Hot Plate

The menu description provided by the folks at Carmelo's Italian Restaurant [14795 Memorial Drive, (281)531-0696] -- a nearly clinical "artichoke bottoms" -- is so minimalist it does the dish a disservice. What the description doesn't tell you is that the large, bluntly tangy artichoke bottoms ($11) are piled high with a mixture of sweet lump crabmeat, toasted slivered almonds and béarnaise sauce, then sprinkled with fresh grated Parmesan and baked until the cheese melts. But be forewarned: You best share this appetizer with at least one other person; it's too rich for a solo performance -- particularly if you plan to eat anything else -- but it's too good to stop once the appetizer is sitting in front of you.
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Carol Rust