January 2006 100 VERY BEST RETAURANTS
THE 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.