A Chowhound rec, this has been on my list for awhile. The food was fresh and fine and the service enthusiastic.
There was great bread with a winning tomato basil flan that had some hot pepper to make us happy. The flan was a welcome change from that ubiquitous puddle of olive oil.
Having to do some reconstruction here and have resolved in future to take notes. The person across the table attempts shamelessly to distract me from the raison detre, The Food.
The starter across the table was an arugula salad with raw mushrooms and parmesan, an insipid choice to my mind, but it disappeared quickly. Mine was the superior choice, so often the case, octopus salad with Yukon gold potatoes, basil and oven roasted tomato dressing (the dressing was really terrific).
We had pastas for mains. Strozzapreti al Contadina was chosen in my opinion for no better reason than utter fascination with the name strangle priests. There was pancetta though, too, which may have been a factor. Mine was Gemelli with shrimp and lemon, mmm, zippy stuff. We shared back and forth and we were smiling.
They were out of our first choice wine but we were quite pleased with the substitution suggested by the waiter. I dont remember what either of these was though because we drank the whole bottle. Trying to make it sound like that was the first time that happened to us.
Neither of us desserts particularly, but our server pressed a slice of ricotta cheesecake on us on the house. It was seriously delicious, and may actually be better than that since I am not a cheesecake fan.
I look forward to going back. We sat on the first floor and would like to see if the upstairs is quieter and maybe a little roomier. We were walk-ins on a Saturday night, though, and were glad to have been seated.
Word of caution here. Amex only.