DINING OUT NEW RESTAURANT REVIEWS At Sambuca in Addison, Only the Menu Is Tame

Also: Cafe Istanbul, Sumo Steak, Street’s, and Deco’s By Arthur

SAMBUCA

DEEP, INVITING BOOTHS covered in animal prints, a high-tech bar area, a colorful Rousseau-type forest scene mural, and some free-wheeling iron handrails-clearly, a lot of attention has been paid to the decor in Addison’s new Sambuca. The live jazz is another plus, except that Sambuca’s hard surfaces (no draperies, no carpeted floors, etc. to help absorb noise) render the music almost painfully loud. After several visits, I’ve discovered that the bar area is the best place to dine, especially if you want to carry on a conversation.

It’s also the best spot for people-watching, and Sambuca raises that hobby to a fine art. The bar area swims with some of the best bodies in town, many clad in animal prints and leather.

Alter that bacchanalian not of noise and color, Sambuca’s food seems almost restrained. The Caesar is tame; instead, opt for the spinach salad with its tasty croutons and intriguing sun-dried cherry vinaigrette. The bruschetta, topped with sun-dried tomato pesto, packs a punch, but the crostini topped with sautéed wild mushrooms would be much more interesting with a touch of garlic. The appetizer pizzas score high marks- they change daily, so hope the vegetarian one (heaped with artichoke hearts, bell peppers, goat cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes) is on the menu when you visit.

The specials seem to be more assertively flavored than the regular menu items, with especially good sauces like a perky tomato sauce on spaghetti, and a bold harissa-sauced filet mignon.

The wine list matches the food well, with choices from all over the globe, and an equally wide range of prices.

The dark chocolate mousse, once you scrape off the aerosol topping, ends the meal on a rich note, or, for an even richer finish, try the Romana Sambuca cake, drenched with the anise-flavored liqueur. At this point in the evening, the music is more mellow. Not that crowd at the bar, though. Order a glass of Sambuca, kick back, and enjoy the show.

-Suzanne Hough

Sambuca. 15207 Addison Rd., Addison, 214-385-8455- lunch, Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; dinner, Sunday-Wednesday, 6 p.m.-11 p.m., Thursday, 6 p.m. -midnight, Friday & Saturday, 6 p.m.-1 a.m. Moderate.



CAFE ISTANBUL

THIS TINY, COMFORTABLE cafe, with its brick and whitewashed walls, its restful Mediterranean blue ceiling and trim, and its heavy wooden tables, conjures up a rough-hewn Turkish seaside taverna, albeit in Inwood Village.

As at other Middle Eastern restaurants, it is traditional to start with the meze, a platter of assorted cold appetizers to be eaten slowly with pita bread while one sips either Raki, an anise-flavored liqueur, or beer. Of the appetizers, the Cafe’s taramasalata, made with a dollop of red caviar, lemon juice, vegetable oil, and potatoes, is a standout. Another winner: the dolmas stuffed with rice, onion, and pine nuts. An unusual and authentic Turkish dip, which took some getting used to. is the deep red Acili, a concoction of lemon juice, olive oil, Mediterranean spices, and an abundance of hot peppers. Pita bread, warm and full of flavor, was exceptional.

Among hot appetizers, I enjoyed the lovely Etli Borek, light, golden-brown baked pastries filled with onions, beef, tomatoes, and peppers. Doner Kebab-thin, tender slices of marinated beef and lamb seasoned with marjoram and oregano and topped with sautéed tomatoes, peppers, and onions on an open-faced pita sandwich-was not only delicious and filling, but a bargain at $3.50.

As for entrees, I especially recommend the delicate Bolu Tavuk Tava, a chicken breast sautéed in olive oil with unusual herbs, tomatoes, onions, and garlic. My companion’s marinated swordfish was tender and lovely as were accompanying sautéed zucchinis, squash, and onions. Lamb chops, marinated in olive oil, oregano, and marjoram, were a bit thinner and more well done than I prefer, though this seems to be a traditional Middle Eastern preparation.

If you can, save room for dessert, especially the sweet, mouth-watering sekerpare cookies. Muhallebi, a delicious, if somewhat bland creamy custard, along with thick Turkish coffee, is a perfect end to the meal.

Cafe Istanbul did have one major flaw: Despite a short menu, on each of our visits the restaurant was out of a surprising number of dishes, often the same ones and the very ones I wanted to try. I hope they smooth out these bumps soon. -Jill Harris

Cafe Istanbul. 5450 W. Leavers Ln., 214-902-0919. Monday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. &6p.m. -10p.m. Inexpensive to moderate.



SUMO STEAK

THERE ARE A LOT OF PEOPLE WHO THINK reviewing restaurants is a cushy job, To tell you the truth, if you don \ have to watch your waistline and you don’t mind writing, much of the time it is. But there are moments when we rethink our choices. A visit to Sumo Steak, a newly opened restaurant on upper Greenville, had my companion and me wishing we could dash out the door almost as soon as we had entered. Outside, a bright banner announcing severely slashed prices on steaks and ribeyes at $8.9.5 and $9.95 provided a clue that all was not well. Once inside, we discovered that the enormous restaurant was resoundingly empty save for one couple with a small child and a large-bellied man in a Hawaiian shirt drinking at the curvilinear, mirrored bar. The exquisite decor-banquettes upholstered with rich tapestry-like fabric; regal chairs on contemporary red metal legs; and lush green plants-deserved more of a crowd.

When our waiter explained that the printed menu had been set aside while the chef worked out some of the glitches, we had another foreboding flash of what was to come. For first courses, we opted for the escargot and the mushrooms stuffed with seafood, followed by the soup of the day and a salad. Next, from the blackboard specials, my companion ordered the New York Skirt Steak while 1 selected a grilled shrimp and scallop combination. Though we were the only patrons by this time, we waited for 45 minutes for our appetizers to arrive. Meanwhile, we spent our free time, and our entire meal for that matter, swatting maddeningly at the tiny black fruit flies that buzzed around us.

When, at last, the first dishes appeared, the escargot, covered in pasty dough, brought to mind a snail pot pie, Cheese-covered mushrooms, while not bad, were undistinguished. Though I had ordered beef and wild rice soup, the waiter brought me a hearty black bean soup with a hardboiled egg in it. My companion’s iceberg lettuce salad, topped with shredded carrot, was uneventful. When the main courses arrived-steak, with its Japanese sauce, too salty and tough, and the tasty grilled shrimp on a platter cluttered with zucchini and kiwi-we waved frantically for our check, Just then my companion flattened a single fruit fly, a small victory in the otherwise dismal outing. -J.H.

Sumo Steak. 7402 Greenville Ave., 214-987-2111. Lunch, Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-2 p.m.; dinner, Monday-Thursday, 5 p,m.-10:30 p.m., Friday & Saturday, J p.m.-11 p.m.; Sunday brunch, 12 p.m.-2:30pm. Moderate.



DECO’S BY ARTHUR

WITH TEXTURED ALUMINUM OVERHANGS, A black and purple theme, and a round neon clock, this strictly Kosher restaurant is an attractive contemporary diner. Already off and running, seemingly at top speed, Deco’s boasts a large and loyal following of obser-vant jews, many in yarmulkes, as well as nearby office workers drawn by the low-fat offerings and modest prices. Indeed, the menu, which touts “low-fat, vegetarian, non-fried, fun foods,” tells you a lot about the restaurant even before you pass through its portals in the northwest quadrant of Preston Forest, the former home of the Hungry Jockey.

Part of the secret of Deco’s success is demographics, The rest is that while, alas, you won’t find cheese blintzes, potato latkes, and the like, you will find vast quantities of designer pizzas, pastas, and baked artichoke bottoms, all adhering to strict Kosher dietary rules. Perhaps my favorite dish is Deco’s divine calzone “lite” made with excellent dough, spinach, mushrooms, caramelized onions, mozzarella, and ricotta. Among the medley of pizzas ranging from $10.45 to $12.45, I especially liked the lively Marx Brothers with grilled eggplant, capers, feta and mozzarella cheese, artichoke bottoms, and herbs.

The $6.95 heart-healthy, all-you-can-eat buffet of salads, vegetables, and pasta is a big draw. Among the many dishes, the mushroom soup was pleasant and the smoked salmon pasta delightful, but the Caesar salad was far from authentic. Brownies and other baked goods were excellent.

The eatery features nostalgic 1930s advertisements on the walls and vintage soda fountain creations including floats, lime rickeys, and an egg cream straight from Jerome Avenue in the Bronx. The sound system plays serendipitous jazz, and Deco’s is also open several nights a week for jazz and jam sessions. The restaurant closes for the Jewish Sabbath at 2:30 p.m. Friday and reopens Sunday morning for brunch with lox, white-fish, and all the trimmings. -J.H.

Deco’s By Arthur. Preston Road and Forest Lane, 214-788-2808. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m.; Friday, 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m.; Sunday brunch, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., Sunday dinner, 5 p.m.-9 p.m. Inexpensive.



STREETS

I LOVE SANDWICHES. HOT OR COLD, DELI-cate tea-sized or deli-high, put one in front of me and I’ll probably…hate it. That’s because the majority of sandwiches are horrid affairs, with cottony supermarket bread; that pink, salty, processed stuff misnamed “turkey” that bears no relation to Thanksgiving’s bird; and wet lettuce. Enter Street’s, the sandwich shop that should put most others to shame.

I’ve chomped through most of Streets menu, and my hands-down favorite is the V.I.P. It’s a turkey, dressing, and cranberry sauce sandwich like the ones 1 make daily after each Thanksgiving until I’ve run out of one of the three key elements. Street’s roasts its own turkeys and roast beef, and they’re featured in many of the sandwiches. But the overwhelming top choice after an intense work-our-way-through-the-menu lunch with five friends was a vegetarian number featuring grilled portobello mushrooms layered with onions, tomatoes, and melted cheeses. Tied for second place were California Dreamin’ (another meatless sandwich) and Love Song, a BLT enhanced with turkey and sprouts.

Two common threads wove throughout the menu: The bread was good, and the quality of the produce was high. Sandwiches come with a side dish; the Chinese sesame noodles have the most zip. Of the homemade desserts, I find myself returning to the buttery rum cake and the carrot cake that surely must contain more carrots and raisins than cake-therefore, it’s got to be good for you, right? -S.H.

Street’s. 4246 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-526-2505. Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m. Inexpensive.

THESE RESTAURANTS REPRESENT THE BEST in Dallas and Fort Worth dining. It is implicit that we recommend all of them highly. These listings are revised and supplemented periodically. Visits by our critics are made anonymously to avoid preferential treatment. Inclusion in this directory has nothing whatever to do with paid advertising.

KEY:

25 Named one of D Magazine’s

25 Best Restaurants [August 1995]

Inexpensive: Dinner entrees under $10

Moderate: Most entrees $10 to $25

Expensive: Most entrees S25 or more (Based on a typical dinner for one, not including drinks, tax, and tip.)

Australian

Outback Pub. 1701 N. Market St., 214-761-9555. Inexpensive.

Bakery/Cafe

Breadwinners Cafe And Bakery. With the most charming open-air courtyard in the city at the site of the old Andrews, Breadwinners is winning renown: Loyal breakfast and lunch customers forced the small bakery to open for dinner Wednesdays through Saturdays, and daytime joys like Normandy French Toast and San Antonio Tacos now segue into such eclectic dinners as shrimp macadamia nut stir fry, veggie faji-tas, and Jack Daniel’s barbecued baby back ribs. 3301 McKinney Ave., 214-7544940. Inexpensive.

