Formerly: I've got a winner for diners who want to pair BYOB charm with a dress-up experience: Think Cafe. Divided into two rooms, the spot is homey and relatively intimate, with a smattering of decorations befitting an Italian grandmother on the walls. The food is what you'd expect from that same sweet old lady...with a few eclectic, American touches.
You'll find very hearty portions of tomato-heavy pasta dishes, with a seafood-filled appetizer menu of homemade lump crab cakes, Prince Edward Island mussels and horseradish-smoked salmon. Though entrees include zuppa di mare and linguini with scallops, those not interested in the fruits of the sea can attempt to eat their way to the bottom of pastas, risottos and meat dishes like Vesuvio-style rack of lamb.
Entrees, which reflect owner/chef Omar Rodriguez's decade spent cooking for the Carlucci Restaurant Group, typically run $12-$26, but paired with a bottle of your pick, your tab will suffer only a mild beatings, plus a $4 corkage fee. If the gnocchi is on special, grab it — the spicy little bombs are a cheesy delight. There's also a teeny wine bar up front; it may be stocked with all sorts of glasses rather than liquor, but it's a great spot for two to crack the bottle before settling in at a table. Other tables of two looking for the same romantic evening pile in on weekends, however, so do make reservations.
Average cost: $21-$30
Centerstage Reviewer: Kate Schwartz