6 pm-10:30 pm. Fri & Sat 5:30 pm-11 pm. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Sfuzzi. This new McKinney bistro is a fashionably frenzied room full of fashionably friendly waiters serving fashionable frozen bellinis to a high-fashion mob. Pizzas here are exceptional, with a thick but somehow light crust: the grilled salmon pizza with yellow tomatoes ranks as one of the best pies in Dallas, but the veal version, with sun-dried tomatoes, is also a winner. From the selection of “primi plates” (read: grazing menu), the salads were terrific. Arugula and radic-chio were sprinkled with crisp pancetta and crumbled gorgonzola and dressed in balsamic vinaigrette; spinach salad was arranged with grilled chicken chunks, toasted pinenuts, and yellow tomatoes. Pastas aren’t handled as well-a serving of angel hair was overcooked and under-sauced. But fettuccine with pancetta. parmesan, and cream was surprisingly lighter than a classic Alfredo. The dessert selections were good, though a little heavy. 2504 McKinney, 871-2606. Mon-Wed 11:30 am-11 pm; Jhur & Fri 11:30 am-1 am, Sat 11:30 am-1 am. Sun 11:30 am-11 pm. MC, V. Moderate.

Trattoria Lombard!. This is now the oldest extant Lombardi’s location, and even if it’s not quite as pretty as its successors in the West End and Travis Walk, it’s still a swell source for a good Italian meal. A recent lunch of green salad, tortellini. cannelloni, and manicotti was pleasing, if not earth-shattering. The house red wine could use some work, though. 2916 N Hall. 526-7506 Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5-10:30, Fri &. Sat 5-11. Sun 5-10 All credit cards. Moderate.


Kobe Steaks. Kobe lakes 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 pan 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 Plow, 5000 Belt Line at Dallas Parkway. 934-8150. Sun-Iltur 5-11, Fri & Sat 5-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

Mr. Sushi & Hibachi. Mr Sushi’s original location is one of the favorite stops of local seekers of raw fish. This new establishment also includes a hibachi room for those in quest of Benihana-type slice-and-dice grilled thrills. On my visit I unintentionally ended up on the hibachi side, where the food was uninspired. However. my sushi scouts report that the sushi here is as terrific as at the original Mr. Sushi. 9220 Skillman, Suite 227.349-6338. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 5:10-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-11. Sun 5:30-10. All credit cards, M. derate to expensive.


Antonio’s. Alt lough one has to order with care to assure hitting the highlights. Antonio’s is worth a trip for anyone serious about Mexican food Recommended: nachos, which are made with first-class ingredients (black beans, white cheese, fresh-tasting guacamole, jalapenos, and real, runny sour cream), rich-tasting black bean soup, shrimp with a subtly nutty pumpkin-seed sauce, coconut flan, and merengue (whipped cream or chocolate ice cream sandwiched betweer two layer, of egg-white pastry) 14849 Inwood (south of Belt Line). Addison. 490-9557. Dinner Mon-Thur 5 pm- 10 pm, Fri & Sat 5-11 pm. All credit cards. Moderate.

Cadillac Bar. As its name suggests, the focus of the Cadillac Bar isn’t food. Which is just as well, considering what 1 tasted there. The best bets are the nachos, particularly the signature Cadillac nachos (served in a portion large enough to serve as a meal for two moderately hungry people) and the cheesecake. Tequila shots are served by young women equipped with shotglass-filled bandoliers. Pan of the serving procedure includes banging on the table and ululating in a fashion one rarely hears outside private homes and motel rooms. Forewarned is forearmed. 5919 Maple Ave. 350-3777. Mon-Thur 11 am-I0:30 pm. Fri 11 am-mid-nighl.Sat 5 pm-midnight. Sun noon-10:30 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

Chito’s. A New Yorker I know loves Mexican food more than life itself. Chito’s on Maple is where I took her on her last stop in Dallas. and she found its funky setting (featuring tattered orange booths, window-unit air conditioning, and lime green and acid yellow walls) and low prices (guacamole has reached $7 in one Manhattan Mexican restaurant) inordinately satisfying. The food at Chito’s-especially the bean, cheese. and guacamole quesadillas-is good enough to please even native Dallasites. who are accustomed to the Tex-Mex way of life. 4447 Maple, 522-9166. Mon-Thur 9 am-9 pm, Fri & Sat 9 am-4 am, Sun 9 9. MC, V. inexpensive.

