Best California-Mediterranean Restaurant - 2002
The name, which refers to a Japanese green, is your first clue that Mizuna is all over the map, pulling from international flavors and ingredients to make dishes so stunning, they're over the top. Still, most of the items at this charismatic bistro are inspired by the New American sensibilities of California cuisine, with a heavy reliance on Mediterranean components to pull everything together. The hallmark of chef/part owner Frank Bonanno's cooking is fresh ingredients, with plenty of butter and cream to carry the flavors; dishes such as crème-fraîche-bolstered mashed potatoes and lobster-enriched macaroni and cheese are perfect examples of this philosophy. Bonanno's partner, host-with-the-most Doug Fleisch-mann, manages to keep the needy audience pampered and entertained while diners wait for the next delectable dish to come out of the kitchen.