BEST UPSCALE MOM-AND-POP RESTAURANT (2005)
www.talulaonline.com Okay, we admit it: The mom-and-pop thing is just a cute way of recognizing Talula -- because how could we not acknowledge one of our very best restaurants? The matrimonial proprietor/chef team of Andrea Curto-Randazzo and Frank Randazzo (formerly and respectively of Wish and Gaucho Room) have received plenty of press mileage on their parenting both child and highly successful South Beach dining establishment, but once customers take a seat in Talula (or the lushly landscaped garden patio in back), the smartly innovative, contemporary American cuisine is all they'll care about. Grilled Sonoma Valley foie gras with blue corn cakes, caramelized pears, candied walnuts, and a drizzle of chili syrup exemplifies the solid concepts and exquisitely delicious cooking that comes from the kitchen. So does the cascabel chili-crusted barbecued quail with heavenly puffs of sweet-potato agnolotti pasta. Ditto the lavender-crusted lamb loin with truffled goat-cheese potato croquette and cold smoked grape vinaigrette. The whole menu sings with brash, fresh flavors; the wine list hums along; and Talula is an unqualified hit. Mommy and Daddy, take your bows. Then, if you can, take a nap.
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