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Old Warsaw (Dallas) Recommended?

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Walters Aug 30, 2006 07:46 PM

We will be traveling to Dallas soon and were intrigued by a newspaper review of Old Warsaw. I thought I would ask local Dallas Chowhounds their opinions.

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  1. k
    Kirk Aug 30, 2006 11:02 PM

    If you pine for the "good old days" of Continental food, Old Warsaw might be your place.

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    1. re: Kirk
      c
      chefdean1964 Sep 14, 2009 08:28 PM

      I once got a souffle' there, that I could throw a brick at and it wouldn't have fallen.

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    2. Scagnetti Aug 31, 2006 02:40 PM

      I have not been to Old Warsaw in years so I can't comment on the food or service, but this restaurant does a lot of heavy advertising in the Dallas Morning News which always makes me leary of any restaurant when I see that.

      If you are looking for an Old World experience, I would strongly recommend The French Room in the Adolphus Hotel.

      http://www.guidelive.com/portal/page?...

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      1. l
        lexajo Aug 31, 2006 03:48 PM

        DON'T DO IT! I was there for my birthday last year and it was pathetic. drab ambience, uninspired menu and mediocre food. The only possitive things I can say is that the soup and salad portions were generous and we were seated next to Ross Perot and his wife. HA!

        Now, I cannot provide you with an alternative "old world" option however, here are some of my favorites eats in town.

        1.York Street - Sharon Hage is the chef/owner of this tiny gem on Lewis off Skillman. Seats about 40 people. the food is artistic and delicate but absolutely intrigueing. Every time i read her menu I feel like a moron and I love it! It is so rare for a foodie to be surprised by ingredients you've never heard of or offerings you don't often find available. Calves Brains, Gooseneck Barnacles, Sturgeon, Chocolate soup! Sublime. $5-$14 aps, $18-$28 mains.

        2.Ali Baba - Sam is Lebonese and his little old mother is in the kitchen churning out some of the tastiest food in town. we always have the baba, a greek salad (do not miss it) and chicken kabob. juicy and delicious! The rice is absolutely evil. On Lower Greenville North of Ross. $5-$10

        3. Fuel City - is a gas station on Industrial south of the Jail! They have a 24 hour taco window where for $1.25 you can have your choice of 5 different breakfast tacos and 5 savory tacos. all are topped with fresh chopped onion and cilantro and served with two types of salsa, lime wedges, grilled onions and a roasted jalapeno. Fajita beef, fajita chicken, barbacoa, ground beef and potato(spicy) and pork (spicy). Inside is the largest beverage selection you have ever seen. There is a pool with lounge chairs, long horned steer and a slew of interesting folks to look at. So, go place your taco order, head inside and grab a six pack of mike's hard lemon (great with mex), stop at the corn cart and for $2 have the corn lady make you acup with evything (corn mayo butter sourcream cheese and hot sauce!), pick up your tacos and go sit by the pool for the quirkiest dining experience in town!!!!

        Lexajo

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        1. re: lexajo
          s
          sl1 Aug 31, 2006 04:10 PM

          Is Ali Baba (Greenville Ave) open on Saturdays for lunch?

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          1. re: sl1
            l
            laurie Sep 6, 2006 12:57 AM

            It should still be. It was when I lived in the neighborhood.

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          2. re: lexajo
            w
            Walters Sep 1, 2006 04:01 AM

            Lexajo, Humm, York Street sounds interesting. But are they consistent?

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            1. re: Walters
              twinwillow Sep 14, 2009 08:51 PM

              Very! A lot more so than other highly rated restaurants.

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            2. re: lexajo
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              Uberchowguy Sep 9, 2006 02:34 PM

              I think Lexajo's suggestions were fine...Lexajo was simply reporting favorites. I've not been to Fuel City or Ali Baba, but Fuel City sounds like an adventure.

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              1. re: Uberchowguy
                k
                Kirk Sep 9, 2006 07:52 PM

                Please report back after you have tried them.