La Madeleine. 11930 Preston Rd.,214-233-6448; 3906 Lemmon Ave., 214-521-0182; 3072 Mockingbird Ln., 214-696-6960; and other locations. Inexpensive.

Massimo Da Milano. 6333 E. Mockingbird Ln., 214-826-9456; 5519 W. Lovers Ln., 214-351-1426; 2121 San Jacinto St., 214-871-0400; and other locations. Inexpensive.

Barbec

Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. Deep in the heart of Texas barbecue, Houston has Goode’s, Fort Worth has Angelo’s, and Dallas has Sonny Bryan’s. And while Sonny may be gone, his sainted name goes on in franchising; the original dump on Inwood is father to two downtown spots and a strip-mall storefront in far North Dallas. The meat is what matters here; falling-off-the-bone ribs; tender, thick slices of smoky beef; and wonderfully greasy sausage, all kissed with spicy, thick sauce. 2202 Inwood Rd., 214-357-7120; and other locations. Inexpensive.

Anderson’s Barbecue House. 5410 Harry Hines Blvd., 214-630-0735. Inexpensive.

Baker’s Ribs. 2724 Commerce St., 214-748-5433; 4844 Greenville Ave., 214-373-0082. Inexpensive.

Billy Blues Bar-B-Que Market. 316 Hillside Village, 214-823-6131. Inexpensive.

Peggy Sue BBQ. 6600 Snider Plaza, 214-987-9188. Inexpensive.

Red, Hoi & Blue. The motto is “best bar-b-que you’ll ever have in a building that hasn’t already been condemned.” That lets you know this restaurant isn’t going for the Sonny Bryan’s business. It promises Memphis blues and red hot barbecue, and it delivers-from the red walls, just-right blues music, and slabs of smoked pork ribs served “wet” or “dry.” Go for the wet and add the dry seasoning that’s at every table for the best effect. Beware of the blisteringly hot “hoochie-koochie” sauce on the table. The baked beans, with green pepper and onion, are tangy but the cole slaw was bland; we wondered if someone forgot the dressing. New potato salad, however, was chunky and firm with the right mix of egg and seasoning. A great kids meal included ribs, french fries, and a soft drink-all for $2.95. And the fudge pie-a hot brownie under a huge dip of vanilla ice cream, would satisfy any “chocophile. ” 9810 N. Central Expy. at Walnut Hill Lane, Ste. 600. 214-368-RIBS or fax 214-373-FAXS for orders to go.

R.J.’s Sho-Nuff. 4310 Maple Ave., 214-528-5230. Inexpensive.

Sammy’s BBQ. 2126 Leonard St., 214-880-9064. Inexpensive.

Solly’s. 4801 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-387-2900. Inexpensive.

Brewpubs

Hubcap Brewery & Kitchen. 1701 N. Market St., 214-651-0808. Moderate.

The Rock Bottom Brewery. 4050 Belt Line Rd., West Addison, 214-404-7456. Moderate.

Two Rows Restaurant & Brewery. 5500 Greenville Ave., Ste. 1300,214-696-2739. Moderate.

Yegua Creek Brewing Company. 2920 N. Henderson Ave., 214-824-BREW. Inexpensive.

British

Jennivine. 3605 McKinney Ave., 214-528 6010. Moderate.

Burgers/Casual

Chip’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers. You loved it on Central. You’ll love it on Cole. Chip’s award-winning burgers are as good as ever served at the new location in the turn-of-the-century structure that was built as a Baptist church and has been the site of many a good restaurant in recent years. The classic hamburger is a messy, delicious concoction involvingpickles,lettuce,onion, tomato, mustard, mayonnaise, and, of course, juicy beef all piled between the folds of a huge poppy seed bun. Seasoned fries, chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, and some salads are also on the menu, and are good, simple-if fattening-fare. Throw caution to the wind: Top it all off with a thick creamy shake. 4501 Cole, 214-526-1092; or its other new location, 4530 Lovers, 214-691-2447, Inexpensive.

Fresh ’N Lite. The name can be a little misleading-the menu does offer a lot of fat-free foods, but this place is out to please everyone, so the menu includes burgers, croissant-based sandwiches, and even com dogs. Most popular are the enormous bowls of salad in 13 varieties. The Caesar features perfectly grilled chicken, olives, and onions, and makes a satisfying meal, although the accompanying pasty white rolls need improvement. Other good choices include Fiesta chicken salad, a shrimp salad, and a pasta mix. If you’re in the mood for comfort food, select one of the Italian pasta dishes, pizza (the vegetarian supplies you with ample fresh veggies for the day), or a jumbo baked potato. Save room for a hot fruit cobbler topped with a generous scoop of fat-free frozen yogurt. 6150 Frankford Rd., 214-713-8167. Inexpensive.

The San Francisco Rose. On our last trip, the service here was poor, but it’s easy to forgive the Rose since they’ve given us so many good times in die past. The food is good, standard fare-salads, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and a Larry North special for die health-conscious. Special kudos to the veggie quesadillas, fullof fresh vegetables and probably the best in town. 3024 Greenville Ave., 214-826-2020. Inexpensive.

Slider and Blues. Since its arrival on the corner of Hillcrest Avenue and Northwest Highway in 1990, this casual burgers and pizza joint has been a gathering place for Park Cities and Preston Hollow parents and their kids. The menu offers simple, cheap fare, with most choices in the $3 to $6 range. Best picks are the appetizers (“sliders”), which include hot tortilla chips with salsa, peppery curlicue fries, and buffalo wings; die burgers; and die ultra-thin crust pizza. Parents can linger over a by-the-glass house wine or an on-tap beer while kids head for the noisy game room. 8517 Hillcrest Ave., 214-696-8632; Slider and Blues Frankfort, 18110 Midway, 214-732-6363; and other locations. Inexpensive.

Chuck’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers. 8309 West chester Dr., 214-369-7600; and other locations. Inexpensive.

Club Schmitz. 9661 Denton Dr., 214-350-3607. Inexpensive.

Hard Rock Cafe. 2601 McKinney Ave., 214-855-0007. Inexpensive.

Planet Hollywood. 603 Munger St., 214-749-7827. Inexpensive.

Snuffer’s. 3526 Greenville Ave., 214 826-6850; 14910 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-991-8811. Inexpensive.

Cajun/Creo

Café Margaux. Kay Agnew has a talent for endowing whatever space her restaurant occupies with a distinctively Southern comfort. The cafe s food is outstanding. Prime examples: A half-dozen fried oysters, their little frills crisped with com meal, came arranged on a pale, lemony sauce laced with nuggets of cracked pepper, while the day’s special of blackened halibut, with gilding pearly leaves of moist, sweet flesh, delivered a truly subtle murmur of Creole warmth in seared surface seasonings. Crestpark Hotel, 4242 Lomo Alto Dr., 214-520-1985. Moderate to expensive.

Crescent City Cafe. N’Awlins in a funky industrial setting, Crescent City Cafe brings spicy gumbo, huge muffalettas, fried oyster po’-boys, and de rigueur red beans and rice to Deep Ellum. On a recent visit, the noisy ambience and street scenery kept both downtown business suits and pony-tailed artsy types occupied as the too-few waitresses bustled about, apologizing cheerfully. No harm done: Thick, hearty gumbo, stout sandwiches, and cold beer can warm any heart. Avoid non-Cajun offerings, which aren’t bad, just undistinguished. 2615 Commerce St., 214-745-1900;2822McKinneyAve.,2H-969-1885.Inex-pensive.

Pappadeaux. Pappadeaux may be a chain, but it consistently prepares lively Cajun and stately New Orleans style food in a welcome and authentic manner. Fresh, ice-cold Gulf oysters are delec-tably topped with crab meat, spinach, and hollandaise on a bed of rock salt. We found the fried alligator to be so sweet, juicy, and lightly fried thai we plan to have it again, even though it did taste like chicken. 3520Oak Lawn Ave.,214-521-4700; and other locations. Moderate.

Copeland’s Of New Orleans. 5353 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-661-1883. Moderate.

Dodie’s Seafood Cafe. 2129 Greenville Ave., 214-821 8890. Inexpensive.

Nate’s Seafood & Steakhouse. 14951 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-701-9622. Moderate.

Razzoo’s Cajun Cafe. 1712 Towne Crossing Blvd., Mesquite, 214-686-9100; and other locations. Inexpensive.

Treebeards. 700 N. Pearl St., 214-871-7477. Inexpensive.

Caribbean

Cab Gecko. 5290 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-458-9884. Inexpensive.

Carib-B. 2012 Greenville Ave., 214-824-3395. Inexpensive.

Central American

25 Gloria’s. Dallas’ first El Salvadoran restau rant may have a casual, relaxed atmosphere, but the service couldn’t be better. Mom (Gloria) and Dad (José) are famous for their “wickedly good” black bean dip, served with salsa and tortilla chips to start every meal. Over 70 items crowd the order-by-number menu. We especially liked number 24, tender, nicely seasoned shrimp and onions over Spanish rice, and number 29, a seafood soup loaded with cubed fish, vegetables, and-surprise!-half an enormous crab in the shell, uncracked, and every bit worth the work of dislodging the succulent meal. 600 W. Davis St., 214-948-3672; and other locations. Inexpensive.

El Gallo De Oro. 4114 Maple Ave., 214-522-6624. Inexpensive.

Chinese

New Big Wong. This Lower Greenville spot still does a good lunch and late-night business, vending reliable and tasty Chinese standards and an assortment of challenging dishes for bolder palates. Start with cold noodles drizzled with hot sesame sauce, then move on to walnut shrimp, bean curd with crab meat, or die excellent eggplant with minced pork in a feisty garlic sauce. Or, you and your dining companion may want to divvy up one of the large bowls of soup; we stand behind the mixed deluxe with bean curd, almost overloaded with shrimp and pork. 2121 S. Greenville Ave., 214-821 -4198. Inexpensive.

May Dragon. If you warn to treat yourself to Chinese banquet-style dishes any day of the week, May Dragon, which serves a blend of Mandarin, Hunan, Cantonese, and Szech wan-style offerings, may be the place. At lunch, try the unusual Ming lettuce rolls, consisting of a large iceberg lettuce bowl lapped with hoisin sauce and filled with minced chicken and vegetables. From the elaborate dinner menu, the Magic Seafood Basket of Maine lobster tail, crab meat, scallops, and shrimp in a knitted noodle basket was beautiful, the crab and lobster exquisite, though the sherry sauce was surprisingly strong. 4848 Belt Line Rd., 214-392-9998. Moderate to expensive.

Taiwan Restaurant. The menu might look like a lot of other Chinese restaurants’, but that’s where any similarity ends. First, the decor: These elegantly decorated, spacious rooms are lined with windows to take advantage of the view from Taiwan’s second-floor location. Second, dim sum is offered daily (11:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m.), and it’s authentic, complete with cans loaded with little plates of these Chinese appetizers. There’s sticky rice, egg rolls, dumplings, and much more. 4980 Belt LineRd.,Addison.214-387-2333. Moderate.

Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan. Massive media hype propelled newly opened Uncle Tai’s to immediate prominence back in 1983: delectable, gourmet Szechwan fare and attentive, unobtrusive service have kept il on tap since. Uncle Tai’s churns out amazing Changsha prawns; melt-in-your-mouth crispy beef; potent Uncle Tai Chicken; and huge, buttery, ginger-fragrant jumbo Shrimp. Don’t miss the diced boneless squab package appetizer for an instant rush of “squab euphoria. ” 13350 Dallas Pkwy. (in the Galleria, third level), 214-954-9998. Moderate.

