Dolmas at Paymon’s Mediterranean Café

Soft, tangy grape leaves are stuffed with slightly spicy ground beef, fresh tomatoes, rice and Paymon’s special seasonings, then baked together in a zesty tomato sauce. Served hot, Paymon’s Dolmas are a classic Mediterranean appetizer craving that comes cheap. $8 for 5, 4147 Maryland Parkway, 731-6030; 8380 W. Sahara Ave., 804-0293.

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Scott Conant

Scott Conant

By Marvin Lucas

It might seem like a stretch to call a bowl of pasta “elegant,” but Scarpetta’s tomato and basil spaghetti is an unquestionably sophisticated dish. “Something as simple as spaghetti with tomato-basil [sauce], if you can do that right, it really speaks volumes,” chef Scott Conant says. “Inherent simplicity—that’s what’s elegant about it.” And Scarpetta sells about 2,000 plates of Conant’s legendary tomato and basil spaghetti every month.