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ann marie | Jun 5, 200306:05 PM     5

My man bosshogg and I have had four or five meals at this cozy little spot on Sackett, between 4th and 5th Avenues. The chef/owner is a charming and gracious host, with a very low-key way of making sure you're happy. His staff, though we haven't seen the same people twice, are pretty lively, and usually having a good time with some neighborhood regulars. Not what you'd call upscale, though neither is it a dive, just a homey unpretentious cafe with some very decent food.

My favorites include a "loin of pork", prepared with mustard, pine nuts and pears. The first time out, it was a very artful presentation of little fanned out food bits, dabbled with sauce. The second time, it was a more manly-man plate with big pork chunks, fruit 'n' nuts on the side, sauce aplenty. Each was just delish, the sauce mild, creamy, and mustard-spiked, perfect with the moist and tender pork.

Also yummy and novel was the generous spinach salad with pancetta and mushrooms. Really tasty.

The more usual dishes like Roast Pork and Chicken Stew, etc., are good, but I'm inclined to continue to explore his more atypical options. Oh, and the bread-spread, served gratis, is a black olive tapenade, just right for the hot, light bread. Ahora, tengo hambre.

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