Hot Dish

The new Hot Locust Cafe makes the pleasing transition from punk-rock hallway to real restaurant

I leave you to contemplate the lush possibilities of Hot Locust's signature strawberry fritters (see sidebar). The seductive beauty of this dessert lies in the tension between the innocence of the fruit and the wanton debauchery of deep-frying it. Whole batter-dipped berries — zapped in hot oil and anointed with caramel and chocolate sauces — tasted something like beignets and the Texas State Fair and Catherine Deneuve and the Elysian Fields, all rolled into one. I hate to end with a cliché (if I got a raise, I'd spend more time on lyric poetry), but these babies rocked. Or, as Tex Trailer put it, "Giddy-up!"

HOT LOCUST CAFE, 2005 Locust St., 231-3666. Hours: lunch, 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Mon.-Fri.; dinner, 5-10 p.m. Mon.-Thu. and 5-11 p.m. Fri.-Sat.; closed Sun. Entrees: $11.95-$20.95.

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