“Who’s there?”“Control freak. Now you say, ‘Control freak who?’ ”
Chow, Baby doesn’t see what’s so funny about that joke. Probably it was told wrong. Timing and flow are everything, you know. Here, the timing was a weekday evening that saw Chow, Baby and its familial refugees (gee, has it been a month already?) waiting, waiting, waiting for a table at Piranha Killer Sushi, 851 NE Green Oaks Blvd, Arlington. The flow was nonexistent. Jokes seemed to be called for, though only Chow, Baby was telling them right.
One reason for the delay was that Chow, Baby had requested a specific table, the one from which it can most easily watch Chef Ian work his sushi magic. (For that matter, Chow, Baby is happy just to watch Ian breathe; the magic of chef pants.) So it was funny – not funny ha-ha, more funny stab-stab – that after all the waiting we were led to the farthest, darkest, around-the-cornerest table, surrounded by the archetypical Omigod! She really said that! No way! Awesome! North Arlington Dingbat crowd.
Now determined to have a bad time, Chow, Baby noted that its napkin came with bits of rice already stuck to it, that its waiter committed the heinous offense of asking who had what when he delivered the appetizers (WRITE IT DOWN! WRITE IT DOWN!), and that it was hard-pressed to find much seaweed among the greens in the so-called seasoned seaweed salad ($5.95). But the tide turned when the Boat for 4 ($81.95) docked with 32 pieces of sushi and sashimi plus a couple of Piranha’s famously innovative rolls, plenty for five hungry people. It’s all Chef’s Choice, and that night the chef made great choices even without Chow, Baby’s help. No bottom-feeders here, just the good stuff: fresh-as-dawn salmon, sesame-seared yellowtail, and that sublimely submissive white tuna.
Ian aside, the justification for budget-blowing at Piranha was that owners Kenzo Tran and Tommy Le are opening a second location in December in Sundance Square, in the former Zolon digs; obviously Chow, Baby needed to prepare for a new-and-old comparison. As for the other satellites in the now-extinct Planet Zolon system, Dallas chef Alberto Lombardi is planning a Taverna Pizzeria for the old Zoë space, and another Dallas Italian bistro is eying the former Angeluna. But Chow, Baby don’t do Dallas – it doesn’t have to; sooner or later everything comes here – so it went for a baseline Italian fix at Tony’s, which a couple of months ago moved into the old Joe & Nona’s space at 703 N. Henderson St.
This turned out to be quite a low bar. Tony’s does a brisk lunch business, but it’s dead at dinner (which at least makes for great service). This could be because, Parthenon aside, the west side of downtown is not a dinner destination, or it could be because Tony’s cooking kinda sucks. Pasta trio ($7.95), supposedly lasagna, manicotti, and cannelloni, was a big plate of red sauce, cheese, and mush; the Chicken Aristocrat ($9.95) sauce tasted like brandy-laced Cheez Whiz; Fettuccini a la Tony ($15.95) was a bed of gum, albeit with nice big shrimp. Chow, Baby had to be forcibly restrained from running into the kitchen to show them how to do it right. Yes, things would be so much better if Chow, Baby were in charge of everything.
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