Aligust Moon. 15030 Preston Rd., 214-385-7227; 2300 N. Central Expwy, Piano, 214-881-0071. Inexpensive.

Cafe Panda. 7979 Inwood Rd., 214-902-9500. Moderate.

Henry Chen’s. 3701 W. Northwest Hwy., 214-956-9560. Moderate.

Jade Garden. 4800 Bryan St., 214-821-0675. Inexpensive.

Royal China. 201 Preston Royal Village, 214-361-1771. Inexpensive.

Szechwan Pavilion. 8411 Preston Rd,214-368-4303; 1152 N. Buckner Blvd., 214-321-7599. Inexpensive.

Coffeehouses

Cafe Brazil. 6420 N. Centrai Expwy., 214-691-7791; 2815 Elm St., 214-747-2730; 2221 Abrams Rd., 214-826-9522. Inexpensive.

Cafe Society. 4514 Travis St., Ste. 133,214-528-6543. Inexpensive.

Java Jones. 3211 Oak Lawn Ave.,214-528-2099; 5706 E. Mockingbird Ln., 214-823-3345. Inexpensive.

La Crème Coffee & Tea. 4448 W. Lovers Ln., 214-3694188; 700 N. Pearl St, 214-954-4188. Inexpensive.

Cuban

Las Americas. 1146 Peavy Rd., 214-324-2604. Inexpensive.

Deli

Gilbert’s New York Delicatessen. Mile-high combination sandwiches, best on rye, include “The Brooklyn Bridge,1’a triple-decker of corned beef, lean pastrami, chopped liver, and onion, and “The Queensboro Bridge,” stuffed with turkey. pastrami, Swiss cheese, cole slaw, and thousand island dressing. Be sure to sample the fabulous borscht with sour cream and the garlickly new cucumber pickles. For those who long for Eastern European dishes, specialties include stuffed cabbage, knishes, and chicken or flanken in die pot. 127 Preston Forest Village, 214-373-3333. Inexpensive.

Bagelstein’s. 8104 Spring Valley Rd., 214-234-3787. Inexpensive.

Deli News. 500 Crescent Court, 214-922-3354; 15775 Hillcrest Rd., 214-392-3354. Inexpensive.

Romano’s. 3111 Monticello Ave., 21.4-521-1662. Inexpensive.

Eastern European

Franki’s Li’l Europe. If you think nothing but trouble ever came from the former Yugoslavia, a night at Franki’s will set you straight. Try the reliable German combo of bratwurst, ham, sauerkraut, and baked apples; the jaeger schnitzel, served with savory spaetzle; or die awe-inspiring pork medallions in wild blackberry sauce, quickly voted Dish We Wish We’d Ordered by the nib-biers at our table. The star of the show is the ebullient Franki himself, always in suspenders and ready to laugh. No warring factions here-everyone leaves happy. 362 Casa Linda Plaza, 214-320-0426. Inexpensive to moderate.

Cafe Athenee. 5365 Spring Valley Rd., 214-239-8060. Inexpensive.

The Russian Room. 500 Crescent Court, 214-922-3333. Expensive.

Eclectic

Deep Ellum Cale. Great people watching, but whether it’s the addition of the Addison location or the crush of die weekend crowds, this Deep Ellum stalwart seems to have lost its focus. The appetizer of fried calamari with lemon pepper aioli was tender but tasteless, and the Cafe Salad-with its ordinary greens and icebox tomatoes-was a “why bother?” The grilled chicken lasagna with black beans and green chili cream couldn’t decide ii it was Mexican or Italian or just a hodge-podge, and the curry, lemon-grilled, Atlantic salmon arrived nicely sautéed, but sauce-less, with not a hint of curry, Stick to the tried-and-true Vietnamese grilled chicken salad or the creative sandwiches. 2704 Elm St., 214-741-9012. Moderate.

8.0 Restaurant and Bar. Head here on any Thursday night to mingle with the standing-room-only, coolest crowd in Dallas. Even the non-hip crowd comes for Sunday brunch, especially for a courtyard seat, Healthful cooking is stressed, but pancakes, chili cheeseburgers, and bacon appear alongside die “workout omelette. ” You’ll find large portions and low prices, but 8.0 s goal isn’t to attract epicureans, The “Lava Lamp,” an 8.0 drink involving jello shots and vodka, has a loyal following, and the blue frozen margaritas are nothing but fun in a glass. The Quadrangle, 2800 Routh St., 214-9790880. Inexpensive.

Fog City Diner. This glitzy, San Francisco-spawned transplant is to the traditional plate-lunch palace what Rockefeller Center is to the tepee; you’ll need a reservation. Some dishes pay lip service to the diner concept-chili dogs, burgers, and shakes are available-but you’ll know you’re riding the crest of trendmania when you see “warm chocolate chili tart with coffee ice cream” on the dessert menu. 2401 McKinney Ave., 214-220-2401. Inexpensive.

25 The Grape. The interior of The Grape is painted to look mellowly aged, like a wine cellar, and it’s guaranteed to stir up romance. Chef David Burdette toils behind a glass wall, and a huge blackboard displays the day’s menu, specials, and wine by the glass. Whatever you order, start with the mushroom soup-it’s famous, and justifiably so. The menu changes every few days and includes classics like beef tournedos, osso buco, and grilled swordfish, each given a unique Burdette sauce or accompaniment. 2808 Greenville Ave., 214-828-1981. Moderate.

Martini Ranch. Visiting a place with such a name, I expected to sashay into your basic, chic, up-to-the-minute cowhide, saddle leather, and sagebrush bar, not this jumble of worn wood and faded zebra skin stairways, underpowered lights, and a screechingly loud sound system. On the weekends, this is a happening place for singles while the rest of the time, amazingly enough, Martini Ranch is conducive to hanging out for an evening, drink in hand, talking endlessly with friends. Many of the martinis on the menu have high prices and foo-foo names, but none of those sampled-the joltingly hot “martini picante” with jalapeno stuffed olives; the sickly sweet “side car” with brandy and curacao; and the chocolate martini, Godiva liqueur in a chocolate rimmed glass (much better than it sounds, though save it for dessert)-holds a candle to a Stoli straight up with a twist, which is not even listed. Among nib-blies, try the excellent smoked trout, crab claws, and crispy calamari. The Jackie “O,” a baked potato soused with vodka and dabbed with caviar, is cooked to death and overpriced. 2816 Fairmount St., 214-220-2116. Inexpensive to moderate.

Angry Dog. Rules to remember when planning an outing to the Angry Dog. Rule 1 : Don’t go to the Angry Dog unless you plan on drinking-a lot. Rule 2: Don’t go to the Angry Dog if you don’t have at least two hours to wait for your main course, which is mediocre at best if you’re sober but probably tastes great if you’re drunk. Rule 3: Don’t go to the Angry Dog if you want to talk to, radier than shout at, your companion. Rule 4: Leave a good tip anyway, because the much overworked staff is friendly and apologetic. 2726 Commerce St., 214^741-4406. Inexpensive.

25 Sipango. Some may resent the compulsory $3 charge for valet parking in Sipango’s spacious, private lot, and others may wonder why some patrons are on a California kissy-kissy basis with Sipango’s powers-that-be while mere mortals receive a stony glance at best, but, aside from that, there are plenty of reasons to recommend this attractive, trendy Travis Street restaurant. Nearly all of Sipango’s California, Pacific Rim, and Italian dishes are light, like an unusual shrimp cake appetizer brightened with peppers and ginger, or a grilled vegetable entree including porta-bello mushrooms, zucchini, pimento, tomatoes, and eggplant. Try the extraordinary three-layer chocolate mousse cake for dessert. 4513 Travis St.,214-522 2411. Moderate.

Antares. Reunion Tower, 300 Reunion Blvd., 214-712-7145. Expensive.

Beau Nash. Hotel Crescent Court, 400 Crescent Court, 214-871-3242. Moderate.

Brasserie At The Fairmont Hotel. 1717 N. Akard St., 214-720-5291. Moderate.

Deep Ellum Cafe. 2706 Elm St., 214-741-9012; 5001 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-392-0894. Moderate.

Dovie’s. 14671 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-233-9846. Moderate.

Kathleen’s Art Cafe. 4424 Lovers Ln., 214-691-2355. Moderate.

The Library Bar. Melrose Hotel, 3015 Oak Lawn Ave,, 214-521-5151. Moderate.

Martini Ranch. 2816 Fairmount St., 214-220-2116. Inexpensive.

Pinot’s Wine Bar And Cafe. 2926 N. Henderson Ave,, 214-826-1949, Moderate.

Ethiopian

Queen of Sheba. If you ever doubted that you would love an Ethiopian restaurant, try Queen of Sheba Not only is the food extremely good but the dishes are easy to distinguish from one another, which is not always the case with this type of cuisine. Though the restaurant offers a low-cost luncheon bullet as well as Italian dishes, it’s best to order from a group of freshly prepared Ethiopian special selections. This will allow you to sample a more interesting group of offerings from $8.75 for vegetarian to $ 11.25 for beef, including a main dish and a panoply of vegetables and salad. All food, from doro wott, a spicy chicken stew, to shiro, a mild puree of yellow peas, is eaten via your fingers or injera, a slightly tart, crepe-like bread made from self-rising flour and sater. 3527 McKinney Ave., 521-0491, Inexpensive.

Dallul. 2515 Inwood Rd., 214-353-0804. Inexpensive.

Tana. 3701 W. Northwest Hwy., Ste. 173, 214-350-3234. Inexpensive.

French/Continent

Addison Cafe. Behave nicely at this little French charmer, and you might be offered a complimentary glass of port after you’ve lapped up the last silky mouthful of the chocolate mousse. The intimate setting, clusters of long-stemmed flowers, and regal service bode well for a night of amour. Hot crusty rolls and a “Salade Victor Hugo,” greens topped with juicy grilled chicken, tomatoes, and walnuts, team up for a swell lunch; and a spinach, gruyère, and sun-dried tomato salad makes a nice segue into dinner. The heaps of vegetables served with the entrees are so beautifully prepared and cooked that it’s tempting to polish them off first. However, you’ll be devoting equal time to the beef tournedos in their intoxicating bordelaise sauce if you’ve been clever enough to order that. Prestonwood Place, 5290 Belt Line Rd., Addison. 214-991-8824. Moderate.

25 Calluaud’s Bistro. Long one of Dallas’ most charming French eateries, Calluaud’s now concentrates on casual entrees and tapas, with an occasional “small bile” from the restau tant s previous, skillfully executed, traditional French menu. Among the entrees, try the moist, perfectly cooked red snapper topped with tomatoes, onions, green peppercorns, rosemary, and a touch of vinegar, served with sautéed squash. And don’t be surprised if you’re seated by die owner’s wife or teenage daughter, or if the chef himself, Guy Calluaud, comes out of the kitchen to set a table or straighten the silver 5405 W. Lovers Ln., 214-352-1997. Moderate.

25 Chez Gerard. Chez Gerard makes French cuisine approachable while upholding its reputation for exquisite food, service, and wine. Try simple, rustic Country French dishes like casserole of scallops in red wine sauce, rabbit fricassee, or dishes rarely seen outside France like roasted pigeon, grilled mullet, or halibut tartare. Meals are served in die cozy, dimly lit inside room or in the covered patio, and both locations set the stage for romance. 4444 McKinney Ave., 214-522-6865. Moderate.

