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Despite the fact that Holly Smith has won every accolade imaginable, including a spot on the 2006 Gourmet list of best restaurants in America, her kitchen delivered one of the worst dishes I've eaten in months: rabbit with chanterelles and a chickpea-flour crepe. The roast loin was sublime, but the braised leg and sauce (made from the reduced braising liquid) was salted so heavily that it stung my tongue; I even shied away from my favorite mushrooms, which were saturated with sauce. I felt so guilty for not having sent the dish back and given the kitchen another chance that I returned a few weeks later. On visit two, no one dish was so appalling, but again, all the meats were succulently roasted, and every sauce and risotto salted beyond reason, which means that someone in the kitchen is not tasting his or her food. Despite the perfection of a green bean salad dressed in crème fraîche and pastry chef Sara Novesky's sensual olive-oil gelato (one of the most memorable desserts I tried), I was left hoping that Smith would remedy the problem fast instead of letting Cafe Juanita coast on its reputation.
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