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January 2004: The Crossing at Casey Jones

West Coast transplants will feel right at home in this wood-and-stone dining room, where wine is a leitmotif—one wall doubles as a many-tiered wine rack.

West Coast transplants will feel right at home in this wood-and-stone dining room, where wine is a leitmotif—one wall doubles as a many-tiered wine rack. The list is short, dynamic, and fairly priced and offers ample choices by the glass. Like the wine list, chef Gary Fick's menu is a breath of fresh air—no tenderloin, unless you count the carpaccio of Kobe beef, and no salmon.

Fick pushes the envelope with starters like sautéed lump crab over Navajo fry bread and grilled heart of romaine with a Parmesan tuile. Main courses include country-fried lemonade chicken with braised artichokes, and a pork-chop BLT on flatbread with plum mayo, butter-bean salad, and portobello fries. With all this risk-taking there are bound to be stumbles, and service has its ups and downs as well. Consolation comes with warm berry cobbler crackling on its caramelized crust. And the restaurant's baked Alaskas—a house-made strawberry-shortcake version and a chocolate one—are by now new-wave classics.

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