Best Antipasto (2001)

Maria's When in Naples

Ave Maria. Or, more appropriately, what have you, Maria? Every day is a new bounty, ours for the finding as we step inside Maria's Italian eatery, with its huge antipasto misto table just inside the door. It's a cunning display; after we've seen the gorgeous presentation, we simply have to order it. Selections vary, but you can usually count on delicacies like fresh mozzarella, roasted peppers, artichoke hearts, grilled eggplant, marinated carrots and mushrooms, tomatoes, herbed green beans and grilled onions. Fancier treats include ocean-fresh mussels, prosciutto-wrapped melon, mortadella, caponata, and imported cheeses. It's an ample prelude to a sumptuous dinner, but somehow, we always manage to find stomach space. As Maria would say, Mange! Mange!

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