Tasting notes

Posted on 23 Jul 2009 at 10:48am
By Arnold Wayne Jones Life+Style Editor
ADIOS, AMICI: Before closing Cafe Italia for good, owner Scott Jones is offering menu items from years past — some sold at their original prices.

We admit it: Eating out is an extravagance, at least at places where the waiters don’t ask if you want to super-size your meal. When people are watching their wallets, the restaurant industry feels it in theirs.

Which is why we went on the hunt for the best deal in town that can add a little glamour for even less cash.

Top of the list (and we mean that literally) is the monthly First Friday Flight at Nana, atop the Hilton Anatole. For a paltry 20 bucks — and that’s about what you’d normally pay to park at the Anatole (valet is free with Nana validation) — you can sample tastes of three wines and accompanying bites from chef Anthony Bombaci. It’s not a full meal (it’s not meant to be), but with gorgeous views of the city, a hip atmosphere and excellent cuisine and drink, it’s a refreshing and stylish way to begin your weekend. The next event, on Aug. 7, features the wines of Chateau Ste. Michelle in Washington State. 214-761-7470.

On the third Monday of each month, Café Toulouse along Knox Street offers a unique wine dinner, with a three-course meal (selections of starter and entrée, plus dessert) paired with a different flight of wines — all for just $45. The wines we tried at a recent dinner were as exceptional as the delicious Parisien bistro cuisine. The August event is called La Vie en Rose, a Provence-style dinner, on Aug. 17.

The Oceanaire Seafood Room at the Galleria inaugurated this month a four-course menu for only $20.10, with select bottles of wine available for $20.10 as well. (The price looks forward to an improved economy in 2010.) It’s available weekdays from 5 to 7 p.m. 972-759-2277.

For the 40th anniversary of the Fairmont Hotel, its Pyramid restaurant is offering a four-course dinner for $40.

Restaurateur Scott Jones has decided to close Café Italia and launch a new concept in that Lovers Lane space. But unlike most restaurant closings which surprise the patrons as much as the staff, Jones decided to close out his "final season" with a proper goodbye. From now until Aug. 29, the restaurant will bring back past favorites from the menu, and there will be items available every day at the same prices as when the restaurant opened in its space in 2002.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition July 24, 2009.

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