A bell pepper generally is about as sexy as a bunion, but Raneri's version is one mamma of a little appetizer. Sheets of green bell pepper are spread with fragments of ground meat, grains of rice, specks of onion, and gooey knots of cheese anointed with a rich tomato sauce. The flavors are simple yet profoundly robust. Sometimes all a bunion needs for respectability is a nice toe ring.

Though it seems impossible, fried dough with a sugar glaze becomes an ethereal treat of subtle nuance. Even the chocolate cream doughnuts rest so lightly in your tummy that you can eat two--or six, if you're like us. People-watching is especially amusing on Sunday mornings when the getting-over-Saturday-night crowd runs into the on-the-way-to-church crowd.

We are not sure where the "grocery" is in this place, but the sandwiches sure are good, as is the pizza. You can get a regular meatball sandwich, but we recommend one of the more creative concoctions, such as the Cubano, a zesty, packed sandwich featuring beef, turkey, provolone, peppers, Cuban relish, and more. Also, if you are trying to dodge the yuppie lunch crowd that overruns Deep Ellum at noontime, this is your place. Lots of artist-types from nearby galleries frequent the joint, so don't be caught wearing a tie or a button-down oxford.
You say New York pizza doesn't exist in Dallas? You say it's all in the Manhattan tap water, or in the way Italian-American males, who act like they are right off the set of The Sopranos, fling the dough high over their heads and beat the hell out of the crust until it surrenders its thickness? Or maybe it's in the tomato sauce, Mama's own sweet family secret. Well, the closest approximation to the mozzarella dream cake in Big D can be found at Brother's Pizza on Montfort. Sometimes greasy, always tasty, it strikes the right New York ratio of crust to sauce to cheese. But order it to go. The confines are small, and the cigarette smoke gets in your eyes and stays there.

Maguire's Regional Cuisine
The typical wait staff team has a range of characteristics: Either they are indifferent, dim, perfunctory, or overbearing, or they're dressed like pee-wee golf caddies. Maguire's gaggle of servers is so professional and self-assured, they're able to cloak their brutal efficiency in an air of graceful sincerity. Plus, they know the menu and perform their tasks with mindfulness. Restaurants charging gobs of green more than this place rarely perform as well; the staff doesn't even wear pee-wee golf cleats.

Ziziki's

Brunch is a weird word, a mutant merging of successive events (breakfast and lunch). It's like merging beer with gut and coming up with butt, which is what years of beer guzzling will grant you, only it emerges in the wrong place and makes your belt fit funny. The brunch assortment at Ziziki's isn't as broad as a beer gut, and it isn't as cheap as Haggar Sans-A-Belt stretch slacks. But it's fresh and tight with bottomless mimosas. Everything is supple and speckled with imagination. The bar is spread with platters of fresh vegetables and fruits and smooth feta cheese, plus the steam tables are packed with delicious scrambled eggs flecked with basil and thick fluffy pancakes pocked with beer gut-sized blueberries. There are pasta dishes, dolmas, baklava, and hearty spanakopita (spinach baked with onions and feta cheese and wrapped in delicate phyllo pastry). It's enough to give you a brunch gut.

Best Of Dallas®

Best Of