Bistrot de Venise, Venice, 2/27/19

exterior
exterior

Bistrot de Venise is a large place made up of a number of small rooms.  It offers a huge menu featuring Historic and Modern Classic Venetian cuisine including several tasting selections.  It must be a common tourist destination as the brochure on the table offered a number of the items from the place for sale.  However the food is amazing and the number of people in attendance showed that, that was known.  The room where we were was colored with red and gold, with decorative gold fish candleholders on each table to supplement the already well lit room.  The red velour walls were accented with strips of antiqued gold where recessed lighting was.  Red bench seats matched red chairs on the other side of the table.  The walls were decorated with drawings, paintings and photos.  Tables are closely set and some of the 2-tops were pretty small but all were covered in nice linen cloths embossed with a leaf design and matching napkins.  It was a casual crowd in a fairly elegant setting.  Waiters spoke good English and were helpful, friendly and willing to direct your meal plan.   Classical music played in the background and they were happy to split dishes or have us split them at the table, even bringing extra plates. Continue reading

Da Ivo Restaurant, Venice, 2/27/19

exterior
exterior

Da Ivo is an institution in many eyes.  Opening in 1976 it is an elegant, old school setting frequented by the rich and famous, like George Clooney, Elton John, Naomi Campbell, Tom Cruise, and Barbra Streisand to name a few.  Its location allows clients to arrive by water taxi or gondola rather than walking there.  The small tables are fairly close and covered with salmon covered clothes with the name prominently printed in the middle, and the napkins are the same.  Tables are set with little birds or cats that turned out to be the salt shakers.  Photos, wine bottles and other memorabilia cover the walls which have stained glass partitions between diners and the street and the kitchen.  The wait staff all spoke great English and were very helpful and friendly, but plenty of Italian was being spoken by other guests.  They offer a huge menu but where to order is off the small chalkboard of daily specials that is brought to the table on a swivel pedestal.   Continue reading

Mac’s Bar-B-Que, Dallas, 3/8/19

exterior
exterior

Mac’s Bar-B-Que has been a regular spot in my Dallas dining scene and somehow I forgot to take Frankie and photograph. So when we  last visited I got some photos to include on this series of Dallas posts.  Chef and owner Billy McDonald put Mac’s up for sale (2015) but that’s been a while and based on the crowd it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere fast.  The restaurant opened in the mid-50’s and moved to this spot, very near the main Baylor Hospital, in 1982 when his dad and mom still had the place.  It’s a plain little place that you’d easily drive by but there is parking on the side and in back.  Inside the tables are good sized and spaced nicely.  Customers line up at the window and the menu is posted on the wall beside you.  While your order is being prepared you can chose from a nice selection of condiments, including pickle relish, onions, lemons, banana peppers, dill pickles and jalapeños.

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Alamo Club, Dallas, 2/21/19 and 3/4/19

exteriuor
exterior

Our first visit was the fourth day in business for Alamo Club and the place was packed.  It is located on lower Greenville in the space where the Blind Butcher had been.  It is the brainchild of Austin Rodgers who has worked in the restaurant industry for many years and run several of Nick Badovinus’ restaurants.  There is a large bar that spans most of the depth of the restaurant and the other side is filled with small and medium sized closely set, bare wood tables.  Along the opposite wall is a bench seat that meets up with chairs and a string of 2-top tables.  The floor is wood, lighting is low, the ceiling is tin with exposed ductwork, music is in the background and exposed bricks make up the walls and are decorated with mirrors and old photos.  The noise level is loud, not due to music but instead due to all those people enjoying themselves in the relaxed, clubby atmosphere.  Austin wanted a neighborhood feel to the place and thus they are open every day with a ‘happy hour’ around 5:00.  A window at the end of the room provides a limited view into the activity in the kitchen.  The menu is small, simple and affordable, filled with American standards and the wine list is nicely chosen.  The service was good and fairly speedy but we never felt rushed even with a crowd waiting for your seat (right now there are no reservations).  The servers were friendly and helpful.   Continue reading

Bullion (update), Dallas, 2/20/19

IMG_2998
bar area

It’s been about a year since Frankie visited Bullion.  The place has held up well and is still an elegantly appointed setting. It is really one of the prettiest places in Dallas to dine.  Last time we encountered service issues and for the most part they were much better, however there were still some timing issues with our main course being presented while the salad plates were still on the table.  This happened even without a full room and plenty of servers.  Even so, the servers were friendlier and generally better trained and the sommelier did come and visit with us when we requested – so better than the first visit.  The food is lovely looking but not the most flavor loaded. Continue reading

Herrera’s Café, Dallas,1/25/19

entrance
entrance

Herrera’s Café has been around since 1971 and been in many locations.  There are now a number of similarly named places but this is the original that started on Maple St.  I have eaten there for years but don’t get to this “new” location as often as it’s not real convenient.  They were a staple for a long time because they had a really spicy salsa with warm really corny chips.  They still have that and some of the original family are around too.  At this location there is a fairly good sized parking lot but it naturally leads you to a door that is not the entrance, so go around the building to where it faces Sylvan and you’ll find the proper entrance as well as a large area for outdoor dining.  Inside a wall of press about the place greets you and the desk that takes names as well as check you out when you’re through.  To the right are the bathrooms and kitchen and to the left is a large dining room.  If you go straight ahead you’ll be in another dining room with the bar and a doorway to another smaller dining area.  At lunch it was bustling with people but we didn’t have to wait long for a table to become free.  Service is friendly and efficient. Continue reading

Avila’s, Dallas, 1/24/19

building
building (4714 Maple Ave., Dallas, 75219)

Instead of enjoying retirement, Anita and Octavio Avila opened a restaurant featuring family favorites in 1986.  They have added new items as well as expanding their selection of beers since that time.  They are at 4714 Maple Avenue in Dallas, near where “Little Mexico” still holds many locations but neighborhood change has brought a more diverse population to the area. Located in a little house they have 2 main dining rooms, one much small than the other.  Along the walls they utilize bench seating to work in the maximum number of tables.  There is a mix of 2 and 4 top tables and they seemed to turn over quickly, as lunch sometimes has a short wait.  They do have an adjacent parking lot as well as a few spaces in front.  They have only had this location but now a sign on the table refers to a second location in the planning for Casa Linda in East Dallas.  The menu has lots of options but I generally go here for the tasty Tex-Mex food and the fairly spicy salsa on the table.  Service is friendly and efficient and they have lunch specials which are delivered fast enough to be able to fit a meal here on a lunch hour.  They do have lunch specials but nothing on the menu is over $20. Continue reading