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Franco's Ristorante 

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Things are seldom black and white for me, and so it is a testament to the quality of that I can declare, without hesitation, my meal there to have been unequivocally excellent. For two hours, time seemed to stop and the tabletop in front of me became the absolute center of the universe.

The Ravioli di Vitello ($18.95 entrée, $9.50 appetizer) was an excellent handmade ravioli, filled with veal and mascarpone, and sauced with demi-glace flavored with pancetta and fresh sage. We also sampled Capesante al Foie Gras ($10.50) — a slice of caramelized apple topped with two perfectly seared Dover scallops that were neatly adorned with slices of foie gras and drizzled with a port wine reduction.

The incredible tenderness and sublime flavor of the 10-ounce veal porterhouse ($26.95) had a frighteningly visceral effect on me. Sauced with an intensely rich demi-glace, this veal was served with perfectly prepared white asparagus, a mixed lentil dish and creamy whipped potatoes piped elegantly onto the plate.

We also sampled the creative Pesce al Limoncello ($22.95), which was an unbelievably moist swordfish steak topped with a lemony sauce, capers and pistachios, and placed atop a nest of fresh squid-ink fettuccine.

In the end, however, it was the simplest of desserts that most impressed me. The tiramisu ($5.50) was excellent, but the budino ($5.50) simply defied description. Although it is a seemingly unassuming and simple little custard, the moment this stuff hits your mouth it turns to something insanely good.

Seldom does a meal actually lift my spirits, but that's exactly what happened at Franco's — with food that good, everything seemed right with the world.

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