Chow, Baby: Wednesday, November 14, 2002
What’s the Hubbub, Bub?

Jennifer Kornblum, manager of Sapristi!, rolled her eyes: “You’re the millionth person to ask me that!” Chow, Baby, having itself received many panicky calls on the topic, had merely expressed relief that the unpretentious little Forest Park bistro was open for business with the unpretentious little winner of Fort Worth Weekly’s Best Host award in 2001 in place. Apparently, rumors of Sapristi!’s demise were greatly exaggerated.

The kernel of truth in the corncob of restaurant-world gossip is that Sapristi! has been sold. Founder Bernard Tronche, wishing to devote more time to the same-named bistro he opened last year in Rosemary Beach, Fla., turned operations here over to longtime executive chef Carlos Cavazos. Another kernel: No more fabulous quiche lunches. For the time being Sapristi! is dinner only, Tuesday through Saturday.

With much help from waiter Doug, who pronounced the chef’s special “to die for,” a dithering Chow, Baby finally settled on lamb shank braised in red wine with rosemary, garlic, and julienned veggies ($18.95). Doug started Chow, Baby with a killer house salad ($3.95), picked the perfect wine for the lamb (an earthy Vacqueras, $7 per glass), and was handy with a hanky when Chow, Baby teared up from sheer gustatory joy. Luckily, in the soft lighting that does wonders for Chow, Baby’s skin tone, the other happy diners didn’t notice. Chow, Baby teared up again at seeing the bill — close to 50 smackeroos for a romantic dinner for one — but blames it on Sapistri!’s pastry chef: Unable to decide between the cheesecakey-dense crème brûlée and the rich chocolate tart with whipped cream and berries (each $4.95), Chow, Baby had both.

Cavazos will unveil his winter menu soon, said Kornblum. “But it won’t have too many changes,” she hastened to add. “We don’t want people to freak out again.”

Blues á Deux

Turns out that romantic dinners are more fun when two people are involved, as Chow, Baby found out the next night at Colette’s Café. Chow, Baby and its main squeeze held hands over tender prime rib ($13.95) and delicate Cornish hen ($11.95), and made googly eyes at each other as Sandra Kaye (priceless) crooned “Let Me LoveYou.” The Dallas jazz-blues vocalist is back for a limited engagement at Colette’s, home of Chicago-style comfort food during the week, candlelit dinners on weekends, and a fab Sunday brunch.

With no space for an ensemble, Kaye made do with a karaoke machine, singing along to the instrumental tracks of her c.d., What Will I Tell My Heart. But it doesn’t take much imagination to picture her vamping atop a piano, paying tribute to Dinah Washington with “Me and My Gin” and Lena Horne with “Unlucky Woman.” Judging by Sweetie’s sultry stares, however, Chow, Baby was gonna get lucky that night — after another bite of Colette’s bread pudding with extra-wicked rum sauce ($3.25), please. Chow, Baby has its priorities.

Sandra Kaye will perform Sundays, Nov. 17 and 24. Colette’s Café, 5500 Brentwood Stair Rd., is cozy and reservations are required: 817-492-9951.

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