We get seated pretty promptly for a late weeknight reservation at Stella, which is packed inside and out. The menu seems a bit limited after only a few visits, but the service and atmosphere are really pleasant.
A huge salad of excellent cherry tomatoes ($11, big enough for four), a half-order (mercifully on again for the first time since pre-opening) of spaghetti aglio e olio (creamy with a lot of good cheese), and a salume pizza make for a very filling dinner. Value seems good, too: all this food (including the free bread, good oil, olives, and hummus-like spread) plus a couple of strong cocktails comes to $50 pre-tip.
We're grateful to have a less extravagant option in the neighborhood (they seem to have hired some bartenders who don't lollygag, too), especially after the not-great Blackstone's and the rather awful Gallia in this space. Weird to see a huge suburban crowd in the South End on a weeknight, though.