Eating out is certainly one of Dallas’s favorite pastimes, but talking about eating out ranks right up there, too-from your basic where are we going tonight and have you tried the 8.0 yet to crucial questions like where’s the best place to pop the question? Here at D, we try to give you reviews you can trust, month after month, but it’s no easy task. Any good critic is also opinionated-but so are our readers.
So we decided to give you a chance to tell us where you like to go. We put a ballot in the May issue and you rose to the challenge. More than 1,000 readers responded, and every restaurant in town-including some we’ve never heard of-must have gotten a vote somewhere, from the smallest little Mom ’n’ Pop to the biggest fast-food chains. Some of your picks were predictable (Showbiz as the best place to take the kids); others were surprising (we really weren’t expecting to crown a new prince of pizza). Some of the bad jokes made us groan (for a while we thought To The Cleaners might just win the Best Place To Take Your Boss race) and most of you wouldn’t win any spelling bees, but we had fun listening.
We did have one casualty-your selection for Best Brunch, by a landslide, no longer serves its Sunday brunch. Yes, folks, the sumptuous buffet at the Loews Anatole Hotel is no more; now the only choice there is to brunch on a la carte selections at Nana Grill, reservations only. Congrats are in order, anyway, and to the runners-up: Le Peep and the Landmark Cafe at the Melrose.
And when it was all over, there were three lucky readers who won prizes for participating, just as we promised. The third-place winner-who gets a one-year subscription to D-is Patrick Wright of Fort Worth. The second-place winner was supposed to win brunch for two at the winner in that category, and since we’re relatively certain that the Anatole won’t put up the display one Sunday just for us, we’ll let the winner-D.W. Landers of Dallas-choose between the two runners-up. The first-place winner, Elizabeth A. Booth of Dallas, is on her way to the Mansion on Turtle Creek-winner in the Most Romantic race-for dinner for two.
-Betty Cook and Laura Jacobus
This was a close race-at least among the top five or so-but The Mansion on Turtle Creek (2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., 526-2121) took the prize. And why not? For ten years the Mansion has reigned as the top special-occasion spot in town and as the place for showing off. Obviously, you enjoy (and so do we) New American specialties executed with a Southwestern flair, cuisine that has played a major role in earning Dallas star stature as a culinary capital.
Runners-up: The Riviera, Routh Street Cafe
You were wooed and won again here by The Mansion on Turtle Creek. For the beauty of the setting? Well, yes, but indications are that you find the Mansion experience much more than pretty-from the quick takeover of your car by beaming attendants to the ritual welcome at the maitre d’s station, right on through exquisite service of fine fare and wines in a setting of no-stone-unturned splendor, dinner à deux here is an evening to remember. And isn’t that what romance is all about?
Runners-up: The Riviera, Jennivine
Chef Dean Fearing’s crème bruiée at The Mansion on Turtle Creek has inspired near-rhapsodic reviews from national as well as local critics. Now it’s rated your rave, too, for its rich, satiny texture and the delectable treasure of seasonal fruit that complements its fragile glaze of burnt-sugar topping. Never mind that Fearing has fearlessly shared his prized recipe-he knows as well as you do that the dish will never taste quite as divine anywhere else as it does at the Mansion.
Runners-up: Gershwin’s chocolate sack and The Riviera’s crème brulée
Ahh, Italian… romance, pasta, and the focaccia bread at Lombardi’s at Travis Walk (4514 Travis, 521-1480) spring to mind for a majority of our voters. Well, they didn’t really specify that the focaccia made the difference, but we’ve never met anyone who didn’t like it. And the rest of Lombardi’s authentic, flavorful lunch and dinner selections measure up, too.
Runners-up: II Sorrento, Pomodoro
Romance again: the cherubs smiling down from the vaulted ceiling of The French Room (The Adoiphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce, 742-8200) have stolen your hearts. Of course, near-regal service and plate presentations as elegant as the setting may have influenced your votes, too. But surely the food had to be the deciding factor-impeccably French at the cuisine’s most refined.
Runners-up: The Riviera, The Grape
Apparently, masses of our readers search Chinese menus with an eye for the red stars-because piquant is what you picked with Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan (Galleria, 13350 Dallas Parkway, Suite 3370, 934-9998). This upscale Chinese retreat is known for its suave treatment of fiery regional specialties-sliced duck, crispy quail, and salmon appetizers-as well as for service that is urbanely attentive, never hovering.
Runners-up: Taiwan, August Moon
Kobe Steaks (Quorum Plaza, Belt Line at Dallas Parkway, 934-8150) was your solid favorite here, with its nimble-fingered, wisecracking showman chefs who slash, sliver, and sizzle your meal before your hypnotized eyes. Peerlessly fresh ingredients, unfailingly perfect preparation, and an unchanging menu keep revelers happy with the food; sharing the experience with other diners keeps the atmosphere upbeat and friendly.
Runners-up: Sakura Japanese Restaurant, Royal Tokyo
They’re juicy, they’re fresh, they’re bigger than a breadbox-well, figuratively speaking. Anyway, we know of few places that stack up a heftier hamburger than Snuffer’s (3526 Greenville Ave., 826-6850), which stacks up the most votes from you in this category. You like ’em with both kinds of cheese, please, and the messier the better.
Runners-up: Chip’s, Chili’s
BEST FRENCH FRIES
Snuffer’s French fries took top honors right alongside its burgers on your best-of list. No argument here-stacked eye-high in their baskets, these fresh-hewn sticks are a mellow favorite plain or loaded with Cheddar. Yes, they’re salty. Yes, they’re deadly. And, yes, they’re delicious.
Runners-up: McDonald’s, Chili’s
Copeland’s of New Orleans (5353 Belt Line, 661-1883) rode a high-tide wave of popularity to take this category. A sibling spin-off of a New Orleans-based restaurant of the same name, the establishment has turned its Far North Dallas corner into a French Quarter-styled favorite, packing in the faithful for an astonishing spread of slow-burn Southern dishes. The broad menu’s specialties range from dark-sauced Cajun to lighter Creole treatments of mostly seafood, and today’s fitness-minded Dallas dwellers applaud Copeland’s spicy style and amiable ambience.
Runners-up: Atchafalaya River Cafe, Crescent City Cafe
Tex Mex lovers’ loudest olés were for Cantina Laredo (4546 Belt Line, 458-0962). the North Dallas outpost of Old Mexico. Terrific margaritas might be one reason, along with the fine house salsa and snap-ping-fresh chips this place sets out. It could be the traditional combinations that won your loyalty, or even such non-cliché home-style comidas as barbecued baby goat.
Runners-up: On the Border Cafe, Mia’s
Never mind this thin-crust stuff-you like your pizza deep-dish, Chicago-style, and you like it best at Pizzeria Uno (2811 McKinney Ave., 855-0011, and 4002 Belt Line, 991-8181). Rich fillings (even seafood and Mexican variations) on a chewy, biscuit-like base earned your accolades here, along with Uno’s uncommon array of soups, salads, and other accents. These sides are fine, but it’s the pizza that’s kept you standing in line since Day One-and made Pizzeria Uno your Numero Uno choice.
Runners-lip: Campisi’s Egyptian, Ciao
Celebration (4503 W. Lovers Lane, 351-5681) is your favorite spot when you’re bargain-hunting. This long-running Lovers Lane refuge for the homesick serves up satisfying Southern fare in Sunday-dinner style. Roast chicken and pot roast are favorites, biscuits are home-baked, vegetables are a vast array, super-fresh, underseasoned, never overcooked. Beauty part is that this homey banquet is served family style, in pass-around bowls kept refilled on the warm copper tables.
Runners-up: On The Border Cafe; (tie for 3rd) Good Eats, Highland Park Cafeteria
BEST NEW AMERICAN
August is Magic Month for Routh Street Cafe (3005 Routh St., 871-7161). Last year, the restaurant celebrated its fifth anniversary with a renovation-so the setting’s sophistication would match that of the food. This year, you’re the celebrants, having named Routh Street the leading local New American contender. It’s hardly surprising-chef Stephan Pyles’s winning ways of translating regional foods into creatively distinguished dishes have kept the Routh Street Cafe name high on international, as well as Dallas, awards lists.
Runners-up: Actuelle, Gershwin’s
FAVORITE NEW RESTAURANT
In one of the closest races of the poll, Brasserie Calluaud (4544 McKinney, 521-2277) grabbed the brass ring as your favorite new spot in town. A tribute to your taste as well as your loyalty-Guy Calluaud captured Dallas’s heart years ago with his five-star French cuisine, and the shock wave that staggered the faithful when the original Calluaud’s was razed to make room for Hard Rock Cafe’s parking lot had never subsided. Now, though few can pronounce his name, fans have his fare back again.
Runners-up: Lakewood Plaza Grill, Pomodoro
There’s a Jason’s (104 Preston Royal Shopping Center, 373-9173, seven other locations) close to almost everyone, and you’re loving them, apparently-you gave them a landslide victory in this category. Can it be because these spiffy feed stations are unfailingly immaculate, their service swift and friendly? Is it the full menu of familiar deli fare, the fresh salad bar, the football-sized baked potatoes? Whichever, Jason’s may be more like a Texan’s dream of everything a deli might be than the genuine New York article, but it’s your clear favorite in the field in Dallas.
Runners-up: Marty’s, Kuby’s
Park Cities loyalty is among the hardest to hold, but Café Pacific (Highland Park Village, Preston and Mockingbird, Suite 24, 526-1170) has held it for years. Yours, too, apparently-D readers from all over gave this Highland Park landmark the rave wave as this survey’s favorite for seafood that’s a consistent class act-always fresh, prettily presented, and gracefully served. The brass-and-glass accents that break the marble-floored room into more private areas have been copied by dozens of other restaurants, a sure sign that the look of this place is as much a part of its success story as its food.
Runners-up: Newport’s, Atlantic Cafe
BEST SALAD BAR
The number of serve-yourself salad bars around town is dwindling, but we get so many inquiries about where the good ones are that we decided to ask you-and your choice is Steak and Ale (9323 LBJ Freeway, 690-1095, seventeen other locations), for fresh ingredients and a something-for-every-one selection.
Runners-up: Souper Salads, Wendy’s
BEST PLACE TO TAKE YOUR BOSS
Talk about odd couples! No, no, not you and your boss-we’re referring to Cantina Laredo and The Riviera (7709 Inwood, 351-0094), which shared a tie for first place in this category. On second thought, maybe it’s not so odd: for a casual game-plan conference, Cantina’s unstressed ambience might be just the ticket, while an ambitious power play might call for a more ceremonial Riviera rendezvous. Then again, the decision might simply depend on who’s picking up the check…
Runners-up: Lawry’s The Prime Rib, Dakota’s
Mike’s Del Frisco’s (2200 Cedar Springs Rd. in The Crescent, 720-4454) cuts out the competition for your favors here, with fresh, succulent beef beautifully cooked to order, and side dishes that are several cuts above those at other steak houses, you say.
Runners-up: Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, The Palm
BEST PLACE TO TAKE OUT-OF-TOWNERS
On The Border Cafe (3300 Knox St., 528-5900. five other locations) was your pick for a quick introduction to Dallas color-crowds of happy young natives, col-legiates, and careerists, getting their casual kicks on fajitas and margaritas.
Runners-up: The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Cantina Laredo
BEST PLACE TO TAKE THE KIDS
Surprise, surprise. Showbiz Pizza Place (13125 Montfort Dr., 392-1944, five other locations) was your hands-down favorite. It’s not such a surprise after all-even grownups respond to a combination of festivities involving high-energy showmanship, games, and everybody’s favorite finger food, pizza.
Runners-up: McDonald’s, Dave & Buster’s
Proving you know fine funk when you find it, you fingered Herrera’s Cafe (4001 Maple, 528-9644) for this honor. Small wonder-it’s a wait-in-line favorite for down-home Tex-Mex ranging from fat flour tortillas to head-clearing menudo.
Runners-up: Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse, The Grape
A cool oasis among hot-dining ethnics, Kebab-N-Kurry (2620 Walnut Hill, 350-6466) took the spotlight in this category. A longtime mecca for devotees of spicy Indian dishes, this restaurant holds its lofty position with definitive samosas, curries, and tandoori-baked breads.
Runners-up: Taj Mahal, India Palace
When Terilli’s (2815 Greenville Ave., 827-3993) opened in 1985, it was an instant success for two reasons-the excellent jazz and the Italchos, a creation of owner Jeannie Ahern that combines the best things about nachos with the best things about pizza-the pizza dough is cut into chips and deep-fried, then topped with tomato sauce, cheese, and pizza toppings. They’re even trademarked, so accept nothing but the original.
Runners-up: (three-way tie) Andrew’s artichoke nibbles, Campisi’s Egyptian’s crab claws, and The Mansion on Turtle Creek’s lobster taco
BEST BAR & GRILL
Greenville Bar & Grill (2821 Greenville, 823-6691) ran away with this title-no surprise, really. It’s the original in Dallas, so well-known that even newcomers quickly learn that when we say bar & grill, we mean this one. A classic of its kind, the happy haunt has set the standard since 1935 for casual coziness sans frills, come-again live music favorites, and burgers that match the ambience for down-home comfort.
