Dinner can take many forms and serve many agendas, but even after you filter out the trappings of theme and tradition and ritual and protocol and color-coordinated doilies, a single purpose, common to Cro-Magnons of ancient France and Wall Street alike, remains: sustenance. Sustenance may not occur unless the items to be ingested are edible; I would argue that in times of relative prosperity this condition may be upgraded to include "palatable." It is not asking too much in this day and age that people who operate restaurants and charge even modest tariffs for humble food should take care that it is able to be choked down. We are, after all, civilized.

ROMO'S CANTINA AND GRILL, 1551 S. Seventh St., 231-4624. Hours: Mon.-Sat. 11 a.m.-1:30 a.m.; kitchen closes 11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs. and midnight Fri.-Sat.; closed Sun. Entrees: $4.95-$6.95.

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