Best Thing to Come from Albania Since John Belushi

Tony's Pasta & Pizza

The high point of Lake Worth's Albanian archipelago of pizzerias is Tony's, where head chef Muharrem (founding brother Tony went on to work for a food distributor) turns out superb, crusty, New York- style pizza and homemade pasta with sauces of surprising delicacy. So good is his product that for some five years Palm Beach's five-star Four Seasons Resort made Tony's the bespoken pasta maker to the smart set. The ravioli -- pumpkin, spinach, or mushroom-saffron with pine nuts -- aren't part of the menu at his retail joint, but you can still order them for the home. It's an unadorned storefront, so don't expect any ambiance. In fact bring your own cutlery or suffer the cheap plasticware. It's worth it.

It's the eternal Zen question: How many links makes a chain? In chef-proprietor Mark Militello's case, we think the answer is several, all located in South Florida. With the recent addition of Mark's CityPlace in West Palm Beach, "Trade-Mark" Militello has expanded the empire he began in North Miami, then moved to Fort Lauderdale, Boca Raton, and South Beach. Many chefs of his James Beard Award-winning caliber think a namesake restaurant is sufficient, but we know that, when it comes to talent, a single venue is only one hand clapping. But four -- now there's some real regional noise in the making.

Is it a good sign when a restaurant's wine list offers too many vintages to count? We think so, especially when at least one third of those bottles are from lesser-known international vineyards and priced less than 30 bucks. With this policy the folks at City Oyster declare that they're not out to screw us with triple the retail. Rather they're here to educate our palates with sips of such diverse wines as the Allan Scott Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand or the King Estate pinot noir from Oregon. Sure, you can invest $180 for a bottle of full and luxurious Opus One here, but you can also spend as little as $21 for a bright and pleasant E. Guigal Côte du Rhône red. The kicker, of course, is what you can also get by the glass, ranging from a Chateau Souverain zinfandel to a froth of Taittinger Champagne. Good-bye house wine, hello bubbly.

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