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'Big D' stands for delightful dining


Richard Ouzounian

DALLAS –"Live large, think big" is this city's motto and they certainly rise up to it in all areas – especially dining.

Dallas is a sleek, cosmopolitan metropolis that manages to embrace the finer aspects of sophisticated urban development without losing the central warmth of Texas hospitality underneath.

There are so many fine food choices, you'll be hard-pressed to make a selection, but here are six that give you an overview of the culinary riches available.

Friday night

NANA (Hilton Anatole Hotel, 2201 Stemmons Freeway; 214-761-7470; nanarestaurant.com) Start your visit at the top, in every sense of the word.

This glorious restaurant sits on the 27th floor of the Hilton Anatole Hotel and the view of Dallas it commands is breathtaking.

Equally exhilarating is the cuisine of chef Anthony Bombaci, whether you choose a la carte delights, like the Pan Roasted Sirloin of Venison, or one of his truly spectacular seven- or 10-course tasting menus. This restaurant made it onto Gourmet's "Top 50 Restaurants in the U.S." list for 2006.

Saturday morning

BREAD WINNERS BAKERY & CAFE (3301 McKinney Ave.; 214-754-4940; breadwinnerscafe.com) Want to know where Dallas is having breakfast on Saturday morning?

Drop by here and find out. If you show up much past 9:00 a.m., you may have to wait on line, but no problem: you can nurse a latté or a mimosa while you pass the time. Inside, you'll find décor as well as cuisine that combine Louisiana and Texas with pleasing results.

When in the South, I'm partial to Chicken Fried Steak and Bread Winners delivers a scrumptious rendition of the regional classic.

Their baked goods are real treats, as well. Their Coffeecake Muffin? Heaven.

Saturday afternoon

SONNY BRYAN'S SMOKEHOUSE (302 N. Market St.; 214-744-1610; sonnybryans.com) This venerable chain of BBQ bistros has been delighting Dallas since 1910. Their secrets are simple: quality, consistency and a genuinely friendly welcome. You really can't go wrong with anything on the menu, but I found the Brisket possessed a particular sweet `n' smoky, melt-in-your-mouth goodness. Matched up with their fiendishly rich Mac & Cheese and an order of their sinfully crispy Onion Rings and I nearly achieved Down Home Nirvana.

Saturday night

HATTIE'S (418 N. Bishop Ave,; 214-942-7400; hatties.net) Charm reigns supreme in this slice of Charleston that seems to have settled down in the delightful Bishops Arts District. Amiable host Tony Alvarez sees to it that everything is just-so, from the sparkling black-and-white tile floors to the invisible (yet perfect) service. The menu changes constantly to reflect what's best in the season, but this Low Country-meets-High Texas hybrid will probably always reward you with some superb Fried Green Tomatoes as well as the best Shrimp and Grits I can ever recall eating. It's also a superb lunch or brunch destination.

Sunday morning

TRULUCK'S (2401 McKinney Ave.; 214-220-2401; trulucks.com) The Dallas branch of this well-known Texas chain of seafood houses offers two full menus, one full of regional morning delights like a Grilled Steak and Egg Burrito or their famous Breakfast Taco (chorizo sausage, avocado and smoked bacon).

But you can also order anything from their trademark Stone Crabs to their Jalapeno Salmon, covered with crabmeat, shrimp and a spicy béarnaise sauce.

Sunday afternoon

CRU: A WINE BAR (3699 McKinney Ave.; 214-526-9463; cruawinebar.com) Relax and wind down your visit in this cool, comfortable place known for its pleasing low-key vibe.

They stock more than 300 wines and usually have at least 40 available by the glass.

And the food they offer is just right for tasting: small portions of savoury items: Warm Blue Crab Dip, Moroccan Meatballs, Cheese Fondue with White Truffle Oil and some excellent thin-crust pizzas.

Enjoy yourself and say goodbye to Dallas ... for now.





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