DINING OUT NEW RESTAURANT REVIEWS Kirby’s Steakhouse: Born-Again Legend

Also: Sumo Sushi, Pepper Square, Chow Thai, and Mainstream Fish House

KIRBY’S STEAKHOUSE

Long, long before all those pricey purveyors of prime beef came rolling in to claim steak rights in booming Dallas’ mid-’80s dining scene, this city had its own homegrown steak-house. For more than 30 years, the original Kirby’s on lower Greenville was a frequent habit with Dallas diners-from 1954, when B.J. Kirby remodeled the Pigstand he’d taken over from his father and began cooking and serving steaks, to 1987, when he sold the site.

Segue to the mid-’90s, when chance encounters with wistful ex-patrons prompted a neighbor of the retired Kirby, Jim Ingram, to propose a born-again Kirby’s featuring the same recipes in a brand new Greenville location, With B.J. Kirby’s blessing and help with the menu before his death in February 1995, the new venture evolved- still a steakhouse, but diversified to reflect ’90s notions with pastas, chicken, and seafood offered for health and variety.

Ah, but it’s the aged, cut in-house, mid-western corn-fed beef that’s drawing the faithful in droves, We did sample a starter of salmon-grilled, flaked, and piled with cilantro-scented diced tomato on corn chips. The chips weren’t crisp, but the fish was fresh, and a jimaca and strawberry salad complemented it nicely. A shrimp cocktail with peppered vodka sauce was exceptional, and à la carte fried okra, ordered as an appetizer, barely glazed with crisp, thin crust, proved the best I’ve encountered anywhere in Dallas, alone well worth the trip.

As was each of the steaks we tried. Rib-eye (14 ounces) was simply perfect, charred outside a rare heart lusciously infused with the flavor of forbidden fat. A 7-ounce blue-ribbon filet cut from the tenderloin’s center was fork-tender and fine-textured, lean and lovely. Major emphasis on the menu is given to Randy Tar prime rib, named for the restaurant in the Victorian House that originated the recipe in the early ’70s. Available in 8-, 12-, or 24-ounce servings, the cut is a satin-smooth thing of beauty, as memorable as the bill of fare’s “For the Memories” caption suggests.

And indeed, this new Kirby’s appears to be more than just old memories; the crowds spanned the age spectrum, from dating teenagers to young families to mature past patrons. The new digs are clubby and comfortable, all polished wood and etched glass partitions. The new service staff was terrifically caring and cheerful, refilling glasses and making sure of diners’ satisfaction. Judging by the happy sounds filling the place, I’d guess some new memory-making is well under way here, at prices that are higher than in the old place, but still homegrown affordable.

-Betty Cook

Kirby’s Steakhouse. 3525 Greenville Ave., 821-2122. Dinner Sunday-Thursday 5:30-10:30, Friday-Saturday 5:30-11:30; baropens at 4:30 daily. Moderate to expensive.



SUMO SUSHI

Ah, so-comes now a bold bid to resuscitate Japanese dining in the same setting that introduced the cuisine to Dallas lo these many moons ago. Restaurateur James Lee, who already owns Snow Mountain, a popular Japanese and Korean oasis on the Dallas-Garland border, has taken over the space vacated by Sakura- lock, stock, and furnishings, apparently: The same regally hooded rattan chairs that enthroned diners in the lower lounge still strike an exotic note of Eastern mystery, and the only noticeable change in decor is the addition of several artworks depicting (what else?) fierce Sumo wrestlers.

Our first-visit dinner plan was (a) to start with a sampler of sushi, then (b) proceed to a cooked main dish. So much for pure intentions-we never made it past (a), orgying out on cool cuts of raw sea creatures on or in seaweed-wrapped vinegared rice. Beef-red tuna, pearly flounder, and rosy salmon prepared our palates for chewier red clam and the tender-textured sea urchin considered a special treat by connoisseurs. Scallop and smelt roe rolled and sliced with cucumber in seaweed were delectable; salmon skin cooked crisp and similarly wrapped was a crunchy joy.

Most imposing, perhaps, were the hand rolls we tried. These nobly proportioned delights are shaped as seaweed cones, stuffed with rice and overflowing with whatever seafood you select to be picked up and eaten whole. One alone would have been an adequate appetizer.

