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Best New Bistro 

Elle A Wine Country Restaurant

3048 E. Broadway Blvd.

STAFF PICK: Folks had begun to wonder if the restaurant space in Broadway Village at Broadway and Country Club was under some kind of curse. Though many seemed quite good, and the space is comfortable, elegant and conveniently located, we've seen more than a few restaurants come and go in that location over the last several years. We're hoping the demons have been exorcised once and for all, because the newest venture to go into the slot is Elle, a restaurant of enormous promise and extremely good taste. The décor is contemporary and sleek, with tall posters of art deco wine labels gracing the walls of the main dining room. Sumptuous wood-grained paneling, comfy Naugahyde booths, and walls of glass lend an air of suburban sophistication and class.

More importantly, the food is top-notch: pastas, fresh seafood, grilled meats and wild game. Our particular favorite is a penne with grilled chicken, served in a ceramic bowl and tossed with bits of sun-dried tomato, pancetta and a delectable walnut-basil sauce that adds just the right amount of texture and taste. We've also swooned over Elle's salmon, which is mesquite grilled and topped with a salsa of chopped artichoke hearts, kalamata olive slivers and steamed watercress. And we won't even go into the glories of the mussels (steamed in a heady broth of white wine, garlic and tomatoes) which, along with a bottle of wine, would be reason enough to visit this nouvelle bistro. Yes, indeed, we hope to find Elle ensconced at this location for a long time to come.

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