Chow, Baby: Wednesday, November 07, 2002
Hold the Snarl

The waitress at Mary’s Restaurant reminded Chow, Baby of its aging animal companion, Miss Junior: cranky, hard of hearing, stiff-gaited from arthritis, yet showing sparks of the cute, playful kitten she once was. This aura of “I used to be really something, let me tell you” permeates not just Mary’s (4124 Mansfield Hwy at Miller Ave) — “Serving Quality Food to Quality People since 1955” — but indeed most of Forest Hill, the four-square-mile city just southeast of Fort Worth that’s known for ... for ... well, hmmm.

Mary’s roast beef lunch ($4.85) was as tender as long-slow-cooked meat gets. The chicken-fried steak (also $4.85) was, according to Chow, Baby’s faithful companion, “better than Black-Eyed Pea, and great for the price.” (Still germy with the Cold from Hell, Chow, Baby was barred from sticking its fork anywhere it pleased.) Mashed potatoes were warm and comforting; baked beans were sweet and mushy, with chunks of real bacon.

The salad left an unpleasant aftertaste, but only metaphorically: A request for ranch dressing earned a snappish “It’s on the table!” from Grumpy Old Waitress. It’s probably just as well that Chow, Baby did not follow its instinct to pick her up gently, stroke her thinning fur, and murmur, “Yes, yes, you are decrepit, but you are still lovely and loved.”

Step Away from the Quiche

Chow, Baby, who grew up in a badder city than this one, interprets a bunch of police cars in a parking lot as a stay-away sign. But those who believe that cops are on a par with truck drivers when it comes to apprehending good diner food should speed over to Bayley’s (109 W. Harwood at Norwood). Bayley’s is technically in Hurst but only a block from the Euless city limits, and on a typical drive-by Chow, Baby spots a half dozen or more blue-and-whites from each jurisdiction. (Gee, Chow, Baby hopes none of Euless’ Finest get in trouble over this.)

Bayley’s serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch in a pleasant but corporately bland space in, naturally, a strip mall. No matter how early Chow, Baby arrives — the restaurant claims to open at 6:30 a.m., though Chow, Baby can’t personally testify to any earlier than 8:45 — the staff is chipper, though not annoyingly so. The best of a grand lot of made-from-scratch pancakes are the gingerbread ($5.45 for three huge ones), served with real cream butter and warm maple syrup. Egg choices include the fabulous Country Omelette ($5.90), stuffed with bacon, green onions, potatoes, and cheddar, and the slightly less successful Bayley’s Benedict ($6.25). The eggs are poached perfectly, the quality ham steak is nicely grilled, and the Hollandaise tastes homemade, but the flaky croissant beneath can’t stand up to the weight and the ooze.

Other breakfast choices include frittatas, bagels, and sausage-n-biscuits. Chow, Baby is told that the lunch menu of soups, salads, and quiches is just as tasty. So real cops eat quiche, do they? Not that Chow, Baby would say that to their faces, of course.

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