Caf & eacute; 5-Ten -- Caf & eacute; 5-Ten is an appealing bistro with an interesting menu, offering intriguing items in nearly every price range and located in a surprisingly pleasant space in the lower level of the Lincoln Heights Shopping Center. The appetizer of grilled thinly sliced lamb ($9) served with grilled flat bread and a unique hummus was one of the most satisfying I've had recently. The six-ounce culot sirloin steak ($14), which was grilled and served with gruyere potato gratin and seasonal vegetables was perfectly cooked and tender as butter, with a nice reduction sauce for added interest. The potato gratin was a treat, with abundant creamy cheese layered with tender potatoes and topped with a crunchy crust of bread crumbs. The pot de creme was luscious, with the smooth, cool chocolate creating the perfect finale to our meal. Service throughout the evening was top-notch and every effort was made to keep us comfortable and happy. 2727 Mt. Vernon. Call: 533-0064. (LM)
The Park Inn Park Plaza -- Nothing ever changes at the P.I. And that's the way we like it. It's old skool pub grub all the way in a super-casual atmosphere: burgers, deli sandwiches, pizza, soups, salads, some dinner entrees and "others," such as the delectably dangerous-sounding chili dog ($5.75). For pizza, try the 12-inch ML Special ($13.75), with sausage, beef, mushroom, olive, onion and fresh tomato. It's generous with a thin crust, a hint of sauce and a mountain of toppings. The grilled cheese sandwich ($4.75) was delicious and gooey with cheddar and provolone melted between two buttery, toasted slices of rye bread. The side of homemade chili (ordinary but perfectly mouth-watering, with a mound of cheese and onions on top) was a little bowl of satisfaction. The service was friendly, efficient and frequently hilarious. Smoking at the P.I. is most definitely allowed. 107 W. 9th Ave. Call: 624-8111. (MC)
Riverview Thai -- After many successful years at the Flour Mill, Riverview Thai has moved up the river to Riverwalk, the site of the now-defunct Bayou Brewery. The Khao Tom ($9.45) was a lovely Thai version of chicken and rice soup, with fragrant jasmine rice and ground chicken in a rich chicken broth, flavored with green onion, celery, garlic and cilantro. The Gaeng keow wahn ($11) with chicken combines green curry sauce with green peas, bamboo shoots, bell pepper and fresh basil -- a successful dish with the fragrant taste of the Thai basil dominating. Dinner on the lawn near the river was lovely, but an awkward arrangement for the wait staff. Nevertheless, service was friendly. 1003 E. Trent. Call: 922-4935. (LM)
Old European -- The Scandinavian/Dutch-themed Old European restaurant sports a breakfast menu like no other in town. The German Potato Pancakes ($5.95) were"moist and flavorful, spiked occasionally with a little chunk of sausage." The stuffed French toast ($5.95) was "exquisite: three tender slices of thick bread, with just the right amount of egg batter on them, interspersed with two layers of scrambled eggs mixed with bits of flavorful sausage." The delicious Danish aebelskivers ($4.95) are fluffy, pancake-y balls that can be dipped in applesauce, or better yet, drizzled in syrup. 11520 E. Sprague Ave. Call: 928-6868. (Sheri Boggs)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.