Best Neighborhood Restaurant (2000)

Crystal Cafe

Neighborhood restaurants usually are friendly and informal places that proffer generous helpings of consistent if modest food to an appreciative local clientele. Crystal Cafe's crisp white linens, fresh flowers, comprehensive wine selection, and semiformal service would seemingly add up to a finer dining experience than we expect from this category, yet a closer look through the Crystal reveals it to be a humble, family-run affair with no pretense or PR firm. Chef Klime Kovaceski can dazzle with a starter of warm pistachio-crusted goat cheese with truffle oil and raspberry-balsamic reduction, or comfort with New Continental dishes like beef stroganoff that are more reflective of his Macedonian roots. Wife Huguette adroitly orchestrates among the best (but still friendly) waitstaffs on the Beach, and because she and Klime are always present, the restaurant's consistency remains unparalleled. It's elegant, yes, but for the locals, Crystal Cafe remains a joy in the 'hood.


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