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Restaurant Charlie

At his spot at the Palazzo, Charlie Trotter lets his hair down. This sense of fun is reflected in the space itself. Diners have lots of choices--there's a proper bar, Bar Charlie for serious sushi eaters who want to try an extensive flight of multiple courses, and the main dining room with its contemporary American menu that favors whatever's in season. Seafood—particularly exotic Asian fish—takes center stage, while meat and game tend to play supporting roles.

Specialties: Cuttlefish with Asian pear and chervil; Japanese eel with grapefruit; seared hamachi with braised veal cheek in morel-and-chanterelle-mushroom sauce; steamed cacao-nib cake with candied kumquats and tangerine.

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Photo by Gina Taro
Photo by Francesc Guillamet
Photo by Jill Paider
Photos by (from left) Roger Ball/Getty Images, Gareth Brown/Getty Images, Roger Mastroianni/Getty Images and Ted Morrison
Photo © John Arandhara-Blackwell 2012