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BEST APPETIZERS Phoenix 2003 - Gregory's World Bistro

Many chefs test their creativity on appetizers. ItÕs less risky to get wild with small-portioned dishes, and diners feel more comfortable sampling an exotic plate thatÕs not entree-priced. Chef Gregory Casale is a perfect case in point. WeÕve never seen such fantasy at any other fancy restaurant, with compelling, perhaps a bit crazy, choices like Southern fried frogsÕ legs over leek-tomato fondue with black-eyed peas. Starters are also where Casale lets loose with dynamite delicacies such as Thai lobster bisque with kaffir lime leaf, lemongrass and Thai crayfish cake; hazelnut-encrusted veal sweetbreads over truffle-scented pea risotto in roasted corn broth; and beef tartare with spicy soy vinaigrette and cold sesame noodles. With starters like these, we know our meal is going to come to a most exquisite finish.

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