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Joe Allen

Despite being located just a Manolo Blahnik's throw from the bustle, hustle, and flow of Ocean Drive and Lincoln Road, Joe Allen is more about grits than glitz. The square dining room with a long bar at the entrance is comfortable and casual rather than intimidating... and designed to within an inch of its life -- a study in cool grays and warm dark woods with an American bistro feel. The food is similarly bistrolike, including all of your hearty, comforting favorites: thick, juicy burgers; a big slab of meat loaf with mashed potatoes and gravy; tender sautéed calf's liver with more mashers; skirt steak with tangy chimichurri. The kitchen also turns out an excellent caesar salad and thin-crusted pizzas that are better than the stuff of many local pizzerias. Try the goat cheese with mozzarella, spinach, roasted garlic, and tomatoes, then go on to a luscious New Orleans bread pudding for dessert.

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