Not so much that I wasn’t eager to amend our cooked-dish omission, however. A noontime return trip’s Yokozuna box, the Japanese equivalent of a plate lunch, was billed as a Grand Champion Lunch. At $5.99 complete, it was that and a grand champion bargain besides-the cunningly compart-mented lacquered box held a crisp, tempu-ra-battered shrimp and slices of eggplant, squash, mushroom, and yam; plus a pair of meat-plumped gyoza dumplings; plus several bites of avocado-centered California roll; plus a warm salad of barely sautéed vegetables and bean sprouts hinting gently at piquancy; plus (arc you believing all this?), a main dish quartet of chicken Kara Age drumettes, fried to a juicy turn. And creditable miso soup, rice, appropriate dipping sauces, and a dessert orange wedge.

All that was delivered, too, with the beaming good will that marked service on both our visits. One cavil: The before-meal warm washcloth that is an especially civilized amenity at most Japanese tables was delivered cold halfway through our first visit, omitted on the second. 1 have an idea the problem lay with a new staff’s lack of practice with routine details; in any case, no other sign of neglect was noted. The box lunch, by the way, is an introductory special-I was promised that its price would hold through September, but I would not risk waiting too long to try it. -B.C.

Sumo Sushi. 7402 Greenville Avenue, 214-987-2333. Lunch 11:30-2 Monday through Friday; dinner 5:30-10:30 Sunday through Thursday, 5:30-11 Friday and Saturday. Moderate.



PEPPER SQUARE

Art Bar & Cafe, BlindLemon, Lavaca Cantina, Your Mothers Hip

Swing by this entertainment-restau-rant-bar complex on a Friday or Saturday night and you’ll understand what a North Dallas gap it has already filled. The place jumps, filled with a mix of customers eclectic enough to match the four separate personalities of these joined-at-the-hip restaurants housed under one roof. Each has its own bar and its own decor, entertainment, menu, and theme, and outdoor patios handle the overflow. You’ll see representatives from the single-and-looking crowd, Generation X wearing lots of Spandex and lots of black, and even some baby boomers set free by babysitters. You’ll catch the festive mood whether you have an earring in your tongue or a tie around your neck.

The mood changes during the daylight hours. Customers tend to flock toward the two central, tamest restaurants of the group-the Blind Lemon and the Art Cafe. Your Mothers Hip, with plastic baby dolls nailed to the wall and giant ’50s lampshades dangling from the ceiling, might be too hip for daylight, and it’s more fun to ride the saddled barstools at Lavaca Cantina at night.

With so much attention given to everything else, you might think that the food is more of an afterthought, but some real gems lurk in the kitchen. The menus at Hip, Art, and Lemon are very similar, with healthful pasta, salads, and sandwiches; a nice list of micro-brews here, a coffee menu there.

The Cantina offers cowboy chow-grilled food, Mexican specialties, and a lot of stuff for snacking. Order the Pablo Picasso Palette, a meal-sized appetizer served on an artist’s palette. The menu lists its herbed polenta, house-marinated olives, sautéed mushrooms, and gorgonzola, but it also comes with an unexpected tangle of excellent sautéed vegetables.

The single best thing we tried, and the reason we’d return, is the jerk chicken and Key lime mustard slaw on grilled sourdough-a flawless sandwich. The juicy turkey burgers also get high marks, especially for their caramelized onions and chili mayonnaise.

The Cantina steals the show at happy hour, when its 26 types of tequila draw some serious attention, and the appetizer list gets a workout. A trio of mild dips (guacamole, queso, and salsa) could feed two cowboys, but make sure the homemade chips are fresh and crisp. On the negative side of the ledger, the tropical chicken’s sauce is cloyingly sweet, and the Leonardo da Poultry featured an overcooked, breaded chicken breast. The stylishly presented desserts may not be made here, but they certainly end the meal on a happy note. -Suzanne Hough

Pepper Square. 14902 Preston Road, 214-458-0458. Monday.-Thursday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. (kitchen) and midnight (bar), Thurs.-Sat. 11 a.m.-midnight (kitchen) and 2 a.m. (bar). Moderate.



