This reliable restaurant is as comfortable as a favorite cardigan. Not the thing we wear when we want to impress, but something that keeps us warm nonetheless. The nightly specials are where the special dishes are, as the regular menu is full of standard stuff: salads, brick-oven pizzas, pastas, entrees such as veal piccata, lamb chops, grilled fish. Those who still fear carbs will appreciate the dishes marked Atkins- and South Beach-friendly; those more risky will indulge in the fresh-baked bread delivered before the meal.
We began with the ahi appetizer, because we were intrigued by the flavor combination—pistachio crust and a side slaw with avocado and mango—that felt more summer than fall. Despite the season, we liked it, because a nice, ripe mango is always a good thing. A year-round favorite, Greek salad boasted fresh mixed greens, salty feta, kalamata olives, and subtly hot pepperoncinis tossed in just the right amount of red wine vinaigrette. We also loved the grilled fish of the day, tilapia, which arrived steaming hot with a nice, charred crust. Buttery mashed potatoes and snappy green beans were as right on as the main. Hopes were high for rigatoni arrabbiata with fennel, baby greens, and fontina, but the large chunks of fennel, with their strong licorice flavor, overwhelmed everything else in the dish—even the heartily seasoned Italian sausage, which we added for a shot of protein. Shaved fennel would have done wonders and would have given the other flavors a fighting chance. (However, it wasn’t so tragic that we didn’t reheat it the next day for a hearty little supper.) We were powerless to resist a warm hazelnut brownie, drizzled with caramel and served with a melting scoop of vanilla, nor could we resist the charm of our sweet waitress, who was alert and attentive without intrusion.
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