An easy trip to the Orient Heights stop on the Blue Line gets us here. A spare but nice-looking space, yellow walls, antique photos, white tablecloths. Only the ugly dessert case in the dining room looks out of place, like a refugee from a sub shop.
Decent, crumby bread with excellent EVOO to start. A spinach salad, a green salad, a generously-sized antipasto (excellent charcuterie and olives), and the eggplant trofeo for antipasti, all very nice, but the eggplant tower, in a gorgeous tomato sauce, is especially delicious.
Next is an obviously homemade gnocchi alla pina with a delectable tomato concasse, loaded with fresh thyme. By consensus, the dish of the night. We're sorry we didn't get a risotto (which they cook to order using any ingredients of your choice that they have on hand) as another primo.
Secondi: a Campanian-style steak, sliced thin and fanned on the plate (served with fresh lemon for squeezing on the beef, a novelty to me) with fine greens; pastas of rigatoni, mercifully not oversauced with a subtle Bolognese; and a fabulous wine-sauced chicken dish with thick zucchini rounds.
Desserts of a chocolate/coffee mousse with a strong coffee note, an unconventional tiramisu served in a stemless cocktail glass. Very good, if not quite transporting.
Expert, attentive service, a pleasant conversation with the owners, a promise to return. The check for four comes to about $200 inclusive, with one $30-ish bottle of a beautiful Campanian red. Not quite the Vinny's-Superette-level bargain we were hoping for, but the rather higher level of food and overall experience add up to a solid value. We will indeed be coming back.
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