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    A near Southside ice house, practically under I-35, where the beer is appropriately cheap, the condiments are self-serve, and you dancers work out to Tejano on warm summer nights. -- Lyle Rosdahl (02/09)
    Boy, howdy. The belles at the bar were in full rodeo regalia on a recent Saturday night at Scenic Loop Cafe. Rising to the occasion, Mike Barfield's band held court under the glassy-eyed gaze of a major trophy head and in front of a backdrop of cedar cabin cladding. Despite the group's lively sound, the bar was a place of refuge from the adjacent dining room where the noise level seemed higher- and lacked the acoustic appeal of Mike's "original Americana" music. Framed in hard surfaces, including a flagstone floor, the restaurant is its own amplifier, and the handsome kilim and other rugs hung about don't quite do the job of noise suppression during peak hours. So here's a tip: Even on weekends, Scenic Loop's crowd appears to be an early one and there was a noticeable thinning by 8:30. Arrive late. And arrive hungry, the portions are enormous. - Ron Bechtol
    Italian hole-in-the wall joint with connections to the art world. See the works of struggling artists on Silo's olive green walls.
    Mesteña, Pour la France, Chuy's ... SoLuna is the latest in a line of restaurants with attitude to occupy this prominent corner in the Collection at Broadway and Sunset. It's tempting to say that with each new tenant the attitude may not have diminished, but the quality has - but we'll leave that judgment to later. No fair skipping to the end. Whatever the verdict, you have to hand it to Jesse Calvillo. After leaving La Fogata, he landed on his feet at El MiraSol with its "alta cocina Mexicana," and if the promise of haute-Mex was never fully realized, the place has clearly been successful. SoLuna, with its decor of pale avocado greens, golds and saturated reds, and a slew of paintings by the ever-present Gilbert Duran (who has managed to place work in restaurants as varied as Torres' Taco Haven and Bohanan's), is slicker than any of the previous efforts. Some food is even served on black plates, perhaps in an effort to justify the price - but I'm getting ahead of myself again. - Ron Bechtol;;The founder of La Fogata transformed yet another piece of San Antonio real estate into a restaurant boasting superb aesthetic qualtiies and authentic Mexican food. $8 margaritas and $5 micheladas wash down such dishes as Lobster Enchiladas and Crab Salad Avocado.

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