CHOW THAI

One of the best things to happen to Dallas dining of lace is the opening of Chow Thai, an extraordinary Thai restaurant on the south side of Belt Line across from Pres-tonwood. Not only is the restaurant stunning, an eclectic mix with luminescent lozenge-shaped lighting and light-wood chairs, but the food is as striking and distinctive as it is delicious. The restaurant, which comes to Dallas via Southern California, serves authentic Thai fare as well as some original dishes. All the cooks and the owner arc from Bangkok and, with the substitution of a few ingredients from Los Angeles, the food appears to be spiced to suit a Thai palate without having been Americanized into blandness.

For appetizers, my friends and I chose the Chow Thai combination platter and found most of the samples to be deep-fried. Among these, we enjoyed a grilled skewered chicken sate, marinated in coconut milk and spices, served with a cucumber and peanut sauce; lightly battered calamari; and excellent fried chicken wings stuffed with glass noodles, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, and herbs. Other flavorsome firsts included Po Piad Taud, deep-fried spring rolls; shrimp cakes marinated in red curry; and crisply fried won-tons. At another meal we opened with larb gai, finely chopped chicken blended with fresh herbs, chilis, and limes, which was quite hot, yet refreshing. Steamed Thai spring rolls with shrimp were soothing.

While the young American waitstaff seemed to discourage us from all but the most ordinary dishes, we made our way through a whole deep fried pompano in a delectable red curry sauce with basil and chilis, despite having to pull the meat off the bones with our chopsticks. Chow Thai duck, boneless duck marinated in an exotic honey sauce, another house specialty, was an excellent, unfamiliar choice, Yum pla muk, seasoned calamari tossed in fresh fieldgreens, cucumbers, tomatoes, onions, and chilis with herbal seasonings and fresh lime juice was as beautiful as it was pleasing: the calamari, scored and marinated, was unusually tender. Indeed, our only disappointment was with the pad Thai, a universal dish of pan-fried rice noodles, bean sprouts, tofu, peanuts, garlic, and lime. which was quite dry.

Thai tea, a special blend, with soy milk, was extremely soothing. For dessert we enjoyed a seasonal treat of sticky rice with wedges of sweet mango. -Jill Harris

Chow Thai. 5290 Belt Line, Suite 144, 214-960-2999. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m., Friday 11 a.m.-1 I p.m., Saturday 5 p.m.-11 p.m., Sunday 5 p.m.-10 p.m.



MAINSTREAM FISH HOUSE

What’s in a name, or a menu? In this case, much more than either might imply. Mainstream’s menu, as plain vanilla as you can get, with hand-written specials and modest prices, offers no clue as to what lies ahead.

First: the prices. Shoot the wad on the highest-priced menu items, the daily specials-a good Canadian salmon for S12.95 or chargrilled tuna at $11.95. You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find out that your choice of two side orders is included. Those on a tighter budget can grab a seat before 4 p.m. any day and pay $6.50 for the catch of the day and one side order.

Next: the quality. Owner Kelly Haden grew up in the Portuguese fishing village of Point Luma in California, and he and his father own the fish market T.J.’s a couple of doors away. Mainstream’s other owners are the powers behind Mi Cocina, whose first restaurant is also in this center. These people know food. A substantial appetizer is one of Hagen’s creations: bread pot shrimp, a hollowed out small round loaf of sourdough filled with sautéed shrimp. Clam chowder is poured over it for the New England version; a Cajun-spiced sauce for the New Orleans one. The “bowl” helps you sop up every bit of this swell appetizer that could double as a main course. Creamy crab cakes, made from Haden’s grandmother’s recipe, or the chunky fisherman’s stew also start meals out downhome style. Simple side dishes like steamed vegetables and baked potatoes prevail, but don’t miss the ratatouille if it’s offered. Or the tart, crisp coleslaw, or the potato cakes, with their sneaky little kick.

The moist, flavorful fish specials don’t really need the sauces (which are actually herbed butter slices and relishes), although the cilantro lime butter pairs nicely with the salmon.