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                1. re: Kirk
                  u
                  Uberchowguy Sep 10, 2006 05:12 PM

                  I had lunch at Ali Baba yesterday. While the decor and the neighborhood could use some refreshing, the food was very good and the service was acceptable, if not superb. My wife ordered the Mazza Platter, which included tabbouli, hummus, eggplant dip (similar to baba ganouj, but smoother) and pita bread, accompanied by sour pickles, green olives, onions, and calamatta olives. I selected the Falafel Platter, which came with a very creamy tahini paste, five very freshly made and wonderfully tasty falafel balls, and similar accompaniments. While Ali Baba does not compare to the very best Lebanese restaurants I have visited (the best, if recollection serves me well, being Saleem's in St. Louis), I found it to be a worthy spot that I'd return to. Of course, I'd not recommend it as an alternative to someone considering Old Warsaw, but I'd recommend it to someone looking for a decent Lebanese meal.

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                  1. re: Uberchowguy
                    j
                    Jgannon87 Aug 26, 2009 01:23 PM

                    Must be related to the Ali Baba at 114 and Macarthur. The place is packed at lunch for their buffet. Love the place. Classic dishes are all well executed. Hummus has a wonderful lemon and garlic flavor. Baba Ganoush is rich. Bread is fresh, soups are interesting, warm veg dishes are full of fresh flavor.

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            3. k
              Kirk Sep 1, 2006 12:50 PM

              Walters:

              York Street is consistent, but it is focused on whatever is available and best from the food suppliers on a given day. It's hard to forecast what the menu will be when you go, but, in my experience, the food is always very good.

              If you give us a better sense of what you might be looking for in Dallas, I think -- OK, I hope! -- you're likely to get better recommendations than a mediocre Middle Eastern place (Ali Baba) and an eccentric taqueria in a dangerous area of town.

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              1. re: Kirk
                Scagnetti Sep 1, 2006 05:56 PM

                I couldn't agree more. Ali Baba and Fuel City. They're dumps.

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                1. re: Scagnetti
                  twinwillow Sep 14, 2009 08:52 PM

                  Second that!

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                2. re: Kirk
                  j
                  JordanB Sep 1, 2006 07:01 PM

                  Kirk, Has Ali Baba gone downhill recently? I had been looking for some middle-eastern food, did a search, and found this thread along with another other where you seconded a reccomendation for it back in '03.

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                  1. re: JordanB
                    k
                    Kirk Sep 1, 2006 07:33 PM

                    Ali Baba is fine, if you are looking for gyros and shwarma in a downscale spot in a funky neighborhood. But if someone is asking about Old Warsaw, I didn't think Ali Baba was what they had in mind -- which Walters verifies below.

                    By the way, Ali Baba on Preston (almost in Plano) definitely is less than mediocre. We went once and won't be back.

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                    1. re: Kirk
                      s
                      sl1 Sep 7, 2006 12:46 AM

                      I had a great lunch at Ali Baba on Greenville Ave last Saturday. Everything was great. We had the mezze plate, falafel, kibi and gyro plate (least favorite). The kibi (fried) was lightly crisp and seasoned great. Hummus was creamy and lemony. Gyro meat was a little dry. The place was 75% full and service was good. The place is very simple and to the point, nothing fancy.

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                  2. re: Kirk
                    teegee Sep 1, 2006 07:47 PM

                    y'know, i was on the fence about fuel city until discovering that a 6-pack of mike's hard lemonade could be procured so readily nearby. that really seals the deal

                    i know ali baba is beloved by many but i've never been a big fan. and yuck to old warsaw

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                    1. re: teegee
                      k
                      Kirk Sep 1, 2006 09:09 PM

                      Seals the deal for, or against?

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                      1. re: Kirk
                        teegee Sep 1, 2006 09:50 PM

                        didn't mean to be ambiguous: against. all of it, a rather confusing suggestion as an alternative to old warsaw

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                  3. w
                    Walters Sep 1, 2006 02:18 PM

                    Kirk, When we visit friends in Dallas, we always try and take them some place they haven't been. (Even though they live there!) I've heard Stephen Pyles if good. (We loved his old place). Dean Fearing's new restaurant won't open until next year. So York Street sounds interesting, but I trust local Chowhounds to guide me. You're suggestions are welcomed.

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                    1. k
                      Kirk Sep 1, 2006 06:27 PM

                      That's sort of what I thought you might have in mind. Definitely skip Ali Baba and Fuel City, and I would personally wave you off of Old Warsaw, too.

