Best Mediterranean restaurant - 2000
Sean Kelly knows his way around the Mediterranean, and his Aubergine Cafe navigates a delicious course through the region's varied cuisines. Aubergine's menu not only hits on all of the major cooking styles found in that part of the world, but it does so using local ingredients -- a philosophy that captures the Mediterranean spirit just as much as the recipes do. Although most of the dishes are classics, Kelly updates them with style, and so the grilled Moroccan free-range chicken breast over saffron couscous is sided with a roasted-fennel-and-eggplant-tomato chutney, and pan-roasted halibut sits on a soft bed of crab "gumbo" with housemade, Old Bay-seasoned potato chips and a textbook rouille. All of these delights are served in a dining room that is at once romantic and casual, a bistro in every sense, with the colors of Provence and Tuscany mixing with the smells of the sea. And with a staff as accommodating as a Greek family at their daughter's wedding, this is one club Med we should all join.