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  • Article

    Service with a frown - A mediocre menu and lackluster service take the fine out of the dining at Mel Hollen's

    One of the things I love most about dining out is excellent service. I prize that coddled, back-to-the-womb feeling of knowing that someone cares enough to strive for that 20 percent gratuity by brushing the bread crumbs from my wingtips or wiping th...

    by Mark Stuertz on May 21, 1998
  • Article

    Hash Over

    Is the fog out yet? A rumor erupted earlier this week that Truluck's co-owner Steve Fields announced at a luncheon that the restaurant completed a deal May 8 to acquire Fog City Diner and that the McKinney Avenue restaurant would be Truluck's by ...

    by Mark Stuertz on May 14, 1998
  • Article

    Heading south for dinner - Americus spins Southern cuisine

    Americus defines its cuisine as "regional American with a Southern twist," which is something I'm not sure I get. How could something be regional with a regional twist? And does a double regional cancel itself out and leave us with nothing to eat but...

    by Mark Stuertz on May 14, 1998
  • Article

    Cheap vittles - Vitto doesn't hit the high notes, but it still hums

    Servers possess a sort of innocence when it's clear they're not in love with the profession, but are shoveling grub and sloshing grog at diners as a means to something else. This was one week where that innocence was on display. On our initial v...

    by Mark Stuertz on May 7, 1998
  • Article

    Hash Over

    Is Laurels history? A lot of rumors have been hovering around Dallas lately that the highly acclaimed restaurant Laurels will be axed in the wake of Starwood Hotels & Resorts' $14.6 billion acquisition last February of ITT Corporation, Sheraton's...

    by Mark Stuertz on May 7, 1998
  • Article

    Slipping and sliding - Enjoy the skaters, avoid the food at Pearl Street Bistro

    One of the best things about dining at Pearl Street Bistro is the surrounding scenery. Tucked downtown in the Plaza of the Americas and occupying the space that was once home to Trattoria Amore, Pearl Street is within shouting distance of the plaza's...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 30, 1998
  • Article

    Hash Over

    The one that got away A deal that would have duplicated Dallas' acclaimed restaurant Fish across the country went belly-up at the last minute. Fish Executive Chef Chris Svalesen and his partner Steven Upright had been in talks with Starwood Hotel...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 30, 1998
  • Article

    Heavy metal - The Mercury rises above its strip-mall surroundings

    Strip malls are excellent places to get microwave burritos, spandex fashions, lessons in ballroom dancing, and salon-caliber hair gels and foams by the barrel. But this kind of excellence is not the sort one generally associates with fine dining. ...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 23, 1998
  • Article

    Hash Over

    Fog rolling out? Thick rumors have been rolling in Dallas that Truluck's Steak and Stone Crab in Addison has acquired Fog City Diner. Not true, says Fog City's managing partner Jay Schimmel. At least not yet. "According to whoever runs their...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 23, 1998
  • Article

    Hash Over

    Traveling man Highly mobile Dallas chef Avner Samuel has a new restaurant scheduled to open this week. Called Bistro A, his new venture in Snider Plaza will feature a broad range of Mediterranean fare. He says the menu will be unlike anything he ...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 16, 1998
  • Article

    Fat is where it's at - NorthSouth's taste suffers from weight loss

    A recent Wall Street Journal article explored the debauchery throbbing through New Orleans, a phenomenon illustrated by the Mardi Gras Marathon. Before the race, runners carbo-load on deep-fried globs of sugary dough. They then smoke and drink over t...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 16, 1998
  • Article

    Custer's grand stand - Chef Danielle Custer pushes the culinary envelope with Laurels

    Extreme risk-takers are oddballs. They're the ones that ride rhinos at rodeos, skydive out of Lear jets, shoot dice with the agents during IRS audits, and talk about the president's seduction techniques on national television. But extreme cooker...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 9, 1998
  • Article

    Hash Over

    At-risk child Joey Vallone, the young scion of Houston's Vallone family, which owns nine restaurants including the famed Tony's, officially denies everything. But his self-named Oak Lawn eatery figures prominently in a series of dueling rumors--i...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 9, 1998
  • Article

    Grand hotel - The Adolphus' French Room offers courses in dining elegance

    In the wake of the pomp and ceremony of the Academy Awards, it's certain we'll be seeing many more Titanic tie-ins, at least until the James Cameron flick hits the previously viewed bin at Blockbuster. Perhaps we'll get a concert from the Dallas Symp...

    by Mark Stuertz on April 2, 1998
  • Article

    Chaya Sushi cooks - This raw fish is beautiful to behold, even better to eat

    Dining in the raw while landlocked can be a risky proposition, a deed best performed with a well-trained gag reflex and plenty of health insurance. Most of the time the raw sea flesh isn't bad, just a little lame, blanched, or propped on little soggy...

    by Mark Stuertz on March 26, 1998
  • Article

    Hash over

    What happened to Harper's? When this Charlotte, North Carolina-based chain of six casual restaurants opened an outlet in North Dallas in January 1997, the crowds were so thick that getting through the door was almost impossible. By year's end, it was...

    by Mark Stuertz on March 26, 1998
  • Article

    When the levee breaks - Cool River Cafe floods with flavorless monotony

    The eruption of diner fascination with Cool River Cafe is one of those cultural tremors that I just don't get. I don't understand how this concept was made flesh--or at least river stone and kitschy cowboy mural--and how it got to be the size of the ...

    by Mark Stuertz on March 19, 1998
  • Article

    Grub at earth's end - A stop at The Classic Cafe means eating well where the highway ends

    There's this odd little smell that thrives in cottages and cabins. It's not a bad smell, really--although I'm sure that if we could figure out how to eradicate it easily, we'd send it packing with a cloying spritz of floral-scented Glade air freshene...

    by Mark Stuertz on March 12, 1998
  • Article

    Boonies kitsch - Theme-soaked La Hacienda Ranch is worth the drive to Frisco

    You don't have to travel far to wallow in a good, thick sludging of theme restaurateuring. Downtown offers the always loudly entertaining Planet Hollywood in the West End, while Canyon Cafe covers the north with its slick Southwestern motif. And for ...

    by Mark Stuertz on March 5, 1998
  • Article

    Fog is lifting - Fog City Diner clears a clouded focus

    Procter & Gamble discovered long ago that you could breathe new life into a product, such as a box of Tide or a tube of Crest, by slapping the words "new" and "improved" on the package. The actual improvements may be little more than a sprinkling of ...

    by Mark Stuertz on February 26, 1998
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