The thing that makes the potato salad so good at Nick's is the bacon. More specifically, little bits of real, explosively tasty bacon, er, bits. Not too creamy, not too dry, not too mustardy, this side dish should replace the usual french fry accompaniment to your burger. The key: It's always made fresh.

It goes by the name of alici con peperonata, and it hails from the Italian region of Campania. But it's really just a swell ensemble of silvery strips of fresh white marinated anchovy flesh casually draped over roasted red peppers forming a naughty mound of culinary hedonism ringed by a bead of greenish olive oil. These anchovies bristle with searing brininess, as if they were pickled (they were). The prickly dazzle of the fillets contrasts beautifully with the smooth, ghostly wisp of sweetness emanating from the peppers. Pass the marlin rig and a flute of Krug.

Forget the prissy wine flights most restaurants serve with the names and wine base silhouettes etched on cheesy copies. Trevi's three-unit wine flights are served in a metal "flight" rack that looks something like a candelabra and elevates your wines near eye-level so you can squint and pretend to notice the hue variations. This rack may seem a pointless gimmick to the seasoned wine aficionado, but it can be a big help to the casual diner because it helps keep the wines straight, which gets awful hard after a few swirls, sniffs and sips not followed by spits. Plus, you can share each flight with your dining companions as a whole unit rather than as a series of back-and-forth shuffles, which can lead to spillage and the premature purpling of cuticles. Yet this isn't the only piece of dining-enjoyment hardware offered at Trevi's. The lamb kabob is served on an appliance that looks like a gallows, or perhaps a gaff kit to eradicate the pesky door-to-door Jehovah's Witness menace. A metal base holds a post rising 12 inches, which branches off into a notched arm extending horizontally over the base. One notch holds a thick skewer of meat while the other is draped with shriveled scallions scorched into limpidity. The lamb is not delivered as a crowd of carved stew chunks tightly squeezed onto a skewer, as you might expect of a kabob. Instead, a trio of lamb chops dangles from this imposing ramrod; the kind that could scare you out of your chain-mail boxers if the meat didn't look so inviting.
Steel Restaurant & Lounge
Steel's namesake is sparingly applied throughout the restaurant. The metal almost has to be unearthed from the wood and granite decorative embellishments to be noticed. It appears on a pillar separating the bar from the dining room, which is armored in glistening sheets, and it is applied to the walls in the rest rooms. The massive front door is sculpted from steel and serves as the badge from which the restaurant's name is cast. But steel sneaks onto the table, too. Flatware is swaddled in black napkins--the kind that make it safe for red wine and soy sloppiness--bound with slotted steel hose clamps. Kind of makes you yearn for the day when "Click and Clack the Tappet Brothers" dethrone Martha Stewart.
Mignon
Two corners of this Gallic-Plano flats hybrid hold urgently rousing, pinkish and fuzzy coiled banquettes that look like curled carrot shavings. They wrap, coddle and shield while inciting bouts of sweaty hypertension. And that's just after a round of ice water.

It takes a stern stomach to face raw fish in the early hours of the morning, which probably explains why fewer seriously hammered people end up at Sushi Nights than at Deep Ellum's other late-night choices. It makes for a quieter, less crowded atmosphere where conversation is possible, the service is excellent, and the food is as delicately presented as during daylight hours. Not ready to take the sushi test? There's also a bar, so drinking can be resumed at a more leisurely pace.
Boi Na Braza
Churrascarias, Brazilian steer-sheep-pig stickers, feature servers dressed in baggy pants and shiny boots brandishing knives along with skewers of grilled meat. They continuously walk around serving slices of these meats until your trousers burst, slapping gobs of tuna fish salad (yes, there is an all-you-can-eat salad bar) from your plate to the chin of the diner at the next table. Most of the grilled meat from these churrascarias tends to be dry. But Boi Na Braza's 19 cuts of meat are mostly juicy and flavorful. And don't forget to sign up for their frequent diner angioplasty program.

It looks like a stage prop instead of a restaurant ambiance trinket. One whole corner of Sea Grill's bar is a sloping bin filled with crushed ice. Imbedded in the ice is an assortment of sea life: baby octopus, clams, oysters, tiger prawns, a pair of red snappers, a salmon, a pair of striped bass and little bunches of golden trout scattered about for color interest. But the most interesting specimens surfing on Sea Grill's ice floes proved to be the most colorful students in this hackneyed school, with deep reds framed with pale gold threads. They had sloping foreheads with snouts barring rows of jagged teeth, resembling a strange genetic collision between Flipper, a parrot and Toto. Those teeth, in conjunction with the droll expression on their--we hesitate to say faces--heads with mouths half open, made them look as though they were about to speak. A manager said they were weasel fish and that their imposing dental work was used to remove algae from rocks and such. But we just like to imagine how swell it would be if that loudly colored fish could curl its lips in a knowing grin. After all, what seafood joint wouldn't kill for a dead fish mascot with a toothy smirk?

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