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

Jimi’s Baja Boat Club. Jimi’s was formerly Chimi’s, but the menu still says Chimi’s. so one wonders, what’s in a name? A flour tortilla by any other name would taste as good, though not many taste as good as Ch-uh. Jimi’s. The sturdy but flaky rounds enfold shredded chicken or beef to make soft burritos or crisp chimichangas, and piping hot stacks are ready to roll into fajitas. This is not a spot for nibblers-portions are enormous, but good to the last bite, which you will probably want to take with you and finish the next day. The setting is comfortable-lots of plants, wood, and windows make the room seem cozy when it’s cold and airy when it’s warm. Service was enthusiastic, starring one of the best Tex-Mex waitresses in town-a veteran familiar to patrons of the old Guadalajara and El Gallito. But the kitchen was out to lunch on our last visit-bottomless baskets of chips and glasses of tea couldn’t make up for a forty-five-minute wait for our order. 4301 Bryan. 826-0541. Mon-Thur 11 am-midnight. Fri & Sat 11 am-1:30 am. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.


La Calle Doce, The motto on the menu reads “The Shrimp that Goes to Sleep is Swept Away’-the diner’s first clue that this appealing Oak Cliff restaurant specializes in marine Mexican cuisine. Since the place was once a house, you have your choice of eating in the parlor or the dining room, or in the neon-lit enclosed porch, which somehow has a seaside feel. From the seafood side of the menu we triedcamaron a la diabla, shrimp in a spicy-hoi sauce: from thelandlubber list we chose chiles rellenos, stuffed with shredded, not ground, beef and tacos de came deshebrada. Hourtortillas filled with the same tasty mixture. From chips to entrée, the meal was delicious: only the strangely pasty flanwas a disaster. 415 West 12th. 941-4304. Daily II am-9:30pm. All credit cards. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.

Mario ft 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 II:30 am-10:30 pm, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-11 pm. Closed Sun. Drinks with $5.50 membership charge. All credit cards. Moderate.

Martinez Cafe. Tex-Mex abounds in Dallas: top-notch Tex-Mex, however, is relatively rare. That’s where Martinez Cafe comes in. It’s been a long time since standard-issue Tex-Mex made me sit up and take notice as I did here. There’s nothing outre on the menu, just the standards, prepared as they should be. Here you will find snappy salsa, notable nachos. tasty tacos, and enticing enchiladas. Just one caveat: if Mexican food and margaritas are synonymous in your book, don’t come to Martinez Cafe. There aren’t any murgaritan to be had, though beer and wine are available. 3011 Routh. 855-0240. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur5:30-I0, Fri 5:30-11, Sat 11-11. MC, V, AE. Inexpensive.

Mia’s When Mia’s-that bastion of family-run Tex-Mex restaurants known and loved for its melt-in-your-mouth chili rellenos and steam-up-your-mouth sunset sauce-dared to move away from its hole in the wall on Lemmon Avenue 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, it 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 heartened when 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 sunset sauce, we fell 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 venture out to the new patio. 4322 Lemmon. 526-1020. Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. No credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

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

Villa Margarita. If you were just tooling around in the Coit-Belt Line area, chances are that you’d miss Villa Margarita unless you knew it was there. This is a shame, because VM is one of the best Mexican restaurants north of LBJ. Here, in pretty surroundings, you can have some of the best nachos (with black beans, white cheese, and sour cream) to be had in these parts. After the nachos, the standard Tex-Mex is fine, but I prefer the tender, flavorful came asada. 362 Promenade Center, Coit & Bell Line. Richardson. 235-5447. Mon-Thur II am-10 pm, Fri 11-11. Sat 11 am-1 am. Sun 11 am-9 pm. MC, V, AE. Moderate.


Theresa’s Semiramis Bar & Grill. Theresa’s Semi- ramis Grill is the first American venue to offer a hot item in Europe, food cooked on lop of a “Semiramis stone.” The stone is a thick piece of very fine granite about ten inches square, and it is delivered to the table hot enough to cook the various combinations of meats; and vegetables that are offered with it. No oil is used, so the stone is salted to keep the food from sticking. Food cooked without a lot of fat is good for you. but it doesn’t taste particularly exciting (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 and tempting desserts like Godiva Chocolate pie and Kahlua Mocha cake. 601 Pacific at Record, West End. 741-7778. Mon 11 am-2pm, Tue-Thur 11 am-midnighi, Fri II am-2 am, Sat 5 pm-2 am. AH credit cards. Moderate to expensive.



