Chow, Baby: Wednesday, October 3, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
O Brunch

Sometimes Chow, Baby’s life — having great adventures, meeting interesting people, getting lost a lot — can be so tiring. Thanks be to Zeus for Daddio’s Jazz Café, the chill-out spot of the gods. Just a couple blocks from the raging whirlpool of I-30, hidden behind a small parking lot at Montgomery and Pershing, is a patio entranceway with a pretty pond and trellises of tangled vines. The airy open space inside, with ceiling fans and concrete floors, is vaguely Mediterranean; the cool ’50s jazz on the stereo is a gentle siren’s call.

The heroes of this lunch-only (plus fabulous Sunday brunch) oasis are the French dip (tenderloin on a French roll, $9.50) and the Museum Burger (tenderloin, avocado, and tomato on toasted English muffin, $8.50). That’s a lot of drachmas to drop at lunch, but the juicy tenderloin is piled as high as the laws of physics will allow. Other sandwiches, which include corned beef, turkey, and pastrami with various toppings, are in the $4.50-$7 range. All come with ruffled chips and warm pita bread.

The Jazz Café is nominally a Greek restaurant. The Hellenic dishes are few, but reliable: The Greek salad ($3, $5.50, and $6.50) is just right, with fresh-squeezed lemon juice. Live jazz at Sunday brunch accompanies the Greek omelet ($5.95) and gives even the black bean enchiladas ($6.50) a Homeric grandeur. A satisfying rest stop for modern-day wanderers.

To Ecch His Own

Bowing to popular demand, Chow, Baby has never reproduced itself, though it does have occasion to sup with those of the juvenile persuasion. Ecch. Children’s criteria for dining out do not include good food and capable service at reasonable prices. What they want are the recipes they’ve had a hundred times before, prepared exactly the same way: battered and fried. Nothing new, nothing green, nothing “weird.” All this gives Chow, Baby a desperate craving for menudo sushi. What do you say, kids? Ecch.

Here’s a tie-breaker: Chuck’s All American makes kid meals — burgers, chicken tenders, curly fries — and makes them the same way every time. The eighth outpost of this North Dallas-based mini-chain is in a strip mall in the ’burbs (9159 Grapevine Hwy in North Richland Hills, to be precise). And Chow, Baby likes this place?

Well, “like” is a strong word. Authentic it ain’t: The root beer float ($1.99) consists of two scoops of Blue Bell in a plastic cup and directions to the self-serve soda dispenser. But for what it is — suburban faux diner designed for weary parents — Chuck’s is quite good. The 1/3-pound burgers ($3.69 and up) are juicy, and the kid-eschewed lettuce and tomato are crisply fresh. Chicken-fried steak and chicken tenders (platters, with starch and salad, $6.79 each) are on the high side of adequate. Kid baskets include hot dog, burger, or grilled cheese (with fries and drink, $3.29). The game room keeps boys occupied, while preteen girls can practice flirting with the friendly, extremely clean-cut counter help. This isn’t so bad. Maybe the Chowbabymobile could be traded in for a minivan? Ecch.


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