                      Stephan Pyles and York Street would be good. Here are a few other ideas:

                      The Tasting Room at Lola ( http://www.lola4dinner.com/TRoomMenu.htm
                      )Craft (new, trendy, expensive, mixed reviews but mostly very good -- http://www.craftrestaurant.com/craft_dallas_style.html
                      )Shinsei (new place owned by the wives of Dean Fearing and Kent Rathbun; I haven't been personally -- http://www.guidelive.com/portal/page?_pageid=33,97400&_dad=portal&_schema=PORTAL&item_id=41890
                      )Abacus (Kent Rathbun's first and best -- http://www.abacus-restaurant.com/inde...

                      )

                      If you are looking for a nice place for lunch in the downtown area, I highly recommend SeventeenSeventeen. It's the "upstairs" restaurant at the Dallas Museum of Art. The Chef is David Uygur, who put The Tasting Room at Lola on the map.

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                      1. re: Kirk
                        Daisy Gatsby Sep 1, 2006 10:44 PM

                        Ohh ... I moved away from Dallas about four years ago, but when I read the suggestion of Abacus it made me want to get on the next plane and head in that direction. Love it ... always consistant!

                        Regarding the Warsaw, I have to say that even when I was still living in big D it was on the decline. Although not from official "chowhounds", here's a site with some additional thoughts on the place...
                        http://cityguide.aol.com/dallas/resta...

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                      2. m
                        Mike C. Miller Sep 3, 2006 10:36 PM

                        I love both Lola and York Street. Ate at Lola last weekend and York Street last night. Both are among the top three or four restaurants in Dallas, IMHO. I think the food is a touch better at York Street. The wine list at Lola is, without a doubt, the best in town and the fairest priced anywhere. As to food, I guess it comes down to issues of style. York Street is a bit more seasonal and ingrediient driven, although the term could really be applied to both. But I had a fried okra and heriloom tomatoe disk last night at York Street that was to die for. I persist in my belief that Sharron Hage is the best chef currently working in Dallas, including Stephen Pyles and Dean Fearing. You might also try Local in Deep Ellum. I don't hear much about it, but I think it's a very good restaurant, although it's a bit noisy. Food much like Lola and York Street in style -- fresh seasonal ingredients, thoughtfully prepared.

                        As for Old Warsaw, I have a 75 year old law partner who really loves the place, so I have eaten there occasionaly of late. It is truly an old fashion formal dining expereince. The food on the last two visits was well done and very tradional. Not inspired, but well done. The simpler the dish, the better. Nice fair wine list, but a fair number of off vintages and wines from recent vintages that are too young to drink, so you need to pick carefully. I wouldn't tell anybody to avoid it, but I wouldn't seek it out either. But it is an intersting slice of history to see how formal "good food" restaurants used to be versus today.

                        By the way, if your freinds are interested in Italian, another under the radar, underrated restaurant in Dallas is Daniele Osteria on Oak Lawn. Very, very good food, family run and a good value. I'm not an authority on Italian wines by any means, but the wines I've had there were reaonably good and seemed to be fairly priced. Very friendly welcome, too.

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                        1. s
                          ScottAR Sep 7, 2006 04:09 PM

                          If you are interested in the Old Warsaw, i wouldnt do it, I would HIGHLY reccomend The French Room at the Adolphus. THe food is always amazing and the atmosphere can't be beat. Old world charm and beautiful.

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                          1. w
                            Walters Sep 8, 2006 03:30 PM

                            Thank you Chowhounds! I appreciate the recommendations and look forward to visiting your fun city again.

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                              btceo Sep 9, 2006 08:21 PM

                              With all the dissing of the poor Old Warsaw, I just have to weigh in in her defense. I like the place. Maybe you need to have grey hair to appreciate the kind of service you get--sort of New York style without the edges.

                              The food is consistently good. Sure it lacks the flair of nouvelle and southwest cuisine, and you won't find anything fusion-like on the menu, but tell me where else in Dallas you can get Steak Diane done at tableside with the flavor and the flair of the Old Warsaw. And it gets harder and harder to find steak tartare on a menu. It never left the Old Warsaw.

                              If you want "continental cuisine" served in an elegant setting with violin music playing, try it. You might even meet Ross Perot.

