Take Me Out to a Sports Bar
Where to eat and drink before, during, and after the Rangers games.
FRIDAY’S FRONT ROW SPORTS GRILL
Open every day, not just game days, this restaurant in the Ballpark is perched above the top row of seats overlooking light field. with a glass wall so yon can see the game if you’re close enough. If not, you can watch the game, or other sports events, on any of more than 75 televisions, some cable-side. There is a reserved area, and various levels of tickets for game days; call tor details. The amount of Rangers memorabilia here will make your head spin, and the gift shop has much Rangers stuff for sale.
Front Row’s menu is a little smaller (thankfully! than the dozen-page version you get at most Friday’s restaurants, and offers dinner, pastas, appetizers, and sandwiches. Grilled salmon basted with Jack Daniel’s glaze was perfect; more appropriate was an Ail-American hot dog, a steal at S5.99 for a 1 /2-pound, fool -long hot clog with cheese, relish, and onions, served with fries. Also outstanding is the beer selection: at least 100 from around the world; including microbrews, with many beers on tap. We score it: home run. 100 Ballpark Way, Suite 401, Arlington; (metro) 817-265-5192.
HUMPERDINK’S BAR & GRILL
The recently opened Ball-park-area location, with its Big Horn Brewing Company, is I Arlington’s first microbrcwery, I Separate bar and restaurant areas each contain many televisions, and, still more are on the patio: the I waitress claimed there were 36 TV sets. The covered patio will be a hot spot in more ways than one this summer; seated there, you can hear the crowd, see the game on television, and admire the graceful white wooden curves of Six Flags’ Judge Hoy Scream roller coaster, right across the street.
The menu is heavy on burgers and sandwiches, and one burger, i the Bourbon Black Jack, came cooked just right, its patty dotted i with cracked black pepper, basted with bourbon-Dijon mustard sauce, covered with melted pep-perjack cheese. The kids’ menu features sensible burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and quesadillas. Superlative service made dinner a real pleasure, and so did the two terrific micro-brews we tried, Black Cat Honey Stout and Humperweizen. We score it: triple. 700 Six Flags Dr., Arlington, (metro) 817-640-8551
STARS SPORTS BAR & GRILL
this is a most un-spokts bar-like sports bar, with fewer than 10 televisions on the day we visited, most of them tuned in to a :1 Wings” rerun rather man whatever NCAA basketball game was being played. The limited menu doesn’t key in to the sports theme much, either, though the bar does have sports memorabilia here and there. But they do have a wide selection of imported beer; and the grilled chicken sandwich soared beyond its simple description; the generous chicken grilled to doneness but still juicy, not dry; just the right amount of mayonnaise, jack cheese, and crisp bacon made the sandwich a winner. Caring service nudged its score up even more. We score it: double.
8I4N. Collins; (metro) 817-261 -376L -Re/tee Hopkins
Lowering the Boom on Lobster Prices
“Lobster madness” strikes every Monday through Thursday night at Daddy Jack’s, where a 1-pound lobster, complete with incited butter, baked potato, and an ear of com, can be yours for just $ 10.95. Start with the $3,50 cup of clam chowder, holding plenty of juicy clams and chopped chives. ’Hie main attraction, the lobsters, are meaty specimens, the tail split for easier eating. Many diners flood Daddy Jack’s, so make a reservation to take advantage of this deal. Although Daddy’s serves many suit-clad people fresh from I he office, you’ll feel welcome in shorts. Keep in mind, though, that it’s tiny, dark, and loud-don’t plan on conducting business here, There’s a limited but good selection of wines by the glass or bottle, and a couple of desserts are made in-house. while die homemade pies are brought in daily. 1916 Greenville Ave., 826-4910, -Suzanne Bough
A CHOICE COGNAC
CALLTHEM “RICH, SMOOTH, luscious, honeyed with age,” says Sigel’s wine consultant, Jim Watson, of Pierre Ferrand’s cognacs, available in the Dallas area ai Sigel’s. In regally tall, slender bottles, these are, for the money, the best cognacs you can buy, says Watson, comparable to the “Big Four” (Courvoisier, Henessey, Martell, and ferny Martin). One hundred percent hand-made, the cognac is crafted entirely from grapes that flourish in France’s Grande Champagne district. Sigel’s stocks four bottlings, ranging from a 10-year-old Ambre for $36.99 to a 70-year-old Ancestrale that costs $389.99.-S.H.