Lime stars in the best dessert made here, Key lime pie garnished with blueberries and real whipped cream. Truly the perfect ending to a pleasant meal. -S. H.

Mainstream Fish House. Preston Forest Shopping Center, 11661 Preston Road, 214-739-3474. Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11 a.m.-9 p.m., Friday-Saturday 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Moderate.

D Magazine’s restaurant reviews are assigned by the editors and have nothing to do with paid advertising. Restaurant visits are anonymous, and all expenses are paid by the magazine. Restaurants will be revisited every three months.

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 $25 or more (Based on a typical dinner for one, not including drinks, tax, and tip)

Australian

Outback Pub. 1701 N. Market St., 214-761-9355. 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., 214-754-4940. 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.



Barbecue

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’s 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 Hot & Blue. 9810 N. Central Expwy., Ste. 600, 214-368-7427. Inexpensive.

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.

Spring Creek Barbecue. 270 N. Central Expwy., Richardson, 214-669-0505; 14941 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-385-0970; 3514 Airport Fwy., Irving, 214-313-0987. Inexpensive.

Brewpubs

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

TWOROWS 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

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 the past. The food is good, standard fare-salads, burgers, chicken sandwiches, and a Larry North special for the health-conscious. Special kudos to the veggie quesadillas, hill of fresh vegetables and probably the best in town. 3024 Greenville Ave., 214-826-2020.

Slider and Blues. Since its arrival on the corner of Hillcrest 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 S6 range. Best picks are the appetizers (“sliders”), which include hot tortilla chips with salsa, peppery curlicue fries, and buffalo wings; the burgers; and the 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, 214-696-8632. Slider and Blues Frankfort, 18110 Midway, 214-732-6363. Inexpensive.

Chip’s. 4501 N. Central Expwy., 214-526-1092; and other locations. Inexpensive.

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

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

Filling Station. 6862 Greenville Ave., 214-691-4488; 15201 Addison Rd, Addison, 214-458-8841. Inexpensive.

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

Jake’s Old-Fashioned Hamburgers. 6606 Skillman St., 214-349-1422; 10226 Garland Rd., 214-319-6060. 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/Creole

Café Margaux. Ray Agnew has a happy talent tor 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 corn meal, came arranged on a pale, lemony sauce laced with nuggets of cracked pepper, while a day’s special of blackened halibut delivered a truly subtle murmur of Creole warmth in seared surface seasonings, gilding pearly leaves of moist, sweet flesh. 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 & 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 waitstaff 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.,214-969-1885.Inex-pensive.

Pappadeaux. Pappadeaux may be a chain, but it consistently prepares lively Cajun and stately New Orleans style food in a welcome and authentíc manner. Fresh, ice-cold Gulf oysters are delectably 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 that we plan to have it again, even though it did taste like chicken. 3520 Oak 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, and other locations. Inexpensive.

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

Caribbean

Cafe 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 restaurant 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 meat. 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 crabmeat, or the excellent eggplant with minced pork in a feisty garlic sauce. Or, you and 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 want to treat yourself to Chinese banquet-style dishes any day of the week, May Dragon, which serves a blend of Mandarin, Hunan, Cantonese, and Szechuan-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, 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 (11:30-2:30). and it’s authentic, complete with carts loaded with little plates of these Chinese appetizers. There’s sticky rice, egg rolls, dumplings, and much more. 4980 Belt Lira: Rd., Addison, 214-387-2333, Moderate.

Uncle Tai’s Hunan Yuan. Massive media hype pro-pelled newly opened Uncle Tai’s to immediate prominence back in 1983; delectable, gourmet Szechwan fare and attentive, unobtrusive service have kept it on top 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 Parkway (in the Galleria, third level). 214-934-9998. Moderate.

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

Cale 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.

Lake Pointe China. 906 I 30, Garland, 214-203-8208. Inexpensive.

Monkok. 2150 N. Collins Blvd., Richardson, 214-644-0404. 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.

Young Shing. 3701 W. Walnut St., Garland, 214-487-1188. Inexpensive.

Coffeehouses

Cale Brazil. 6420 N. Central 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., 214-823-3 345. Inexpensive.

