Best Small Plates - 2006
The ongoing tapas-mezes-zakuski-antojitos craze achieves its highest pinnacle at Isa, where star chef Luke Sung serves intricately designed, gustatorially satisfying small plates out of the French tradition. The menu varies with the season, but among the seafood specialties you might find potato-draped sea bass drizzled with brown butter; Dungeness crab salad with mango, celery, and Fuji apple; or a peppery tuna tartare cushioned with pear, pine nuts, and crushed avocado. Meatier dishes include grilled flatiron steak with watercress and green mustard and seared duck breast on a bed of kumquats and red cabbage. Several French wines are available by the glass; the tented, candlelit back patio is a magical place to sit and sip.