Runners-up: Chili’s, Gershwin’s (tie); Stoneleigh P
BEST AL FRESCO DINING
Your favorite outdoor feeding station is On the Border Cafe, where everyone in town with a tan seems to gather to sit outside and people-watch from March through October. We’ve all had our share of shivering on the Border’s patio when we were sure it was warm enough to sit outside. But come summer, Dallas wouldn’t be Dallas without this sidewalk hangout and its happy hordes. Runners-up: Sfuzzi; (tie for 3rd) Cardinal Puff’s, Dakota’s
BEST WINE BAR
You popped your cork for The Wine Press (4317 Oak Lawn, 522-8720) on this one, with its floor-to-ceiling wine racks, serene, low lighting, and interesting food mated to an ever-changing selection of by-the-glass choices. Part of this place’s appeal is the variety of moods offered in various areas of this attractive enclave-at the bar, on the patio, in the downstairs dining room, or above it all around the upstairs tables. Runners-up: The Grape, Pinot’s
They’re the baby back kind, and they come from Tony Roma’s A Place For Ribs (5550 Yale Blvd., 750-9343, six other locations), you say. Which Tony Roma’s? You don’t seem to care-what you’re after are those tiny, tender bones tangy with the smoky flavor that no one else has been able to duplicate.
Runners-up: Sonny Bryan’s, Houston’s
Call him Mister-the king of the raw-fish bar in Dallas is Mr. Sushi (4860 Belt Line, 385-0168), where those silver-knived devils carve out some of the freshest, most beautiful seafood delicacies in town. The entertainment factor’s high among sushi lovers, too, and nobody rates a higher score than these expert blade-wielders.
Runners-up: Sushi on McKinney, Royal Tokyo
BEST TAKEOUT FOOD
Marty’s (3316 Oak Lawn, 526-4070) won this contest the last time we polled our readers, in 1983, and the love affair’s still on. Everyone loves this freshness-fixated Oak Lawn favorite-for its stellar, simple cheese-to-foie gras selection, its knowledgeable, helpful service, and the creativity of its food preparation and presentation.
Runners-up: La Madeline, Massimo da Milano
BEST CHICKEN-FRIED STEAK
No quibbles over the question here-your hands-down choice for chicken-fried is the nearest Black-eyed Pea (3857 Cedar Springs, 521-4580, twenty-three other locations). You flock to your favorite for its from-scratch treatment of tender beef, crisp-crusted and accompanied with real country gravy and all the trimmings.
Runners-up: Dixie House, Good Eats
Dickey’s Barbecue. The beef here is the best buy, longsmoked to succulence, sliced or chopped to order as you watch, and served with a tangy. non-sweet sauce, Sides, too.are a cut above most such establishments-the potato salad carries real crunch, the fried okra ditto, the green beans on a recent visit particularly wonderful. 4610 N Central Expwy.823-0240. Inexpensive. -B.C.
Riscky’s Barbeque. Riscky’s smoked catfish is an out-and-out Texas triumph. Our appetizer portions, a quartet of satiny fillet ribbons, were the stuff of which memories are made. And Riscky’s beef, pork, and chicken were all top-quality meats. 1701 N Market. Suite 104. 742-7001. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Roscoe’s Easy Way. This Lemmon Avenue barbecue bastion branches out into brunch on weekends, with some pretty fair fare: a grilled ribeye was thin but flavorful, pairedwith two poached eggs-a bargain at $6,95. Barbecue’s still the mainstay here, though-the sliced beef sandwich was thick and lender; sausage and ribs were juicy and flavorful. 5420 Lemmon Ave. 528-8459. Inexpensive. -B.C.
Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. In Texas, a barbecue place is rated by the quality of its sliced beef on a bun, and beef on a bun is why Sonny Bryan’s stays on top of the barbecue heap. Piled a couple of inches thick, the slices are a study in good barbecue-from the charred outside to the bright red smoke band to the pink-brown interior; this beef is rich and tender and simple, all at once. 2202 Inwood.357-7120. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Cardinal Puffs. Quesadillas on our visit were hot and crisp, oozing jack and cheddar. studded with black olives.diced tomatoes, onions, and bacon. But the real triumph was a hamburger that rivals any I’ve had in Dallas. 4615 Greenville Ave. 369-1969. Inexpensive. -BC
Chip’s. At the original location on Central Expressway, at least, Chip’s still serves what is probably Dallas’s best burger. Not too thick, crusty and brown on the outside but still rarish inside if ordered that way, the patties arc obviously cooked with care. And (he buns are grilled, too. 4501 N Central Expwy. 526-1092. 2445 W Northwest Hwy. Suite 101.350-8751. Inexpensive. ’ -W.L.T
Snuffer’s. Snappy, friendly service was a plus; the nachos were good and the chicken sandwich and French fries excellent. But the burgers were way too salty and the buns wayloo soggy for my taste. 3526 Greenville Ave. 826-6850.Inexpensive. – M.B.M.
Arcadia Bar & Grill. The light-colored gumbo is unorthodox, but it and the red beans and rice are both terrific.The fried oysters are large and perfectly crisp, and the barbecued shrimp are better than those served these days at Pascal’s Manale in New Orleans, 2114 Greenville Ave.821-1300. Inexpensive. -W.L.T.
Atchafalaya River Cafe. We started with a cup of creditable gumbo-the spice was right, though the roux tasted a bit floury. Our red beans and rice were rich and smoky; crawfish étouffée had the same roux problem as the gumbo, but was full of meat and came with good dirty rice. 4440 Belt Line Rd. 960-6878. Moderate. N -M.B.M.
Cafe Margaux. On my last visit the eclectic menu was focused more on what was originally done best here: contemporary Cajun cuisine. An appetizer of Cajun popcorn(fried crawfish meat) was hot and crunchy (accompanying sherry sauce was bland), crawfish étouffée was good, if a trifle spicy, and the crawfish and shrimp enchiladas were terrific. 3710 Rawlins. 520-1985. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Copeland’s of New Orleans. The kitchen relies heavily on two styles of sauces, one dark and assertive, the other pale and milder-both of them thick and liable to be pasty. The oysters en brocherre is served atop the dark version. The light one (with various additions) adorns everything from softshell crab to fried redfish. 5353 Belt Line. 661-1883. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Crescent City Cafe. On our last trip to this Deep Ellum café, gumbo was satisfyingly murky, red beans and rice were nicely textured, the oyster loaf a fine show of crisp-fried creatures in good French bread. Star of the show, as usual.was the muffaletta sandwich, a sunny amalgam of meats and cheese spiked with olive salad on fresh Italian bread. 2730 Commerce. 745-1900. Inexpensive. -B.C
Beijing Grill. From the grill we liked the Mongolian lamb chops, grilled to medium rare and served with a spicy brown bean sauce. Dragon and Phoenix was an excellent rendition, with lots of lobster chunks. 2200 Cedar Springs in The Crescent, Suite 148. 871-6868 Moderate to expensive. -M.B.M.
Crystal Pagoda. Crispy shrimp balls were deliriously crunchy, cold noodles with hot sesame sauce a tongue-tingling joy. The Peking duck I dared to order without advance notice could hardly have been better, its skin perfectly crunchy in tender crepes skillfully spread with hoisin sauce and garnished with green onions, and Szechwan lamb wasproperly piquant and freshly garnished with watercress.4516 McKinney Ave. 526-3355. Moderate. -B.C.
Forbidden City. Forbidden City has opened in Joe Ku’s old space upstairs in Travis Walk-we always liked the room,and now we like the food, too. We especially enjoyed the minced chicken with pine nuts, and the beef and onion rolls,both for wrapping in crispy lettuce leaves. 4514 Travis. Suite 201. 520-1888. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Han Chu. Standard dishes like the spring rolls can be a disappointment, but the golden coin shrimp proved a worthy appetizer. Among the entrees. Shanghai smoked pork stirfried with vegetables is an unusual standout. Caruth Plaza,9100 N Central Expwy at Park Lane, Suite 191. 691-0900.Moderate. -W.L.T.
Plum Blossom. We sampled the Great Dynasty Banquet on our last visit, and were impressed by the dish of wonton filled with shrimp and chicken and stir-fried with Chinese greens. The combination of lobster, crab claws, and prawnswas enhanced by a black bean sauce treated in a style reminiscent of French cooking. Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201Stemmons Fwy. 748-1200. Expensive. -W.L.T.
D R E V I S ITS
Taiwan Restaurant. On our last visit, Szechwan pickle with shredded pork soup was a tart departure from the better-known varieties, and our entrées-spicy Mongolian lamb, mild and mundane sweet and sour shrimp-were each exemplary of their genre. 4980 Belt Line, Addison. 387-2333. N 611 Greenville. 369-8902. Moderate. -B.C.
Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan. The beef is soaked in brine so that it is almost like ham, deep-fried, then stir-fried with hot peppers, and the results are spectacular. Galleria, 13350 Dallas Pkwy, Suite 3370. 934-9998. Expensive. N -W.L.T.
Brasserie Calluaud. Of the main dishes, the bouillabaisse is an unusual version of this Mediterranean fish stew,thicker in texture and heavy with the flavor of fennel. The fish and shellfish are impeccably fresh. Perhaps the best dish we sampled was the salmon en croute. 4544 McKinney.521-2277. Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.
Café Royal. There was still a touch of the first days of nouvelle cuisine in the beautifully grilled shrimp and scallops surrounding a tangle of greens in an appetizer salad, and the veal here still comes as a thick, tender steak just barely grilled to doneness. Plaza of the Americas, 650 N Pearl 979-9000. Expensive to very expensive. -W.L.T.
Chateaubriand. The oysters Rockefeller we sampled would have been perfect if their spinach-graced succulence had not been obscured by a too-heavy layer of cheese.Crab-meat crepes, though, were near-ethereal. And veal Marsala, pounded paper-thin, was lender in heady wine sauce, flawlessly complemented by lemon-spritzed wild rice. 3701 W Northwest Hwy (at Marsh Lane). 351-2248.Expensive. -B.C.
Chez Gerard. A duck liver and spinach Napoleon was flawless-slices of liver layered with spinach and flaky pastry-and the onion soup was everything onion soup can be. At the other end, crème caramel was a precise balance of bittersweet syrup and lightly sweet custard. But the grilledswordfish was slightly dry. 4444 McKinney. 522-6865.Moderate to expensive. -M.B.M.
The French Room. On a recent visit, a confit of guinea fowl legs with mildly dressed winter greens and petal-smooth duck foie gras was a showy first course, as was my companion’s fresh foie gras sautéed with apples in Calvados sauce. The Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce. 742-8200.Expensive. -B.C.
The Grape. The Grape’s trademark fresh mushroom soup was an inimitable joy. Entrées were as winning-Norwegian salmon fillet mated succulently with grape-almond relish;a flawless chicken breast was lavished with roasted pecans in an herbed sauce of brie and white wine; tournedos of beef were fine, fork-tender and rare in deep-flavored Béarnaise sauce. 2808 Greenville. 828-1981. Moderate. -B.C.
La Madeleine. The favorite breakfast order is pastry and excellent coffee; for lunch and dinner, the lineup includes a variety of soups, salads, hot and cold sandwiches, and what we call “real food”-that is, a hot meat and vegetables. 3072 W Mockingbird. 696-6960. 3906 Lemmon. 521-0182. Inex-pensive. -M.B.M.
L’Amblance. The standout courses are salads and desserts.Two different treatments of fish made a nice contrast for those who like to share bites-a delicate salmon steak with basil cream and a more full-blooded redfish Cajun style.2408 Cedar Springs. 748-1291. Expensive. -W.L.T.
D R E V I S I T S
L’Entrecote. The menu here is among the most ambitious in the city, and the execution mostly first-rate. The assertive taste of wild boar sausage me( its proper foil in mild Alsatian noodles in one stellar appetizer, and the Fresh truffle wrapped in puffed pastry was set off by foie gras, prosciut-to, and port wine in another. Loews Anatole Hotel, 2201 Siemmons Frwy. 748-1200. Very expensive. -W.L.T.
Mr. Peppe. Even after the owner of many years sold out,Mr. Peppe remains much the same. Among the main courses, the beef dishes are among the best choices: the ribeye with a Bercy sauce was beyond cavil. Desserts include a very tasty Grand Marnier torte. 5677 W Lovers lane.352-5976. Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.
The Old Warsaw. Appetizers include garlicky escargots and bland crayfish in a winey sauce. Tender veal and crisply sautéed sweetbreads make good choices for entrées.Salads (like the signature watercress and Belgian endive) anddesserts are among the best courses. 2610 Maple Ave.528-0032. Very expensive. -W.L.T.
The Riviera. Early on, the food turned out by chefs Lori Finkelman Holben and David Holben was very good, but not always exciting. Now there is excitement aplenty in such dishes as the Mediterranean appetizer tart made of semolina gnocchi dough or the rich mussel soup. And a halibut fillet, which can so easily turn hard and rubbery, arrived at the table moist and tender. 7709 Inwood. 351-0094. Very expensive. -W.L.T.