La Crème Coffee & Tea. 4448 W. Lovers Ln?214-369-4188; 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,” 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 gar-lickly new cucumber pickles. For those who long for Eastern European dishes, specialties include stuffed cabbage, knishes, and chicken or flanken in the 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.

Preizler’s Delicatessen And Bakery. 116 Preston Valley Shopping Center, 214-458-8896; 3100 Independence Blvd., Piano, 214-964-4044. Inexpensive.

Romano’s. 3111 Monticello Ave., 214-521-1662. 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, bam, sauerkraut, and baked apples; the jaeger schnitzel, served with savory spaetzle; or the awe-inspiring pork medallions in wild blackberry sauce, quick-

ly voted Dish We Wish We’d Ordered by the nib-blers 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

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 the “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 Street, 214-979-0880. 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 TheGrape. Theinterior of the Grape is paint-ed 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.

Pete A Sean’s 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, 214-741-4406.

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’s plenty 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 portabello mushrooms, zucchini, pimiento, tomatoes, and eggplant. Try the extraordinary three-layerchocolate 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.

Cafe Georgi. 2305 Abrams Rd., 214823-1683. Moderate.

Deep Hum 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.

Mask Time Machine. 5003 Belt Line Rd., Addison, 214-980-1903. 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

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

Queen Of Sheba. 3527 McKinney Ave., 214-521-0491. Inexpensive.

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

French/Continental

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 bite” from the restaurant’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 the 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.

25 Chez Gerard. Chez Gerard makes French cuisine approachable while uphholding its reputation for exquisite food, service, and wine. Try simple, rustic Country French dishes like casserole of scallops in red wine sauce or rabbit fricassee, or dishes rarely seen outside France like roasted pigeon, grilled mullet, or halibut tartare. Meals are served in the 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’ preeminent 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 pricewise 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., 214-748-7865. 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 Big D 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 it all with a lighter-than air serving of Floating Island. 500 Crescent Court, Ste. 165, 214-922-4555. Moderate to expensive.

Old Warsaw. 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 meat, 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 the 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 the bar for a lengthy wait until your table’s ready. 2610 Maple Ave.,214-528-0032. Expensive.

The Pyramid Room. The plush atmosphere, impeccable service, and exotic flowers belie the fact that you don’t have to spend big bucks to have a fine meal here. In addition to the regular menu, there’s a five-course dinner for $24 a person offered nightly, like sautéed calamari, chilled cucumber soup, homemade sorbet, and grilled bed tenderloin on polenta. Dessert’s included, and the beautifully garnished macadamia nut torte is a favorite. The lobster bisque is a classic, smooth and rich with morsels of lobster, and the basket of breads is irresistable. 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’oeuvre 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 aural 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 crabrneat. 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. 1923 McKinney Ave., 214-720-0323. Moderate.

Addison Cafe. 5290 Belt Line Rd., Ste. 108, Addison. 214-991-8824. 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.

Juniper. 2917 Fairmount, 214-855-0700. Moderate.

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 Hut., Ste. 400,214-358-7660. Moderate.

Greek

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

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

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

Kostas Cafe. 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 caloric. 10422 Harry Hines Blvd., 214-352-0051. Inexpensive.

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

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

Dumplin’s. 209 Main St., Garland, 2)4-494-0856. Inexpensive,

Gennie’s Bishop Grill. 321 N. Bishop, 214-946-1752. Inexpensive.

Gigi’s. 415 W. Ledbetter Dr., 214-699-0944. 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.

Hubbard’s Cubbard. 614 W. Main St., Garland, 214-276-4179. 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.

Mama Jo’s. 1615 N. Hampton Rd., DeSoto, 214 283-9498. Inexpensive.

Original Market Diner. 44S4 Harry Hines Blvd., 214-521 -0992. Inexpensive.

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

Indian

Anand Bhavan Vegetarian Restaurant. 115 Spring Valley Village, Richardson, 214-783-4353. Inexpensive.

Bombay Cricket Club. 2508 Maple Ave., 214-871-1333. Moderate.

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

India Palace. 12817 Preston Rd., Ste. 105,214-392-0190. Inexpensive to moderate.

