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The new Cabo's Corner Bistro combines live music with lively flavors.

A Good Move


Cabo's, which started life at the busy corner of Main and Meadow, seems to have made a successful move to another, more commodious corner. The site for live music and food in previous incarnations as Fifth Avenue and Benjamin's, Cabo's continues the supper-club tradition with live music every night.

The bar area with the dining section for smokers also accommodates the entertainment — jazz piano the night we were there. A separate dining room, more formal, is the designated nonsmoking area — a handsome, sedate room with a television monitor offering a view of the live entertainment — but you can feel rather isolated there if it's a slow night. If you usually choose the nonsmoking section but can tolerate the smoke, choose the livelier room and be a part of the action. The other room, warm with wood tones and soft light, is great for quiet conversation or a tˆte-…-tˆte.

Chef Dave Matthews has put together a menu that should offer something for any taste, including popular favorites and a few rarer items. Simplicity is not a factor in many of the preparations — neither in their execution nor in their flavors and presentations. Some work deliciously; others seem to lose their focus in the fussiness.

One of the appetizers is a case in point of fussiness — jumbo sea scallops with crabmeat chorizo sausage, peppers, scallions, mushrooms, rosemary and cheese ($10). Flavorful certainly, but the delicate scallops are overwhelmed and, because they spent too much time under the heat, are rubbery. On the other hand, a salad of Belgian endive ($8.50) with pears, red grapefruit, nuts and blue cheese is a wonderful meld of flavors and textures. Subtle hazelnut vinaigrette doesn't overwhelm the pleasantly bitter greens and the sweet of the pears and grapefruit.

Other salads ($3.50-$9) and appetizers ($7.50-$11) range from a house salad to an antipasto platter. Portobello mushrooms are stuffed with bacon, crabmeat, asparagus, tomato and a topping of classic Mornay sauce. More unusual is a stuffed artichoke, a delicious exercise in patience. Pan-roasted oysters, a delicious fall treat, cry for simplicity — you may want to ask the kitchen to put the rosemary cream and the Parmesan on the side.

Whether your tastes run from pastas ($14-$17) to heartier entrees ($15-$24) of meat, poultry or shellfish, you'll find a good selection on Cabo's menu. There is also a vegetarian kabob ($15) for those who don't care to chew anything that once had a face. Napoleons seem to be the hot classic that has gone from sweet to savory and seem to apply to anything that is stacked on a plate. The stacking makes for beautiful presentations and treacherous eating, but once you disassemble the architecture, Cabo's veal Napoleon is a winner. Sautéed cutlets with spinach, roasted red peppers, and mushrooms over garlic mashed potatoes, surrounded by a mote of port wine sauce, is one of those complicated dishes where everything contributes and it works.

Chicken breast stuffed with spinach, mushrooms and Gorgonzola cheese, served with sweet potatoes and vegetable du jour, has promise, but the chicken was dry and chewy. I'm glad to see osso buco (veal shank) on yet another menu. It's time the "boneless" era discovers that bone contributes wonderful flavor to meat. Another generation, lest we forget, considered a soup bone essential to a pot of soup. Osso buco can be a decadently succulent treat, but not for anyone who considers a salad with sliced chicken an entree. And for the carnivores, Cabo's also offers Black Angus beef in several cuts and a rack of lamb.

Desserts are a familiar litany — a presentation of brownies and ice cream was visually interesting if culinarily arrested. I took comfort in a good cup of coffee.

If music and food be love or an evening on the town, Cabo's might be the place to

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