Two days after the post below I found my self seated in the Ravenette Cafe. It felt good to be back in this cozy space. Actually it seemed larger because it wasn't full with a line outside. I was surprised that I could get in on a Friday night. My server shrugged and said that it was packed the night before. It's first come, first served, and maybe the locals stay away on the weekends.
Smooth and buttery Da Vero olive oil for dipping and warm rosemary bread appeared quickly. Crusty and fragrant with a deep yeastiness, this wasn't a loaf that I recognized from any of the local bread artisans. Upon asking, I learned that it's housebaked.
The menu format is small plates. I started with broccoli rabe sauteed with garlic and white wine, $6. It was fine, if a bit flat in seasoning and might have benefited from a touch of chili spice. My next dish was the hand-cut papardelle with cherry tomatoes and pesto, $12, shown below. While it's hard to get a true scale from the photo, the well of this bowl was not more than 6" across, and probably more on the order of 5". That's awfully small . . . maybe I should have counted the number of noodles . . . I think there were three cherry tomatoes. The noodles were firm and a bit rough rather than silky. The pesto was stupendous with coarse and fine pieces and great balance of fresh flavor. The parmesan had just the right nutty tone to compliment the flavors. But it was a tiny portion for the price and even smaller than would typically be served as primi.