Chow, Baby: Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Chow, Baby

Hibachi Botchy
Chow, Baby was in a great mood Friday night, having just achieved a new high score in a game it maturely calls Hobby Slobby: seeing how much of 30,000 square feet of whimsical craft-crap (little bag of rock debris, $3.67; dried grass, $4.99) can also be found right outside in the parking lot (free; free). This is hungry work, and luckily on one side of this particular parking lot is Hibachi Sushi 2007 (4638 S. Cooper St., Arlington).
A help-wanted sign on the door is not a good sign, and Hibachi Sushi had four of them. At best this means they’re understaffed, and Chow, Baby will never get its water glass refilled. But the place smelled grilled-meat good, so Chow, Baby took a seat and used its waiting-for-water downtime to compose a fifth help-wanted sign: someone to direct lighting (glaring unshaded bulbs over the hibachi grill) and music (alternating between shrieking Japanese girl groups and crooning American boy bands).
But after just one more annoyance — the old Pet Peeve #107(a), wherein the hibachi waitress asks if you want steamed or fried rice without mentioning that the fried rice costs a lot extra (here $3.75) — Hibachi Sushi 2007 rose to the level of OK. The Black and White roll ($8.95) was especially interesting, with white tuna and black caviar topping a crunchy-creamy roll of fried calamari, asparagus, avocado, and cucumbers. And the wasabi roll ($5.95), with spicy tuna, had a pleasant kick. But Chow, Baby’s “Bonzai” hibachi dinner featured a not-tender cut of steak drenched in teriyaki sauce and two shrimp overcooked right before our increasingly panicky eyes; even with a pretty good broth, miso-dressed salad, and huge pile of grilled al dente veggies, the dinner wasn’t worth $17.95. Chow, Baby should have just stayed home and stir-fried last week’s leftovers (free).

Pie-Fed Beauty
Chow, Baby got a lot of angry letters the last time it wrote about one of the Dixie House Cafés (“No Brush, Just Breakfast,” Feb. 1, 2006). Was it because Chow, Baby said that, on that particular visit, the food seemed to be hours old and service was invisible? No, folks were mad because Chow, Baby said the place “wasn’t packed with Beautiful People.” Touchy, much? That was meant to be a compliment. It’s comfortable to be able to eat out without getting all gussied up or worrying about how you look. Sheesh.
Well, Chow, Baby was not looking too good again the other day. This called for a trip to the newest Dixie House (5401 S. Hulen St.), which at our early-evening visit was crowded with, um, salt-of-the-earth types, so Chow, Baby’s random hair and wide-ranging blotchiness raised no alarm. The service was great; the ambiance (fireplace!) was cozy; the food was traditional Dixie House. A huge chicken-fried steak and mashed with cream gravy (all dinners $8.50) was comfortingly bland; same for the mushy mac & cheese. The spinach was also mush, but not in a good way, as it set the beloved off on a long reminiscence about the smell of rotting baled hay or some such. Ah, but the fresh strawberry/banana pie ($2.50) with tons of whipped cream put a smile on Chow, Baby’s spotted face and a song in its heart. And what’s lovelier than that?
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