25 The French Room. The French Room is perhaps Dallas’ pre-eminent grand-occasion restaurant. For one thing, the price is haughty, although the courtly and unassuming staff certainly is not, And the menu is charged with such romantic eloquence it might make the best-seller lists as The Dishes of Dallas County. But it’s not just hype-every dish we sampled more than lived up to its billing, from an appetizer of foie gras terrine with mesclun salad to a roasted breast of guinea hen, split and filled with sweet crabmeat. Chef Donald Guillory’s cuisine makes dining here a special occasion. In the Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St., 214-742-8200. Expensive.

25 The Green Room. Chef Chris Pyun’s food will stop you from wondering whether the Green Room’s decor is Victorian melodrama, French farce, or Deep Ellum send-up; the Culinary Institute of America alum cooks avant French, scaled down in price by resourceful mixing of local and seasonal ingredients with more exotic elements, and an occasional snap of piquancy salutes Southwestern influences. Like a consummately delicious red bell pepper soup barely laced with lingering fire from a float of jalapeno coulis that spells “Room,” in-of course-green. 2715 Elm St., 214748-7666. Moderate.

Le Chardonnay. Restaurateur Michel Baudouin’s same-name Dallas spin-off of his Fort Worth establishment serves the same menu as the original. Yet the two could hardly be more different physically. The western Le Chardonnay is merry and casual, while the Dallas version strikes a serene, urbane note. At both locations, M. Baudouin’s French fare is modulated to appeal to Texas palates. Black bean soup and beef tenderloin sauced with jalapeno and cilantro are popular favorites, as is a rather sweet tart featuring apples with purple, green, and Vidalia onions on sturdy pastry. A pan-seared veal chop with port sauce was flavorful Finish il all with a lighter-than air serving of Floating Island. 500 Crescent Court, Ste. 165, 214-922-4555. Moderate to expensive.

Old War&aw. Romance is on the menu at Old Warsaw, with its candlelit atmosphere, unobtrusive service, and strolling violinists. The menu is solidly Continental and features lots of tableside preparation. The lobster crepe, packed with cubes of sweet meal, makes an excellent appetizer, as does the rich, creamy Brie soup. The entrees include braised pheasant, rack of lamb, and sweetbreads, and a favorite choice is die crab-stuffed tenderloin. It is meltingly tender and a visual delight The wine list is excellent, and you’ll have plenty of time to study it if, as often happens, you’re shown to die bar for a lengthy wait until your table’s ready, 2610 Maple Ave., 21.4-528-0032. Expensive.

The Pyramid Room. The plush atmosphere, impeccable service, and exotic flowers belie die fact thai you don’t have to spend big bucks to have a fine meal here. In addition to die regular menu, there’s a five-course dinner for $24 a person offered nightly, like sautéed calamari, chilled cucumber soup, homemade sorbet, and grilled beef tenderloin on polenta. Dessert is included, and the beautifully garnished macadamia nut tone is a favorite. The lobster bisque is a classic, smooth and rich with morsels of lobster, and the basket of breads is irresistible. The wine list, recognized by The Wine Spectator, is outstanding. Live music nightly. Fairmont Hotel, 1717 N. Akard St., 214-720-5249. Expensive.

25 The Riviera. We know of nowhere in Dallas where food, service, and ambience unfailingly come together in a more pleasurable whole, from seating and gift hors d’oeuvres to bitter smooth farewell chocolate truffle. Between those grace notes, every course shines with the exuberance characteristic of the restaurant’s namesake Mediterranean region. One appetizer featured rich nuggets of Maine lobster with fresh-scented celery root in sautéed cakes nestled in basil-lobster sauce along with infant leaves of arugula and cilantro. We also found a perfect soup: a chilled Provencal blending of fresh and sun-dried tomato afloat with ripe avocado slices around a crouton heaped with crab meat. 7709 Inwood Rd., 214-351-0094. Expensive.

25 Watel’s. This spirited eatery on Mckinney Avenue treats guests with neighborly informality and uncommonly amiable, caring, and personal service. And the kitchen feels secure enough to vary its mostly classic country French bill of fare with not-so-Gallic dishes like pasta, vegetarian specials, and even an occasional Asian accent. But it’s in its house specialties that Watel’s culinary nationality is defined-in a white bean-based cassoulet bulging with lamb, duck confit, sausage, and smoked pork, and in the organ meats, prepared here with consummate skill. 192J McKinney Ave., 214-720-0323. Moderate.

Cafe Capri. 1507 Addison Rd., Addison, 214-960 8686. Moderate.

Ewald’s. Stoneleigh Hotel, 2927 Maple Ave., 214*871-2523. Moderate.

Hotel St. Germain. 2516 Maple Ave., 214-871-2516. Expensive.

L’Ancestral. 4514 Travis St.. 214-528-1081. Moderate.

Monte Carlo. Grand Kempinski Hotel, 15201 Dallas Pkwy., Addison, 214 386-6000. Expensive.

St. Martin’s Wine Bistro. 3020 Greenville Ave., 214 826-0940. Moderate.

Tony’s Wine Warehouse And Bistro. 2904 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-520-WINE. Moderate.

German

Kuby’s Sausage House. 6601 Snider Plaza, 214-363-2231. Inexpensive.

Hofstetter’s. 3840 W. Northwest Hwy., Ste. 400, 214-558-7660. Moderate.

Greek

Cafe Nelu. 56 Arapaho Village, Richardson, 214-235-5387. Moderate.

Goldfinger. 2905 Webb Chapel Ext. at Northwest Hwy., 214-350 6983. Moderate.

Greek Isles. 3309 N. Central Expwy., Piano, 214-423-7778. Moderate.

Koslas Gafe. 4914 Greenville Ave., 214-987-3225; 4621 W. Park Blvd., Piano, 214-596-8424. Inexpensive.

Homecooking

Mecca Restaurant. This vintage coffeehouse might have been lifted, unchanged, out of Mayberry, U.S.A. The best foods here are the ones that Andy Griffith himself might have enjoyed, like hen and dumplings washed down with a glass of cold buttermilk. Breakfasts are especially good, with plate-sized pancakes, thick ham steaks, and shredded hash browns. Chicken-fried chicken is cooked to a juicy crunch, and the pies are homemade and worth every calorie. 10422 Many Mines Blvd.,214-352-0051. Inexpensive.

Bubba’s. 6617 Merest Rd., 214-373-6527. Inexpensive.

Celebration. 4503 W. Lovers Ln., 214 351-5681. Inexpensive.

Connie’s Bishop Gril. 321 N. Bishop Ave., 214-946-1752. Inexpensive.

Good Eats Cafe. 3888 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-522-3287; 6950 Greenville Ave, 214-691 3287; and other locations. Inexpensive.

Highland Park Pharmacy. 3229 Knox St., 214-521-2126. Inexpensive.

Mama’s Daughter’s Diner. 2014 Irving Blvd., 214-742-8646; 2610 Royal Ln., 214-241-8646; 211 N. Record St.. 214-741-6262. Inexpensive.

Original Market Diner. 4434 Harry Hines Blvd., 214-521 0992. Inexpensive.

Sweet Georgia Brown. 2840 E. Ledbetter Dr., 214-375 2020. Inexpensive.

Indian

India Palace. With gracefully figured arcades, a glass window overlooking die deep clay tandoor ovens, and a bountiful buffet, India Palace can appear quite splendid. The buffet spread is variegated: Try the mulligatawny soup-tomato with an undercurrent of coconut- and pureed lentil punctuated with a host of distinct herbs. Curried chicken is creamy, tender, and moist, while the bright-red marinated tandoori chicken and grilled flat bread or naan, both seared by the intensedry heat of the tandoor oven, are without parallel. Raita, a cooling cucumber and yogurt salad, and mint and tamarind chutneys are welcome pick-me-ups. End it all with a luscious mango custard or creamy rice pudding with almonds, pistachios, and a hint of rosewa-ter.]2817PrestonRd., 214-392 -0190. Moderate.

Bombay Cricket Club. 2308 Maple Ave., 214-871-1333. Moderate.

Chandi Chowk. 1927 E. Belt Line Rd., Ste. 152, Carroll ton, 214-416-0273. Inexpensive.

Kebab-N-Kurry. 401 N. Central Expwy, Richardson, 214-231-5556. Moderate.

Shalimar. 35 Richardson Heights Village, Richardson, 214-437-2858. Inexpensive.

Taj Mahal. 9100 N. Central Expwy., 214-692-0535. Moderate.

Irish

Tipperary Inn. Its pints of the good black Guinness you’ll be hoistin’ here, not to mention the sainted Fullers ESB and dozens of other brews by the glass and bottle. But the food s more than an afterthought at this cavernous Irish joint that moved east from Greenville Avenue a few years ago and settled down with a comfortable sigh into the old Genaro’s spot. Enjoy earthy beef stew (again, kissed by the frothy lips of Guinness), smoked salmon, and high-piled sand-wiches. 5815 Live Oak St., 214-823-7167. Inexpensive.

George Wesby’s Pub. 2713 Commerce St., 214-742-8313. Inexpensive.

Italian

Alessio’s. Among the frequently superb offerings, we especially recommend the light-as-air gnocchi with gorgonzola, the grilled double veal chops steeped in five herbs, and the creamy, tomato-scented pasta fra diavolo. As an appetizer, escargot, tough and chewy, were disenchanting, all the more so when we discovered that our waiter had failed to reel off the days inventive list of savory appetizers. To compensate, we were treated to a heavenly dessert of homemade vanilla ice cream with blanched almonds, ripe strawberries, and chocolate sauce. Service, including frequent visits from the owner, was personable and caring. 4117 Lomo Alto Dr., 214-521-3585.

Angelo’s. The ticket here is what might be called Italian comfort food, from perfect fettuccini alfredo and mama-mia spaghetti dishes to any entree involving the succulent Italian sausage. The fare leans more to retro than nouveau, as witness the generous bowls of the house red sauce, a zesty concoction that accompanies baskets of delicious warm bread-dipping encouraged. The staff is friendly and competent, and diners here good get weight for the dollar. 6341 La Vista Dr., 214-823-5566. Inexpensive.

Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant. As our slow but friendly waitress informed us, Campisi’s was one of the first places in Dallas where people could get real pizza, and it still serves up one of die best good old-fashioned pizzas in die Dallas area. The ravioli and lasagna are good, too, but be sure not to miss the Italian crab claws (swimming in garlie butter–heaven! ) and Joe’s special toast. 5610 E. Mockingbird Ln., 214-827-0355. Moderate.

Ciao Bella. Chef Tomazo, a farm-reared native of Italy, honors the sunny simplicity of his region s dishes with finesse. A first course of roasted sweet peppers, tender mozzarella, and ripe tomato sparkled in a lacing of virgin olive oil. A pasta plate s tangle of al dente spaghetti wore exactly the right amount of lively tomato sauce scented with basil snips. Every dish we tried demonstrated how total dedication to freshness can turn die plainest fare into poetry. 32 32 McKinney Ave, 214-871-2074. Inexpensive to moderate.

Flip’s Wine Bar Ami Trattoria. Original art on the walls, soul music in the background (but not too loud), and eclectic, friendly servers make Flip’s a great place to just hang out and sample the unusual imported beer and wine-but don’t miss the food. Flip’s Italian nachos are a must-we had Texas goat cheese and red bell peppers on ours. Order some bruschetta with die nachos and it could make a meal, but why stop there? The man-icotti will put smiles on faces and songs in stomachs. 1520 Greenville Ave., 214-824-9944. Moderate.

25 Mi Piaci. The name means “you are pleasing to me.” You’ll see why when you check out this Addison restaurant, with its team of workers making fresh pasta, an 80-pound wheel of Parmigiano Reggiano on display, and columns twisting from wood floor to high, sponged ceilings. The pasta is outstanding, especially the fusil-li loaded with earthy wild mushrooms, and the risotto ranks among the best in town. Delicious homemade hiv:uI ami a largely Italian (and largely superb) wine list will make for a dining experience very pleasing to you. 14854 Montfort Dr., Addison. 214-934-8424. Moderate.

