"Nouvelle" cuisine may sound a bit pompous, but it's a French term meaning new cooking by making the food more approachable. In the early '70s, French cooking took a left turn, moving away from the classically rich, heavy style to fresher, lighter food served in smaller portions. Pastiche bills itself as an American eatery with world influences, and its food is fresh and light with the option of half- or full-size portions. Ringmaster Pat Connors' menu has a sense of humor that keeps us reading between the lines: For greens with envy, the warm spinach salad gets our vote, and on the getting-serious page, Tennessee bourbon salmon wows. Late-night dining with half-price appetizers from 10 p.m. to midnight calls to night owls, lion tamers and other strangers.
2. Café Terra Cotta, 3500 E. Sunrise Drive
3. Bistro Zin, 1865 E. River Road