Best Restaurant When You're Paying - 2006
They have taken you out for dinner at fine restaurants on numerous occasions. Now it's your turn to reciprocate. You don't want to come across as cheap or ungenerous, but dinner at a local fine-dining establishment will suck the digits right off of your credit card, and moderately priced neighborhood restaurants ... well, to be blunt, there are few capable of impressing. Very few, in fact, but Timo is one such place. The casual Italian/Mediterranean eatery delivers the same crisp white-linen service and stellar cuisine of a far more expensive, pretentious dining establishment. Chef/owner Tim Andriola and partner Rodrigo Martinez cut their teeth at high-end joints, the former making a name for himself as chef de cuisine at Mark's South Beach, the latter as general manager and wine director of Norman's. Dinner is not inexpensive, but it won't break the bank either. A Semolina pizzette with sweet peppers, goat cheese, and oregano is $8, while an appetizer of slow-cooked tripe with bacon, tomato, onion, and Parmesan is $9. Pastas and fish entrées range from $13 to $21, meats and poultry from $18 to $26 -- a steal of a deal for dishes such as veal scaloppine with porcini, sweetbreads, and Marsala; pork chop plumped with prosciutto and buffalo mozzarella and served over risotto; and Vermont quail with chanterelle mushrooms and oxtail ravioli. If you can keep your dinner guests from seeing a menu, they will assume you are paying a whole lot more. And if they do see the menu, they will respect your acumen in discovering so divine a restaurant for so reasonable a cost.