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                              1. t
                                TakingTheLongWay Mar 5, 2007 12:00 PM

                                Below is the text of a letter that I sent to the proprietor, Al Heidari, dated 2/18/07. As of 3/5/07, I have not received a response.

                                I am writing to inform you of our less than exceptional experience at your establishment on the night of February 17. While the food was well-prepared, with the exception of the lobster bisque and the seafood and corn chowder which were average, the service was sloppy and inept. I made a 7:00 p.m. reservation for four people which was confirmed on January 21, almost a full month prior to our dining at your restaurant. We were seated at a table pushed so far into the corner of the room, it was impossible for a waiter to properly serve all of the people at our table. Several times during our dinner, we were interrupted by waitstaff who reached around and over us to get bottles of wine from the racks situated around the room.

                                In addition, the waitstaff were consistently unable to serve the right food to the person who ordered it. We were relegated to passing the plates around the table to the appropriate person. I was shoved so far into the corner that it was impossible for a waiter to reach me, and so I spent most of the night taking plates from the waiter and handing them back to the waiter when it was time to remove the plates from the table. Also, at one point during the evening, the person filling water glasses came very close to filling my half-full white wine glass with water (we spoke to her in Spanish to point out the water glass).

                                Near the end of our meal, my friend and I went to the women’s restroom which was in serious need of attention. One stall was completely out of toilet paper so there was essentially one stall available in the women’s restroom. The trash cans were overflowing onto the floor.

                                My friends and I have had the pleasure of dining in some of the finest restaurants in Dallas, places where the food and the service were unparallelled. When my friends and I spend over 500 dollars for a meal, we have an expectation that both the food and the service will be exceptional. Our experience in your restaurant fell far short of exceptional; in fact, because of the poor service, I would characterize it as mediocre at best. This is the first time I have written a letter such as this, but I felt it necessary to register my dissatisfaction with my experience at The Old Warsaw.

                                Please do me the courtesy of responding to my comments in writing.

                                Suffice it to say that The Old Warsaw has seen better days!

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                                  HalleyP Mar 5, 2007 01:09 PM

                                  Don't overlook Nana at the Anatole and Bijoux, both truly exceptional dining experience for both food and setting. Elegant, and then some.

                                  Fuel City may be a dump, but in terms of excellent flavor in great, basic tacos, you cannot find better. Dangerous part of town? Maybe at 3 am. At 10 am or 3 pm it's OK.

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                                    ieatdallas Mar 5, 2007 01:11 PM

                                    Good for you!! Funny, I had an eerily similar experience back in 2005. Wrong dishes to people at our table, terrible service, food was avg, ambiance is ancient, etc. I called Al Heidari the next day and caught him live. I went through the whole experience and said, I'm not looking for a comp'd meal or anything but as the owner I just thought you'd like to know. He first said he had no waiters that match the description I gave him of ours, I said, look on your website. He's the guy with the moustache standing right next to you. He then asked if he could call me back in a few minutes. Well, that few minutes turned into a week before I decided to write a "not so nice" letter. I didn't save it but suffice to say I will absolutely never return and honestly go more than out of my way to make sure no one else ever goes there.

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                                    1. DallasDude Oct 8, 2009 03:01 PM

                                      Reviewing the weekend guide, I see OW is back to advertising on third page. Something I wouldnt have done personally. However, now they have a full menu listed with generous price cuts on many of the top items I would order when going. Now more than ever, OW is a great choice, with old school charm and service. Prime steaks for 20 bucks? Amazing. And the best chocolate souffle in town.

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                                      1. re: DallasDude
                                        j
                                        joanna.mcmaster Oct 8, 2009 03:16 PM

                                        Old Warsaw lowered their prices?

                                        Haven't been in a few years, is it still as amazing as it used to be, DD?

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                                        1. re: joanna.mcmaster
                                          DallasDude Oct 8, 2009 03:31 PM

                                          Went for Easter and Mother's Day this year. It was just as pleasant as can be. It gets dissed a lot by people that haven't been. Every restaurant has its bad day though. That why a decent review is based on an amalgam.

                                          Or it could be me performing a syncretism.

                                          Al que madruga Dios lo ayuda

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