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pm | Jan 14, 200612:17 PM    

One of those places I've walked and driven by hundreds of times - walking by last night, it was time to walk in. The restaurant was mostly-full at that hour (sometime between 7:30 and 8:00), but there was room for 2.

The menu had a nice variety of pastas, pizzas, main (meat) dishes, along with a specials sheet. The wine list was short but sufficient, along with some creative cocktails.

Wine - Cain Cuvee. An N.V. meritage. I asked the waiter about it, and he thought it was an excellent choice, which it was. At $39, it seemed to be a deal, and looking for it retail today, it was barely 2x markup from retail (and less than 2x the winery price). Easy to drink, and worked with the variety of foods we ordered.

Starter - Shared the smoked chicken pizza. I'd give it a "B". Maybe my taste buds were off last night, but it seemed to be missing a little flavor, or maybe a little smoked chicken. I enjoyed the crust.

Main courses - Fusili pasta w/toasted garlic, sundried tomatoes and broccoli. It was really tasty - something I could have easily made at home, but then, I wasn't at home. It was very tasty, and just the right amount.

Chicken w/mashed potatoes and mixed grilled veggies. I tasted this, which was very good, in a delicious sauce. Very generous portion.

Some of the other dishes coming out of the kitchen looked very good, including a whole fish cooked in the wood oven.

Service - very very good. A very friendly yet not overbearing waiter - from wine service (rarely in mid-range restaurants does a waiter ever tend to the wine glass after the first pour), to confirming my wine choice, to timing the main courses so we could enjoy the pizza (he even asked re: when he should "fire up" the main courses). My only peeve (and it really isn't one - I suppose I spend too much time in South America) is that the check came prior to asking for it - but then, I was just about to ask for it.

The chef/owner (I'm assuming it was him) came by to ask how everything was - I asked him if he cooked the meal, he said "no not this one but these are my recipes".

All-in-all, a pleasant neighborhood dinner that had no "wow" factor, but was very good, fit the evening, fit the mood, and definitely a place to return.

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