Best Appetizer - 2012
Café Martorano Eggplant Stack
This dish right here puts a line in the sand between the Café Martorano lovers and haters. It's $24. For that, you could buy two appetizers at most places. Or ten raw eggplants. But this dish also typifies what's special about Café Martorano: Its chefs put tremendous care into every single ingredient. Those slices of eggplant come crisp on the outside — difficult when you're essentially stacking them in a salad — and warm and soft in the center. The mozzarella is of the fresh-pulled variety, the greens are dressed in a fantastic vinaigrette, and the tomatoes are thick slices that seem right off a vine in Napoli. Like all the dishes here, it's served family style, put down in the middle of the table, sliced up by the waiter, and passed around. It will be, perhaps, the first time ever that your family fights over eggplant. Well worth that $24.