The first time Chow, Baby ever dined on raw fish, it was already old enough to drive itself to Dallas and pay with its own Diners Club card. Sushi was a big deal back in olden times, when this exotic cuisine was only for rich people and hipsters. To Chow, Baby, all these years later, going out for sushi is still kind of a big deal, an Event that requires wearing all black and dropping at least $100 for a par-tay of two.

But to Kids These Days, the mysteries of the Orient are just another culinary option – “What do you want for a quick lunch?” “I dunno, we could go for a burger, or hit a Joe’s Pizza & Pasta, or pick up some sushi in a plastic tray at Target.” Pretty cool to observe a major cultural food shift in one’s own lifetime, even though it puts Chow, Baby on the wrong side of the Sushi Generation gap.

By contrast, the crowd of young office types at Midori Sushi (14113 Trinity Blvd.) must have been introduced to wasabi and shoyu in their baby bottles. Because they weren’t just having sushi for lunch, they were having sushi buffet for lunch. How blasé! Reassuring to Chow, Baby’s “sushi = stylish + pricey” fogeyness, Midori is plenty hip and cool, a large, mod room with Japanese art on the walls and ’60s soul-pop on the stereo. And the lunch buffet (11am-2pm Mon-Fri) costs a whopping $11.99, but after a couple of plateloads, that seemed well worth it for the variety, the high-turnover super-freshness, and of course the all-you-can-eatness.

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Begin with seaweed or mixed-green salad with bright sesame dressing, then it’s on to the tempura bar (chicken, vegetables) and only slightly elderly dumplings. No nigiri or sashimi, but a dozen maki rolls are set out, and not just the boring kind: Chow, Baby made several visits to the rainbow roll, vivid with tuna, salmon, whitefish, and avocado, and the flavor-bursting Philadelphia roll of smoked salmon and cream cheese. The taut-skinned clientele were, of course, indifferently chomping away on their just-another-lunch-cuisine, these days available in a range of quality/price/décor/service/geographic choices. But Chow, Baby, who used to have to walk 10 miles barefoot in snow for a spicy tuna roll, was pretty taken with Midori. Kids These Days, they don’t know how good they have it.

Up the Creek, Gladly
After a bad taste of Tennessee last week, Chow, Baby got back on track with the real Texas stuff at Deer Creek BBQ Co. (9116 Camp Bowie Blvd. West, right next to the Kroger, and big tip of the cowboy hat to reader Michael B.). Now we’re talking. The pit is right out back, so the whole happy place smells great. Boss Rodney Lambert is a big-smiling cowboy in leather chaps (because his wife complained about grease stains on his jeans, but it’s still cool), and Rodney’s magical rub is to die for. It goes on just about everything (meaty ribs, chopped beef, rich beans), and makes a glorious crunchy crust on the hickory-mesquite-smoked brisket (plate $10.50). Two things made this meat even more perfect: sweet Kansas City-style sauce, and a heap of remarkable “potato salad” that’s more like a smashed-up baked potato with all the extras. Go try it, please. This is a place Chow, Baby wants to see stick around.

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