St. Martin’s. A cup of gumbo on our visit was flavorful but loaded with more rice than fish or vegetables; a Caesar salad was properly zesty, but one of basil-dressed hearts of palm was bland and dreary; roast duck from the regular menu was admirably crisp-skinned in not-too-sweet fruit sauce. 3020 Greenville. 826-0940. Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Three Vikings. The standard beginners here are the thick shrimp chowder and the meatballs in sauce with berries on the side. Among the main courses, a perfectly grilled piece of salmon was much more to our taste than a complicated stuffing and saucing of veal. 4537 Cole. 559-0987. Moderateto expensive. -W.L.T.
Watel’s. Both shrimp Provencal and rabbit stewed with bacon and mushrooms lacked finesse in execution-onions were chopped too coarsely and the rabbit hadn’t been properly browned. Some of the best things here are the simplest,like the mellow garlic soup and the poached pear accompanied by fresh fruit and ices. 1923 McKinney. 720-0323.Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.
Belvedere. The appetizer of a seafood-filled crepe is rich and rewarding, and the various treatments of veal range from a crisp schnitzel to tender scallops swimming in cream and mushrooms. Accompaniments include buttery spaetzle and crusty scalloped potatoes. 4242 Lomo Alto. 528-6510.Expensive. -W.L.T.
Bohemia. This homey holdout against light-dining sissiness is as solid and staid as the food it serves-on our last visit an admirably long-simmered sauerbraten, the vinegar-spiked beef slices fall-apart tender, and half a slow-roasted Long Island duck, its moist succulence barely held together by burnished skin. 2810 N Henderson, 8264209.Moderate -B.C.
The Chimney. The food-Middle European without much specific ethnic emphasis-is well prepared, if unsub-tle. The special appetizer, a crepe holding a harvest of seafood, tastes too strongly of capers, for example. The hefty portion of venison tenderloin is cooked to a turn, but the reddish sauce adds little in the way of flavor. 9739 N CentralExpwy. 369-6466. Expensive. -W.L.T.
Franki’s li’l Europe. Top choice for my money wassegediner. a Hungarian dish involving succulent pork chunks simmered with mild sauerkraut and cream. Chicken Pavarotti crossed the Italian border with a tender sautéed breast lavished with fresh mushrooms in a fine, fresh tomato sauce. 362 Casa Linda Plaza. Garland Road at Buckner.320-0426. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Hofstetter’s. You might start with steamed mussels,bathed in a bracing tarragon-Dijon sauce, then proceed to rosy slices of duck breast, crisp-skinned and sided with walnuts in thyme-scented cassis sauce, with a Zinfandel-poached pear finishing off the plate. Plaza at BachmanCreek, 3830 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 390. 358-7660. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Kuby’s Sausage Housa Inc. German classics are served here exactly as they have been for twenty-seven years: plump knackwurst partnered with pastrami-flecked German potato salad, a brimming bowl of superior sauerkraut on the side; onion-spiked tartar steak, spread thick between rye bread slices; and moist, fresh carrot cake framed in a full half-inch of buttercream icing. 6601 Snider Plaza. 363-2231.Inexpensive. -B.C.
Augustus. For those who want something slightly exotic, the crisply fried calamari and the Greek special of wonderfully herbed. thinly sliced leg of lamb are outstanding. Simple dishes are cooked with care, loo: sautéed veal or fish,charbroiled chicken breast, even a pristine chicken and shell pasta soup all please the less adventurous. 15375 Addison Rd,Addison. 239-8105. Expensive. N -W.L.T.
Cafe Nelu. The dolmas (stuffed grape leaves) were the best we’ve ever tasted-fat and juicy and flavorful. A stuffed breast of chicken was too ambitious-the miritei, earthy homemade sausages, were a much better choice. 30 Arapaho Village, Richardson. 235-5387. Inexpensive to moderate. N -W.L.T.
Crackers. Appetizers were a benediction; tiropetes, the puff pastry-wrapped triangles of feta and ricotta cheeses,
symphonic in flavor. Souvlaki was skewered succulence, its tenderloin cubes zipped with olive oil-and-lemon marinade.Salads, side dishes, and warm peach cobbler were all fresh and satisfying. 2621 McKinney Ave. S7I-7268 Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Goldfinger Restaurant. A multitude of baby crab claws heaped on a plate overwhelms me with the amount of stale-tasting grease each tiny morsel has absorbed. But the rest of the meal is better, the soup a lemony delight in rich chicken stock, the lamb succulently broiled, the abundant feta salad fresh and crisp. 2905 Webb Chapel Ext. 350-6983, Moderateto expensive. -B.C.
Kostas Restaurant and Taverns. Sampling the ratherper functory versions of the standard Greek dishes like the spanokopita (spinach in phyllo pastry) and pastitsio (a kind of macaroni casserole), you might think that Kostas was more notable for atmosphere than for food. But the main courses can be superb. The lamb souvlaki. the shrimp in a tomato and feta cheese sauce, the moussaka. and even a version of chicken parmigiana are all first-rate. 2755 Bachman.351-4592. Modemte. -W.L.T.
Kostas Cafe. On our Last visit to Kostas Cafe (no relation to the Bachman Lake Kostas). we found the dolma tasty, though their tenderness bordered on mushiness, and the souvlaki (grilled lamb chunks) and grilled shrimp authen- , tically seasoned and nicely cooked. The pastitsio, a slightly sweet, tomato-laced casserole of meat and macaroni, was delicious. 4914 Greenville. 987-3225. Inexpensive.-M.B.M.
Little Gus’. A recent visit netted a day’s special of roast lamb slices cradled in deeply flavored wine sauce that could not have been more satisfying. And the establishment’s trademark potato balls, I’m happy to say, were as delectably cheese-influenced as always. 1916 Greenville. 826-4910. ,Inexpensive. -B.C.
The Blue Onion Restaurant. The food is all honest and
well prepared, even if it seldom excites. Probably the best is the pot roast, so lender it has fallen apart before it reaches the plate and rich with the sweet taste of carrots and slow-cooked beef. The fried shrimp are much better than average,and the chicken pot pie tastes homemade. 221 W Parker Rd,Suite 527. at Central Expressway, Piano. 424-2114. Inexpensive. N -W.L.T.
Brownie’s. The food at Brownie’s runs from daily specials(a fine, simple meat loaf, real chicken-fried steak, not-so-fine fried trout fillets on our visit, each with a choice of three vegetables, well seasoned and invariably overcooked,for $3.95) along with a broad selection of any-time breakfast and lunch standards. 5519 E Grand Ave. 824-2996 Inexpensive. -B.C.
Bubba’s. The choices include crisp fried chicken and yeasty rolls and an ever-changing choice of vegetables. The lima beans and cabbage have been slow-cooked with bacon long enough that it’s hard to tell they were ever part of the vegetable kingdom-but then that’s the Southern style of days gone by. 6617 Hillcrest. 373-6527. Inexpensive. -W.LT.
Celebration. This is food the way you wish your mother had fixed it-homemade biscuits, blueberry muffins, yeast rolls, tender baked chicken and pot roast, mashed potatoes with the skins. It’s not purely Southem-style; vegetables, served family-style, do retain their original color and flavor. 4503 W Lovers Lane. 351-5681. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Good Eats. My companion’s strip steak was perfect, and my chicken pie, which looked deceptively like a lunar slab of cardboard pastry, turned out to be a miracle mix of tender chicken, new potato, carrot, corn, and green beans under its flaky crown. Broccoli-rice casserole was a trifle dry but flavorful. 3531 Oak Lawn. 522-3287. 6950 Greenville.691-3287. 702 Ross. 744-3287. Inexpensive- -B.C.
Highland Park Cafeteria. The menu includes jellc-as-salad and overcooked vegetables for authenticity gluttons,but also a variety of really fresh salads and fruits and just-baked breads. Generally, smothered, stewed, and casseroled foods are better than broiled items, but you can’t go wrong with fried, either- 4611 Cole Ave at Knox. 526-3801. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Highland Park Cafeteria-Casa Linda Plaza. On our last visit, I assembled a fine country vegetarian meal of macaroni and cheese, collard greens long-simmered with cubed side pork, and sliced cucumbers marinated, by some happy miracle, in vinegar without sugar. My companion’s fried whole trout had gone dry from holding over heat, but his tomato-avocado aspic was firm, tart, and fresh. 3900 Garland Rd. Suite 300. 327-3663. Inexpensive. -B.C.
Highland Park Pharmacy. It is ray feeling that a grilled cheese and a chocolate shake at Highland Park Pharmacy will go a long way toward curing what ails you-whether you’re soul-sick, heartsick, or just plain old sick. There are few drugstore soda fountains left, and the Pharmacy is one of the final remnants of the small town Highland Park once was. 3229 Knox. 521-2126. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Mama Taught Me How. Lunch gives us a variety of choices: chicken-fried steak, quiche, and specials. The home-baked pies have tasty fillings. The lemon-meringue is tart with the real juice of the fruit, and the buttermilk has a homey nutmeg twang. On our last visit the crust was soggy-our only disappointment. 14902 Preston Rd, #512,in Pepper Square. 490-6301 Inexpensive. N -B.C.
Mama’s Daughters’ Dinar. Though it won’t take long for you to be served, or to eat, this is the kind of Southern food that lakes plenty of time to fix: fork-tender baked chicken with overmoist herbed dressing, crisp-crusted chicken-fried steak under stiff cream gravy, green beans simmered with bits of ham and onion, and golden white com muffins as well as yeast biscuits. The pies might slow you down a little-just deciding between the ten or twelve kinds baked daily requires some tune to think. 2014 Irving Blvd. 742-8646 Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
The Mecca. Slide into a vinyl booth and start your dayright: your short stack of hot cakes keep their taste andtexture even when doused with butter and syrup, neverdisintegrating into the fluffy mush that passes for pancakesat most places. It’s tempting to Linger till lunchtime, becauseThe Mecca’s chicken-fried is hard to beat. 10422 HarryHines. 352-0051. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Rosemarie’s. At Rosemaries, form is strictly there forfunction: if you didn’t know about the meat loaf and chicken-fried steak to be had inside, you wouldn’t be tempted to stop.That’s okay. You’re here to cat and you won’t be disappointedin Rosemarie’s cooking. Still, even excellent meal loaf andchicken-fried steak are to be had other places-the dish thatjustifies the trek to Rosemarie’s is the peanut butter pie. 1411 N Zang. 946-4142. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Theo’s Diner. This little diner has a big reputation for itsgreat grilled cheese sandwiches, but its burgers andlemonade are worth writing borne about, too. And that’s noteven adding in points for the ambience. The regulars-andthat seems to be most of Theo’s customers-obviously knowbest. 111 S Hall. 747-6936, Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Tolbert’s. Tolbert’s bowl of red is still excellent-thick, rich, and meaty, not too hot or too sweet, and no beans. Besides the basic bowl, the chili comes ladled over good burgers and in an enormous salad layered with cheese, lettuce, Fritos, and scallions. One Dallas Center, 350 N St. Paul & Bryan. 953-1353. 1800 N Market. 969-0310. 8121 Walnut Hill at Central. 739-6700 Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Upper Crust. Mile-high cornbread, light biscuits, and crusty peach cobbler were highlights of our meal. The salad was a little tired and the fried chicken fingers and chicken-fried steak tasted us if they’d started out frozen. 12215 Coit Rd. 661-5738. Inexpensive. -M.R.M.
Akbar. Usually one of our favorite local Indian restaurants, Akbar disappointed us recently. We don’t like our tandoori chicken overcooked and dried out. but surely no one likes it undercooked, and that was the way it was served to us this time around. The accompanying onion kulcha (bread stuffed with onions and also cooked in the tandoor) was under-cooked and gooey, too. 2115 Promenade Center, Richardson. 235-0260, Lunch inexpensive, dinner moderate. N-W.L.T.
Ashoka Indian Cuisine. The shrimp curry Bombay and the lamb karma were both beautifully sauced. But the lamb cubes grilled in the tandoor and the tandoori chicken seemed, surprisingly, a trifle spicy. Prestonwood CreekShopping Center. 5409 Belt Line. 960-0070. Inexpensive tomoderate. N -W.L.T.
India Palace Restaurant. Pan of the excellence of this restaurant lies in ambition-India Palace has a somewhat larger, more adventuresome menu than its rivals. Part lies in attention to detail. But finally the superiority lies in skill in the kitchen. A dessert like rasmalai can be a heavy disaster elsewhere: here it is light and delicate and delicious. 13360 Preston Rd. 392-0190. Moderate la expensive. N -M.B.M.
Kebab-N-Kurry. Any of the wonderful breads or selections from the tandoor make good choices for the novice,while the shahajani biryani-a complicated mix of rice,chicken, and vegetables-exhibits the balance of innumerable ingredients that makes Indian food so exciting. 401 N Central Expwy. Suite 300. Richardson. 231-5556. Inexpeniive to moderate. N -M.B.M.
