January 2006 100 VERY BEST RETAURANTSTHE SCENE. In a part of downtown that's dotted with law firms, this accomplished Italian restaurant evinces an astute knowledge of its target audience--the well-spaced tables encourage private conversations, and a tasteful beige color scheme doesn't distract from the real business at hand: deal making.
WHAT YOU'LL LOVE. At the bar, a glass of wine and half-price portions of chef Cesare Lanfranconi's terrific pastas make for one of the city's most attractive dining deals; the $25 fixed-price menu at lunch is also a bargain.
WHAT YOU WON'T. The attitude of some servers--a suave indifference that can seem aggressive, even hostile. Main courses seldom rise to the level of the pastas.
BEST DISHES. The signature ravioli filled with aged ricotta and raisins; veal and prosciutto ravioli; agnolotti filled with braised duck and currants, served with foie gras sauce; a succulent lamb shank with buckwheat polenta; perfectly textured and intensely flavored granitas, including almond and watermelon.