25 MoMo’s Italian Specialties. You’ve got your MoMo’s, see, and then you’ve got your MoMo’s. If you don’t understand, don’t worry-we don’t either! But the upshot is that MoMo’s Italian Specialties is no longer associated with MoMo’s Pasta. There is food to die for at MoMo’s Specialties, like the quattro stagioni pizza; the lasagna-offered only at lunch lest it monopolize dinner; the bresaola-thin slices of air-dried beef; and the carpaccio-sliced tenderloin topped with savory mayonnaise-with a twist: it’s accompanied by cucumber, radicchio, radishes, and hearts of palm. 9191 Forest Ln., 214-234-6800; 8300 Preston Center Cir., 214-987-2082. Moderate.

Pomodoro’s. Pomodoro’s offers up fresh, delectable Italian pastas, fritattas, veal, and fish in a Napa Valley-esque setting just north of downtown. Go light {and cheap) with minestrone, complimentary fresh bread with sautéed tomatoes, and a Chianti Classico, or belly up to spicy Penne Arrabiata or Linguine Verde con Popla di Granchio (spinach linguine with crabmeat). Appetizers shine, especially the silky Carpaccio Pomodoro and bountiful Calamaretti. Service is spunkily efficient. 2520 Cedar Springs Rd., 214-871-1924. Moderate.

311 Lombard’s. 311 N. Market St., 214-747-0322. Moderate.

Adriatica. 2574 Walnut Hill Ln., 214-314-1513. Moderate.

Alessio’s. 4117 Lomo Alto Dr., 214-521-3585. Expensive.

Alfredo’s Trattoria. 5404 Lemmon Ave., 214-526-3331. Moderate.

Alfonso’s. 718 N. Buckner Blvd., 214-327-7777. Inexpensive.

Arcodoro. 2520 Cedar Springs Rd., 214-871-1924. inexpensive.

Bugatti Ristorante. 3802 W. Northwest Hwy., 214-350 2470. Moderate.

Cafe Cipriani. 220 E. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving, 214-869-0713. Moderate.

Capriccio. 3005 Routh St., 214-871-2004. Moderte.

Carelli’s Ristorante. 12219 Coit Rd., 214-386-7931. Moderate.

Carmines Pizzeria. 5365 Spring Valley Rd., 214-404-8110. Inexpensive.

Fausto’s Oven. Hyatt Regency Hotel, 300 Reunion Blvd., 214-651-1234. Moderate.

Ferrari’s villa. 14831 Midway Rd., Addison, 214 980-9898. Moderate.

II Sorrento. 8616 Turtle Creek Blvd., 214-352-8759. Expensive.

In The Red. 2825 Commerce St., 214761-1958. Moderate.

Pasta Plus. 17194 Preston Rd.,Ste. 150,214-713 7181:225 Preston Royal East, 214-373-3999. Inexpensive.

Patrizio. 25 Highland Park Village, 214-522-7878; 1900 Preston Rd., Plano. 214-964-2200.

Inexpensive.

Picasso’s Ristorante. 3948 Legacy Dr., Piano, 214-618-4143. Inexpensive to moderate.

Ristorante Savino. 2929 N. Henderson Ave., 214-8267804. Moderate.

Rodolfo’s Italian & Seafood Restaurant 5956 Royal Ln., 214-368-5039. Moderate.

Ruggeri’s Ristorante. 2911 Routh St., 214-871-7377. Moderate.

Scalini’s. 2021 Abrams Rd., 214-821-8088. Inexpensive.

Sfuzzi. 2504 McKinney Ave., 214-871-2606; 15101 Addison Rd., Addison, 214-960-2606; 2408 Preston Rd., Plano, 214-964-0700. Moderate.

Terilli’s. 2815 Greenville Ave., 214-827-3993. Moderate.

Japane

Mr. Sushi. The menu’s enormous, complete with chicken teriyaki, shrimp tempura, and sukiyaki, but the action is at die huge, U-shaped sushi bar. A 16-ounce Ichiban beer provides the perfect accompaniment for the best of the sushi: tender halibut, smoothly rich salmon, and a lightly spicy tuna roll. 4860 Belt Line Rd., Addison. 214-385-0168. Expensive.

Nakamoto. Eat at Nakamoto enough times, and you’ll have completed a crash course in Japanese cuisine. The lunch menu looks familiar-complete meals featuring teriyaki, tempura, tonkat-su, and other favorites of Americans. But the dinner menu offers these and much more. Every night, the finest seasonal foods fill the multiple-layered little drawers in a bento box, a multi-course feast-for-one. You can choose traditional tea ceremony cooking, “boat dinners” (combination platters perfect for sharing), or meals like shabu-shabu cooked at your table. And whether at lunch or dinner, don’t miss ordering from the sushi bar, which lists about four dozen of the freshest sushi and sashimi in town. Ruisseau Village, 3309 N. Central Expwy., 214-881-0328. Moderate.

Sumo Sushi. Regally hooded rattan chairs enthrone diners in the lower lounge, striking an exotic note of Eastern mystery, but abundant servings and well-prepared food are the true hallmarks of this newcomer. Get your fill of cool cuts of raw sea creatures-one handroll stuffed with rice and seafood could serve as an appetizer on its own. Or feast on the Grand Champion (boxed) Lunch, which includes battered shrimp, vegetable slices, a pair of gyoza dumplings, avocado-centered California rolls, salad, chicken drumettes, soup, rice, and a dessert orange wedge. 7402 Greenville Ave., 214-987-2333. Moderate.

Teppo. From its arrow-narrow space on Lower Greenville, Teppo dishes up delectable offerings of sushi, sashimi, and yakitori. While the simple one-page menu might seem limiting, don’t be fooled: There’s plenty of pleasure in store. Start with the grilled items (the beef sirloin nuggets studded with garlic and crisp-edged duck virtually dripped flavor, as did a chicken breast strung with bits of green onion) and work your way toward the more subtle flavors and textures of the fresh, artfully presented raw seafood. We thoroughly enjoyed both the salmon skin roll and the Teppo roll, tuna wrapped in chewy-firm conch ribbons in a magical marinade. Two warnings: Get to Teppo early, especially on weekends, and keep in mind that enthusiastic ordering adds up to a pricey meal. 2014 Greenville Ave., 214-826-8989. Moderate to expensive.

Awaji. 4701 W. Park Blvd., Plano, 214-519-1688. Moderate.

Benihana 2700 Park Central PL, 214-387 4404. Expensive.

Fuji-Ya. 13050 Coit Rd., 214-690-8396. Inexpensive.

Kobe Steaks. 5000 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-934-8150. Moderate.

Royal Tokyo. 7525 Greenville Ave., 214-368-3304. Moderate.

Shogun of Japan. 5738 Cedar Springs Rd., 214-351-2281. Moderate.

Yamaguchi’s Bar & Sushi. 7713 Inwood Rd., 214-350 8660. Moderate.

Korean

Kobawoo. 3109 Inwood Rd., 214-351-6922. Inexpensive.

Woo Mee Oak. 10560 Walnut St., Garland, 214-272-9909. Inexpensive.

Mediterranean

25 Adelmo’s. At Adelmo’s, owner Adelmo Banchetti is always on hand to see that the customer is properly looked after. While you are perusing the menu, you might be treated to a plat-ter of pickled cauliflower, carrots, zucchini, and olives with rolls and butter. Try the grilled veal chop, easily a meal for two, marinated in olive oil and herbs, seared on the grill, and served with the bone still in; or the rack of lamb, gently scented with rosemary; or die exquisitely grilled, soft-shell crabs. 4537 Cole Ave.,214-559-0325. Moderate to expensive.

Cafe Highland Park. Mix them together-a French bistro, an Italian trattoria, and a Mediterranean sidewalk cafe-and it spells Cafe Highland Park (formerly Highland Park Cafe). Loaded with artichoke hearts, roasted peppers, and Kalamata olives, and garnished with a cheese-topped baguette slice, the Mediterranean salad awakens the taste buds. Grilled salmon with its pungent roasted garlic sauce is a winner, as is die sautéed veal with rich, meaty strips of mushrooms. Flavorful angel hair pasta and flawlessly cooked vegetables accompany both. 69 Highland Park Village, 214-521 -7300. Moderate.

Eduardo. On our last visit, the owner was overheard yelling obscenities at a supplier, and later, when we mentioned that the mussels, in an otherwise heavenly saffron-scented sauce, tasted off, the owner and his son swore up and down that the seafood had arrived thai morning, and that we must have been wrong. When we asked for a spoon to enjoy the marrow hidden inside a braised veal shank (a fatty piece served in an overly-spiced sauce), we were handed a soup spoon, which was much too wide. Deserving of praise, however, were the fresh, sautéed, soft-shell crabs, crisp on the outside and succulent on the inside; and other diners raved about their golden strom-bolis and calzones. Desserts were a delight- especially the candied chocolate cups filled with raspberries floating in crème anglaise. 4131 Lomo Alto Dr., 214-522-0606. Moderate.

Mediterraneo. Forget buns of steel, you’ll need nerves of steel to survive dinner at this hip ’n’ happening restaurant. But the ethereal food will quickly render you amnesiac about the long wait for your reserved table, as well as the oddly paced, erratic service. This might just be the most inspired, creative menu in town, and the daily specials soar way beyond special (pray that lobster with Roquefort-whipped potatoes is on the list). The crab-filled corn pancake appetizer, with its mushrooms and sun-dried tomato/lobster butter sauce, demonstrates how skillfully executive chef David Holben combines flavors and textures. Whipped potatoes again, this time with a potent addition of horseradish, star in another killer special featuring grilled beef tenderloin spiced with a tangy mustard sauce. Save room lor a wedge of the apricot-sour cherry bread pudding and the plate of complimentary homemade cookies. You can always go to the gym tomorrow. 18111 Preston Rd., Ste. 120, 214-447-0066. Moderate.

Avanti Ristorante. 2720 McKinney Ave., 214-871-4955. Moderate.

Bolero Grill. 5290 Belt Line Rd., 214-490-8686. Moderate.

Cafe Mediterranee. 5950-A Royal Ln., 214-692-7716. Moderate.

Popolos Cafe. 707 Preston Royal Shopping Center, 214-692-5497. Moderate.

Rotisserie. Grand Kempinski Hotel, 15201 Dallas Pkwy, Addison, 214-386-6000. Moderate.

Sambuca. 2618 Elm St., 214-744-0820; 15207 Addison Rd., Addison, 214-385-8455. Moderate.

Ziziki. 4514 Travis St., Ste. 122,214-521-2233, Moderate.

Mexican

Cantina Laredo. Skip the wimpish, disappointing guacamole salad, and save your appetite tor the Guadalajara plate, loaded with cheese enchiladas, a chunky tamale, tacos al carbon, pico de {{alio, and a decent dollop of guac. Speaking of green, the spinach enchiladas here are for the real spinach lover; die leaves retain some of their crunchy integrity, spared the thermonuclear zapping the dish receives at most places. Add good chips, sauce that belongs in the Tex-Mex Hall of Fame, friendly service, strolling mariachis, mar-garitas with a pleasant sting, and you have just had a good time. 8121 Walnut Hill Ln.,214-987-9192. Inexpensive.