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. It’s 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. There’s earthy beef stew (again, kissed by the frothy lips of Guinness), smoked salmon, and high-piled sandwiches. 5815 Live Oak St., 214-8237167. Inexpensive.

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

Italian

Caffe Paparazzi. Warm service sets the scene here, along with superior Northern Italian dishes: Thin-shaved carpaccio comes to you chilled and flavor-splashed with vinaigrette; crema di funghi is a perfect smooth summer evening soup; spaghetti puttanesca strikes exactly the right hearty note with its rich sauce of olives, capers, onions, and tomato. 8989 Forest Ln., 214-644-1323. Moderate.

Campisi’s Egyptian Restaurant. Walking off the street into Campisi’s is like stepping directly from Dallas into Queens. As our slow but friendly waitress informed us, Campisi’s was one of the first places in Dallas people could get real pizza. Campisi’s still serves up one of the best good old-fashioned pizzas in the Metroplex. The ravioli and lasagna are good, too, but be sure not to miss the Italian crab claws (swimming in garlic butter–heaven!) and Joe’s special toast. And remember-sit facing the door! 5610 East Mockingbird Ln., 214-827-0355. Moderate.

Ciao Bella. Old Tomazo, a (arm-reared native of Italy, honors the sunny simplicity of his region’s dishes with finesse. A first course of roasted sweet peppers, lender mozzarella, and ripe tomato sparkled to a liking 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 the plainest tare into poetry. 3232 McKinney Ave, 214-871-2074. Inexpensive to moderate.

Flip’s Wine Bar And Trattoria. Original art on the walls, soul music in the background (but not too loud), and an eclectic, friendly waitstaff 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 the nachos and it could make a meal, but why stop there? The manicotti 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 risotta ranks among the best in town. Delicious homemade bread and 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 Iasagna-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.

Nero’s Italian. This venerable Lower Greenville institution dishes up spicy Linguini Fra Diavolo, classic Caesar salads, and killer pizza reminiscent of New York’s Little Italy. Skip the bland novelty of “pink” garlic bread; instead, for a real taste of “Noo Yawk,” try slathering tresh bread with appetizers of roasted garlic or sautéed spinach and wash it all down with a big Chianti. Huge veal chops are distinctive, but stick with pasta and pizza for a most memorable evening. Recent purchase by Dallas-based MoMo’s Italian won’t affect campy Rococo ambience. Menu changes every six months. 2104 Greenville at Prospect, 214-826-6376. 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, 214- 871-1924. Moderate.

Prego Pasta House. We’ve always thought-and please, Don Prego, take this as a compliment- that if Dallas really had any old wise-guy mafia types, they’d gather in this dark den tor no-nonsense spaghetti dishes like shrimp scampi and lin-guine with clam sauce, chicken piccata, and other hearty fare like Tony ( “the Bull”) Braga’s mamma used to make before Tony wound up sleeping with the fishes. But don’t worry-those bulges under the jackets here are just the full tummies of satisfied diners. 4930Greenville Ave., 214-363-9204. Moderate.

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

AI Dente Cafe. 1920 Greenville Ave., 214-821 -6055. Moderate.

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

AI Dente Cafe. 1920 Greenville Ave., 214-821-6054. Inexpensive.

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

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

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

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

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

Cale Cipriani. 220 E. Lus Colinas Blvd., living, 214-869-0713. Moderate.

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

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

Carmine’s 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., 214-761-1958 I Moderate.

The Italian Oven. 5500 Greenville Ave., Ste. 503 ’ 214-987-4002: and other locations. Inexpensive.

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. 1948 Legacy Dr., Piano, 214-618-4143. inexpensive to moderate.

Ristorante Savino. 2929 N. Henderson Ave.. 214-826-7804. Moderate.

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

Romano’s Macaroni Grill. 5858 W. Northwest Hwy. 214 265-0770: and other locations. 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.

Japanese

Mr. Sushi. Raw fish might sound like an anomaly in beef-happy Dallas, but Mr. Sushi could easily win converts from the boot-stompin’, guitar-pickin’ crowd. The menu’s enormous, complete with chicken teriyaki, shrimp tempura, and sukiyaki. but the action’s at the huge, U-shaped sushi bar. A 16-ounce Ichiban beer provides the perfect accompaniment for the best of the sushi: lender halibut, smoothly rich salmon, and a light-ly spicy tuna roll. 4860 Belt Line Rd.. Addison. 214-385-0168. Expensive.

