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.
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