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[whitespace] Knowing a Winner When You Taste One

Top 20 Eats

By Christina Waters

KUDOS!Congratulations to chef David Kinch whose hypercreative Sent Sovi in Saratoga (14583 Big Basin Way--408.867.3110) made Zagat's Top 20 Restaurants in the San Francisco Bay Area list for the fourth year in a row. But then, we're not surprised. Joining Sent Sovi on the 2001 Top 20 list was the haute cuisine palace Le Papillon (410 Saratoga Ave., SJ--408.296.3730). Both Sent Sovi and Le Papillon rated a "27" out of a possible "30" points given for culinary excellence by Zagat reviewers, who also rank decor, service and cost in the handy little burgundy guide that comes out annually. The South Bay and peninsula had some other high scorers in the prestigious ratings guide. Emile's, John Bentley's and Mei Long rated a 26; Le Mouton Noir took a 25; A.P. Stump's, Evvia, Chez TJ, Cafe Marcella, L'Amie Donia, 71 St. Peter and Spago Palo Alto (plus O'mei, Avanti and Bittersweet Bistro over the hill in Santa Cruz) all received 24-point ratings. Keep up the delicious work! FYI: Zagat reviewers gave the Top Food award to--you probably already guessed--French Laundry in Yountville. Good luck getting a reservation. Interestingly, Bay Area diners--44 percent of them--now tip 20 percent or higher, and surveyors reported ordering wine with dinner a whopping 61 percent of the time. Salut!

Mixed Bag of Treats

Halloween might be over, but the treats never seem to stop along the Monterey Bay. You might, for example, want to stop by the waterfront supper club Lido in Capitola (110 Monterey Ave.) on Tuesday, Nov. 14, where you can dine on a special four-course Winemaker's Dinner menu created by chef C. Anthony Dias, while having viticultural fun with Joullian Vineyards winemaker Ridge Watson. In addition to sampling intriguing Joullian varietals--the 1996 Cabernet Sauvignon is soft, viscous and filled with wild berry flavors and vanilla aromas--you'll actually work with the winemaker to blend your own red bordeaux. The Bordeaux Blending Seminar is an interactive event in which participants will tinker, under expert guidance, with cabernet sauvignon, merlot and cabernet franc. Dinner includes baked Prince Edward Island mussels with tomato-caper salsa, followed by pancetta-wrapped prawns. A main course of osso bucco is finished off with a chocolate lava cake. The price for this dinner/wine blending experience is $100 per person, all inclusive, and you can hope to get lucky with reservations by calling 831.475.6544. Capitola is beautiful any time of year, and the Lido is one of the area's up-and-comers. ... Happy Anniversary to the one, the only, Crow's Nest, holding down its roost at the edge of the Santa Cruz Yacht Harbor for 30 years. Opened in 1970 as a one-room affair, the landmark now sprawls up, down and sideways over the rocks and sand. To celebrate its 30th, the restaurant will take 30 percent off dinner tabs (drinks, desserts, the works) every Monday night through the end of the year. It's a friendly way to say "thank you" to loyal regulars who have made the deck and the upstairs lounge one of the liveliest scenes on the coast. The Crow's Nest happens at 2218 East Cliff Drive (831.476.4560) and is open for lunch Monday-Friday, and for dinner from 5:30 weekdays, and from 4pm on Saturday and Sunday. ... Attention enophiles. It's that time again, the third Thursday in November. Time to celebrate Beaujolais Nouveau! Uncorking the very earliest wine of the year that's fit to drink, Theo's in Soquel offers a prix fixe meal to go with the new wine. For $35 per person you begin with ballotine of salmon, move on to traditional rabbit braised in mustard with lentils and finish with roasted pear tart and vanilla bean sauce. They will have the new wine available too. That's Thursday, Friday and Saturday, Nov. 16-18. For reservations and directions, call Theo's at 831.462-3657.

Email me! Readers, restaurateurs, chefs: Please send any news items, tips, menu changes, openings, special events and juicy gossip to [email protected]

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From the November 9-15, 2000 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2000 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

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