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The Track, Cafe Diem

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The menu is short, but I suspect this is to ensure that each dish is a thoroughbred. The bronzed rockfish over saffron rice with a crawfish-compound butter ($25.95) was just what you'd expect: delicate, subtle, a superb blend of flavor, texture and appearance. I was a bit disappointed with the pan-fried rib-eye, however. It didn't have the flavor of well-marbled beef and just didn't grunt like a rib-eye should.



The Track's fine management and creative food have kept it around for 24 years in the midst of cutthroat competition, but some better beef, floor stabilization and a good music library would bring that competition to the next level.



— Randall Stamper



2915 Cary Street



Dinner: Tuesday - Thursday 5 - 9:30 p.m.,



Friday-Saturday 5 - 10:30 p.m., Closed Sunday



359-4781

Cafe Diem ($$)



As the most recent addition to a growing list of Museum District reinventions, the restaurant sports a fresh, neat exterior fa‡ade as well as redecoration.



The color scheme suggests the Miami Dolphins or perhaps an episode of "Miami Vice," but the booths are widely spaced, and the noise factor doesn't interfere with conversation.



The straightforward menu offerings suggest Cafe Diem aims to offer the tried and true. To go with drinks or to start a meal, you can choose from nachos exalted by crab and crayfish ($9.50), and several other seafood starters including coconut shrimp or oysters Rockefeller, spicy wings, or baked brie ($4.50 - $9.50).



Aside from half-dozen sandwiches to choose from ($6.50 - $9.50), dinner entrees ($11.50 - $17.50) include penne pasta with Gorgonzola sauce and a 10-ounce New York strip steak. Two crab cakes sitting atop a mound of rice with a melange of vegetables was adequate, if not special. However, the bearnaise sauce served over the potatoes accompanying the Chateaubriand Diem seemed to be a distractingly watery mayonnaise. Warm apple cobbler with a couple of scoops of ice cream ($5) was a nice finish. — J. Davis Morton 600 N. Sheppard St. at Patterson



Dinner Tuesday - Saturday 5 p.m.- 2 a.m.



(or earlier, depending on crowd)



Sunday Brunch 11 a.m. - 3 p.m.



Live music Wednesdays



353-2500





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