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Special Restaurant Issue | Scene stealer

A classic in the making

June 20, 2004|S. Irene Virbila

The food mafia is out in force at Table 8, the Melrose Avenue restaurant from chef Govind Armstrong and partners, yet a trendy young crowd appears too as the evening lengthens. Table 8 is that rare thing, a genuine crossover hit, a fine-dining restaurant that's actually fun. There's also Armstrong's sensual, understated cooking.

White corn soup is swirled with smoked bacon vinaigrette. Soft-shell crabs are crackling gold, set on a pillow of zingy sauteed baby spinach with a halo of summery succotash. Seppia (Mediterranean cuttlefish) comes grilled with clams in the shell, spicy chorizo and fat brown beans.

That flavorful Kurobuta pork chop from the Berkshires is a must. So are the pretty little lamb chops with farro, a Tuscan grain, and the sumptuous wild salmon cooked in parchment with dusky morels. Die-hard carnivores should tuck into the magnificent porterhouse for two cooked under a 1-inch-thick salt crust laced with bay leaves, black peppercorns and thyme (by advance order).

It's a wonder you can get a reservation.

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