Casa Rosa Restaurante. Walking into the pink, softly lit interior of Casa Rosa is like walking into a dreamland-a dreamland of great food and excellent service. The hot, fresh, crispy tortilla chips and spicy salsa serve as the best appetizer to the mouth-watering entrees. Our favorites were the shrimp and goat cheese enchiladas and the grilled chicken with avocado relish, both served with excellent rice and black beans. We finished the whole thing off with sizzling Mexican apple pie topped with cinnamon ice cream- scrumptious! 165 lnwoodViIlage.214-350-5227. Moderate.

Chuy’s. Fight the SMU and20ish margarita crowd for an SRC) spot in the indoor-outdoor Elvisredux fountain pario retreat, but don’t sell the place short as a touristy pickup joint (just yet). Prodigious combos of New Mex and Tex-Mex cuisine, most prepared with fresh cilantro, lard-free refrieds, and a selection of sauces make this achingly hip Austin transplant authentically Dallas.’4544 McKinney Ave., 214-559-2489. Moderate.

El Arroyo. OVer a recent dinner, we decided that the Spanish name meant ” low-lying place on former site of giant Vickery Park pool and amusement park that now vends watery, wimpy mar-garitas and bland, don’t-scare-the-Anglo Mexican food.” But go figure: The place was so packed on our midweek visit that the air conditioning could barely handle the crowd, thus adding a fine layer of sweat to an unhappy experience, 7402 Greenville Ave,, Ste. 202,214-363-4464. Inexpensive.

Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano. A Dallas institution, Javier’s boasts a superlative kitchen that offers up high-quality Mexico City cuisine in an enticingly romantic setting. Start by dipping chips into the warm, piquant green salsa, wash it down with handmade margaritas, then opt for tart, fresh ceviche while you ponder: Barra de Navidad, enormous fresh shrimp sautéed in diablo sauce (coffee, orange juice, tomato), or delicate Snapper Mojo de Ajo in garlic and lime, or mouthwatering Filete con Champinones (steak with mushrooms and brandy)? Decisions, decisions. 4912 Cole Ave., 214-521-4211. Moderate.

25 La Calle Doce. Take a charming old Oak Cliff house, add a dash of restoration, stir in a smattiering of family photos, cover with family staff and management, and you’ve got La Calle Doce, known for its outstanding ceviche; good, stout margaritas; and some of the best seafood around. The herb-marinated grilled catfish, served whole on a bed of Spanish-style rice with plenty of vegetables, can convert the most strident “catfish-is-so-ugly” snob. Owners Oscar and Laura Sanchez, along with Laura’s sister Alma, are ready to answer all questions and make informed recommendations. 415 W. 12th St., 214-941-4304. Inexpensive.

Mali’s Rancho Martinez. A recent visit to this crowded, clattering East Dallas spot went like a baseball game: hit, miss, hit, miss, etc. The chips and zesty queso made sterling starters, though we struck out with bland, chicken-choked tortilla soup and gummy, forgettable nachos. We rallied with grilled chicken flautas that deserve Hall of Fame status, but the score remained tied in the ninth. Then Mali’s famous chile rellenos swaggered to the plate-hefty peppers stuffed with beef, filled with oozing Jack cheese and festooned with raisins and pecans. Wham ! Home run! 6312 La Vista Dr., 214-823-5517. Inexpensive.

Monica’s Aca Y Alla. Never let it be said that Monica doesn’t like to mix things up. Pumpkin ravioli, red snapper enchiladas, and Mexican lasagna are just a sampling of her nuevo Latin cuisine prepared with a down-home flair. (And be sure to save room for a tangy slice of Key Lime margarita cheesecake-your taste buds will thank you.) Sunday nights feature .live music, with an eclectic crowd dancing to some of Dallas’ spiciest rhythms. 2914 Main St., 214-748-7140. Moderate.

Rosita’s Restaurant. Incendiary salsa; tortilla chips with a lino, oily sheen; and chicken nachos piled high with sour cream, tender chicken, and fresh jalapenos say this place is genuine Tex- Mex, so pass the butler and leave the cholesterol gauge at home. Try the lettuce-laden Puffed Tarns for a lighter treat. Imported cervezas are served icy cold. Daily lunch specials for S3.25 are classic combos of enchiladas, tacos, and burritos; try the all-you-can-eat weekend buffet for a true Mexfest. 4906 Maple Ave., Dallas. 214-521-4741; 120 W. Airport Fwy., Irving. 214-445 4741. Inexpensive.

Amaya’s Grill. 161 Town Square, Lancaster, 214-227-8911. Inexpensive.

Avila’s. 4714 Maple Ave., 214-520-2700. Inexpensive.

Blue Goose Cantina. 2905 Greenville Ave., 214-823-6786. Inexpensive.

Blue Mesa. Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-934-0165. Inexpensive to moderate,

Caliente Mexican Grill. 6881 Greenville Ave., 214-369 8600. Inexpensive.

Cantina Laredo. 8121 Walnut Mill Ln., 214-987-9192; 4546 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-458-0962. Inexpensive to moderate.

Casa Dominguez. 2408 Cedar Springs Rd., 214-871-9787. Inexpensive.

Enchilada’s. 6526 E. Northwest Hwy., 214-691-1383; 7050 Greenville Ave.. 214 363-8969; 901 Main St.,214-748-8585. Inexpensive.

Herrera Cafe. 4001 Maple Ave., 214-528-9644; 5427 Demon Dr., 214-630-2599; 2853 W. Illinois Ave., 214-330-6426; 1905 N. Josey Ln., Carrollton, 214-242-4912. Inexpensive.

La Acapulquena. 2706 Samuell Blvd., 214-828-0509. Inexpensive.

La Popular. 4904 Columbia Ave, 214-824-7617. Inexpensive.

La Suprema Tortilleria. 7630 Military Pkwy., 214-388-1244. Inexpensive.

Los Vagueras. 6615 Snider Plaza, 214-361-9885. Moderate.

Mariano’s. 5500 Greenville Ave., 214-691-3888; 2614 Majesty Dr., Arlington, 817-640-5118. Inexpensive.

Mario & Alberto’s. 435 Preston Valley Shopping Center, 214-980-7296. Moderate.

Martinez Cale. 1900 Preston Rd., Plano, 214-964-7898. Inexpensive.

Martin’s Cocina. 7726 Ferguson Rd., 214-319-8834. Inexpensive.

Mattito’s Cafe Mexicano. 4311 Oak Lawn Ave., Ste. 101, 214-526-8181. Inexpensive to moderate.

Mai’s. 4322 Lemmon Ave., 214-526-1020. Inexpensive.

Mi Casa. 8301 Westchester Dr., 214-890-9939; 14920 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-239-4664. Inexpensive.

Mi Cocina. 11661 Preston Rd., Ste. 138,214-265-7704; 77 Highland Park Village, 214-521-6426; 18352 Dallas Pkwy?214-250-6426;7201 Skillman St., 214-503-6426. Moderate.

Moctezuma’s. 2847 N. Henderson Ave., 214-827-1114. Inexpensive to moderate.

Ojeda’s. 2109 N. Hampton Rd., DeSoto, 214-709-0005. Inexpensive.

Plano Tortilla Factory. 1009 E. 18th St., Piano, 214423-6980. Inexpensive.

Polio Fiesta. 903 S. Hampton Rd., 214-942-6645. Inexpensive.

Rafa’s Cafe Mexicano. 5617 W. Lovers Ln., 214-357-2080. Inexpensive.

Raphael’s. 3701 McKinney Ave., 214-521-9640; 6782 Greenville Ave., 214-692-8431. Inexpensive.

Roca Blanca. 7324 Gaston Ave., 214-319-9776. Inexpensive.

Rodolfo’s Cafe. 2002 S. Edgefield Ave., 214-942-1211. Inexpensive.

Rosa’s. 3126 Grand Ave., 214428-3118. Inexpensive.

Sol’s Taco Lounge. 2626 Commerce St., 214-651-SOLS. inexpensive.

Tachito’s. 3210W Illinois Ave., 214-331-4600. Moderate.

Taqueria Teptitian. 428 S. Hampton Rd., 214-943-5338, Inexpensive.

Tupinamba. 12801 Midway Rd., 214-243-2355. Inexpensive.

Uncle Julio’s. 4125 Lemmon Ave., 214-520-6620; 7557 Greenville Ave., 214-987-9900. Inexpensive to moderate.

Middle Easte

Ali Baba. 1905 Greenville Ave., 214-823-8235. Inexpensive.

Bashs. 2217 Greenville Ave, 214-824-7794. Moderate.

Little Chef. 3291 Independence Pkwy., Piano, 214-867-8684. Inexpensive.

Sinbad’s Palace. 9220 Skillman St., 214-340-4445. Inexpensive to moderate.

Natural/Health

Dream Cafe. Dallas’ most accessible organic breakfast spot, Dream Cafe unapologetically offers ultra-hip ’90s-style breakfasts, complete with superb joe, warming the hearts of artsy advertising types and button-down bankers alike. Black bean and rice luncheons and alfresco din-ner-fests (Monday night specials include kid entertainment) should delight fastidious health-conscious types. The ambitious menu occasionally lives up to glorious nouvelle descriptions (“Mystic Pasta, grilled chicken Brie, caramelized onions” and so forth); try daily specials for best bets. 2800 Routh St., 214-954-0486. Moderate.

Bless Your Heart. 12829 Preston Rd., 214-490-6006; 216 W. Campbell Rd., Richardson, 214-783-0786. Inexpensive.

Bluebonnet Cafe & Deli. Whole Foods Market, 2218 Greenville Ave., 214-828-0052. Inexpensive.

Cosmic Cup. 2912 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-521-6157. Inexpensive.

Eureka. 4011 Villanova Dr., 214-369-7767. Inexpensive.

Kalachandji’s. 5430 Gurley St., 214-821-1048. Inexpensive.

Natura Cafe. 2909 McKinney Ave., 214-855-5483. Inexpensive to moderate.

New American

25 Anzu. This is the kind of place where no one will share appetizers-they’re too good. But Anzu’s entrees are as delightful as its starters; every bite brings a heady thrill of pleasure to the tongue. Teriyaki grilled portabello mushroom was a huge, marinated single cap, meaty as steak, sliced for chopstick convenience, and strewn with slivers of vinaigrette-zipped tomato and leek. Asian influences abound in Anzu’s self-styled “New American” menu and decor, from the origami birds fluttering from the ceiling to the sake warmed to just the right temperature. 4620 McKinney Ave., 214-526-7398. Moderate.

Aransas Pass. The patio at this Henderson Avenue eatery overlooks a charmingly landscaped side yard; year-round alfresco dining is made possible by a windowed canvas tent arrangement that can be completely or partially closed or rolled up and put away. Such creativity extends to the food: fresh corn and roasted eggplant soup with piquant croutons, chopped tomato, scallions, and Parmesan shreds; and steamed mussels bathed in herbed Chardonnay. 2912 N. Henderson Ave., 214-827-8650. Moderate.

25 City Cafe. Complimentary marinated vegetables and olives at each table, excellent service, white tablecloths-and an exhibition kitchen featuring chef Katie Schma’s innovative dishes, like escolar-similar to halibut but juicier and tastier-served vertically with cumin-crusted stacked filets sitting on Spanish-style rice flecked with tomatoes and onions, topped with fried onion shreds, and surrounded by drizzled sauces of smoked plum and cilantro-spiked mango. And brother Doug Schma makes chocolate Kahlua cake: layers of meringue and butter-cream..,mmm. 5757 W. Lovers Ln., 214-351-2233, Moderate.