Amadeus. Trammell Crow Center (which used to becalled LTV Center) is one of the most glamorous locationsdowntown, and its mezzanine floor is a lovely site for theNew American restaurant called Amadeus. But while thefood is good enough, it doesn’t have the distinction to lurepeople to make a special trip in the evening-so in therecently added evening hours Amadeus can seem like a partynobody came to. Such appetizers as sautéed shrimp on limebeurre blanc and quail on salad greens had the advantage ofperfectly cooked main ingredients but the drawbacks of lackluster sauces. The sautéed duck breast had the oppositeproblem: a pepper) crust and piquant blueberry sauceadorned overcooked fowl. Service is slightly formal and particularly attentive. Trammell Crow Center, Suite 250. 2001Ross at Harwood- 979-2620. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; din-ner Tue-Thur 6:30-10. Fri & Sat 6:30-11. All credit cards.Expensive. -W.LT

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. 873-2345. Lunch daily 11:30-2:30; dinner daily 6-11; late-night menu Fri & Sat 11 pm-2 am; brunch Sun 11:30-3. All credit cards. Inexpensive to moderate.

Beau Nash. It’s a heady sensation in often early-to-bed Dallas to see a bar and restaurant thronged with people after II on a weeknight (though more of the glitzy patrons were drinking than eating). But the crowds can be noisy, and the trendiness of this glossy spot carries over to the menu, sometimes to its detriment. Everything we sampled 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 Breakfast Mon-Fri 6:30-10, Sat & Sun 7-10, lunch daily 11:30-2:15; dinner Sun-Thur 6:30-10:15, Fri & Sat 6:30-11:15; Sun brunch 11:30-2:15 All credit cards. 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 oilier 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 out 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 Rawtins. 520-1985. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 5:30-10:30, Fri & Sat 5:30-midnight. All credit cards. Moderate to expensive.

City Cafe. The simple dishes had it all over the complicated ones here on our last visit. The ordinary-sounding fresh tomato soup turned out to be comfort food for angels. and the sautéed sole with lemon butter was elegant perfection. The Maryland crabcakes. on the other hand, hardly justified all the effort, and the roasted shoulder of wild boar stuffed with wild rice, pine nuts, and currants with a cranberry cassis sauce proved overcooked and chewy. At dessert time, however, elaboration won the day with a peanut butter fudge pie, whipped cream, and hot fudge sauce. 5757 W Lovers Lane (just west of Dallas N Tollway). 351-2233. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Sat 6-10:30 Closed Sun. MC, V, AE. 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 dégustation. with a fixed price of $38.50, changes daily and is a good bet. A la carte choices are expensive, but choices like Maine lobster, wild mushrooms, and basil with fettuccine and roasted pheasant with green apple pasta and blue cheese sauce are well worth the tariff- Desserts are killers here, especially the soufflé of the day (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 better to accommodate changing offerings according to season-and the creative inspiration of Dean Fearing. Regulars tend to opt for whatever appears on any given day; diners for whom the Mansion is a relatively rare experience may prefer to sample such classics as the peerless tortilla soup; Louisiana crab cakes with a sauce of smoked chilies, lobster, and blood orange; and crème brulée with raspberry sauce for dessert. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Main dining room-jackets and ties required. Lunch Mon-Fri noon-2:30; brunch Sat noon-2:30. Sun 11-2:30; dinner Sun-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-11; supper Mon-Thur 10:30 pm-midnight, Fri & Sat 11 pm-midnight. Promenade Room- breakfast daily 7am-ll am; tea Mon-Fri 2-5 pm. 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, Fairmont Hotel. 720-5249. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner daily 6-11. All credit cards. Expensive.

Routh Street Cafe. Routh Street Cafe’s formula for national gastronomic feme: Stephan Pyles’s New Southwestern Cuisine; a sleek, Tonny Foy-designed setting; and snappy, congenial service. The five-course, fixed-price menu ($42. with surcharges for certain items) is printed daily, but certain items-such as 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 apple-walnut 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 advance. 3005 Routh at Cedar Springs. 871-7161. Tue-Sat 6-10:30 pm. Closed Sun & Mon. Reservations. All credit cards. Expensive.

Sam’s Cafe. Sam’s Cafe is the Southwestern sister of Mariel Hemingway’s chic New York bistros, and like most restaurants that open with a big bang, the place is usually packed. On one 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 cilan-tro cream. Skewers of grilled chicken were moist and flavorful and the three accompanying sauces-poblano béarnaise, fresh tomato, and barbecue-were tasty. Sam’s Caesar salad is, in good 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 béamaise, come off better than more complicated dishes. Desserts provided. as they should, a pleasant memory of the meal. Apple cobbler was a soothing, grandmother’s dessert, hot and fragrant with cinnamon, and chocolate shortcake put an Oreo twist on the American classic. 100 Crescent Court, Suite 100 855-2233. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Thur 6-11, Fri-Sun 6-midnight. MC, V, AE. Moderate.

