Riccardi’s

It’s the Sistine Chapel wallpaper on the walls and ceiling of the entry that clues you in: “Hip” Riccardi’s is not. The Dallas establishment may be new, but its heart belongs to an earlier time—when restaurants looked like dining rooms, not stage sets; when waiters didn’t try to be your new best friend; and when nothing on the menu was so exotic that you wondered if it was, in fact, edible. Executive chef Michael Scholz ’s strength is the precise execution of classic dishes, like my lunchtime veal Marsala: ever-so-slightly-chewy slices of veal napped with a nicely balanced, lightly sweet, smooth-as-glass sauce. Red snapper Francesce came in a reassuringly traditional blend of butter, lemon, and white wine; by today’s standards, the fish was a bit overcooked, but it was just right if the thought of medium-rare fish makes you squirm. On the other hand, each piece of seafood in my multi-cheese Mediterranean-style risotto was perfect, especially the sybaritic scallops. Riccardi’s will never be mistaken for cool or cutting-edge, but if I had a rich uncle whose favorite niece I wanted to be, this is where I would take him for dinner. PATRICIA SHARPE

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