25 Dakota’s. Dakota’s outdoor patio, with its five-tiered waterfall and hundreds of tiny white bulbs, is one of the most romantic spots in town. Sample appetizers like smoky grilled portabello mushrooms, tiny, delicate crab cakes, and smoked chicken quesadillas; revel in soups like smoked chicken chowder; and try not to become addicted to the lamb chops, served with pots of mint jelly, feta cheese vinaigrette, and angel-hair pasta. But, whatever you do, save room for the homemade desserts-cheesecake, “ooey-gooey” brownies, and the divine, sweet-tart Key lime pie. 600 N. Akard St., 214-740-4001. Moderate.

25 Landmark Restaurant. Ensconced in the mellow confines of the grand Melrose Hotel is a piquant treat: the “New World” cuisine of Landmark Restaurant chef Kent Rathbun. Rathbun’s experience of the Far East is evident in such creations as ” pressed sushi” with daikon and beet confetti salad. It’s lovely, with rounds of firm fish sided with crisp, white radish and scarlet beet, but be warned-the dish is incendiary, even the rice. The spicy presence, though assertive, is just right in masterpieces like the grilled rack of lamb. In the Melrose Hotel, 3015 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-521-5151. Moderate to expensive.

25 Laurels. Everything about this lofty restaurant-atop a North Dallas hotel-does more than just look good. The space is lavish, the view is spectacular, and [he New American cuisine is dazzling. A recently introduced prix fixe menu melds North and South American foods in a selection of health-aware appetizers, entrees, and desserts labeled with their calorie and fat contents for $49.50, including wine, beer, or soft drinks, and coffee. Or try entrees like the mixed grill-antelope, lamb, and quail, all splendidly set out on a sun-dried cherry sauce and gilded with pear-jalapeno chutney. In the Sheraton Park Central, 12720 Merit Dr., 214-385-3000. Ex-pensive.

25 The Mansion on Turtle Creek. Dean Fearing, along with Stephan Pyles and several others, perfected the New Southwest cuisine by introducing surprising ingredients and novel interpretations into such simple dishes as salsas, enchiladas, and marinades. Tortilla soup-chicken broth, a touch of tomatoes and onions, topped with toasted shredded tortillas and cheddar cheese-is justifiably famous. Or try the lobster taco, a soft flour taco filled with luscious lobster meat and runny white cheese, a subtle and delicious treat. And, of course, you’ll enjoy the superlative service-captains and sommeliers materialize from die mar-blework, and tintes of premium champagne wash away your cares. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., 214-559-2100. Expensive.

25 Nana Grill. The name may have changed, but people-watching in the Wyndham Anatole lobby won’t-sheiks and secretaries, politicians and potentates, conventioneers and corporate power brokers. But sit in the 27th-floor Nana Grill and you’ll feel you could buy and sell them all-partly because of the altitude, the plush decor, and the staffs polished competence, of course, but also because of chef Scott Blackerby’s cosmopolitan fare-like the ambrosial baked oysters with cilantro pesto, a trademark house favorite. In the Wyndham Anatole Hotel tower, 2201 Stemmons Fwy., 214-761-7479. Expensive.

25 Yellow. Bright yellow awnings shade the windows, yellow accents the interior, and each dish displays a touch of-you guessed it-yellow! Sample such delights as a sesame-crusted seared ahi appetizer, served with a tangle of mixed greens, or honey-spiced duck with a tamarind plum sauce. But seafood reigns here, and the best entree might be the corn-crusted halibut with a delicate lemongrass butter sauce. 2719 McKinney Ave., 214-871-1772. Expensive.

650 North. Le Méridien Hotel, 650 N. Pearl St., 214-979-9000. Expensive.

Accolades. 19009 Preston Rd., 214-713-7090. Moderate.

Bay Tree Grill. Stouffer Hotel, 2222 Stemmons Fwy., 214-631-2222. Expensive.

Cafe Express. 4101 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-991-9444. Inexpensive.

Cafe D’Or. Omni Mandalay Hotel, 221 E. Las Colínas Blvd., Irving, 214-556-0800. Expensive.

Cafe On The Green. Four Seasons Resort, 4150 MacArthur Blvd., Irving, 214-717-0700. Moderate.

Chaplins This Is It Cafe. 1928 Greenville Ave., 214-823-3300. Moderate.

Enjolie. Omni Mandalay Hotel, 221 E. Las Colinas Blvd., Irving, 214-556-0800. Expensive.

Gaspard. 4345 McKinney Ave., Ste. 270,214-528-5100; 150 S.Denton Tap Rd.,Coppell, 214-393-5152. Moderate to expensive. Gershwin’s Bar & Grill. 8442 Walnut Hill Ln., 214-373-7171, Moderate.

Going Gourmet. 4343 W. Northwest Hwy., 214-351-6773. Moderate.

Huntington’s. Westin Hotel Galleria, 13340 Dallas Pkwy., 214-831-2882. Expensive.

No Place. 6310 La Vista Dr., 214-823-9077. Moderate.

Opus. 2301 Flora St., 214-670 3721. Moderate.

Parigi. 3311 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-521-0295. Moderate.

Piano Cafe. 1915 N. Central Expwy., Ste. 500, Plano.214-516-0865. Moderate.

Quadrangle Grille. 2800 Routh St., 214-979-9022. Inexpensive to moderate.

Tillman’s Corner. 324 W. Seventh St., 214-942-0988. Moderate.

St. Pete’s Dancing Martin. 2730 Commerce St., 214-698-1511. Inexpensive.

York St. 6047 Lewis St., 214-826-0968. Moderate.

Seafo

Aw Shucks. Picnic tables, self-service, rolls of paper towels on each table, and payment by the honor system characterize this tiny breath of sea air across from the Granada on Greenville Avenue. The shrimp cocktail is a nice starter, and we are great fans of the hot-as in heated-Cajun | shrimp, nestled in their soft shells with the heads still on, sprinkled lightly with celery salt and cayenne. Another favorite is the Alaskan king crab, nearly as sumptuous as lobster. 3601 Greenville Ave., 214-821-9449. Inexpensive to moderate.

Cafe Pacific. This posh and dignified Highland Park Village legend has served a wide variety of fresh and saltwater seafood for 15 years. Warm wood paneling, striped fabric walls, a graceful curvilinear chandelier, and a large, perfectly tilted mirror create a sumptuous setting for Cafe Pacific’s refined, bejeweled, and faithful clientele. Breathtaking ceviche, divine crab cakes, and seasonal specials make it hard to leave room for the beautiful desserts. 24 Highland Park Shopping Village, 214-526-1170. Moderate.

Daddy Jack’s. Daddy Jack Chaplin and Kenny Bowers are fun-loving guys-and that’s reflected in die laid-back ways and upbeat mood of their clientele. And the food’s good, too! We particularly enjoyed the mussels marinara in their vividly textured, garlicky tomato sauce and a special potato and lobster pancake appetizer. Daddy Jack’s is famous for its reasonably priced lobster, available with two meat-filled claws, or, at a reduced rate, with one. 1916 Greenville Ave., 214-826-4910. Moderate.

Joe’s Crab Shack. This kitsch-filled restaurant, complete with a whale of a whale swimming overhead, wants its customers to feel like they’ve paused, mid-scuba dive, for a meal. And it is a bubbly place, with some of the perkiest servers around. Whack the blue crabs with a wooden mallet, dunk the sweet meat in the melted butter, toss the shells in the recessed bucket in the center of the table, and repeat, pausing only for slugs of beer. The crab bisque adds just the right spicy-note, and, if your cholesterol level allows it, the crab fingers and fried shrimp can’t be beat. 5855 Belt Line Rd., Addison. 214-247-1010. Inexpensive to moderate.

Mainstream Fish House. Owned by Kelly Haden, who also owns the fish market T.J.’s a few doors down from Mainstream, and by the powers behind Mi Cocina, Mainstream’s name is deceiving: These people know food. Bread pot shrimp-a hollowed out loaf of sourdough filled with the sautéed sea creatures- and creamy crab cakes are not to be missed. Go for the daily specials-a good Canadian salmon for $12.95 or chargrilled tuna at $11.95 with two side orders. Key lime pie provides the perfect ending to a pleasant meal. Preston Forest Shopping Center, 11661 Preston Rd., Ste. 153, 214-739-3474. Moderate.

Newport’s. Entering Newport’s in the West End’s historic brewery building, with its tables set on semicircular rings leading toward a seemingly bottomless pit, seems at first like descending into Dante’s Inferno. But the food is heavenly. New England clam chowder was rich, creamy, and delicious. Mesquite grilled Maine lobster was so meaty, moist, succulent, and filled with coral or roe that we ate almost everything but the gills. For dessert try the Kahlua Nest. 703 McKinney Ave., 214-954-0220. Moderate.

S&D Oyster Company. The interior is cool pale yellow and white though the food, mostly fried, is not as light as the atmosphere. We suggest you skip the shrimp dip and go straight for the fresh oysters on die half shell. The menu does offer a few selections of broiled fish, but we recommend the fried oysters with french fries and hush-puppies for a rare treat in these low-fat times. Finally, cleanse your palate with a refreshing piece of lemon pie. 2701 McKinney Ave., 214-880-0111. Moderate.

25 Sea Grill. Chef Andy Tun’s Thai roots put an Asian-American spin on classic seafood dishes like mussels in lemongrass broth, and smoked salmon appetizer with capers, caviar, dill, horseradish, and toasted pumpernickel. At night, with soft lighting, Harry Connick Jr. in the background, and a bottle from the nicely priced wine list, you might even forget you’re next door to a Fuddrucker’s and a Ming Garden. 2205 N. Centra! Expwy.,Plano,214-509-5542.Moderate.

Yoli’s Seafood & Grill. We came away from Yoli’s doing the comic’s line about “buttah,” which remains the universal seasoning here. We followed buttery crab claws with Yoli’s Platter, a favorite, featuring a choice of blackened fish and sautéed shrimp on a robust tangle of linguini- drenched in butter. Also good: a special of Atlantic salmon with shrimp and vegetables- and plenty of butter. This is filling, cheap fare (half-priced appetizers and drinks from 5-7 p.m., Sunday-Monday) but it’s not for the cholesterol-conscious. 9220 Skillman St., 214-341-3533; 3827 Lemmon Ave., 214-521-9654. Inexpensive.

Banno’s Oyster Bar. 13020 Preston Rd., 214-991-2001. Inexpensive.

Dinger’s Catfish Cafe. 8989 Forest Ln., 214-235-3251. Inexpensive.

Fishmonger’s Restaurant. 1901 N. Central Expwy., Ste. 600, Piano, 214-423-3699. Inexpensive.

Galveston Island Seafood. 9901 Roval Ln., Ste. 102,214-348-8844. Inexpensive to moderate.

Jaxx Cafe. 14925 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-458-7888. Moderate.

Remington’s Seafood Grill. 4580 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-386-0122. Moderate.

Royal 88. 400 N. Greenville Ave, Ste. 11, Richardson, 214-907-8868. Moderate.

Seashells & Staff. 9205 Skillman St., 214-348-3082. Inexpensive to moderate.

Southwestern

Blue Mesa Grill. This popular restaurant marries the flavors of Mexico and New Mexico, and does both well. The understated decor, with white stucco walls simply accented with brick, wood, and colorful primitive art, matches the pared-down, understated menu that delivers even more than it promises. The many sampler platters, whether of appetizers, desserts, or entrees, showcase the kitchen’s range, which even offers food for dieters. Guacamole, made tableside, can’t be beaten, and anything smoked or grilled is outstanding. Skip dessert in favor of an icy blue mar-garita, and contemplate a visit for the renowned Sunday brunch or the made-to-order quesadilla happy hour. Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line Rd., Addison. 214-934-0165. Moderate.