Kebab-N-Kurry. On our recent visit, the samosas were definitive-crisp-skinned turnovers plump with potatoes and peas. Boti masala. tender lamb cubes sautéed in a curry and tomato sauce, were lusty indeed; palak panir.cheese-spiked spinach in herbed cream sauce, was our vegetable standout accompaniment. 2620 Walnut Hill.350-6466 Inexpensive. -B.C.
Mumtaz. From naan, the plain leavened white, to aloo paratha, wheat rounds stuffed with peas and potatoes, the breads were heavier and greasier than desirable. But the entrees were outstanding. Saag paneer. puréed spinach cooked with cubed yogurt cheese in cream sauce, transcended itssimple ingredients. The Atrium, 3101 Fitzhugh at McKinneyAw. 520-2400. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Taj Mahal. We started with the appetizer assortment, sort of an Indian pu-pu tray, and ate our way through korma. vin-daloo, and biryani without a complaint. It’s all good. and.a plus for inner-city types, it’s close in-just across from NorthPark. Caruih Plaza. 9100 N Central Expwy, Suite 179.692-0535. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.
Acapella Cafe. We especially enjoyed the shrimp pizza-a small one. split among two or three people, makes a good appetizer Fettuccine with salmon was delicious, but very rich: manicotti was nicely light, filled with fluffy ricotta and zapped with a tangy, fresh-tasting tomato sauce. 2508 Maple. 871-2262. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Alessio’s. Minestrone was absolutely the best I’ve ever tasted-a sturdy studding of lima beans, cabbage, zucchini,turnips, et al.. in tomato-based broth zinged with lemon. But highest marks have to goto the evening’s veat chop, a half-pound monster of exceptional tenderness and flavor, barely haunted with rosemary. 4117 Lomo Alto. 521-3585.Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Alfonso’s. Chicken parmigiana was a large double breast smothered with red sauce and cheese-the meat was both lender and juicy, and the sauce was spicy. Sided with a simple salad and a basket of chewy garlic rolls, this is a meal that will last you. but the real star at Alfonso’s is the pizza, a big round of yeasty crust heavy with molten cheese. 328 Casa Linda Plant. 327-7777. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.
Amore. The simpler pastas seem to be the best bet for entrées-veal cardinale. strips of breaded veal and red peppers over fettuccine. was a little bland and oily, but vegetable lasagna, full of cheese and just-tender vegetables,was good. 6931 Snider Plaza. 739-0502. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.
Avanti. Of the entrées we tried, the broiled guinea hen was perhaps the best. Boneless pieces of meat, slightly tan from a time marinade, were crisp and brown on the outside, but still juicy; they came served, unusually, on a bed of brown rice whose chewy texture complemented the lender bird.2720 McKinney. 871-4955. Moderate (lunch) to expensive(dinner). -M.B.M.
Bugatti on The Creek. The special on our last visit, a sautéed veal scallop on marinara sauce, lopped with a thin slice of prosciutto and melted mozzarella, was good, though a little salty: the accompanying pasta was simply dressed with butter and Parmesan. 3802 W Northwest Hwy.350-2470. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Cafe Italia. The food here is both inexpensive and reliable.There are some misses-a strange-tasting concoction of chicken and eggplant in a tomato cream called “chicken casanova” was the low point of our last visit. But by and large, the food is good-we liked the garlic bread sprinkled with oregano, and an appetizer of shrimp and avocado with tomato was a winner 5000 Maple. 521-0700. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M
Caffé Paparazzi. Veal scallops cooked with cheese is a cliche that usually disappoints grandly; here, though, the veal valdstana is sheer poetry, flavored with a leaf of fresh sage. Of the pastas we tried, the penne all arrabiata was the standout. 8989 forest Lane. Suite 112 (scheduled to move to Suite 136 this month). 644-1323. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant. Nostalgia is really the main draw here-without past associations it’s difficult to fathom the attraction of the dingy interior-not to mention the frozen crab claws and overcooked tomato sauce poured over most of the pasta. Only the pizza was palatable-a crisp-crusted rectangle spread with tomato sauce.sprinkled with good Italian sausage and cheese. 5610 EMockingbird. 827-0355. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Capriccio. The appetizer of snails (lumache fantasia) in garlicky sauce under puff pastry proved a terrific opener.and both main courses we sampled-veal topped with shrimp and sweetbreads Genovese with prosciutto-were cooked to perfection. 2616 Maple Ave. 871-2004. Expensive. -W.L.T.
Carreili’s. Veal alla Carrelli’s is a mish-mash of prosciutto. mozzarella. artichokes, and shrimp over the veal in a lemon, wine, and cream sauce. A special of the day can bring you even more tastes on one plate-lobster tail alla diavolo (sadly fishy tasting) next to a luscious breast of chicken in a lemon and cream sauce. 12219 Coir Rd.386-7931. Moderate to expensive. -W.LT.
CHianti’s. Our meal, from the tender artichoke stuffed with savory bread crumbs to the white chocolate ice cream. wasfirst-rate. In between, we especially enjoyed a special of veal and shrimp piccatta. both the tender meat and the just-cooked shellfish bathed in a thin lemon butter sauce, and a Caesar salad, properly prepared tableside. 4820 Greenville Ave. 691-6769. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Clao. This was one of Dallas’s first “gourmet” pizza places,and whatever problems you may have with the genre, it’s hard to argue with Ciao’s pies. The toppings are different(fresh spinach or chicken and goat cheese), but none of them weird, and the ones we tried were all delicious. Pastas are not as well prepared. 392I-B Cedar Springs- 521-0110.Inexpensive to moderate, -M.B.M.
Colombo’s. We started with an excellent bowl of tortellini in brodo: the broth was flavorful and the cheese-stuffed pasta al dente. and we couldn’t resist the hot. fragrant garlic rolls served with it. Pastas were standouts-especially the maniconi. the lubes plump with ricotta and covered with a red sauce slightly tinged with hot pepper, and melted mozzarella. 6101 Greemville Ave. 373-7777 Moderate. -M.B.M.
Cremona. There’s a funky, “found” quality to Cremonaits unlikely location, hidden at the end of Routh Street and attached to a warren of small antique shops, makes it seem like a discovery. It’s all atmosphere: although there are a few out-of-the-ordinary menu items, such as the homemade tortellini. most of the food can be taken for granted. It’s the friendly service and the offbeat room that keep Cremona regulars-there are many-coming back, 3136 Routh St.871-1115. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.
Fauso’s Oven. A selection of starters, a list of pizzas, and some entrees comprise the menu. But the combinations are untraditional-the pizza list includes a “fajita pizza”, the name sounds like the worst last food, but the layering of grilled meat, salsa, guacamole, cheese, and sour cream actually came off well. 300 Reunion Blvd., in the Hyatt Regency Hotel. 741-3304. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Flip’s Wine Bar & Trattoria. The soups can be heavenly, like the delicate cream of squash: the salad is prosaic. If you have room for additional appetisers, there are some excellent ones. The gnocchi con pomodoro e rosmarino are among the best versions in town of these little Italian dumplings, and the fried ravioli are excellent. The smallish pizzas are also outstanding. 1520 Greenville Ave. 824-9944.Moderate. -W.L.T.
Henry St. Pizza Co. Henry St. offers a rotating selection of entrees-spaghetti, manicotti. or lasagna-and subs as well as two styles of pizza. Our New York style vegetarian pie was substantial: a chick, chewy crust loaded with cheese, green peppers, onions, fresh tomatoes, olives, and mushrooms. 208 Henry St. 748-4455. Inexpensive. -M.R.M.
II Sorrento. Tortellini stuffed with Swiss chard and gilded with walnut sauce were outstanding, and homemade tortellini baked in buttery cream sauce were redolent of fresh Parmesan. Veal scallops with crisp asparagus were commendable, too, but the real debauch came with dessert: a zabaglione of surpassing subtlety and rum cake, a longstanding specialty. 8616 Turtle Creek Blvd. 352-8759. Moderate to expensive. -M.B.M.
La Tosca. The low point of our most recent meal at La Tosca was a crespelle appetizer, served so hot it was still bubbling and so thickly sauced both flavor and texture were buried. But I loved the veal chop primavera, a big cut smothered in a savory sauté of matchstick carrots, zucchini, and fresh tomatoes with a Marsala sauce. 7713 Inwood. 352-8373. Expensive. -M.B.M.
La Trattoria Lombardi. The offerings here haven’t changed much in a decade-crab cannelloni (a mile fishy-tasting), tortellini, undersalted scallops of veal. One newcomer, a special of grilled snapper topped with bright green cream sauce, proved delicious and more than welcome, 2916 N Hall. 528-7506. Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.
Lombardi’s at Travis Walk. Judging by the usual crowds and by past experiences, Lombardi’s at Travis Walk is an especially good bet for lunch. However, on a recent lunch,though the focaccia was fragrant with rosemary and cheese,and a special of John Dory and pasta was moist (the former)and al dente (the latter), the Caesar salad was bland, and the grilled chicken salad was chilled to stateness. 4514 Travis.521-1480. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Lombardi’s Expresso. A sampler of the cold salads makes a bountiful appetizer, so much so that you may not have room for the ravioli with marinara or the lasagna afterwards. The pizzas are worth ordering for their crisp crusts and meaty toppings, though the same dough cooked up as focaccia came to the table soggy and limp, 6135 Luther lane,361-6984. Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.
Mario’s. One of the oldest of Dallas’s fancy restaurants seems better than it has in a long time. For appetizers, thecannelloni and the shrimp with mushrooms in a rich cream sauce are standouts. The veal Milanese is crisp and tender,the red snapper Mario perky in its sauce spiked with capers.135 Turtle Creek Village. Oak Lawn as Blackburn. 521-1135.Expensive. -M.B.M.
Massimo da Miiano. There is a plenitude of cold salads of pasta, chicken, and seafood, as well as pizza slices and sandwiches made from focaccia bread. Hot dishes are available only at mealtime, not all through the day. 5519 W Lovers Lane. 351-1426 Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.
Momo’s. The wood-wen-baked pizzas are a better bet than the homemade pastas, which can be overcooked and undersauced. Better still are the dishes like scallopini a la Momo(veal sauced piquantly with a hint of anchovy). 9191 Forest Lane. Suite A2. 234-6800. Moderate. -W.LT.
Momo’s Italian Specialties. A new dish here is the maccheroni alla chitarra-fat, square-cut noodles in an intriguing sauce made with chopped lamb and bell peppers. Alas, the pasta was cooked past limpness into the depths of sogginess. But there are some absolutely wonderful successes to be found here: a seafood salad with scallops and squid and homemade tortelli stuffed with four cheeses. 3309 N Central Expwy, Suite 370 (in the rear of Ruisseau Village), Piano. 423-1066. Moderare to expensive. N -W.L.T.
Momo’e Pasta. The list of pastas is more exciting, varied,and complex than most more assuming places. And on our last visit, there were no exceptions to the excellence of the food. Fusilli pomodoro. with fresh tomatoes and basil, consisted of fresh twirls tossed in a summery sauce cooked just long enough to blend the tart tomatoes and mint)’ basil without losing their freshness. Spinach gnocchi were round dumplings of spinach and cheese, lender, but with the resistance of perfectly cooked pasta, and smothered with melted cheese-a platonically perfect dish. 3312 Knox.521-3009. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Nero’s Italian. Osso Buco, the traditional peasant’s dish of veal shank baked with garlic, tomato, carrot, onion, and herb-seasoned celery, was a hearty, meaty delight. A special of the day of pork loin Palermo, on the oilier hand, was a dry and leathery disaster. To our excellent waiter’s credit, he offered to replace it, but we had already progressed through Caesar salad (fresh and nicely seasoned) and focaccia. and voted to move on to triple-chocolate cake (ambrosial) and fine espresso. 2104 Greenville. 826-6376. Moderate. -B.C.
Pietro’s Italian Restaurant. The food on our visit fell short of our nostalgic expections, The gorgeous homemade garlic bread turned out to be soggy with butter, the salads were limp iceberg and pale tomato relics. Pasta was better; eggplant parmigiana was best. 5722 Richmond 824-9403. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Pizzeria Uno. This slyle is unique, at Jeast hereabouts; a rich, buttery crust that doesn’t lose its crispness. filled to the brim and served in the heavy pan i( was cooked in. The fill-ings come in lots of combinations, a number of which don’t even include tomato, We ordered the chicken fajita pizza on a dare, and it turned out to be the best dish on the menu, with succulent chicken and lots of sweet red peppers. 2811 McKinney Ave. 855-0011. 4002 Belt Line. Addison. 991-8181. N Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.
Pomodoro. On a recent rainy night. we savored the buffalo milk mozzarella (flown in every Thursday) layered with thin slices of ripe tomato, and the beautiful carpaccio, covered with shavings of Parmesan, rusting on a bed of bitter arugula. The penne all’arrabiata was fresh and spicy; the roasted, golden, garlicky chicken breast Juicy and flavorful,thanks to the bone and skin, left on. 2520 Cedar Springs.871-1924. Moderate to expensive. – M.B.M.