San Simeon. Richard Chamberlain’s food matches the splendor of San Simeon’s service and its subtly, weirdly wonderful, post-modern Egyptian interior. (Keep your eye on the lighting, it changes over the course of a meal.) Pick hits include a chowder of corn, wild rice, and duck sausage; chilled bow-tie pasta and proseiutto with sage walnut pesto; and Romano-crusted veal with angel-hair pasta and tomato sauce. 2515 McKinnty at Fairmount in Chateau Plaza. 871-7373. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2:30: dinner Sun-Thur 6-10:30, Fri & Sat 6-1!: Sun brunch 11-2:30. All credit cards. Expensive.

Spatz. The menu here holds little more than a couple of soups, a couple of salads, a short list of pasta dishes (all made with the same delectable, at dente fettuccine), and simple things like fried catfish. The pastas are dependably flavorful, from a smoky-tasting number with peppered bacon and mushrooms to an assertive version with anchovies, capers, and lots of garlic. The fried things-such as big. tender shrimp-are surprisingly memorable, too, with homemade potato chips and a perky chili sauce on the side. Most of the obvious ambition here seems to go into the daily specials like a poblano pepper stuffed with chicken and coated with a crisp cornmeal batter. Desserts sound rather ordinary, but care obviously goes into their preparation, The apple pie a la mode has too strong a taste of cloves, but the fruit is firm and the crust tender. 2912 N Henderson. 827-7984. Lunch Tue-Sat 11:30-3: dinner Tue-Thur 5:30-11. Fri & Sat 5:30-midnight. Sun brunch 11-3:30. All credit cards. Moderate.


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.) 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, Addison. 934-8502. Sun-Thur 11 am-11 pm, Fri & Sat 11-11. All credit cards. Moderate.

Hampton’s Seafood. If you like Newport’s, but you’d rather not hang out in the neighborhood of the Starck Club, Hampton’s is your kinda place. Pluses include an enthusiastic staff, fresh fish, and generous cocktails. We enjoyed the grilled mahi-mahi in a beurre blanc sauce with baby shrimp, but the tortellini marinara had been sitting too long in the kitchen, and we missed the warm sourdough bread we remembered from the last visit. Berkshire Court, Preston Center, Preston at Northwest Hwy. 739-3474. Mon-Thur il:30am-10pm, Fri & Sat 11:30-11. Sun ll:30 am-9pm. MC, V. AE. Moderate.

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


Chaise Lounge. “This Is The Place Your Mother Warned You About,” says the sign outside. Maybe so. but the food served inside this dark madhouse is swell; corn and conch chowder, pan-fried trout, and rice and raisin pudding with heavy cream arc transcendently noteworthy. If you don’t like to rock out to Cajun music, it’s advisable to sit in the kitchen at dinner. 3010 N Henderson. 823-1400. Man-Wed 5 pm-10:30pm, Thur-Sat 5 pm-ll pm. Closed Sun. MC, V.AE. Inexpensive to moderate.

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

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

Tolbert’s. Tolbert’s lives again, though in a different location in a slick downtown office tower. Still, the place is sufficiently rusticated in appearance to make it a good place to bring out-of-towners disappointed in Dallas’s lack of way-out-West charm. It may be blasphemy to say, but I’ve never been a fan of Tolbert’s chili. The burgers, however, are fine, and the donkey tails-flour tortilla-wrapped, deep-fried, cheese-stuffed hot dogs-are junk food nonpareil. Skip dessert, especially the farkleberry sundae, which is vanilla ice cream sullied with blueberry glop. 350 N St Paul. Suite 160. 953-1353. Mon-Thur 11 am-8pm, Fri & Sat 11 am-10 pm. Closed Sun. Alt credit cards. Inexpensive.



Del Frisco’s. In some respects, this scion of a distinguished New Orleans steakhouse is Da lias’s most satisfactory purveyor of prime beef (we mean the bona fide USDAgraded, aged stuff). The steep prices include extras here, asthey 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 bememorable. But on our last visit, the steaks weren’t quite asmajestic as on a previous visil. They still had a fine flavorand were cooked just as we had ordered, but there seemedto be more tendons and chewy parts than we remembered.We weren’t sure whether these shortcomings were the faultof a less than ardent trimmer or a couple of overexercisedsteers. They didn’t spoil our visit, but they did lake the usualedge of pleasure off of it. 4300 Lemmon. 526-2101. DinnerMon-Thur 5-10. Fri & Sat 5-11, Sun 5-9. All credit cards.Expensive. -W.LT.

Morton’s of Chicago. 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 soufflé 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.