Lavaca Cantina. The Cantina sits with three other restaurants in the entertainment-restaurant-bar complex known as Pepper Square. The menu offers cowboy chow-grilled food, Mexican specialties, and lots of stuff for snacking. The best thing we tried was die jerk chicken and Key lime mustard slaw sandwich. The Cantina steals the show at happy hour, when 26 types of tequila draw some serious attention and the appetizer list gets a workout. If you’re going just for the food, lunch is a better deal. 14902 Preston Rd., Ste. 700 in Pepper Square. 214-458-0458. Moderate.

25 Star Canyon. Chef Stephan Pyles, one of the founders of Southwestern cuisine, is now in his “new Texas” phase: Santiago Pena door handles, rawhide banquettes, hook ’em horns sconces, chuck wagon murals-and dish after dish combining native Texas fare with intricate, unexpected, and exotic flavors: Tamale tart, much like a quiche, mildly seasoned with garlic and lump crabmeat; lean, cilantro-cured venison sliced thin, arranged in a fan; and the ever-popular Cowboy ribeye steak, bone-in Angus beef delec-tabiy singed over hickory flames. 3102 Oak Lawn Ave., 214-520-7827. Moderate to expensive.

Benton’s. Harvey Hotel, 4545 W. John Carpenter Fwy., Irving, 214-929-4500. Moderate.

Kokopelli. 9090Skillman St., Ste. 158A.214-503-0242. Moderate.

Loma Luna Cafe. 8201 Preston Rd., 214-691-1552. Inexpensive.

Sam’s Cafe. 100 Crescent Court, Ste. 140,214-855-2233;8411 Preston Rd., Ste. 112,214-739-2288. Inexpensive to moderate.

Spanish

Macho’s Cafe And Bar. Owners Nestor and Chris Macho are trying to make their restaurant all things to all people-at lunch, pasta, salads, and soups attract the ladies; at dinner, the Cuban and Spanish dishes interest younger diners; and at Sunday brunch, the disparate assortment of Cuban, American, Italian, and Spanish fare draws the after-church crowd. Our response was accordingly mixed. Of the Cuban and Spanish offerings, we recommend the empanadas, pockets of dough filled with beef, olives, and raisins served with cranberry and jalape>\#150>o dipping sauces; the sweet and flavorsome plantains sautéed in butter; and the shrimp sautéed in a coconut batter and bathed in coconut milk. On a lunch visit, an artichoke unpleasantly doused in bread crumbs was sent back. The $8.95 brunch was disappointing. The dishes suffered from sitting out on warming trays for too long, and the selections seem incongruous. None were standouts. 9739 N. Central Expwy., 214-369-6466. Inexpensive to moderate.

Cafe Madrid. 4501 Travis St., Ste. 133, 214-528-1731. Inexpensive.

Steakhouses

Chamberlain’s Prime Chop House. You need to pace your appetite in this comfortable neighborhood steakhouse, where chef-owner Richard Chamberlain often pops out of the kitchen to greet his customers. The perky garlicky aioli, spread on airy, lightly crispy rolls, can cause you to empty the breadbasket, but save room for the black bean soup, an intense, smoky bowl of pureed magic. The crisp deviled crab cakes, in their subtle mustard sauce, can also start a meal in fine style. As tender and juicy as the lamb chops are, beef is the reason to visit Chamberlain’s, and prime rib heads the roster or favorites. Horseradish-whipped mashed potatoes star on the list of side dishes, although the fresh, bacon-laced com casserole finishes a close second. Desserts, while respectable, don’t reach the same heights as the food that precedes them. 5330 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-934-2467, Moderate.

Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steak House, This is a “he-man” of a restaurant, complete with a bustling bar of regulars slapping each other on the back. The wine list is huge, filled mainly with lots of expense account bottles, but bargains can be found among them. (The wines available by the glass seem to be a pitiful afterthought.) The menu is just what you’d expect, with lots of meat and side dishes, lobster, and a token fish of the day. The two prime cuts, a ribeye and a strip, are the best steaks on die menu, and they’re rich in flavor and perfectly cooked. Service is fast-paced unless you request otherwise. 5251 Spring Valley Rd., 214-490-9000. Expensive.

Kirby’s Steakhouse. The return of the old Greenville favorite is apparently pleasing a wide range of diners: Clientele include dating teenagers, families with kids, and nostalgic past patrons. While the born-again Kirby’s is under new ownership, the clubby, comfortable restaurant relies heavily on recipes from the past: Steaks are cooked to perfection and have a hint of the forbidden flavor of fat. The new menu reflects ’90s notions with pastas, chicken, and seafood. The fried okra appetizer just may be the best in town. 3525 Greenville Ave., 214-821-2122. Moderate to expensive.

25 Morton’s of Chicago. If you’re an unrepentant carnivore who just doesn’t care that huge slabs of juicy red ribeye steak and chops of veal aren’t chic any more, Morton’s is for you-and your more nutritionally correct family and friends can enjoy lobster, shrimp, or chicken as well as simply prepared fresh fish. Understatement reigns here, from dark wood to etched glass, starched white linens, and muted Sinatra, and there are more than 30 martini varieties. 501 Elm St., 214-741-2277: 14831 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-233-5858. Expensive.

25 The Palm. The insouciant service and lack of cushiony frills bespeak a brawling, brassy, particularly Texan attitude, and the food, from lamb to linguini, veal to seafood, vegetable sides to salads-and unforgettable steaks and lobster-is superb. This New York import flatters its clientele-political figures, business executives, and VIPs-by splashing their colorful caricatures all over its walls. (The Palm came here during Dallas’ roaring ’80s and handily held its own during lean times as well.) 701 Ross Ave., 214-698-0470. Expensive.

Butcher Shop Steak House. 808 Munger St., 214-720-1032. Moderate.

Chamberlain’s Prime Chop House. 5330 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-934-2467. Moderate to expensive.

Dunston’s Steak House. 5423 W. Lovers Ln., 214-352-8320; and other locations. Inexpensive to moderate.

Laredo Grill. 601 E. Piano Pkwy., Piano, 214-422-6201. Inexpensive to moderate.

Lawry’s The Prime Rib. 3008 Maple Ave., 214-521-7777. Moderate to expensive.

Outback Steakhouse. 9049 Vantage Point Dr., 214-783-0397; and other locations. Inexpensive.

Paul’s Porterhouse. 10960 Composite Dr., 214-357-0279. Expensive.

Randy’s Steakhouse. 7210 Main St., 214-335-3066. Moderate.

Ruth’s Chris Steak House. 5922 Cedar Springs Rd., 214-902-8080. Expensive.

Texas Land & Cattle Company. 17390 Preston Rd., 214-248-2424. Moderate.

Walt Garrison’s Rodeo Bar & Grill. Adolphus Hotel, 1321 Commerce St., 214-742-8200. Moderate.

Thai

Chow Thai. This striking new restaurant-with an eclectic atmosphere that includes lozenge-shaped lighting and light wooden chairs- amazes both the eyes and the mouth. The restaurant’s cooks and owner, who are from Bangkok, offer their customers authentic Thai fare with some exciting original dishes such as die Chow Thai duck, deliciously marinated in an exotic honey sauce, and yum pla muk, calamari served in a bed of fresh vegetables. If you choose items from the hotter side of the menu, cool off with Thai tea, a special blend with soy milk that is extremely soothing. The young waiters are courteous, but don’t let them steer you away from the more exotic dishes. 5290 Belt Line Rd., Ste. 144, 214-960-2999. Moderate.

Toy’s Cafe. Previously known as Thai Toy, this place specializes in vegetarian and seafood dishes, and is a good spot for informal, wholesome, and inexpensive eating. Don’t miss Toy’s mee grob, pinkish rice noodles studded with scallions and cilantro, deep-fried in a non-cloying sweet-and-sour sauce; or the deep-fried marinated shrimp fingers wrapped in rice paper. Soups, which feed two to four, are among Toy’s strongest suits, especially gang-ga lee, a vegetable curry with mushrooms and zucchini; broken fish trap, a hot and sour soup with assorted seafood; and tom-kha. a hot and sour seafood soup with lemongrass, lime leaves, and coconut milk. Scrumptious main courses begin with broad, soft, fresh rice noodles stir-fried with tofu. shrimp, or crab. Cash only. 4422 B Lemmon Ave., 214-528-7233. Inexpensive.

Tuppee Tong. Hooray! A Thai restaurant that is not afraid to serve spicy food. Under the direction of first-time chef-owner “Lilly” (her Americanized name), this restaurant provides an authentic Thai dining experience. Although you can order die food with the heat toned down, don’t. You’ll miss the punch of a peanut sauce that comes with the satays (appetizers of skewered chicken, meat, or shrimp) and the kick of a red curry chicken (made daily from home-grown Spices), Balance the heat with a Thai salad of carrot, cucumber, and radish slivers in sweetened vinegar, and try one of the eight or so soups offered here in three sizes. The torn yum shrimp soup features fat, succulent shrimp in a delicate broth flavored with lemongrass and lime leaves. Tuppee Tong translates as “big golden spoon,” so keep in mind that portions are large. And, even better, prices are low. The Village at Collin Creek, 621 W. Piano Pkwy., Piano, 214-509-7979. Inexpensive.

Royal Thai. 5500 Greenville Ave.. Ste. 802,214-691-3555. Moderate.

Thai Taste. 3101 N. Fitzhugh Ave., 214-521-3513. Inexpensive.

Thai-Thai. 1731 Greenville Ave., 214-828-9795. Inexpensive,

Traditional

The Zodiac Room. While this institution of Old Dallas atop the downtown Neimans remains popular with ladies who attend luncheons, execs who “do” lunch, and a certain number of passers-through-town intent on getting a taste of Southern tradition, the food here fails to match the high quality synonymous with the Neiman Marcus label. One member of a trio of salads-a bland, inexplicable glob alleged to be tuna (actually chicken) bit a sour note with one of our reviewers, who refused to eat something the waitress couldn’t name. Hamburgers were small and dry; crab cakes were better, but the accompanying fried potatoes were greasy and soggy. Service remains white-glove impeccable, but prices for the too-small portions of less than stellar cuisine are astronomical. 1618 Main St., sixth floor. 214-573-5800. Moderate to expensive.

Vietnamese

Arc-En-Ciel. 3555 W. Walnut St., Garland, 214-272-2188. Inexpensive.

Tarrant County

Angelo’s. (Barbecue) 2533 White Settlement Rd., Fort Worth, 817-332-0357. Inexpensive.

Cafe Matthew. (Southwestern) 8251 Bedford-Euless Rd., North Richland Hills, 817-577-3463. Moderate.

Cacharel. (French/Continental) 2221 E. Lamar, Brookhollow Two, Arlington- 817-640-9981. Moderate.

Dorm House Cafe. (New American) 224 E. College St., Grapevine, 817-421-1181. Moderate.

Esparza’s Restaurante Mexicano. (Mexican) 124 E. Worth St., Grapevine, 817-481-4668; 1212 William D. Tate, Grapevine, 817-481-4867. Inexpensive.

Joe T. Garcia’s. [Mexican) 2201 N. Commerce St., Fort Worth, 817-626-4356. Inexpensive.

Michael’s. (Southwestern! 3413 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-877-3413. Moderate.

Saint-Emilion. (French/Continental) 3617 W. Seventh St., Fort Worth, 817-737-2781. Moderate.

Star Of Texas Grill. (Southwestern) Worthington Hotel, 200 Main St., Fort Worth, 817-870-1000. Moderate.

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