SI Vault
 
A GUIDE TO ALL-STAR INDIGESTION
Gael Greene
October 12, 1970
The lady hiding behind that Coke at left is our author, a renowned restaurant critic at whose approach headwaiters would tremble—if they only knew what she looked like. But the secret of her success lies in anonymity; that way no chef can haute up the cuisine just for her. Still, a diet of all fancy food can tire a girl, so Gael set out recently to brave an uncharted area of our gastronomic civilization: the sports-oriented restaurant. Here is her candid critique, written right from the heart(burn), on how America eats.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
October 12, 1970

A Guide To All-star Indigestion

The lady hiding behind that Coke at left is our author, a renowned restaurant critic at whose approach headwaiters would tremble—if they only knew what she looked like. But the secret of her success lies in anonymity; that way no chef can haute up the cuisine just for her. Still, a diet of all fancy food can tire a girl, so Gael set out recently to brave an uncharted area of our gastronomic civilization: the sports-oriented restaurant. Here is her candid critique, written right from the heart(burn), on how America eats.

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Cousin Elviry claims 200 country gals hooked husbands with her recipe. Gentlemen, this dish is definitely grounds for divorce—raggedy shreds of chicken and thick noodles passing themselves off as dumplings in an eerily unnatural yellow broth. Better to stick with Uncle Phineas' fried chicken. Or maybe Marshall Hezekiah Mantle's Catfish Fillets. Best of all is the chili, meaty and hot, at $1.25. The hot peach pie was a bit gucky, but the apple was good.

There are waitresses in sneakers and pinafores, oilcloth napery, Depression glassware (you sip your cider from Mason jars), lots of blowups of Mickey around the walls, Sunday biscuits and cornpatch bread. And the menu makes the Mantle clan sound like Faulkner interpreted by Walt Disney.

I give this minus one trophy.

(Golly, maybe even tough Texans can't take country cooking. A few weeks ago the franchisers, no doubt full of dumplings, shut down this place and another one in Dallas and reorganized the setup. From now on, starting in December with a new place in Alabama, the chain is going to be called Mickey Mantle's and stress will be on steak. No more of that cornpatch bread routine. Believe me, it's all for the best.)

PEARL STREET WAREHOUSE, 2609 N. PEARL STREET, DALLAS.

Cowboys Lance Rentzel and Ralph Neely hope to lure swinging Dallas to this 1890s warehouse with its pub, billiards room, South Sea Island Lounge, live entertainment and "continental cuisine." Membership $50 a year, dues $15 a month.

There was a slightly tacky jitterbug crowd one night recently, with a few sedate football players and one lively septuagenarian boogalooing with a bottle-blonde nymphet. Enter through the docking platform, past the foreman and stacks of barrels, crates and a coffin. Drinks are served by leggy barflowers in dowdy mini-costumes and little else. And they are fast—two sips of your drink and they are poised to bring you another one.

The kitchen is wildly erratic. A la carte entrées start at $3.75 for chicken breast vin blanc and run to $16 for a Chateaubriand for two. The fresh seafood is excellent, but the broiled lobster tail for $6.25 was tough. A steak, slightly tough, had fine flavor and was rare, as ordered, for $5.50. Chicken Kiev, a boned, butter-filled breast, $4.25, was moist and good. Of the hors d'oeuvres, the mushrooms stuffed with crab meat were two lonely Lilliputians at $1.25, masked in a turgid, orange shroud. The same orange glop, cheese-oriented, no doubt, was equally fatal to the au gratin potatoes at $1. The Warehouse tosses a fine salad, however, for $1.25, serves beefsteak tomatoes in the dead of winter and offers fresh asparagus for $1 in a respectable hollandaise. The Irish coffee is reportedly "the best in Dallas," and fried strawberries and strawberry cream sauce for $1.50 sounded ghastly but tasted divine. The menu lists "assorted flambé." Loosely translated, it means assorted flamings, I think. But it took considerable urging to persuade the captain to flame cherries jubilee for $2, a superproduction number requiring an incendiary specialist.

Mrs. Rentzel, Joey Heatherton, is on the club's board of directors. I'm not sure what that portends.

For the Warehouse: 2½ trophies.

Continue Story
1 2 3 4 5 6 7