Ristorante Savino. An appetizer sampler of pastas, obligingly created when we could not choose among then, included a flawless swirl of angel hair in lobster sauce, as well as tortellini in deep-flavored demi-glace. Satin-fresh mozzarella rounds with tomato in basil dressing were flawless; red snapper sautéed with fresh tomato and basil was the same. 2929 N Henderson. 826-7804. Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Rodolfo’s. The difference here is the “Ital-lite” menu, a list of low-fat dishes designed to meet the American Heart Association guidelines. The vegetable lasagna was a wonderful layering of firm pasta and fresh vegetables; eggplant parmigiana was topped with a lively tomato sauce.Rodolfo’s pizzas, especially the white one with herbs and olive oil instead of tomato sauce, are worth the calories.5957 Royal Lane (at Preston), 368-5039, Inexpensive tomoderate. -M.B.M.
Ruggeri’s. I couldn’t help regretting that no one warned me the soft-shell crab on my appetizer plate had been frozen,not fresh, before its sautéing in garlic-spiked olive oil, but its texture and taste were acceptable. Otherwise, evetything on our dinner visit touched happy chords, from al dente angel hair pasta with tomato, fresh basil, and garlic to veal scallops sautéed with artichoke hearts and mushrooms in butter, 2911 Routh St. 871-7377. Moderate. -B.C.
Sfuzzi. On a recent revisit. the. special soup, roasted eggplant, was enlivened with bits of bacon and tomato: the shrimp pizza held lots of sweet shellfish on its thick, tender crust. Imaginative entrees-grilled salmon in a sauce/garnish of grapefruit and basil, and veal crusted with Romano and sautéed, were good idens well executed. 2504 McKinney. 871-2606 Moderate. -M.B.M.
Spaghetti Inn-Mike’s Italian Restaurant. This is strictly Fifties “casserole Italian”-lots of cheese, lots of sauce. The lasagna, inexplicably sided by spaghetti with redsauce, is nothing more than a rich stack of pasta, cheese, sauce, and more cheese. Manicotti is filled with bland ricotta and smothered in more sauce; pizza is spread with sauce. cheese, and toppings.. .you get the picture. This is great comfort food. 6465 E Mockingbird Lane in Hillside Village, 827-7035. Moderate. -M.B.M.
311 Lombardi’s. The fettuccine with fresh salmon is an interesting pasta choke, and the bone-in veal chop alla Milanese, crisply breaded and fried, comes garnished with arugula and tomato-anyone for salad and main course all at the same time? 311 Market at Ross. 747-0322. Moderate,to expensive. -W.L.T.
Fuji-Ya. There is a small but impeccably fresh selection of sushi, the 8yoza (pan-fried meal dumplings) are delicious, and the shrimp tempura stands out as among the lightest. crispiest, most delicate in town. But other dishes, like fatty, undercooked teriyaki chicken and overboiled, tasteless sukiyaki, can be most disappointing, 13050 Coit Rd.690-8396 Inexpensive to moderate. N -W.L.T.
Hana Japanese Restaurant. The sushi bar here is the social center- a joyous stretch of immaculate revelry staffed by swift-Waded showmen who slice out the usual artistic raw-fish delicacies as well as a specially or two all their own: their oyster shot, a chewable potion invoiving raw oyster, fresh quail egg. and spicy accents, is alone worth a visit. 14865 Inwood. 991-8322. Moderate. N -B.C.
Hibachi-Ya Japanese Restaurant. Applause is due for the beef that stars on the menu along with chicken and shrimp, not only hibachi-grilled but in less familiar traditional Japanese dishes. Best by far was a traditional entree, Ume steak, tender filet perfumed by marinating in plum sauce, then grilled and cubed for easy chopsticking. 3850 W Northwest Hwy, Suite 510. 350-1110. Inexpensive. -B.C.
Kobe Steaks. Each table has a knife-toting chef who cuts. slices, dices, and cooks your dinner before your very eyes. Everything-beef, chicken, and vegetables-was perfectly cooked-no mean trick. Quorum Plaza, Belt Line at Dallas Parkway. 934-8150. Moderate to expensive. N -M.B.M.
Korea Home Town. The set-up of the Spartan tables shows that you are supposed to order one of the versions of Korean barbecue, spelled here pul koki (marinated beef) and pul kalpi (marinated short ribs). Both are grilled right on the table. The adventurous will also enjoy the stir-fried squid and octopus and the wonderful Korean cold vegetables. 10560 Walnut. Suite 600. 272-9909. Inexpensive. N -W.L.T.
Mr. Sushi. The sushi bar’s offerings may be as fine as ever, but a sushi dinner brought to the table had the look of having been made in advance and left to sit before serving. The hot dishes, though, were satisfying-a creditable beef and chicken teriyaki entree was preceded by an extra-fresh toss of crisp strings of carrot and daikon radish, ginger-sparked. 4860 Belt Line, Addison. 385-0168, Moderate. N -B.C.
Mr. Sushi & Hibachi. Most of the crowd seemed to be there for the hibachi part of the menu, and the sushi was not as pristine as we prefer The beef and chicken from the slice-and-dice show were good, the shrimp were tasteless, and the hibachi rice-a fried rice combination of egg, scallions.onions, and carrots-was excellent. 9220 Skillman. 349-6338. Moderate. N -M.B.M.
Nakamoto. The sushi bar offers a nice variety of fish of exemplary freshness. Among the cooked dishes, fish also stands out-the salmon butteryaki has a pleasantly charred exterior and moist meat. Ruisseau Village, Suite 360, 3309 N Central Expressway, Piano. 881-0328 Moderate. N -W.LT.
Sakura Japanese Restaurant. The tempura-fried shrimp were light and lacy; Shabu-Shabu, thin-sliced beef cooked quickly at table with fresh vegetables, was almost as delightful. The sushi we ordered as appetizers was impeccably fresh-tuna, jumbo clam, octopus. 7402 GreenvilleAve. 361-9282. Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Shinano. This cheerful little restaurant features standard Japanese-American menu items with a few offbeat features like crispy fried soft-shell crab. The shrimp tempura can be very good, and the sushi and sashimi can be most appetizing. 8830Spring Valley Rd. 644-1436 Moderate. N -W.L.T.
Sushi on McKinney. The hot foods here are purely mediocre, except for a first-class salad, but who cares? The sushi bar’s where the action is, and where the good cats are in this sociable Oak Lawn hangout. All the standards here are impeccable-dark tuna and yellowtail, crisp jumbo clam and chewy abalone, salmon roe squid. 4500 McKinney. 521-0969. Moderate. -B.C.
Cassis Mediterranean Bistro-Restaurant. For appetizers we chose Quenelles St. Tropez, a rolled seafood dumpling that was marvelous on its pink salmon side, a trifle fishy in its white half. A fresh trout, impeccably boned except for a flirting upfling of tailfin, was redeemed from being slightly overcooked by its scrumptious caper-kissed sauce 3102 Oak Lawn at Cedar Springs, in the Centrum. 521-0229. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Raffles. The dressing on the Caesar salad was good, but had evidently been poured over, not tossed with the greens. My salmon steak was perfectly grilled, but my companion’s penne vodka came drowned in a sauce that looked and tasted a lot like cheese and Rotel dip. Desserts were better; the tiramisu. a concoction of espresso-soaked ladyfingers and sweetened ricotta, was delicious. 2200 Cedar Springs in The Crescent. 855-8889. Inexpensive to expensive. -M.B.M.
Blue Mesa Grill. There are a number of superb dishes like the blue com nachos and the angel hair pasta with grilled shrimp, sun-dried tomatoes, and goat cheese cream sauce, along with others like rotisserie wild Texas boar and crispy duck served inside a relleno that sound better than they taste. Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line at Dallas Parkway, 934-0165. Moderate. N -W.L.T.
Brazos. Ensalada paraiso, Brazos’s chef’s salad, is a meal in itself and a good one, too. We tried two special entrées: red chili-cheese enchiladas were very good, and King Ranch chicken was tasty too, with lots of chicken and tortillas under the gooey cheese and sour cream. 2100 Greenville at Prospect. 821-6501. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Caliente Ranch Grill and Cantina. A kind of barbecue is no* given equal emphasis with the sometimes farout versions of Mexican food. The smokehouse yields “surf tacos” (grilled shrimp in flour tortillas) and overly sweet babyback ribs along with a tender, delicious (but still rather sweet) smokehouse chicken. The Tex-Mex platters have an unusual style; the most interesting Mexican items, though, come from the new nacho and quesadilla bar. 6881 Greenville Ave. 369-8600. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Cantina Laredo. Grilled shrimp and barbecued cabrito(baby goat) make a good combination for the featured dinners; the accompanying frijoles a la charro, though, had been cooked with tomatoes as well as peppers and onions.which lent a very un-Mexican taste. 4546 Belt Line, Addison. 458-0962. Moderate. N -W.L.T.
Casa Dominguez. Tex-Mex they come. Tex-Mex they go. but Casa Dominguez endures. The chips are fresh, hot,and replenished often. The hot sauce is flavorful and hot.The “Pete-za” is as great a combination of classic ingredients as a frito pie; taco meat, jalapenos, cheese, and onions sandwiched in a sautéed flour tortilla and topped with a scoop of guacamole. 2127Cedar Springs. 742-4945. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.
Casa Rosa. Fried stuffed jalapenos and tortilla soup were good beginners, both more attractively presented than is usual in Mexican restaurants. The chile relleno was breaded too heavily, but the filling and (he ranchera sauce were flavorful. Polio en la concha was a rich dish of chicken chunks and slivered peppers smothered in thick cheese and sour cream in a fried flour tortilla shell. 165 Inwood Village (Inwoodl at Lovers). 350-5227. Moderate. -M.B.M. Chito’s
Chito’s. The food at Chile’s is a genuine bargain, It usually tastes fine, although you can expect the dishes to skimp on meat at these prices. The tamales are plump and tender, the flautas fresh and crisp, (he pico de gallo fiery. One dish you find here but not at less authentic places is tacos of barbacoa-the tender, not-at-all spicy Mexican version of barbecue. 3747 Walnut Hill- 35 7-2561. Inexpensive. -W.L.T.
Chuy’s Chuy’s special enchiladas, blue com tortillas stacked with chicken, cheese, and tomatillo, were gooey and good; the chile relleno, an Anaheim pepper stuffed with well-seasoned meat, was covered in a too-tomatoey sauce. 211 N Record St. 747-2838. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
El Asadero. The specialty here is cabrito-baby goat-but it’s not always available in forms popular with mostgringos-on my last visit only the kidneys and heart werestill on the menu. If you can’t get the goat, not to worry. The rest of the menu is tasty, too. Polio a la parilla was tender and juicy, its topping of grilled onions sweet and tender. 1516 Greenville. 826-0625. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Garcla’s Caribbean Grill. They call it fish-Mex, but the kitchen here really offers a choice between the two specialties, mostly not a felicitous combination. There are some attempts to do Mexican things with seafood, like seafood nachos and chiles rellenos filled with the same mixture of shrimp, scallops, and crab-neither of them particularly successful. Actually, the lowty Tex-Mex platters offer some of the best choices here. Plaza at Bach/nan Creek, 3830 W Northwest Hwy. 358-2664. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Ganaro’s Tropical. The restaurant’s most famous dish. pez espada-cubes of swordfish wrapped in spinach leaves, skewered, and grilled-was not quite fishy but not impeccably fresh-tasting, either. Tex-Mex standbys like chicken fajitas and combination plates are adequate. 9247 Skillman at L&J. 553-8872. Inexpensive to moderate. N -W.L.T.
Gloria’s Restaurant. The best way to sample Gloria’s fare is on the newly featured Salvadoran plate, which includes pupusas, flour tortillas with pork and cheese, fried plantains and sour cream, fried yucca, black beans, and rice.The medley of flavors on the plate is enhanced by a tamale wrapped, Salvadoran style, in banana leaf. 600 W Davis. 948-3672. Inexpensive. -B.C.
Gracieia’s. This is good basic Tex-Mex. with especially crisp tacos and satisfying chicken enchiladas. There are also good versions of more adventuresome dishes like the melted cheese appetizers with big chunks of shrimp. 3957 Belt Line, Addison. 702-8051. Inexpensive to moderate. N -W.L.T.
Harrera’s Cafe. The move across the street to largerquarters seems to have removed the last glimmers of mystique from Henera-it’s hard to remember why folks used to wait in line to gel in [he tiny old place. The Tex-Mex isn’t bad, mind you. The uniquely thick, hand-patted flour tortillas still make tempting burritos. But the enchiladas, tacos, beans, and all mostly just seem ordinary. 4001 Maple. 528-9644. Inexpensive. – W.L.T.
Javier’s. The tortilla soup and scallop ceviche were both full of flavor, and the main courses were even better. Big shrimp were tossed in a sauce of orange juice and coffee. One of our party proclaimed the steak Cantinflas “the best piece of meat I ever put in my mouth”-tenderloin cut thin and wrapped around Mexican cheese, then cooked crisp on the outside and topped with a mulato chili sauce. 4912 Cole. 521-4211. Expensive. -W.L.T.
