Summer can't begin until I've had my first bowl of cool gazpacho, and there's no better place to do the honors than Amada, where this warm-weather classic is transformed into a work of art. Yellow tomatoes are at the heart of chef MacGregor Mann's early-season rendition, rounded into a silky, bright puree with mellow Tuscan melons and edgy seasoning accents from Spain, from the extra-virgin olive oil (arbequina) to the sherry vinegar (sweet-tart Pedro-Ximenez) and even Catalonian bottled water. Lightly thickened with gluten-free xanthan gum, as opposed to the usual bread, this carafe of sunshine is poured tableside around a pedestal of sweet crab salad crowned with a high-tech lime "crisp" and a layer of avocado ice cream, which not only adds a welcome note of creamy richness to the bracing soup, but also keeps this harbinger of summer cold.
- Craig LaBan
Gazpacho Amarillo, $8, Amada, 217-219 Chestnut St., 215-625-2450; www.amadarestaurant.com