International waters

AquaKnox successfully cross-dresses fish in Dallas

But this was the only service slip. Unlike Star Canyon, whose service can be blood-boilingly snotty, the AquaKnox staff are gracious and sincerely eager to please, from the people answering the phone to the valets.

AquaKnox isn't perfect--yet. But it's enormously compelling, with the brunt of its creative juices focused where it should be: on the plate. It's debatable whether a menu like this could survive in Dallas without Pyles' star power. But it's fortunate for us that he isn't resting on his laurels, as the imagination exhibited here is bound to inspire other chefs.

Pyles says he doesn't want to be a working chef anymore. "How many 45-year-old football players do you know?" he asks pointedly. Instead, he wants to create, build, train, consult, and function as chief palate. Wherever his attention is focused, it's clear that as long as he keeps spinning his globe and harnessing talent possessed by the likes of Balliet, we'll all be better off for it--even if he does toss in a grasshopper now and then.

AquaKnox. Knox Street at Cole, (214) 219-2782. Open for dinner, 6-10:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday; lounge serves food until midnight; 6-11 p.m. Friday & Saturday; lounge serves food until midnight; 6-10 p.m. Sunday.

Readers with comments may e-mail Mark Stuertz at markstz@juno.com.

Assorted sushi and sashimi platter $18
Vodka-cured salmon gravlox $15
Lobster corn chowder $10
Potato-crusted sea bass $24
Brown-butter skate $19
Lemongrass prawns $24
Hickory-grilled rack of lamb $25
Frozen macadamia-nut bombe $7
Lace cookie cup with berries $8

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