A historic hotel should have a classic restaurant.
Cafe Texas isn’t. But it’s better than it used to be, OK for a basic lunch if you’re visiting the Hilton Fort Worth or JFK Tribute.
For some reason, the Hilton’s tired restaurant has never tried to compete with the more ambitious Renaissance and Omni hotels downtown.
Cafe Texas relies on very simple daily buffets — $14.95 at breakfast, $11.95 at lunch.
The lunch is a bargain. One day this week, chef Toby Tindall’s buffet offered several fresh salads, chicken marsala and pork tenderloin. The price includes coffee or tea and cobbler or cake.
On the other hand, a $15 hotel breakfast is never a bargain. But at least the price includes a well-stocked daily omelet station including fresh pico de gallo and jalapeños.
At night, Cafe Texas lets adjacent Ruth’s Chris Steak House take over.
Ruth’s Chris will handle Thanksgiving, serving turkey with sausage-herb stuffing, salads, gumbo, yam casserole and pumpkin cheesecake for about $37-$38 from 11 a.m.
Cafe Texas opens for breakfast, lunch and dinner daily inside the Hilton, 815 Main St., 817-870-2100; www.hilton.com.
Ruth’s Chris is open for dinner nightly; 813 Main St., 817-348-0080, www.ruthschris.com.
• Want some spice with your turkey?
Blue Mesa Grill is the newest restaurant to chime in and offer a Thanksgiving Day buffet.
At the Lincoln Square Arlington location only — near AT&T Stadium and Cowboys football — Blue Mesa will offer its usual buffet plus turkey-and-dressing and Thanksgiving items for $18.95.
It starts at 10 a.m., so there’s time to go before the football traffic. The Arlington location is at 550 Lincoln Square; 682-323-3050, www.bluemesagrill.com.
(For a spicy downtown Fort Worth holiday, Cabo Grandewill serve a Thanksgiving buffet 11 a.m.-3 p.m.; 115 W. Second St., 817-348-8226.)
• Reservations are open for North Texas’ only daily holiday buffet.
The Zodiac inside Neiman Marcus in downtown Dallas will begin its turkey-and-carving-station lunch buffet Nov. 27, Thanksgiving eve.
The lavish dining and dessert buffet is served weekdays and Saturdays through Christmas week until Dec. 28, and also three Sundays: Dec. 8, 15 and 22.
The menu includes a choice of prime rib, pot roast, salmon, roasted chicken and turkey with thyme-parsley dressing, plus side dishes such as pumpkin-goat cheese ravioli and potato latkes with apples-and-cinnamon.
The choice of 10 salads includes lamb with tzatziki and butternut squash-cauliflower with quinoa.
All brunches come with the Zodiac’s popovers and strawberry butter; $37, 1618 Main St., 214-741-6911, www.TheRestaurantsofNeimanMarcus.com.