BEST NEW RESTAURANT (1999)
It's been a good year for new restaurants: the fresh margaritas and fantastic burgers at Bar Abilene, the latish-night Uptown dining at Chiang Mai Thai and Passage to India, the buzz of big-money investments like Big Bowl, Pazzaluna, and Oceanaire--not to mention the national prestige of only the second Aquavit in the country. For us, though, the proudest addition to the Cities in the last year was the Zander. Here's why: Not only is the food excellent, but the very presence of the restaurant represents a positive statement. The chef, Alexander Dixon, cooked at the late Faegre's and the New French Cafe, got fed up with Cities life, and fled for a few years. Then he came back, rededicated himself to the community (reasonable prices, no compromising on food), and customers rallied round with joy. So to Zander and all Zander fans--yes, life here can get extremely trying, but you made it through, so here's today's exercise: Place hands above backs. Pat. Repeat.