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In The Mood / A Few Good Burgers

September 18, 1997

The celebrated edible thistle in many delicious manifestations:

* Il Moro: It's never on the menu, but it's always available if you ask for it: a wonderful, juicy salad made with mixed baby lettuces, arugula, baby artichokes, shaved Parmesan cheese and a refreshing lemon dressing. (Artichoke salad: appetizer, $6.50; entree, $8.75.) Il Moro, 11400 W. Olympic Blvd., West Los Angeles, (310) 575-3530.

* Modo Mio: This pretty Italian restaurant serves an impeccable version of the classic salad: slivered baby artichokes, high-quality shaved Parmesan, lemon and extra virgin olive oil. (Artichoke salad, $9.) Modo Mio, 15200 Sunset Blvd., Suite 106, Pacific Palisades, (310) 459-0979.

* Hollywood Canteen: The classic baby artichoke salad can be had at this popular studio-adjacent lunch room. (Artichoke salad, $8.50.) Hollywood Canteen, 1006 N. Seward St., Hollywood, (213) 465-0961.

* Alto Palato: Artichokes alla Romana are stuffed with bread crumbs and seasonings then baked with white wine, olive oil and mentuccia Romana, a wild mint from Italy's hillsides that is supplied to the restaurant by the manager's mother. (Artichokes alla Romana, $7.) Alto Palato, 755 N. La Cienega Blvd., West Hollywood, (310) 657-9271.

* Ago: At this spanking new restaurant, chef Agostino Sciandri improves on the basic salad by scattering toasted walnuts on a bed of slivered baby chokes, then covering both with thin sheets of excellent Parmesan. (Artichoke salad, $9.) Ago, 8478 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (213) 655-6333.

* 555 East: Artichokes are quartered, marinated in herbs and garlic, parboiled with oranges, then grilled and served with basil aioli. (Grilled artichokes, $6.95.) 555 East, 555 E. Ocean Blvd., Long Beach, (562) 437-0626.

* Chez Gilles: Artichokes grow very well in Brittany, the birthplace of chef Gilles Epie, who cooks with them often. He constructs a pleasingly balanced cold appetizer with asparagus, artichoke hearts, mozzarella and balsamic dressing. Some days, there is a delicious artichoke soup, and on his new fall menu, roasted baby artichokes are served on John Dory. (Artichoke soup, $7.50; artichoke and asparagus appetizer, $14; John Dory with artichokes, $27.) Chez Gilles, 267 S. Beverly Drive, Beverly Hills, (310) 276-1558.

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