Lindaman's -- Perched at the top of Grand Blvd., Lindaman's offers sophisticated-but-comforting caf & eacute; fare. A glass display case contains all the salads, entrees and desserts. Salads and pasta dishes are sold by the pound and vary in price. Lindaman's specialties are the casseroles like the King Ranch Chicken and the chicken and spinach enchilada ($4.95) which was a spicy and flavorful little number. The stuffed roasted pork tenderloin ($12) filled with a medley of dried cranberries, onions, mushrooms and apples, had a pleasant flavor, though the meat suffered a bit from the re-heating -- it was a little dry, and in places not all the way warmed up. Deserts here are terrific. 1235 S. Grand Blvd. Call: 838-3000. (LM)
Chapala #1 -- Though it appears tiny from the street, Chapala is cavernous and comfortable inside. The lunch menu features 28 different authentic Mexican selections ranging from tacos, enchiladas and burritos to more interesting fare like the $6.50 Mole de Pollo. The $7.25 Chapala Burrito comes with your choice of meat, beans, cheese, lettuce and mild salsa, wrapped in a flour tortilla smothered with red sauce, and dusted with melted cheese. It's fresh, zesty and nicely presented with a side of rice and beans, topped with a dollop of guacamole and sour cream and garnished with a tomato wedge. The complimentary chips and salsa appetizer included two kinds of salsa and a basket of warm chips. The service was also very good. 2620 E. 29th Ave. Call: 534-7388. (MC)
The Palm Court at the Davenport Hotel -- The Davenport's Palm Court offers fresh, inventive cuisine in a quietly elegant setting. The pan-seared lump crab cakes ($14) -- crab mixed with a bit of onion and red pepper served and sides of sweet pineapple chili sauce and green curry sauce -- is an irresistible starter. The macadamia-crusted salmon ($22) on a bed of Udon noodles, nestled under a tower of slivered red and green cabbage and some crispy bean thread noodles and surrounded by lots of roasted pineapple broth, was nicely prepared, although the taste of the thin macadamia nut coating was hard to distinguish. For dessert, the chocolate mousse wonton ($7) was fresh and cheery: triangles of fried wonton stacked with layers of chocolate mousse, drizzled with chocolate and cream sauces and topped with big juicy fresh blackberries and raspberries. The restaurant's extensive wine catalog offers more than 350 options. 10 S. Post St. Call: 789-6848. (LM)
Caf & eacute; 5-Ten -- Caf & eacute; 5-Ten is an appealing bistro with an interesting menu, offering intriguing items in nearly every price range. 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)
Hill's Someplace Else -- Hill's leads a double life as a pub and has the feel of a place with lots of longtime regulars. The non-smoking dining room is done in dark green and mauve. The menu includes pub favorites but ventures into more upscale, cosmopolitan fare as well. The New York Steak and Blue ($15), a tender cut grilled and topped with a gorgonzola demi-glace and blue cheese chunks, had a very nice flavor. The mashed spuds alongside were extra-good. The Malaysian chicken satay ($13.50), five skewers of chicken in a big puddle of rich peanut sauce, is served with a scoop of white rice and a vegetable medley. The peanut sauce was flavorful and interesting despite an overabundance of chopped peanuts. Less interesting was the bizarre, stringy, rubbery texture of the chicken. But expect good, cheerful service. 518 W. Sprague. Call: 747-3946. (LM)
Capsule reviews are written by Lauren McAllister (LM) and Mike Corrigan (MC), unless otherwise noted.