Joey's wobbles

But it doesn't fall down

The requisite pasta dishes were also a mixed bag. The Italian sausage with cavatappi pasta (short, ridged spiral macaroni) and arugula was potently satisfying, with juicy sausage slices well-seasoned with fennel in a hearty, if slightly gummy, pasta. But the angel hair with grilled chicken, artichokes, garlic, and Roma tomatoes was plagued with over-oiled pasta and bits of dry, overdone chicken.

Desserts also either hit pay dirt or veer off into obscurity. The pecan-bourbon pie with warm caramel and chocolate was satisfyingly rich, sweet, and sticky. The seasonal fruit tart, however, with sliced plums and vanilla bean gelato, was tough and dry--almost inedible.

With its dim, sensual ambiance shaped with high, black ceilings, tiny lights with beaded amber shades above the tables, lots of used brick, an open kitchen, and a bar area dripping with handsome sophistication (and live jazz), Sipango exudes charisma. It's a great place to see, be seen, seduce, and watch valet parking.

It's also a fairly decent place to eat, with or without a ragtop raffle.

Joey's. 4217 Oak Lawn, (214) 526-0074. Open for lunch, Monday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Open for dinner, Sunday-Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-10 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-midnight.

Sipango. 4513 Travis, (214) 522-2411. Open for dinner Monday-Wednesday, 5:30 p.m.-10:30 p.m.; Thursday, 5:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 5:30 p.m.-1 a.m. Closed Sunday.

Joey's:
Duck pillows $8.95
Rigatoni Vallone $15.95
Oven-roasted snapper $18.95
Farm-raised boar chop $22.95

Salmon carpaccio $9.95
Italian sausage with cavatappi pasta $15.95
Grilled tuna with wok vegetables $21.50

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