Juanita’s Mexican Rastaurant. Juanita’s offers excellent flautas and just-right cheese enchiladas, properly flavored with cumin. Ordering fancier dishes involves a certain risk-the came asada, often an elegant thin steak at other places, is here chewy bits of grilled meat. If you want to explore, stick with home-style recipes like the carne guisada, a flavorful Mexican beef stew. 1905 N Josey Lane, Carrollton. 242-0888. Inexpensive. N -W.L.T.
La Botica Café. La Botica has broadened its menu to include several upscale-sounding entrees-quail, Cornish game hens, and ribeye steaks, for example-as well as the familiar Tex-Mex standards. Not to worry, though-prices are still in line, and such favorites as tortilla soup, green enchiladas, and cheese-hearted quesadillas are as fine as ever. 1900 N Haskell 824-2005. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
La Calle Doce. From the seafood side of La Calle Doce’s menu we tried camaron a la diabla, shrimp in a spicy-hot sauce; from the landlubber list we chose chiles rellenos. stuffed with shredded, not ground, beef- From chips to entrees, the meal was delicious; only the strangely pasty flan was a disaster. 415 West 12th. 941-4304. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
La Mansion De Blas. The food has its highs and lows (chicken molé and tamales were highs, basic beans andn achos were lows), but the hot sauce and pico de gallo are good and hot, the beer is cold, and the margaritas are good.2933 Elm, 939-0853. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
La Suprema Tortilleria. The came guisada was tender meat in a stew with a flavor that reminded a South Texas family member of home. There are many styles of cheese enchilada-the Tejano style, with yellow cheese and chili with meat, had the true taste of Tex-Mex. 7630 Military Parkway. 388-1244- Inexpensive. -W.L.T.
Loma Luna Cafe. Blue corn chicken enchiladas were smothered with green chilies and layered with lots of chicken and cheese. Sandia Range chicken, from the list of grilled items on the menu, was smoked and grilled over pecan wood. Served with Santa Fs-style beans and rice, the chicken was moist and tender even after its double treatment. 4131 Lomo Alto. 559-4011. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Mario & Alberto. We can seldom resist the filete de la casa (a wide piece of beef tenderloin with lots of pepper and garlic) or the pipas (an appetizer of shrimp wrapped in a corn tortilla, deep fried, and served with avocado and sour cream sauces). And on our last visit we found that the enchiladas, fried beans, and the rest were really among the best in town. too. LBJ Frwy at Preston, Suite 425. 980-7296Moderate. -W.L.T.
Mario’s Chiquita. This conservative but pretty pastel restaurant offers dependable Tex-Mex, but its forte is specialties like the tacos al carbon, tender strips of steak folded in flour tortillas, or the carnitas a la tampiquerlo, a plate of grilled pork strips sided by a cheese enchilada in a terrific ranchera sauce. Came asada is great and almost worth ordering for the triangles of grilled Linares cheese alone. 4514 Travis, #105 (in Travis Walk). 521-0721. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Mario’s Chiquita. The Piano outpost of Mario Leal’s three-restaurant fiefdom has never had either the critical or the popular support enjoyed by the other two places that bear his name. It’s probably true that the standards aren’t quite as high here, but this is still the best fancy Mexican cooking for miles around. Maybe the problem is partly with the clientele-they seem to be ordering the less ambitious Tex-Mex plates that bear girls’ names or the delicate version of chicken fajitas rather than the more unusual dishes that make this restaurant group special. Among the specialties, the garlicky shrimp al ajillo was fine, but tabtita adobada (pork in fiery chili sauce) wasn’t very tender. 221 W Parker, Suite 440, Piano. 423-2977. Moderate. N -W.L.T.
Martinez Cafe. This time we tried the newer, far-west-Plano location of this much-praised Tex-Mex eatery, and found the food tasty if not superlative. The Martinez family dinner proved to be a bountiful platter of beef and chicken fajitas and pork carnitas (though the carnitas were not the crisply fried variety that would grace a taco stand in the interior of Mexico, but instead rather stringy pieces of simmered meat). Grilled fish (red snapper on our visit) proved delightfully fresh-tasting. 3011 Routh St. 855-0240. 1900 Preston Rd. Suite 329, Piano. 964-7898. N Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.
Mercado Juarez. Grilled items like fajitas are a central focus at Mercado Juarez, including rarities like pork fajitas in a smoky, spicy abodo sauce. Standard tacos and enchiladas seem particularly fresh tasting, and a long list of specialties includes mahi mahi (delicately sautéed and topped with shrimp in a white sauce) and a T-bone steak grilled and smothered in a fiery sauce. 1901 W Northwest Hwy. 556-0796. 4050 Belt Line Rd., Addison. 458-2145. N Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.
Mia’s. The Tex-Mex served here is good and dependable, the service is fast and friendly, but for me, Mia’s success is its failure. The long lines make me think too hard about just how good those enchiladas are. Are they worth a forty-five-minute wait? Thirty minutes? If you’re a believer, it’s not too much trouble to call ahead and reserve your chile relleno on Tuesdays, and if you want one, that’s what you’ll have to do, 4322 Lemmon Ave. 526-1020. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
On The Border Cafe. Chicken fajita quesadillas were a satisfying beginning; cheese enchiladas were a rich version, and beef fajitas were tender and smoky. The bonus was the Border’s burger; grilled to order and sided by jalapeno French fries, it was one of the best I’ve had. 3300 Knox St. 528-5900. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Primo’s. The menu is Tex-Mex, 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 gel. Primo’s offers one of the best botanas planers around-two kinds of nachos, flautas, and terrific quesadillas. 3309 McKinney. 520-3303. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Ricardo’s. The food is reliable and often superior, with good Tex-Mex standards, smoky tajitas, and fine specialties like red snapper in a garlicky sauce and steak tampiquena. One caveat: the desserts are mostly a big disappointment. 17610 Midway at Trinity Mills. 931-5073. N 8021 Walnut Hill, Suite 700, in the Comer Shopping Center. 691-3577. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Uncle Juiio’s. The nachos, artfully arranged around great mounds of guacamole and sour cream, the little bowls of charro-style pinto beans, and the perfectly firm and juicy chicken fajitas were worth the long wait for a table. Among the Tex-Mex platter standbys, though, only the tamales were outstanding; beef tacos and enchiladas were meaty but tasteless. 7557 Greenville. 987-9900. 4125 Lemmon. 520-6620. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Villa Margarita. The food here, from the complimentary half-cup of black bean soup on. can be something special. The shrimp Margarita, with green peppers in a wine sauce, proved plump and delectable. Other more standard high-end Mexican specialties like the grilled chicken breast, the carne asada, and the beef fajitas exceeded expectations, too. 362 Promenade Center, Coif & Belt line. Richardson. 235-5447. Moderate. N -W.L.T.
Hedary’s, The two introductory dips, hummus (chickpea) and batinjan mtabbal (eggplant), are heavenly and more economical ordered separately than on the elaborate appetizer array called maza. Among the main courses, explorers can sample the kibbi (crushed wheat and ground sirloin) stuffed with pine nuts and the frarej (chicken baked with lemon juice and lots of garlic over potatoes and tomatoes). Promenade Center, 15400 Coit, Suite 2500.Richardson. 669-2112. Moderate. N – W.L.T.
Bluebonnet Cafe & Deli. Green enchiladas come with cheese, whipped torn, or both-with Texmati rice and black beans on the side. The salad bar is worth the stiff price because of the fresh, appetizing selection of greenery. tabouleh and pasta salads, and some interesting homemade dressings. 2218 Greenville. 8284052. Inexpensive. -W.L.T.
Dream Cafe. Lunch and dinner are more earnestly nutritious: at breakfast the approach is less purist. You do feel good about the food you eat here: “wholesome” is the most apt description of its food value, “delicious” fits the creamy ricotta pancakes topped with fresh blueberries that started one Saturday, 2800 Routh St in the Quadrangle. 954-0486. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Francis Simun. This tiny place on Greenville is dauntingly healthy-the brief selection of lunch and dinner specials is strictly macrobiotic. The bakery case is filled with very nutritious muffins, breads, and doughnuts, made with fresh fruits, whole grains, and sweetened with apple juice. They are better hot, but I must admit I am not a convert. I like mine with butter and honey. 3613 Greenville Ave. 824-4910. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Actuelle. A hearty winter menu reflected Chef Victor Gielisse’s Dutch roots-our beef with barley soup was a sophisticated interpretation of a hearty classic; ragofit of chicken came with a potato pancake. The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh St. Suite 125. 855-0440. Expensive. -M.B.M.
Baby Routh. On my last visit to this upwardly mobile temple, the food, thankfully, finally lived up to the social ambitions of the place. The pot roast with poblano gravy was good, although it cried out for potatoes, the seafood tamale was stunning to behold, and the smoked chicken and cac-ciotta empanada was a success. 2708 Routh St. 871-2345. Moderate to expensive. -M.B.M.
Beau Nash. Smoked salmon carpaccio was ringed witht ranslucent slices of sweet soaked onion; “Buffalo” (as in chicken wings) style shrimp was nicely set off by crunchy three-cabbage slaw. Sword fish was delicately crusted with lemon and sided with a creamy opal basil risotto. Only the Caesar salad with stale-tasting croutons disappointed. Hotel Crescent Court, 400 Crescent Court, Maple at McKinney.871-3240. Expensive. -M.B.M.
Cisco Grill, This lively little Snider Plaza hangout puts fresh color and zing into regional fere with a New Mexican accent balanced against down-home Texan. Onion rings and French fries are oversized versions, the rings cracklin’ crisp, the fries meaty and basic. Santa Fe chicken enchiladas were considerably spicier than I expected from their “mild andcreamy” description, but the tomatillo sauce was subtly tart for all that, and generously served corn salad was confetti-bright in color and flavor, zesty with diced peppers among the golden kernels. 6630 Snider Plaza. 363-9506. Inexpensive. -B.C.
City Cafe. New chef Brad Ryan’s version of the fresh tomato soup was as distinctive as ever, all chunky and fine. Standout entrees were lemon parsley linguini scented with dill cream and generously endowed with leaves of fresh-smoked salmon; and a grilled breast of chicken that was succulence itself, mated with mild grilled leeks and spicy plum sauce. 5757 W Lovers Ln (put west of the Tollway). 351-2233. Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Dakota’s. Dakota’s is a businessman’s-person’s- favorite, but the place is good-looking enough and the food good-tasting enough to please anyone. Current standouts include woodsy wild-mushroom-filled ravioli in rich Gorgonzola cream sauce and pecan-smoked tuna. 600 N Akard. 740-4001. Moderate to expensive. -M.B.M
Deep Ellum Cafe. A daily special of red snapper sauced with thyme-scented beurre blanc under diced tomato was beautifully prepared and presented, and the hallmark chicken, a brace of peerlessly grilled boneless breast halves flanked by tender dill dumplings, proved itself yet again. 2704 Elm St. 741-9012. Moderate. -B.C.
Elm Street Winery. Entrées balanced flavors and textures with uncommon harmony: veal tenders were lovely with Asian pears, the fruit’s sweetness cleanly cut with crumbles of Roquefort cheese; magret of duck wore a tart-sweet mango chutney and carried a bold punch of aromatic pepper heat.2704 Elm. 748-6565. Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Gershwin’s. A quesadilla with fresh poblano and onions, bacon, and cheeses was crisp and flavorful: a mixed-seafood starter held enough golden-fried shrimp, crabcakes, cala-mari. and batter-dipped mushrooms to feed a family. Sea-food-studded linguine was bathed, as advertised, in sunny fresh tomato sauce. 8442 Walnut Hill at Greenville. 373-7171.Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Kathleen’s Cafe and Bar. We started dinner with a bowl of venison chili served with cream over one of Kathleen’s terrific herb biscuits. We also tried the artichoke tart, which was large enough to have been a meal by itself. Its rich filling was slightly overpowered by mustard, but the cheddar cheese pastry was great. An entree of seafood lasagna was filled with shrimp, salmon, and lots of cheese and smothered with a thick, rich tomato sauce. 4424 Lovers Lane. 691-2355. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.
Lakewood Plaza Grill. Among the entrees, grilled salmon with tomatillo-pineapple salsa was moist and succulent, although I found the salsa a trifle sharp in tone for the fish, and a grilled ribeye steak with ancho chili butter was absolutely splendid. 63341 La Vista. 826-5226. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Landmark Cafe. An entree of fresh Texas quail stuffed with cornbread dressing would have been adequately partnered with its tart tomato and com relish and black currant sauce, sided with sautéed vegetables; the fried-to-leather sweet potato strings gave the plate an overproduced look. Sautéed medallions of black buck antelope, though, were lovely. And the soup of the day. a peppery, stout-hearted rabbit vegetable version, would be enough to bring me back here. Omni Melrose Hotel, 3015 Oak Lawn Ave. 522-1453. Expensive. -B.C.