The Palm Restaurant. Garish caricatures of the famous and infamous cover the walls of the noisy Dallas branch of this New Yark steakhouse. The place is a circus, but the food is serious, though almost absurdly abundant. The gargantuan servings of meat and potatoes defy all rules of portion control; however tasty the food, it’s hard to believe anyone could finish a meal here. 701 Ross Ave. 698-0470. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-3: dinner Mon-Thur 3-10, Fri & Sat 3-10:30, Sun 3-9:30. All credit curds. Very expensive.

Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse. You get real Southern hospitality at this New Orleans import. On our last visit. drink orders and selections of cut and side dishes were noted with dispatch and we settled down to the business of beef. The thick porterhouse steak arrived, sizzling in a pool of butter and parsley. It was flavorful and cooked exactly to order, but a little chewy. The lyonnaise potatoes were delicious and more than enough for two people; the steak was supposed to feed two, but we took home plenty for Fido. 5922 Cedar Springs Rd. 902-8080. Lunch Mon-Sun 11:30-4 pm; dinner Mon-Sat 4-11:30. Sun 5-11:30. All credit cards. Expensive.


Bagelstein’s. As you go deeper into this storefront establishment, you discover that it 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 tare 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 tast few years. Northwood Hills Shopping Center, 8104 Spring Valley. 234-3787. Mon 6 am-3 pm. Tue-Sun 6 am-9 pm. All credit cards. Inextensive to moderate.


City Market. Remember, a cup of soup equals onevegetable salad, two vegetable salads equal one meat salad,a bowl of soup eduals one meal salad plus 50 cents, andsandwiches are only available in the other line. – There aresome confusing features about the cafeteria-style service atthis slick city lunch spot, but by the end of your meal onething is clear; a better fast lunch will be hard to find. Ordering does involve some executive decision-making-it’s hardto choose from the wide selection of delicious, imaginativesalads (almond chicken with rice, potatoes in pesto withblack olives, marinated beef with peppers), hearty soups,and excellent sandwiches. This is not the time to skipdessert-in addition to the apricot-raisin bread pudding, onmy last visit there was a glorious hot chocolate puddingcakeI thought only my mother could make. 200 LTV Center (Rossat Norwood). 979 2690. Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm. MC, V.Inexpensive. -M.B.M.

Pasta Plus. One of Dallas’s first fresh pasta shops is still one of the best, for pasta anyway. Prepared items-meat lasagna. baked ziti with three cheeses, and chicken cannelloni were our hoices-were presented in Mom-style pyret casseroles and looked delicious, but suffered in taste and texture when reheated. Salads (green, marinated vegetable, and pasta) were good, but the pasta outshines the pluses-rotelle, meat-stuffed tonellini and marinara and piselli (cream with nushrooms and peas) sauces were wonderful in any combination. Both the homemade Italian cream cake and rum cake for dessert were moist and rich; however, Mrs. Field’s makes better cookies. Be forewarned- Pasta Plus doesn’t take credit cards, which seems odd takeout implies convenience, and for me, convenience means plastic. 225 Preston Royal East, 373-3999. 714 Preston Forest. 373 3733. Mon-Fri II am-7 pm. Sat 10 am-6 pm. No credit cards. Inexpensive.


Tomasso’s. The pasta’s fine at this Italian to-go shop-it’savailable in a mind boggling variety of shapes and flavors-but the take-out is really tops. Classic dishes like lasagna andcannelloni hold up well after reheating, and the rotolo, pastarolled with ricotta, spinach, and mozzarella and topped withyour choice of sauce, makes an impressive first course or,sided with salad and bread, an elegant lunch or supper entree. Even desserts -such as cappuccino cheesecake-aredelicious. There is also a Limited selection of Italianessentials-good quality olive oil, pesto, fresh parmesan.and bread, so this really is one-stop shopping for thegourmet on the go. 3034 Mockingbird at Central, 937-4415;5365 Spring Valley at Montfort, 991-4040. N Mon-Fri 11am-7 pm. Sat 10 am 6pm, closed Sun at both locations. MC.V. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.


Chao Wang. Though there are ethnic restaurants in most parts of Dallas. That 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 at Chao Wang includes only Chirese dishes, which can be avoided on the dinner menu. ’ There is live musical entertainment on weekend nights. Keystone Park Shopping Center. Suite 400. 13929 N Central Expressway. 437-3900. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-2:30; dinner Mon-Wed 5-10. Thur-Sun 5 pm-2 am. Ait credit cards. Moderate.

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


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 110. 821-1880. Daily 8 am-9 pm. No credit cards, inexpensive.

