Don’t drive across town if you are jonesing for “authentic” Italian fare. Owner and chef Bartolino Cocuzza has Americanized his Italian food to fit his loyal customers. Cocuzza’s cooking is solid. The massive pork porterhouse, covered with a pile of mushrooms and onions, rises 3 inches from the plate. The perfectly pink center is moist, and firm mushrooms sautéed in port add an earthy essence. Country of origin be damned, I easily finished this formidable dish. We didn’t order the eclectic roast poblano pepper filled with shallots, garlic, shrimp, and Brie cheese in a red pepper coulis, but the couple sitting next to us told us it was their favorite dish. “I ate it yesterday for lunch,” he said. “I was sitting in your seat.” He looked beyond us and waved to a group sipping martinis at the bar. Amici was destroyed by a fire in March 2011; it took nine months to get it put back together. The new interior is a little fancier, and the BYOB policy has been replaced by a full bar and short wine list, but the customers haven’t changed. They’re all still on a first-name basis with the affable Cocuzza, who works the room and welcomes you to his home. The house-made ravioli are thick, puffed pillows of pasta stuffed with mushrooms and finished off lightly with a Béchamel sauce with sautéed spinach and grilled chicken on the side. It’s a rich dish, but the leftovers make a lovely breakfast.
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