Chow, Baby has decided to forget its personal problems by throwing itself into its work. (Why, yes, it was the boss’ suggestion.) Since one of those personal problems is that a Texas August seems to last three months, Chow, Baby threw itself with pleasure into the cool, muted, classy surroundings of La Bistro, 722 Grapevine Hwy., Hurst.

“Classy” in Italian-restaurant terms means opera on the stereo instead of Dino. It also means waiters that don’t flirt quite enough for Chow, Baby’s taste, but courteous and competent is a valid lifestyle choice. The prices are classy, too: The dinner menu gets scary-close to the $20 mark, so Chow, Baby feasted from the lunch menu, which offers homemade pastas and chicken, veal, beef, and seafood entrées for $7 to $12. Any time of the day, though, La Bistro is worth it.


First proof: lovely escargot-stuffed mushroom caps ($6.95), drizzled with garlic-herb butter. Next, wow-you-can-taste-the-lobster-in-this! lobster ravioli ($8.95) in a creamy tomato-basil sauce. With the entrées comes either crisp romaine salad with that zippy red Italian dressing or housemade soup. Choose? Nah, Chow, Baby ordered two entrées. Chicken Jerusalem ($7.95) was the usual chicken breast/artichoke heart concoction with unusual attention to the balance of garlic, mushrooms, sherry, and cream that cradled it. The veal saltimbocca ($8.95) – scaloppini on a bed of sautéed spinach and topped with prosciutto, provolone, and slices of hard-boiled egg – was good to the last drop of perfect sage-sherry sauce. After all that, Chow, Baby’s only personal problem was whether it and its leftovers could get home by nap time.

Address for Success?

Seems that 4117 Hemphill is one of those good luck/bad luck locations. Good luck for diners seeking a lip-smacking Mexican meal at low, low prices, as all the restaurants that have set up shop here in the last few years have been good to great. Bad luck for the restaurateurs, though, whose high turnover attests to the strong competition on this taqueria-stuffed block. El Pollo Palenque has held this spot since November, and Chow, Baby sure hopes this one lasts.

The only bad decision Chow, Baby made was bringing just two friends along, not nearly enough to eat everything we ordered. We should have noticed from the surrounding tables that a whole (cut up) chicken ($14, including family-size portions of rice, marvelously perky pinto beans, and salad) would be more than enough for three, especially as we were already stuffed with hot, fresh-fried tortilla chips and fabulous tingly red salsa. Oh, but the juicy, charbroiled, falling-off-the-bone chicken was grand.

Doesn’t get any better than this … until the beef ribs ($8.50) hit the table. They’re cut crosswise, which makes it a little more difficult to get to every last morsel of the flavorsome mesquite-grilled meat, but Chow, Baby sees no shame in bone-sucking. Nothing could be better … except maybe the chicken fajita plate ($8.50), large chunks of grilled seasoned white meat and lovely everything that goes with it. Accompanying beans were refried and marvelous.

The young, comely servers are in that great stage where they know how to do their job but they’re not jaded yet. About all you can give the décor is “brightly colored” and “clean,” but that’s perfectly OK when food this great is available until midnight – and 4 a.m. on weekends! Looks like Chow, Baby has a new after-last-call place to go.

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