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


Cacharel. This pretty establishment with a glassed-in exhibition kitchen has a fixed price of $10 for lunch and S24 for dinner. The fare-including such Gallic classics as green salad with goat cheese, asparagus soup, scallops with an assertive tarragon sauce, and lamb with a natural-juice sauce-would be worth twice the tariff. BrookhoHow Two, 2221 E Lamar, Suite 910, Arlington. 640-9981. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30-2; dinner Mon-Thur 6-10, Fri & Sat 6-11. Closed Sun. All credit cards. Moderate.

Via Real. Dramatic abstract pictures dominate the walls, and even the menus are original handcrafted works by the same artists. The contents of the menu are as fresh as the look of the place-you might call the concept New Wave Mexican, with a hint of Continental Spanish influence. The appetizers include such novelties as crepa de salmone (thin slices of smoked salmon enfolded in crêpes and served dry except for a garnish of pico de gallo) and rellenos de pescado (cylinders of fish mousse studded with salmon and surrounded by a rich sauce). Main courses at Via Real also tilt toward the seafood end. Town North Centre, 3591 N Belt Line at Northgate, Irving. 255-0064. Lunch Mon-Fri 11-5, Sat 11-2; dinner Sun-Thur 5-10, Fri & Sat 5-11; Sun brunch 11-2. All credit cards. 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 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 Dinner Mon-Sat &-10. All credit cards. 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 1 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 sword fish provencal and nicely roasted duck with cherry sauce were all one could ask for. (Actually, one could ask that the duck be boned.) For dessert, pass on the fluffy, lightweight chocolate mousse and opt for the extraordinary crème caramel. 3617 W Seventh. (817) 737-2781. Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2pm; dinner Mon-Sat 6-10 pm. Closed Sun. MC. V, AE. Moderate.


Amnlzta. 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 Northwest Hwy, Suite 632. 351-1262. Tue-Thur 7 pm-2 am, Fri & Sat 7 pm-4 am. Sun 7 pm-2 am. Closed Mon. MC, V, AE.

Barnacles. What a find! This place is comfortable, easygoing in the Lower Greenville manner, bedecked with nets and other bits of nautical kitsch. On a balmy evening with (he front doors thrown open, it has that “Nawlins” flavor. The huge mural of the Mississippi past and present wins immediate entry into the Dallas Museum of Great Bar Art, where it joins the massive Mardi Gras heads that decorate Fa( 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, perfecto pasta, thick cheese bread, and carrots. The musical fere can be uneven, but there’s no cover charge, so who’s complaining? 1915 Greenville. 826-2623. Mon-Sai 5 pm-2 am, Sun 7 pm-2 am. MC, V. DC, CB.

Boiler 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. Man-Sat 7:30 pm-2 am. MC, V. AE.

Chaise Lounge. It’s nice that Esquire agrees with what we’ve said ail along-this is a great club for drinking, eating, playing, and meeting. The well-trained staff is a real asset here. Under the guidance of Dick Chase, the gonzo barmeister, they’re friendly, lively, and knowledgeable about the drinks (watch that Sex on the Beach) and the standout Cajun-based food. If the Chaise has a drawback 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. Mon-Sat 5 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. MC. V. AE.

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

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

Empire. At Dallas’s latest club to the beautiful people. everyone wears black, they all look worldly, they don’t all look straight, and they absolutely adore this former dinner theater on the edge of Deep Ellum. The owners call Empire “elegant,” “classical,” “modern,” “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. Sun-Thur 5 pm-2 am, Fri & Sat 5 pm-4 am. AE.

Fat Tuesday. We’re glad this bar recently celebrated its first anniversary. The drinks (potent frozen slush concoctions, many of which contain 190 proof alcohol), Mardi Gras atmosphere, and unusual bar food (New Orleans-style Po’ Boys and other Cajun staples) have spelled survival in these doom-and-gloom times. We only wish the dance floor were bigger and the music was live every night. 6778 Greenville. 373-7377. Daily 3 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.

Froggy Bottoms. Ever wondered what a basement bar during prohibition must have looked like? This is it. A wonderful rhythm and blues club offering good barbecue and cold beer, the atmosphere here was definitely designed for good times in a very small setting. The Tonny Foy decor can best be described as early flea market. The walls are decorated with graffiti and scrap metal. Pan of Dallas Alley in the West End Marketplace. 2019 N Lamar. 988-0581. Daily 7:30 pm-2 am. Cover varies. MC, V, AE.

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 that 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. This is a great place to slow down from the fast lane of other Dallas night spots. 8442 Walnut Hill at Greenville. 373-7171. Sun 10:30 arr-3 pm & 5 pm midnight. Mon-Thur 11:30 am-midnighl, Fri & Sat 11:30 am-1 am. No cover. All credit cards.

