Best New World Cuisine - 2000
Darrel & Oliver's Café Maxx
The term New World may be heading out of favor, but it's a pretty safe bet that chef Oliver Saucy's innovative cuisine never will. As one of the originators of this style of cooking, which uses local ingredients and incorporates tropical influences from the Caribbean to Asia, Saucy produces an incredible complement of dishes. Because the menu changes daily, you can't depend on any single item being available on any given day. What you can expect is a reliance on regional fish such as grouper or snapper -- for good reason, since Saucy cooks it to flaky tenderness -- and a tendency to encrust it in anything from Vidalia onions to pistachios. A few heartier meat dishes, such as pesto-dusted veal chops, sate the carnivore, and there's always pasta, such as gnocchi or ravioli, on the menu. Go for anything oyster, since buttermilk-bread crumb ones are excellent and raw ones are superior. Since 1984, Café Maxx has been amazing its patrons, who expect -- and receive -- nothing less in the new millennium.