Welcome to the Pizzaplex
Is Dallas the pizza capital of tile nation? Don’t bet a 16-inch pepperoni supreme on a “no” answer, Pizza Hut, Pizza Inn, CiCi’s Pizza, and Showbiz Pizza (owners of Chuck E. Cheese) all call Dallas home. The four major chains headquartered here rank among the top 25 of the nation’s pizza powers in sales for 1994. according to industry publication Pizza Today.
Here are some of the numbers to shout at your kids over the noise of the video games:
‧ In any given year, Pizza Inn ships 10.4 million pounds of cheese (enough to fill White Rock Lake and make dredging a real nightmare!. 1.5 million pounds of pep-peroni, and 17 million pounds of flour to its 500 restaurants scattered throughout the country.
Pizza Inn uses 16 million pizza boxes a year. Figuring that die average pizza box is 18 inches long, if you laid all those boxes end to end, they’d reach from Dallas to Seattle and back! (And who’s gonna pick them all up?)
Each year, 30 million children-not counting their parents-pass through the doors of the 330 Chuck E. Cheese restaurants nationwide. That’s more people than live in Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Georgia combined. -Amy Sorter
THOSE PROFICIENT AT FREE sampling look at the bottom of a toothpick and see opportunity. They know it isn’t mooching, it’s a culinary gift to be enjoyed- and they know that good pickings can be found throughout the Dallas area. A new favorite sampling spot is the gourmet takeout Eatzis, where it is difficult to even get next to the bread counter because there are so many people ambling up for the freebie slices.
And some wedding receptions don’t offer as much free food as Whole Foods’ deli counter on weekends; curry potato empanadas, lentil empanadas, spicy sun-dried tomato pasta, organic apple sauce, blackened chicken, a chips-salsa-hummus display, and as many as five kinds of wine.
Simon David grocery stores are also good sources of free grub. The store’s rule is that each section offer samples of two products each day. One of Simon David’s best features is the often amazingly good “coffee of the week” found at the end of the coffee aisle.
Most stores’ deli sections will offer the best free food, usually chips, dips, and cheeses. But beware the “spicy” warnings on some samples; the hot sausage real-ly can make your eyes water, If it does, run to the bakery and douse the fire with a chunk of pound cake. Remember, they wouldn’t put it out if they didn’t want you to take it.
OSTRICH: BIG BIRD, BIG TASTE
Forget “Sesame Street’s” Big Bird-ostrich has become today’s big-news big bird, touted as a “miracle meat” that registers low in calories and cholesterol, yet scores high marks for its protein and iron. The trendiest menus in town now offer ostrich, including the Mansion. Huntington’s, at the Galleria’s Westin Hotel, claims to be the area’s ostrich pioneer, serving up cuts from this 300- pound- plus bird for about three years now.
Now you, too, can serve ostrich-the Tom Thumb at Preston and Bert Line has added it to its butcher case in the form of turkey bacon-wrapped tenderloin and 6-ounce steaks for $6.79 each; several other Tom Thumbs also carry ostrich. The deep-red, lean meat, and the taste-a cross between rare beef and perfectly cooked, greaseless duck-has been drawing raves ever since this big bird hit the butcher block.
Don’t bury your head in the sand-give ostrich a try. -S H.
Line and Dine at Two New Luby’s
most new dallas restaurants trumpet their arrivai with pre-opening benefit galas and urgent publicity-then pray the first flood of business will settle into a lite-sustaining flow. And then there’s Luby’s, which recently opened two prime-property cafeterias-in Oak Lawn at 3802 Cedar Springs in December, in Northeast Dallas at 6221 E. Mockingbird in March-with no advance promotion other than the raising of the familiar Luby’s logo on the buildings. Yet both have been packed since Day One.
Who goes there? Predictably, retirees and empty nesters, who fell on the Mockingbird Luby’s with whimpering delight. But also dining there are the singles and young families who are the dining trade’s foremost target market: Boomers who would have sneered at self-service a few years ago are now happy to forgo valet parking, wine lists, and tipping for healthful food in a kid-friendly setting.
They may be surprised, but not Luby’s management, which has developed its cafeteria concept to a science as exact as its recipes for fresh home-cooked fare, prepared from scratch daily and moderately priced. The San Antonio-based chain, launched in 1947, now has 194 locations (34 in the Dallas-Fort Worth area alone) stretching from Arizona to Florida.
With more to come? For sure-so far, there are no Luby’s north of Missouri; cafeterias are virtually unknown outside the South, where they originated. But as the boomers-with-babies consumer wave swells, on-line eateries could be in line to convert fitness-conscious hordes everywhere to homier, healthier fare. -Betty Cook