100 Favorite Dishes: No. 15 -- Antipasti Plate From Caruso Ristorante

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As a countdown to the Best of Broward Palm Beach 2011, coming in June, Clean Plate Charlie is serving up a hundred of our favorite dishes in South Florida. Send your own nominations to Deirdra.Funcheon@BrowardPalmBeach.com.

No. 15: Antipasti Plate at Caruso Ristorante

I don't know Lillo Teodosi personally, other than the time I spent interviewing him for our review of his Boca Raton eatery, Caruso Ristorante. But if I were to formulate an

impression of the man based solely on the antipasti platter he so graciously

presents to his guests as a sort of outsized amuse, it would be best

explained in three words: Generous. Passionate. Exacting. Because this

antipasti plate (free to all who dine there) is

something extraordinary. This painting-like presentation is composed of

whatever Teodosi deems fresh and flavorful. There are house-roasted red

peppers, squash, and grilled zucchini; white cannelloni beans tossed

with arugula and bits of imported tuna; and miniature omelets so fluffy

they're like custardy cakes made rich with olive oil. All of it is

decidedly simple, but what's really impressive is the way Teodosi

positively makes love to something so ordinary as a few ripe grape

tomatoes -- each bursting with juice, sliced in half and graced with

the faintest drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a smattering of sea

salt and cracked pepper. When a chef can make you taste something as

simple as a tomato as if it was your first time, you know he's got a

very special, very focused connection with his food. And that's what's

going down at Caruso.

187 SE Mizner Blvd., Boca Raton

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