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Wall St. Journal's Sokolov on overrated Mansion Turtle Creek and under-rated Modern in FW

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Wall St. Journal's Sokolov on overrated Mansion Turtle Creek and under-rated Modern in FW

Tex Nosh | Dec 5, 2003 09:44 AM

In today’s Wall St. Journal, 12/5/03, Weekend Section, Raymond Sokolov writes about overrated restaurants across the nation, and gives a few alternatives. For Texas:

The Mansion on Turtle Creek, Dallas
The Rep: Grand dining in a great house
Our Take: Painful and pricey attempt to make a dowager hip again

The Mansion is as grand as it gets in Dallas -- a cotton tycoon's neo-Renaissance home turned posh hostelry. The dining room couldn't be cushier, and its chefs have clearly whipped themselves into an Emerilistic frenzy dressing up down-home Texas foods. Call it grandson of Alice Waters gone hog wild: They propose you fill your feedbag with Chilean sea bass accompanied by Pueblo corn crust on crabmeat white cheddar hash and "ranchero" tangerine sauce ($40). Or Southern chicken fried lobster on bourbon sweet corn and barbecue broiled on Yukon Garlic mashed potatoes with country braised green beans ($55). We got mental indigestion just reading the menu.

We'd rather drive the short distance to Fort Worth's Museum of Modern Art, where the Café Modern serves a more elegant, and simpler, take on dressed-up Texan -- like a grilled sausage sampler (apple smoked duck, venison and chipotle buffalo) with mango mustard sauce, grilled onions and potato rolls, for $7. Oh, and their fake lake out front is prettier than Dallas's real creek.

He didn’t think too much of Emeril’s in New Orleans, either. He had some disparaging words in general about Zagat, too.

Here’s his sidebar on Cafe Modern, in Ft. Worth:

Café Modern
Fort Worth, Texas
Don't even think about dinner -- if you come after 2:30 p.m. it's snacks and desserts, and then only until 4:30. At Fort Worth's new Museum of Modern Art, the 160-seat Café Modern serves food that is, of course, modern. (Sample: shaved buffalo steak sandwich on chili cheese bread). It's also eclectic and relaxed, a breath of fresh air compared with the pricey stuffiness of The Mansion on Turtle Creek, a short drive away.

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