Greenville Avenue Country Club. Chic Understated-ly elegant. Exclusive None of these words have anything to do with the GACC, and they’ll throw anyone in the pool who pretends otherwise. Despite the name, this remains one of the best beer and sandwich bars in town. The patio’s now covered for chilly days and the restrooms, thankfully, have been brought into the 20th century. Otherwise, this is the friendly, comfortable joint it always was, 3619 Greenville. 826-5650 Daily 1 am-2 am. MC. V, AE.

Improv Comedy Club and Restaurant. A good thing about this place is hat 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 wity you. Another good thing is there’s not really a bad seat in the house-even from the back you can clearly see the facial expressions of the cornics 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 Corner Shopping Center), 750 5868, Showtimes Sun-Thur 8:30 pm, Fri & Sat 8:30 & 10:45. MC, V, AE.

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. Mon & Tue noon-midnight, Wed-Fri noon-2 am. Sat 6,

Library. Sit back in the big, cushy den chairs and sip a Manhattan or a martini or a scotch on the rocks. No strawberry daiquiris. please: this is a bar for adults. But a beet would be fine in this comfortable, sophisticated spot lucked away in a back corner of the Melrose Hotel. There’s even a piano player to soothe your soul. Melrose Hotel, Oak Lawn at Cedar Springs. 521-5151. Mon-Sat II am-2 am. Sun 11 am~midnight. All credit cards.

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

Max’s 403. Brace yourself! There’s another -high-energy dance club” on Upper Greenville. This one has been the rageof the dancc-and-ge -picked-up set since its December opening. In the same location where Packard’s and Brio wereonce the latest hot clubs, this latest hot club promises state-of-the-art music and sound systems and a more sophisticated |crowd. In other words, it’s the same old thing-which seems just fine to everyone who packs the place. 5500 Greenville, Suite 403. 361-9517. rue-7hur 5 pm-2 am, Fri 5pm-3am,Sat’l7pm-3 am. Sun 7 pm-2 am. MC. V. AE.

Outback Pub. In an age where people actually pay bar | consultants to engineer dives that are studiously raunchy and raucous (Dick’s, The Chaise Lounge), the West End’s Out-’ back Pub is an Aussie twist on an age-old theme. It’s a pub. Novel idea. Darts, shuffleboard, pool, neon beer signs, soundless soap ope as, good, cold beer. The food is cheap and filling; the karma is right for playing hooky from work. 1701 Market. 761-9355. Daily 11 am-2 am. All credit cards…

Pinot’s Wine Bar. You want wine by the glass. this is the place to get it-twenty-one varieties, ranging in price from $2.50 to $21 a glass. (If you’re trying to check out all twenty-one in one night, the half-glass option might be advisable.),. There is a menu, and it’s more than passable, but wine, not; food, is the lure here. Pinot’s setting is closer to plain than plush, which doesn’t seem to bother in the least the wine and restaurant business crowd that gravitates here. 2926 N Henderson. 826-1949. Tue-Sun 4 pm-midnight. MC, V, AE.

Plaza Bar. This bar is the perfect spot to grab a quick brewski and flag down your friends before making the great trek through the West End. Green and black marble, stone pillars, and black * ought-iron bar stools and tables make this a handsome hangout, but not a very cozy one. That’s okay, since the drinks are stiff and conveniently packaged to go. Part of the Dalls Alley in the West End Marketplace. 2019 N Lamar. 988- 0581. Daily II am-2 am. MC V. AE.

Poor David’s Pub. Has anything changed at Poor David’s-ever? Hmm. That poster, upper right from the stage, may not have been there in 1984. Hard to say. Pitcher prices have nudged upwards a bit. but not much. Other than that, Poor David’s is happily frozen in time. Anson and the Rockets still provide straight-ahead blues several times a month; name acts 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 pintail machine, if you can believe it. (Wait a minute-that is a pintail machine.) 1924 Greenville. 821-9891. Mon-Sat 7 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. Cover varies. No credit cards.

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

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

State Bar. One sign of a bar’s success is the sighting of T-shirts emblazoned with its logo on the persons of its patrons and would-be patrons. By that standard, State Bar is nearly as successful as-and far more hip than-the Hard Rock Cafe. What has made State Bar’s martini-glass trademark omnipresent is simple: this is a bar for low-key Bohemians who want to have civilised conversation while gazing out picture windows facing the fairgrounds across the street. The subdued lighting and moderate volume of the music make this possible. The effect is of a gallery opening without the pictures. 3611 Parry. 821-9246 Dally 4 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.

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 Daily 11 am-2 am. AE.