Nakamoto. Eat ill 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 multicourse 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.

Awaji. 4701 W. Park Blvd., Piano, 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.

Snow Mountain. 4609 W. Walnut St., Garland, 214-487-3544. 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 Adeimo’s, the owner is always on hand to see that the customer is properly looked after-you’ll think you’ve been transported to the Mediterranean; while you are perusing the menu, you might be treated to a platter 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 lack of lamb, gently scented with rosemary; or the 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 tastebuds. Grilled salmon with its pungent roasted garlic sauce, is a winner; as is the 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.

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

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

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

Mediterraneo. 18111 Preston Rd., 214-447-0066. 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

Casa Rota 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 rice and black beans to die for. We finished the whole thing off with sizzling Mexican apple pie topped with cinnamon ice cream-scrumptious! 165 Inwood Village. 214-350-5227. Moderate.

Chuy’s. Fight the SMU and 20ish margarita crowd for an SRO spot in the indoor-outdoor Elvis-redux fountain patio 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.

Javier’s Gourmet Mexicano. A Dallas institution, Javier’s boasts a well-trained waitstaff and a superlative kitchen that offers up consistently high-quality Mexico City cuisine in an enticingly romantic setting. Start by clipping chips into the warm, piquant green salsa, washed down with handmade margaritas, then opt for tart, fresh ceviche while you ponder: Barra de Navidad, enormous fresh shrimp, sautéedin dia-blo 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 smattering of family photos, cover with family staff and management, and you’ve got La Calle Doce, known for its killer 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.

Matt’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 Matt’s famous chile rellenos swaggered to the plate-hefty peppers stuffed with beef, 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 fine, oily sheen, and chicken nachos piled high with sour cream, tender chicken, and fresh jalapenos say this place is jen-u-wine Tex-Mex, so pass the butter and leave the cholesterol gauge at home. Try the lettuce-laden Puffed Tacos for a lighter treat. Imported cervezas are served icy cold. Daily lunch specials for $3.25 are classic combos of enchiladas, tacos, and burritos; try the all-you-can-eat weekend buffet for a true Mex-fest. 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 Hill 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.

El Arroyo. 7402 Greenville Ave., 214-363-4464. Inexpensive.

Enchilada’s. 6526 E. Northwest Hut., 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 Denton Dr., 214-630-2599; 2853 W. Illinois, 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 Vaqueras. 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 Cafe. 1900 Preston Rd., Piano, 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.

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

Mi Casa. 8301 Westchester Dr., 214-890-9939; 14920 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-259-4664. 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., 827-1114. Inexpensive to moderate.

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

Piano Tortilla Factory. 1009 E. 18th St., Piano, 214-423-6980. 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., 214-428-3118. Inexpensive.

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

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

Taqueria Tepatitlan. 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 Eastern

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

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

Little Chef. 3291 Independence Pkwy., Plano, 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 killer 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.

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

Bluebonnet Cale & 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 biais 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; steamed mussels bathed in herbed Chardonnay. 2912 North 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 totally 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…need we go on? 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.

Enigma. Call it the garage sale of the gods–art nouveau bronze nudes pose splendidly on walls; tall cabinets display Erté plates and fine crystal; tables are set with madly mismatched china, flat-ware, and goblets. The premise carries through to the food: Each guest is given a different menu, and no duplicate dishes are served. Smoked venison sausage petals encircled a nest of buckwheat noodles crowned with fruit relish, while pheasant sausage slices were centered with noodles on the plate, encircled with strips of yellow tomato and beet-dyed jicama. 2515 McKinney Ave., 214-953-1111. Expensive.

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 presences, though assertive, are just right in masterpieces like the prilled rack of lamb. In the Melrose Hotel. 3015 Oak Lawn Ave., 214.521-5151. Moderate tu expensive.

