As most Bible Belt North Texans surely know, Yom Kippur, beginning sunset Wednesday, is the Jewish Day of Atonement that asks us – well, “them” – to acknowledge mistakes and make amends. Once again Chow, Baby is twisting this holy day to suit its own purposes: visiting restaurants it has possibly wronged in order to perhaps seek forgiveness.
Turns out that most of Chow, Baby’s theoretical unfairness this year falls into the category of category error: putting an item into a class to which it doesn’t belong. And then (mis)judging it accordingly. For example, when Ruth’s Chris Steak House (in the Hilton, 813 Main St.) came to town with its $38 sizzling rib-eyes, Chow, Baby slotted them into the Upscale Downtown Fort Worth Steakhouse category (comparison point: Del Frisco’s), in which Ruth’s failed to measure up (“High Steaks,” April 23). Same thing for Vidalia’s (in the Renaissance Worthington, 200 Main St.), “a modern Southern restaurant,” which Chow, Baby happened to visit a week after dining at actual Southern restaurants near actual Vidalia, Ga.
Our Vidalia’s did not compare very well, notably in the fried green tomatoes arena (“Faking a Southern Accent,” Jan. 16). But as Chow, Baby realized on last week’s enjoyable atonement visits, both of these places are wonderful when considered in their proper category, rather than being shoehorned in where they claim they belong. Fact is, if you’re a middle-aged conventioneer who wants a very good meal, classy décor including swanky bar, and solicitous service, you can’t get better Upscale Hotel Restaurant than these two places (until Bob’s Steak & Chop House opens in the Omni, probably). Chow, Baby apologizes.
Back in 2001, Cabo Grande (115 W. Second St.), moved itself out of the yummy Baja and Caribbean Seafood category and into the overpopulated Flashy Mediocre Tex-Mex category; three years later, Chow, Baby still hadn’t forgiven the place (“Brave Combo Plate,” Aug. 11, 2004). So last week Chow, Baby revisited a couple of Cabo fish tacos, ready to apologize for wanting them to be Baja-rific. Super-disappointingly, they weren’t good even by Flashy Tex-Mex standards, and they cost a whopping $4.95 each. Uh-oh – does this mean Chow, Baby has to apologize to Yucatan Taco Stand for bitching about the high price ($3.50) of their much tastier fish taco (“Smells Like Chain Spirit,” Sept. 17)? Though absurd by Authentic Ethnic standards, maybe $3.50 isn’t bad for Yucatan’s true category, Trendy Americanized Non-Scary Ethnic-Style Cuisine (epitome: P.F. Chang’s). Cantina Laredo charges $5 for their soft tacos, but, being in the Trendy Mexican subcategory, they can’t fairly be compared with Yucatan, all by itself in Trendy Latin, We’re Much Cooler Than Mexican.
But Chow, Baby counted Cabo out too quickly. The day after its Yom Kippur visit, the restaurant announced its latest reinvention – si, it’s going Latin! New honcho Dante Picazo, of Dallas’s Latin-fusion Tijuana Bar and Grill, is already training Cabo’s chefs for the mid-November launch of Sunday Latin brunches, starring paella, arroz con pollo, maybe osso bucco, and surely lots of plantains. Later on, look for Cuban sandwiches, cabrito (goat), and in-house salsa lessons. With the safe assumption that new-new-new Cabo will feature tasty if not-too-spicy food, stylin’ décor, and lots of young Anglos having a great time, Chow, Baby’s future review is a lock: the usual Trendy-disdainful, pro-Authentic whine-and-rant. Admittedly, judging in advance of actual facts is a terrible thing to do. Chow, Baby will be sure to apologize for that next Yom Kippur.
Contact Chow, Baby at firstname.lastname@example.org.