Laurels. The menu de degustation’s $38.50 five courses equaled our a la carte selections: potato leek soup was garnished with bacon crisps; lamb loin was a rosy joy wrapped in a delicate spinach-oregano mousse and served sliced on rosemary sauce. An a la carte romaine and mizuna Caesar salad, subtly dressed, was ringed with fried baby Gulf shrimp. Sheraton Park Central Hotel, 12720 Merit, off Coit near LBJ. 385-3000. Expensive. -B.C.
The Mansion on Turtie Creek. On our last visit, Mansion standards-lobster tacos with yellow tomato salsa, tortilla soup, chicken baked with maple-pecan crust-and specials-sort-shell crab with barbecued crust and Cajun sausage with onion pasta-scaled the expected peak of perfection, which at these prices, they should. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 526-2121. Expensive. -M.B.M.
Nana Grill. An appetizer of oysters with cilantro pesto was excellent, as were the grilled entrees we sampled (veal and lamb), while side dishes ranged from pretty good (fried onion rings) to poor (an uncooked lump of potatoes au gratin). Loews Anatoli Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Frwy.748-1200. Expensive. -M.B.M.
Parigi. On my last visit, a sage pesto pizza was the prize appetizer, followed by a terrific Caesar salad, lightened up with lemon juice and zest-the balance of rich and tart is so right you wonder why everyone doesn’t prepare it this way. Entrees, especially a veal chop with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, were excellent; desserts didn’t measure up. 3311 Oak Lawn. 521-0295. Moderate to expensive. -M.B.M.
The Promenade at the Mention. The Southwest ancho pizza with smoked chicken. jalapeno jack cheese, po-blano peppers, and cilantro may be the best New Wave pizza in Dallas. The pork loin scaloppini with a sauce of capers, tomato, and smoked bacon is yet another winner. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd. 559-2100. Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.
Pyramid Restaurant and Lounge. Chilled tomatillo gazpacho was an emerald eye-opener, its center island of tomato sorbet mild and lovely. Sautéed. Dover sole boned and served with a lobster-scented butter-cream sauce with caviar was subtly breathtaking. By far the outstanding dessert was a green apple tart with goat cheese, served with nutmeg ice cream on warm caramel sauce. 1717 N Akard in the Faimont Hotel. 720-5249. Expensive. -B.C.
Routh Street Cafe. Our service was perfect, and, with minor exceptions (a too-oily salad dressing and an over-powering sorbet), so was the food: rabbit with red chili pasta and smoked corn; chili stuffed with almonds, apricots, and goat cheese; lamb loin with mast garlic sauce sided with ser-ranos and papaya quesadillas; and all the desserts. 3005Routh St. 871-7161. Very expensive. -M.B.M.
Sam’s Cafe. After a period of hits and misses under former chefs, Sam’s kitchen is on a winning streak, thanks to the direction of the current chef, David Feder. Lobster pizza was outstanding, as was a special pasta paired with chunks of tenderloin and homemade “vulgar chocolate” ice cream that may be me most intense ever. 100 Crescent Court. Suite 140. 855-2233. Moderate to expensive. -M.B.M.
San Simeon. Starters were flawless-shrimp and scallop ceviche shone delicately against tart papaya and rich avocado; tri-color penne pasta was generously studded with succulent crab meat. San Simeon salad was as lovely as I remembered, its multi-greens toss spiked with vinaigrette. Pan-seared sea scallops were superb in a sauce of avocado, cucumber, and asparagus. 2515 McKinney at Fairmount in Chateau Plaza. 871-7373. Expensive. -B.C.
Spatz. Highlights of our last visit: shrimp and mango quesadillas, fettuccine with pine nuts, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, and garlic in a cream sauce, steak with chèvre and roasted shallots, and orange macadamia nut cheesecake. 2912 N Henderson. 827-7984. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Atlantic Cafe. The menu has been narrowed down to include only the outstanding dishes-like pasta with smoked salmon and seafood and a salad of tomato, avocado, and fresh mozzarella drizzled with pesto. Daily specials include elaborate treatments of exotic fish, both broiled and sautéed. 4546 McKinney at Knox. 559-4441. Expensive. -W.L.T.
Aw Shucks. This little oyster bar has a real seaside feeling-just pretend Greenville Avenue is the beach while you sip a frosty beer and munch on fresh raw oysters or crisp fried ones, or both. Fried shrimp are also good, with the thick-cut fried potatoes. Crawfish in season. 3601 Greenville. 821-9449. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Café Pacific The star turn at our table was veal Oscar, a tender cut enhanced with crab meat, snapping-fresh asparagus spears, and zippy hollandaise An entree of jumbo shrimp sautéed scampi style, while fresh, was not nearly as exciting as the veal. Highland Park Village, Preston at Mockingbird. Suite 24. 526-1170. Expensive. -B.C.
Fishmonger’s Seafood Market and Cafe. Simple dishes like the boudin sausage appetizer and fried catfish orshrimp come off as well as expected. The surprise is the excellence of the more elaborate dishes like the redfish Pont-chartrain (grilled and topped with shrimp, crab, and mushrooms). 1915 N Central at Chisholm. Suite 600, Piano, 423-3699. Moderate. N -W.L.T.
Hampton’s Seafood. Hampton’s started as a seafood market, and the emphasis is still on absolutely fresh fish.
The simpler preparations are the best; daily specials change according to the market, and the day’s “catch,” grilled, broiled, or sautéed. is certain to be good. More elaborate preparations, with cream sauces and such, tend to seem superfluous and overdone. But Hampton’s seafood nachos and seafood salad, both menu standards, are delicious.Berkshire Court. Preston Center, 8411 Preston Rd. 739-3474. Moderate. – M.B.M.
Harbor House. The peel-them-yourself shrimp have lots of briny flavor, and everything on the broiled seafood platter is impeccably fresh and delicately cooked. Conversely, the lopping on the oysters “baked the Harbor way,” made up of onions, spinach, and mozzarella, doesn’t quite come together as a unified creation. 4844 Greenville Ave.368-8911. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Hard Shell Cafe. Both the New England clam chowder and the peel-and-eat shrimp make excellent beginnings here-neither of these standards is done better in Dallas. For the main course, we ordered the New England combo for two. At $33.95 this seemed like quite a bargain, since it included two one-pound Maine lobsters, a pound each of cultured mussels and either Littleneck or Ipswich steamer clams, and new potatoes and corn on the cob. 6403 Greenville Ave. 987-3477. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Newport’s. Newport’s is at its best in its simplest dishes-grilled silver salmon, on our last visit, was perfectly plain and perfectly wonderful; an appetizer tray of raw clams, shrimp, oysters, and ceviche could not have been fresher. Some of the trendier offerings are as delightful-a crab quesadilla. for instance, was to swoon over, tender flaked meat with cheese between crisp flour tortilla triangles. 703 McKinney in the Brewery. 954-0220. Expensive, -B.C.
Oyster’s. The fried shrimp were sweet and crunchy, the grilled salmon juicy, the blackened catfish fresh and spicy. Accompanying potatoes, baked and fried, were good; preceding orders of crab salad and shrimp nachos prompted us to send back clean plates. 4580 Belt Line Rd. 386-0122. Inexpensive la moderate. -M.B.M.
S&D Oyster Company. The menu is simple and has been the same for years: shrimp, oysters, and fish fillets, fried, raw, or broiled. The raw oysters were not as briny as the best, but the fried shrimp were just cooked under their hot brown crust, and the broiled snapper was moist and sizzling under butter, lemon, and paprika. 2701 McKinney Ave. 880-0111. Inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M.
Scott’s A Seafood House. There’s a new menu daily, according to what’s fresh, as everything we tasted certainly was. Raw oysters were plump and briny; crabcakes consisted of little more than sweet crab meat in a light breading. Both the sautéed fillet of sole and the grilled whole baby snapper were perfectly cooked and perfectly fresh. 4620 McKinney. 528-7777. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Theodore’s Seafood Restaurant. Creatures of the briny deep occupy the bulk of the Greek/seafood menu, and Theodore’s does a good job with most of them-though be forewarned that a simply, delectably broiled whole flounder will be adorned with an herbal oregano accent that you may not have bargained for! The Greek-style shrimp scampi(with tomato and feta cheese) is extraordinary, The Corner Shopping Center, 8041 Walnut Hill 361-1922. Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.
Yoli’s Seafood & Grill. This place is thronged evenings by Northeast Dallasites willing to wait forty-five minutes in line for a fresh-seafood fix at under five dollars a pop. Willing, too, to overlook uninspired accompaniments: shrimp scampi, for instance, heaped pink shrimp (more than a dozen) on linguini that was much overbuttered though nicely al dente; meaty scallops given the same treatment glowed with spicy Cajun heal. 9220 Skillman at LBJ, Suite 124. 341-3533. Inexpensive. N -B.C.
iCaramba! The menu’s thirty-two little dishes (half cold, half hot, priced from $2.50 to $4.50) offer a mouth-watering variety of samplers. On the cold side, the cheapest was one of the best-quinoa becomes a trendy tabouleh-like cold salad, zipped with the freshness of diced cucumbers, tomatoes, and lime juice. Warm entries were laudable, too-sautéed sweetbreads with peppercorn butter were star quality, tender-crisp. 3227 McKinney Ave. 720-9181. Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Arthur’s. A salmon fillet with straw mushrooms was perfectly cooked, firm and succulent, and a huge filet mignon was magnificent in fiery green peppercorn sauce.A dish of a la carte wild rice played perfect accompanimentto the latter: understeamed new potato, broccoli, and carrotheld little flavor. 8350 Central Expwy. Campbell Centre,Suite M1000. 361-8833. Expensive. -B.C.
The Butcher Shop Steakhouse. The Butcher Shop i draws droves of business visitors and conventioneers in search of hands-on Texana. The steak’s the hands-on part, you see-you can pick your own from a refrigerated display and broil it yourself over open-pit coals or, for two dollars more, the chef will do it for you. My twenty-ounce ribeye was succulent perfection, as was my companion’s monster T-bone. 808 Munger, off Lamar. 720-1032. Moderate. -B.C.
Huntington Grill. The seafood bisque was perfectly flavored, the fettuccine with snails sautéed in a cream sauce extremely rich, and the Scottish smoked salmon pristine and satiny. Of the dishes offered “From Our Broiler,” the best was the perfectly broiled lobster tail on the steak and lobster tail combination. The tenderloin on that combination, like the hefty twenty-four-ounce T-bone, suffered from a too heavily charred crust. Westin Hotel, Galieria, 13340 DalIas Pkwy. 851-2882. Expensive to very expensive. N -W.L.T.
Lawrys The Prime Rib. There’s a new lunch option at Lawry’s this season-the beef bastion has introduced pub-style sandwich service in its club-like Vintage Room. Wefound thin-sliced roast turkey breast admirable indeed, butthe premium entree, predictably, was a prime rib presentation of satiny slices, rosy as a stockbroker’s dreams, piled onsourdough bread drizzled with jus. 3008 Maple Ave.521-7777. Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Mike’s Del Frisco’s. A four-shrimp starter (two boiled,with remoulade; two fried, with red sauce) was ordinary, butthe house turtle soup, while mock, was deep-flavored andnicely sherry-spiked. The steaks were perfection-my fist-sized filet was butter-smooth and fork-tender, my companion’s ribeye a splendid sin, laced with the flavor only fat (ah,the forbidden F-word) can give to beef. 2200 Cedar SpringsRd in The Crescent. 720-4454. Expensive. -B.C.
Morton’s of Chicago. The porterhouse steaks are magnificent chunks of beef, and they are likely to be served just as specified. Some of the other dishes are fine, too. The lump crab meat is simplicity itself, perfectly fresh. The Caesar salad is robust, and the chocolate soufflé for two a fine end to a meal. 501 Elm St. 741-2277. Expensive. -W.L.T.
The Palm Restaurant. Almost everything we tried wasperfection in its class-roasted pimento halves stretched overchopped lettuce and laced with anchovy strips in vinaigrettewere fine as ever, while fresh asparagus held audaciouscrunch. A full-pound New York strip and three double lambchops were absolutely prime, cooked precisely to order. 701Ross Ave. 698-0470. Very expensive. -B.C.
Al’s New York Style Dell. Al’s specialty is the hero, and our favorite is the Philly-not quite an authentic Philadelphiacheese steak sandwich, but a wonderful variation, with thin- ,ly pounded beef, melted Swiss cheese, and grilled slicedgreen peppers and mushrooms. 3301-A Oak Lawn(entranceon Hall). 522-3354. Inexpensive. -W.L.T.
Bagel Emporium. All sorts of bagels and other bakedgoods are the focus here, from beautifully shaped loaves ofbread to bialys and onion rolls. But you can also have a finebreakfast of an omelette, with a pale-brown crust and a heartof baby Swiss cheese, accompanied by home-fried cubes ofpotatoes and onions. 7522 Campbell Rd, Suite 117.980-1444.Inexpensive. -W.L.T.
Bageistein’s. The chopped liver and pastrami can be hadon home-baked onion rolls. And there’s a variety of smokedfish-anybody with a taste for lox (smoked salmon) willprobably like the whitefish salad too, but the sable, with asushi-like texture, might have a more limited appeal. Northwood Hills Shopping Center, S104 Spring Valley. 234-3787. ’Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.