25 Laurels. Everything about this lofty restaurant-atop a North Dallas hotel-does more than just look good. 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 gild-ed with pear-jalapeno chutney. In the Sheraton Park Central, 12720 Merit Dr., 214-385-3000. Expensive.

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. 2821 Turtle Creek Blvd., 214-559-2100. Expensive.

25 Nana Grill. The name may have changed, but people-watching in the Wyndham Anatolelobby won’t-sheiks and secretaries, politicians and potentates, conventioneers and corporate power brokers. Bur 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 staff’s 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. Chef Avner Samuel’s skill imbues such touches with genius, not gimmickry, as you’ll find when you sample such delights as a sesame-crusted seared alii 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 Meridien 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 Colinas Blvd., living, 214-556-0800. Expensive.

Cale 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., living, 214-556-0800. Expensive.

Caspar’s. 150 S. Denton Tap Rd.. Coppell, 214-393-5152. Moderate.

Gaspar’s. 4345 McKinney Ave., Ste. 270, 214-528-5100. 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., 214-851-2882. 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. Piano, 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.

Seafood

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 to die for, 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 meat 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 the 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 spe-cial 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., 826-4910, 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. While sitting inside the cool pale yellow and while airy interior of S&D Oyster Company, it’s hard to escape the notion that you are sitting in a restaurant on the Gulf coast. The food is not as light as the atmosphere, however-the menu here consists of mostly fried fare. We suggest you skip the shrimp dip and go straight for the fresh oysters on the 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. 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. Central Expy., Piano, 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 fol-lowed buttery- crab claws with Yob’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. but it’s not tor the cholesterol-conscious. 9220 Skillman, 214-3341-3533. Inexpensive.

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

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

Duck Inn. 503 Main St., Lake Dallas. 817-497-2412. Inexpensive.

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

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

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

Lone Star Oyster Bar. 3707 Greenville Ave., 214-827-3013. Inexpensive.

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

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

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

Southweste

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, orentrees, showcase the kitchen’s range, which even offers food for dieters, Guacamole, made tableside, can’t be beat, and anything smoked or grilled is outstanding. Village on the Parkway, 5100 Belt Line Rd., Addison. 214-934-0165. Moderate.

25 Star Canyon. Chef Stephan Pyles, one of the founders of Southwestern cuisine, is now in his “new Texas” phase: Amado Pena door handles, rawhide banquettes, hook em horns sconces, chuck wagon murals-and dish alter beautiful, bountiful, awe-inspiring 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 delectably 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. 9090 Skillman St., Ste. 158A, 214-503-0242. Moderate.

Loma Luna Cafe. S201 Preston Rd., 214-691-1552. Inexpensive.

Sam’s Cafe. 100 Crescent Court. Ste. 140, 214-855-2233; S411 Preston Rd., Ste. 112,214-739-2288. Inexpensive to moderate.

Via Real. 4020 N. MacArthur Blvd.. Ste. 100, Irving, 214-255-0064. Moderate.

Spanish

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

Steakhouses

Bob’s Steak & Chop House. Bob’s is a classic steak-house, complete with dark paneled walls, Sinatra crooning in the background, and a pot of fat pickles on each table. The Caesar is superb, with a nicely balanced, creamy dressing and lots of crunchy croutons, served on a chilled plate. The ribeye steaks are especially good, with tender, juicy meat and a properly crusted surface. Meals are served with a choice of potatoes and a wealth of vegetables, including an outstanding steamed, honey-brushed, whole carrot. The wines have been carefully chosen and are reasonably priced, and the service is attentive while never fawning. 4300 Lemmon Ave. 214-528-9446. Expensive.

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 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 the menu.5251 Spring Valley Rd., 214-490-9000. 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 tor 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. 501 Elm St., 214-741-2277; 14831 Midway Rd., Addison, 214-233-5858. Expensive.

25 The Palm. The Palm’s 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 and 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 to its credit, has handily held its own during lean times as well. 701 Ross Ave., 214-598-0470. 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, Plano, 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., Frisco, 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

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,

Toy’s Cafe. 4422 Lemmon Ave., 214-528-7233. Inexpensive.

Vietname

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

Newsletter

Keep me up to date on the latest happenings and all that D Magazine has to offer.

Comments