Take a heaping helping of smart Deco decor, a pantryful of white linens and crystal, and a bunch of sharp, professional staffers, and blend well. Stir in one extra-talented chef, a cup of new ideas, a tablespoon of trendiness, and a teaspoon of daring; mix until no lumps remain. Add humor and good cheer to taste. Slip into a hot downtown space, and bake until all the country's smartest diners beat a path to your door. Credit chef-restaurateur Marlin Kaplan for that sassy recipe, and take a taste of his yummy downtown restaurant, One Walnut, as proof that it's a winner. With Kaplan's captivating three-, four-, and five-course degustation menus, filled with such twisted Americana as lobster nachos, baloney and quail eggs on toast points, and salmon in a blanket, it's no wonder he's drawn the attention of Gourmet
, and the highly ranked food wonks at the Big Apple's James Beard House. But who needs an out-of-towner to tell us what we already know? For up-to-the-minute cuisine, gracious ambiance, and a heady sampling of the good life, there's no better spot than One Walnut.