Order Up: Caruso Ristorante

There's no shortage of options when it comes to fine Italian dining, which is why our review this week looks at Caruso Ristorante from that angle -- if you had to choose a pasta joint to throw down your hard-earned clams at, would this be it? 

Caruso has been around for going on 11 months now, and it's earned some raves in that time. Chef/owner Lillo Teodosi has made an interesting menu that spans all the regions of Italy, assembled an intriguing wine list, and made his restaurant as comfortable on the eyes as it is on the palate. There's a lot to like, but there's just one problem: the service, which isn't catastrophically bad but needs work if it wants to pull up even with the fine dining Caruso offers. Read an excerpt from our review after the cut, and check out the full column, online later today in Dish.

I've already mentioned the antipasto platter, which comes complimentary at the start of each meal. 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 are tossed with arugula and bits of imported tuna; miniature omelets are like custardy cakes made rich with olive oil. And then, there's simplicity: a wonderfully ripe grape tomato bursting with juice, graced with the faintest drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a smattering of sea salt and cracked pepper. Or a vibrant green olive, its flesh as taut and firm as an Italian goddess'.

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