City Market. It’s hard to choose from the wide selection:of delicious, imaginative salads, hearty soups, and excellent,sandwiches. This is not the time to skip dessert-on my lastvisit there was a glorious hot chocolate pudding/cake Ithought only my mother could make. 200 Trammel! CrowCenter, Suite 200 (Ross at Harwood). 979 2690.Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Crescent Gourmet. Most of the dishes we tried on ourlast visit tacked seasoning: chicken and tuna salads weremealy but bland, and the brownies were more sweet thanchocolate. On the upside, the focaccia bread on the tastybacon-avocado sandwich gets our vote for best sandwichbread in town, and the white and dark chocolate chip cookieswere killers. 400 Crescent Court. 871-3223. Inexpensive tomoderate. -M.B.M.
Dell News Restaurant & Bakery. We found particulardelight in three kinds of beef: meticulously rare roast beef,lean brisket, and richly flavored corned beef. The bakedgoods vary in quality, but the unusual onion rolls and theeven more unusual poppy-seed roll (something like strudel)are worth investigating. 15775 Hillcrest Rd, Suite 502.392-3354. Inexpensive. -W.L.T.
The Good Life Catering Co. Owner-chef Christine Carbone’s creative touch yields such happy daily features asflawless vichyssoise, imaginative sandwiches (try thechicken with apricots and almonds), and hearty tortas-domed layers of spinach, cheeses, and garlic-spiked roastedred bell peppers, for instance, wrapped in pastry and soldby the wedge. 6340 Gaston Ave. 821-3194. Inexpensive tomoderate. -B.C.
Marty’s. Most of the space is devoted to the most recherche selection of wines and spirits in town, so how do theypack so much temptation into the back room devoted to allkinds of foods? The cold dishes, like the superb coarse porkpáté the pasta salad with pesto sauce, and the curriedchicken salad, are hard to beat. Wfc dare you not to be tempted by (he sweets such as the strawberry tart and the”chookies,” chunky with chocolate. 3316 Oak Lawn.526-4010. Moderate. -W.LT.
Pasta Plus. Under new ownership we found the pasta side of things is still in good hands-we enjoyed the tortelloni(filled with a cheese and spinach mixture) and the pi sell isauce (with cream and peas) especially. The preparedtakeout items, though, didn’t come off as well. Lasagna wasnot very exciting, and the chicken salad suffered from largequantities of harsh Bermuda onions. 225 Preston Royal East373-3999, Inexpensive to moderate. -W.LT.
Petaluma. Who would have thought that grilled chickencombined with black beans and a tomato salsa would begood cold, or that a stir-fried combination of scallops, snowpeas, and sprouts would delight? The Cajun shrimp and ricesalad is merely comforting, but even that is better than somany experiments in other places that just don’t work at all.Similarly, the ham and Swiss cheese sandwich on focacciaand the spinach quiche were models of their kind. 2515McKinney. 871-2253. Inexpensive, -W.LT.
Tommaso”s Fresh Pasta. Uncooked fresh pasta andcold pasta salads are available by the pound, and you canchoose your own sauce (our favorites are the creamy walnutsauce and the flavorful, tomatoey puttanesca spiked withblack olives). Individual portions of lasagna and roiolo(pasta rolled jelly-roll style around a spinach, cheese, andham filling) can be zipped into a microwave. 5365 Spring\hiley, Suite 158. at Montfort. 991-4040. Inexpensive tomoderate. N -W.LT.
Bangkok Inn. Moo saray-pork ribbons marinated in curry and threaded on skewers-was thick and chewy, unequal to the excellent cucumber and peanut sauces that accompanied it. An entree of frog legs with basil leaves wouldhave been wonderful if their meal had not been ralher dry;the spicy wealth of fresh vegetables and ground chicken thatcomplemented them was fresh and flavorful. 7035 Greenville. 739-2938. Inexpensive. -B.C
Chao Wang. The moo satay-curried strips of porkgrilled on a skewer-is especially flavorful here, and thepanang beef has a thick sauce in which lime leaves lurk,Sadly, the lunch buffet includes only Chinese dishes, which,can be avoided on the dinner menu. Keystone Fork Shopping;Center. Suite 400. 13929 N Central Expwy. 437-3900.Moderate. N -W.L.T.
New Siam. Volcano chicken was beautiful and delicious; gang ped (red curry with chicken, coconut milk, and mini’leaves) was not as hot as we can stand, but the cashew,chicken with fried red pepper and green onion compensated,,2415 W Northwest Hwy. Suite 108 (at Harry Nines). 358*5679. inexpensive to moderate. -M.B.M..
Sala Thai. The pork satay (skewered strips of curried meatgrilled and served with a curried peanut sauce) is an outstanding appetizer. The panang beef (a red curry with timeleaves), the red snapper with chili sauce, and the chickencashew nut (tasty with ginger root and fresh pineapple) makea good combination of entrées. 4503 Greenville Ave.696-3210. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Thai Lanna. No place makes the classic Thai chickencoconut soup taste richer or more incendiary, and the eggplant curry, with pork and ground mint leaves, is equallyspecial. Those who can’t stand the hot pepper heat don’t haveto stay out of the kitchen-pork satay and top corn chickenwon’t intimidate kids or grandma. 1490 WSpring Malley Rd,Richardson. 690-3637. Moderate.N -W.L.T.
Thai Soon. The tiny jade green room with its Indonesianprint cloths has a funky coziness that is most appealing, andthe mostly vegetarian menu is appealing, too. Don’t miss thecorncakes; soups and curries are also outstanding. 2018Greenville. 821-7666. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Thai Toy’s. The egg rolls are unlike any in our experience-each as big as two fists, and two to an order. Thesoups, as at most Thai restaurants, are superb. Ten strictlyvegetarian entrées are based on fried tofu cubes and freshvegetables-the panang (a red curry with lime leaves) isoutstanding. 4422-B Lemmon Ave. 528-7233. Inexpensive tomoderate. -W.L.T.
Arc-en-Ciel. The Seven Courses of Beef turned out to contain the best dishes-some homemade sausages of variousshapes and textures that had been grilled to a turn. Mosteverything on the Vietnamese side of the menu is supposedto be rolled up in rice paper with julienned vegetables anddipped in a vinegary hot sauce, producing a kind of Southeast Asian taco. 3555 W Halnut at Jupiter, Garland. 272-2188. Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.
BaLa. Shrimp and pork rolls were lovely, fresh and tender,beef and noodle soup a strong, clear broth with thin, wideslices of meat. Tightly rolled egg rolls were packed withpork, and a big platter of fresh cilantro, serrano peppers,sprouts, and lettuce, and bowls of hot and fish sauce encouraged you to play with your food. 4812 Bryan at Fitz-hugh. 821-1880. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Mal’s. We started with an order of fat pork-stuffed Vietnamese rolls, accompanied by a big plate of lettuce andcilantro leaves. You wrap the roll and some cilantro in a lettuce leaf for an Asian taco-the combination of fresh andfried flavors, cool and hot, is addictive. 4812 Bryan.826-9887. Inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Mekong. The hot pot soup was a stellar array of chickenand seafoods with still -crisp celery, pepper, and onion stripsin an ambrosial broth. An entrée of roast duck almost outshone it-served with a saucer of salted lemon juice ladenwith fresh-ground black pepper, it was superb. 4301 BryanStreet, Suite 101. 824-6200. Inexpensive. -B.C.
Saigon. First time I dined here, I ordered the shrimpwrapped around sugar cane simply to see what it was. Since,I’ve ordered it every visit because the dish is so marvelous.Other highlights: chicken simmered with beer in a deep, richtomato sauce with bread for dipping, and a special-of-the-day fried catfish in whisper-delicate batter. 1731 Greenville.828-9795. Inexpensive. -B.C.
LAS COLINAS/MID CITIES
China Terrace. Pot stickers were exemplary, the tenderlittle pastry pouches plum ply filled and crisply browned ontheir under side. Salmon Szechwan was superb, a moist pinkfillet sautéed and served with a bracing pepper-spiced sauce,sided with fresh broccoli. 5435 N MacArthur, south ofHighway 114 at Walnut Hill Lane, Las Colinas. 550-1113.Inexpensive to moderate. -B.C.
Esparza’s. The food here includes definitive chili con queso, cheese enchiladas, and refried beans. Big chimichangas are stuffed with shredded, not ground beef, and fajitas are well marinated and not overcooked. 124 E Worth St. Grapevine. (817)481-4668. Inexpensive.-W.L.T.
Moretti’s. The luncheon menu is dominated by standarddishes like tortellini in a buttery broth, lasagna with a heartytomato sauce, and veal Marsala with a delicious sauce(though the veal itself was a bit pasty from imprecise sautéing). 2709 Mustang Drive. Grapevine. (817) 481-3230.Inexpensive to moderate. -W.L.T.
Via Real. This place was serving tapas before tapas werecool, and both the empanadas (pastries filled with groundbeef and vegetables) and the cold crepes rolled aroundsalmon, cream cheese, capers, and onions justify the current craze for Spanish-style appetizers. The real standoutshere are the seafood entrees; the grilled shrimp in a superbgarlic butter sauce lift that overworked crustacean to newheights. 3591 N Belt Line, Irving. 255-0064. Moderate toexpensive. -W.L.T.
Benito’s. The menu features such uncommon appetizers assopes, sort of a super-thick soft com tortilla filled withbeans, cheese, and green sauce, and chilies en rajas, stripsof poblano peppers in cream. Entrees follow suit: tamaloaxaquefio is wrapped in a banana leaf, and the shredded(not ground) beef tacos are fried after they’re filled. 1450 WMagnolia. (817) 332-8633. inexpensive. -M.B.M.
Hedary’s. For a one-visit overview, order the maza, aselection of salads, and a meat combination plate. That wayyou can sample a little of everything: tabouleh (wheat,tomato, and parsley salad), hummus (garlicky puréedchickpeas), and a delicious batinjan mtabbal (roasted eggplant dip), along with freshly baked puffed pita bread. Themeat plate features homemade sujuk (hot beef sausage), kafta (ground beef rolls), Lebanese shish kebab, and a versionof the national dish of Lebanon, kibbi. 3308 Fairfield atCamp Bowie. (817) 731-6961. Moderate. -M.B.M.
Juanita’s. When this busy place in the Sundance Squareredevelopment in downtown Fort Worth first opened, itseemed to be riding on the cachet of having a well-knownowner (the wife of writer Dan Jenkins). The food has takenan upward turn since then, as has the now reliable service.The menu is mostly standard Tex-Mex (with appetizers likefried stuffed jalapenos and nachos with everything imaginable on them), but there are some more original dishes, too.115 W Second. (817) 335-1777. Moderate. -W.L.T.
La Marée. Particularly seductive the night we were therewere a crabcake appetizer that transcended the texturelessregional cliche with a lively spiced lime remoulade and anentree of pork in three guises-smoked loin, homemadesausage, and ham-zinged with ancho pepper sauce. 3416 WSeventh. (817) 877-0838. Moderate. -B.C.
Michael’s Seafood. The standbys here seem to be thefried seafood-catfish fillets, oysters, shrimp, and the rest.The most innovative things on the menu are the blackenedred snapper and a garlicky version of shrimp scampi. 5805Camp Bowie. (817) 377-8021. Moderate. -W.L.T.
Reflections. A first-course lobster bisque may have beenthe best I’ve ever tasted, rich and subtly complex. Thesalad’s mixed greens were a medley of young lettuces, in avinaigrette tuned to their delicacy. Entrees equaled theirintroduction-salmon Wellington was an intriguing treatment of fresh flesh, wrapped in phyllo leaves with a fragileseafood mousse. The Wortington Hotel, 200 Main. (817)870-1000. Expensive. -B.C.
Saint-Emilion. This tucked-away French bistro servesFort Worth’s best restaurant food-and we’re not sure there’sany place in Dallas that can match it at the price. Entrees likea meltingly tender filet of beef with tarragon sauce or solewrapped around a salmon mousse and topped with a lobstersauce come with soup or a superb salad with bacon andwalnuts for a single price. 3617 W Seventh. (817) 737-2781.Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.
Tours. Quesadillas were overflowing with avocado andchicken in one instance, with avocado and shrimp in anotherbetween loosely stacked tortillas, ruffled with lettuce-toomany components, it seemed to me. Braised scallops werebig, meaty marvels in an uncomplicated cream sauce,crowned with the agreeable crunch of fresh minced leeks-an innovative concept. 3500 W Seventh, (817) 870-1672.Moderate to expensive. -B.C.
Tuscany. Both the look of this place and (he style of thecooking are meant to be reassuring-not stodgily old-fash-ioned but not so experimental that anyone is going to bealarmed. The food is not without some original touches: theappetizer of eggplant fried and stuffed with ricotta andspinach is hardly old hat, and the fettuccine Carbonara isspiked with chopped scallions. 4255 Camp Bowie Blvd.| (817) 737-2971. Moderate to expensive. -W.L.T.