Studebakers. I mean, this place is gettin’ old, Johnny! I mean, I’m in there the other night, and this woman asks for my podiatrist’s phone number! Old. I tell ya! Seriously, folks, while the median age here is on the darker side of for-ty. this nostalgia bar is still rockin’ with Chuck. Dion. Elv. Bobby, Frankie. more Bobbies, more Frankies, and of course those famous dancing waitresses. The sound track is inching into the Seventies now, having reached the Eagles but stopped, mercifully, short of the Bee Gees. The no-jeans dress code is gone, but the generous happy hour buffet remains, now underwritten by a cover charge on most nights. The bar continues to make a major production of that loathsome classic of cutesy rock, “Hand Jive.” Arghh. But take heart: at least nobody refers to “Heard it Through the Grapevine” as “the raisin song.” NorthPark East. 8788 N Central Expwy 696-2475. Mon-Fri 4pm-2 am. Sat 7 pm-2 am. Closed Sun. All credit cards.

Take 5. Though we were drawn into Take 5 by virtue of sheer volume, it’s hard to hit an off night here. The music is consistently good; on our first visit. Dallas Brass and Electric cranked out everything from Prince to vintage Chicago. Even on a Sunday, there’s reason here to celebrate. Part of Dallas Alley in the West End Marketplace. 2019 N Lamar 988-0581. Daily 7:30 pm-2 am. MC, V, AE.

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

Terilli’s. Terillis is always packed-with jazz lovers, serious drinkers, people wailing for a table for dinner, and Greenville Avenue wanderers. The bartenders are attentive and friendly; the drinks are on the money; the live jazz on Tuesday through Sunday is great if you can hear it above the roar of the crowd: and you can order Italchos-Terilli’s trademark Italian nachos-until 1 a.m. One caveat: the open kitchen is right next to the bar and it gets as hot as Hades on a busy night. Leave the sweaters at home. 2815 Greenville. 827-3993. Mon-Sat 9 am-2 am. Sun 11 am-2 am. MC. V. AE.

Tilt. This drinking mans arcade is just the ticket if you’re experiencing withdrawal pains between visits to the State Fairs famous Midway. Tilt is two long rooms lined with. among other things, pinball machines, shoot-the-duck-as-it-bobs-in-the-water games, motorcycles-with-screens-mounted-on-their-dash-that-simulate-obKtacle-course games, and games testing marksmanship with a water pistol that could make you the winner of that stuffed Spuds hanging on the top row Kick back with your favorite libation and enjoy being a kid again. In the West End Marketplace. 60S Munger, 720-7276. Mon-Sat 5 pm-2 am. Sun noon-8 pm. AH credit cards.

Venetian Room. The old king of the Dallas showroom supper clubs still consistently brings in the most recognizable names in pop-jazz-comedy acts. The posh, elegant place, with its frescoes an the walls and tuxedoed waiters, might be intimidating to some, but the dress code has been loosened (you can gel by without tie or fancy dress), the cover charge ranges from twelve to twenty dollars, and you don’t have to buy the full-course dinner (which starts at twenty dollars) to come to the show. Fairmont Hotel, Ross and Akard. 720-2020. Tue-Sun, two shows Ihur-Sat at 9pm and II pm. All credit cards.

Video 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. 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 not hovering; the wine selection, extensive-to say the least. 4217 Oak Lawn. 522-8720. Tue-Sat 11 am-2 am. Sun & Mon II am-midnighi, AH 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 has a neighborhood 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 & 4pm-midnight, Mon 5 pm-midnight. MC. V. AE.

Zebo’s. This is a wide-open pop-music dance bar that’s unpretentious and has a low cover charge-an increasingly rare find. Zebo’s real forte, however, is its Rockabilly Wednesday, which features live bands and pumped-in rock ’n’ roll. 5915 E Northwest Hwy. 361-4272. Tue-Fri 5 pm-2 am, Sat & Sun 7 pm-2 am. Closed Mon. MC, V.


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 musk of Robert Ealey and the Blues-blasters. This is rhythm and blues at its finest, but sssshhh! 5636 Wellesley. (817) 732-6243. Fri & Sat 10 pm-2 am. No credit cards.

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

The Hop. In three words, The Hop is warm, woody, and wonderful. It has the air of a typical college hangout (it’s just one block from TCU). but lacks the cutesy crowd or trendy atmosphere. A stage tucked in the corner features national and local bands, with music ranging from folk to reggae, rock to country. Although all the food is good, none of it can surpass the pizza. 2905 W Berry. (817)923-7281. Mon-Sat II am-2 am. Sun 4 pm-midnight. MC. V. AE.

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