Taster's Choice

Victims of Oggitis might have a hard time getting past the pastas, but entrees are worth the investment. Pollo Donatello, pounded twin chicken breasts dredged in flour and sauteed, were juicy and tender, coated with a wonderful sauce of Marsala wine and sliced portobello mushrooms; grilled baby squash and fragrant roasted rosemary potatoes did the side dish honors. Veal Parmesan was a large, flat portion, breaded and fried like Wiener schnitzel, but greaseless -- among the best I've had. Matched with a gently acidic crushed-tomato sauce and melted mozzarella, the veal was accompanied by a side of linguine marinara.

For a heartier veal dish, check out the chop. We skipped the menu-billed veal chop and portobello mushroom recipe in favor of a special stewed version lidded with melted Gorgonzola cheese, a lovely feature. A brown jus moistened the bed of sauteed spinach upon which the chop lay.

Fresh raw spinach was a beautiful mattress for another special, dolphin sauteed with a champagne-orange sauce. The light, buttery sauce was terrific, softening the spinach underneath and highlighted by sections of oranges. The fish itself was delightful, a fillet so appealingly tasty and juicy that we felt compelled to finish it even though our appetites were by then quite sated.

We felt the same way about dessert. A meal at Sambuca could end with a shot of that licorice-flavored liqueur and a satisfied, discreet belch -- were it not for the mousse Concorde: two crumbly meringues, dripping bittersweet chocolate syrup, that sandwiched a dense chocolate mousse. Okay, now belch.

Brain damage, for the most part, is irreversible. But no one seems to mind being afflicted with Gourmand Syndrome, as long as they have the ways and means to treat the disease. I, certainly, have no desire to recover from my trio of maladies.

Caffe Sambuca
1233 Lincoln Rd, Miami Beach; 532-2800. Lunch Monday -- Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Dinner nightly from 6:00 to 11:00 p.m.

Insalata Sambuca
$6.50
Fettuccine Alessandra
$9.95
Pollo Donatello
$13.95
Veal chop
$23.95

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